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The Best Mic Preamps For Home Recording Studios (Under $300)

by | Mic Preamps | 0 comments

A mic preamp is one of the most important pieces of gear in a recording studio.

Its job is to take the signal from a microphone and amplify it to a level that your audio interface, mixing console, or other studio gear can use.

The mic pre, along with the microphone itself, is primarily responsible for the sound quality you hear when recording vocals or instruments.

However, there is a huge difference in quality between mic preamps, especially at lower price levels.

Design, components/circuitry, and construction can vary widely from one mic pre to another.

Its price affects what features the mic pre has (or doesn’t have), and of course, the sound quality.

So, choosing a quality mic pre with the features you want and need and the sound you want is paramount for getting the most value for your money.

However, to make things more complicated, there are quite a few types of mic preamps available:

  • Solid-state
  • Tube
  • Hybrid solid-state/tube

Each type has its own sonic characteristics that can provide clear transparent sound or a warmer “tube” colored sound.

Plus, there are single-channel and multi-channel mic preamps available.

The Best Microphone Preamps Under $300

To help you make sense of it all, I’m going to divide the reviews into two categories:

  • Best Single-Channel Mic Preamps
  • Best Multi-Channel Mic Preamps

Under each section, I review the best solid-state, tube, and hybrid mic preamps.

NOTE: If I could not find any mic preamps under a category that fit my review criteria, then there’s no review.

For example, there are no multi-channel solid-state mic preamp reviews; I was not able to find any to include in the under $300 price range.

Best Single-Channel Mic Preamps Under $300

Hybrid Solid-State/Tube:

Studio Projects VTB1

Channel Strip:

ART Tube MP Studio V3
Presonus Studio Channel
Joemeek ThreeQ

Best Multi-Channel Mic Preamps Under $300

Hybrid Solid-State/Tube:

Presonus Bluetube V2

Tube:

ART Pro MPA II

500 Series Mic Preamps

If you are interested in 500 series mic preamps, please see these review articles:

Review Criteria

All mic preamps included in my reviews were selected based on their widespread use and reputation in the professional music community and from personal use and knowledge.

I’ve also added my insights gained from my 25+ years of experience running a very successful music production company, plus working with dozens of composers and thousands of tracks for my Audio Addiction Music Library, a production music library with global distribution.

Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Microphone Preamp For Your Home Studio

If you’re new to buying microphone preamps, please check out my Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Microphone Preamp For Your Home Studio.  You’ll learn how mic preamps work, the types of preamps available, and how to choose a mic preamp that best fits your intended uses and, of course, your budget.

Single-Channel Mic Preamps:

Hybrid Tube/Solid-State Mic Preamps

Studio Projects is a Gardena, CA-based manufacturer of microphones, mic preamps, and accessories.  Their products are known for their sonic quality and durability and are made in the U.S.A.

Overview

The Studio Projects VTB1 is a very affordable single channel hybrid solid-state/tube mic preamp.   It’s a user favorite on vocals, guitars and bass, with dozens of positive reviews from both professional and home studio users who love its warm tone and ease of use.

On the front panel, the VTB1 includes standard Input and Output controls, a Tube Blend control that let you mix in the amount of tube “warmth” you desire, 5-step LED metering, a 48V phantom power switch, and a 70Hz high-pass filter.

Also included on the front panel is a ¼” high-impedance jack that lets you use the VTB1 as a great sounding direct box for guitars, bass, or keyboards.

There is also a meter select switch to show input or output levels on the 5-step LED meter.

The rear panel has an XLR input jack and XLR and ¼” outputs.  Rare for a mic pre in this price range, it also includes a mic impedance switch that allows you to choose between 50 Ω and 200 Ωs. If you’re not sure what your mic’s impedance is, try both positions to see what sounds better.

There is also a rear panel Insert jack.

How Does It Sound?

With the Tube Blend control at 0, the VTB1 delivers a clear, detailed and transparent sound.

But by dialing in the Tube Blend, you can add a bold vintage tube tone to your signal.

Many users find that keeping the Tube setting under the 12 o’clock position provides a nice warm tube vibe, but pushing it past 12 o’clock tends to add too much distortion for most uses (though these higher settings work great on bass tracks  – they really cut through a mix!)

Digital Pro Sound did a test and recorded acoustic guitar, vocals, and grand piano with the VTB1.   They were surprised that this low-priced mic preamp delivered such excellent results:  The reviewer wrote, “… beautiful… nice and transparent and easily sounding as refined as mic pres I’ve used on many high-end solid-state consoles.”

The reviewer also added, “I’ve heard through the grapevine from some trusted industry sources that the VTB-1 recently took a little run with an Avalon 737 and didn’t exactly lose the race.”

The mic pre has lots of gain which makes it ideal for use with condenser, dynamic or ribbon mics.

And as an added bonus, it’s also very quiet, something that is rare in inexpensive mic preamps.

Wrap Up

The VTB1 is an excellent value for recordists and studio owners at any level. It delivers quality sound and features that rival much more expensive mic preamps, but at a more affordable price.

Studio Projects VTB1

Check Price:
AmazonGuitar Center

Features:

  • Single-channel tube hybrid solid-state mic preamp
  • Discrete solid-state class A/B design
  • Uses industry standard 12AX7 vacuum tube
  • ¼” jack on front for use as a high-impedance direct box
  • Low noise design
  • 5-position LED metering
  • 70Hz High-pass filter
  • Phase reverse switch
  • 48V phantom power
  • TRS insert jack
  • XLR input | XLR & ¼” output
  • Compact desktop size – folded steel case

ART is a well-known manufacturer of microphone preamps, compressors, microphones, mixers and other pro audio products.

Overview

Normally I don’t recommend mic preamps under $100.  There are usually too many issues with sound and construction quality to qualify as a top pick.

However, after doing my research, I came across the ARP Tube MP Studio V3. It’s a best-selling channel strip mic pre in the under $100 category with a reputation of providing great tone with lots of character.

So I decided to take a closer look at it…

As it turns out, the Tube MP Studio V3 is a very versatile single-channel desktop tube mic preamp with a built-in limiter.  In reviews, its many users love its sound for recording vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, and more.

Features

The Tube MP Studio V3 is solidly built with an all steel chassis.  It features a large analog VU meter, and all its controls are on the top of the unit, making it very easy to use.

It measures only 5”D x 5.5”W x2”H so it can fit on just about any desk, console or workspace.  Its small size and weight (just 1.5 lbs.) can make it an ideal mic pre for travel or location recording.

Each unit features a hand-selected industry-standard 12AX7A dual triode tube that’s used in many mic preamps, guitar amps, and tube microphones.

The unit’s top panel features variable Input and Output gain controls and switches for 48V phantom power, +20dB gain, and polarity reverse which is very helpful when using the unit in multi-mic recordings.

A 2-color Power/Clip-Limit LED indicates power and audio signal presence.

There is also a multi-step Voicing switch for choosing different tones (more on this in a minute).

The back panel has both XLR and ¼” inputs and output jacks.  The output XLR jack provides a hefty +28 dBu which can help you get the best signal to noise from your audio interface or soundcard.

How Does It Sound?

Though it’s small in stature, the Tube MP Studio V3 capable of producing lots of character in recordings, ranging from neutral to more aggressive coloration.

With a total of 70dB of gain, there’s plenty of level available for lower-output mics like ribbons or some dynamics.

The MP Studio V3 features ART’s Tube MP Studio V3 Variable Valve Voicing technology that provides the warm fat sound that tubes are known for.

It comes with 16 voicing presets designed for vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass and more that let you choose warm or neutral coloration of the sound.

The following video outlines in detail how this works:

ART Tube MP Studio V3: Variable Valve Voicing Is Just What It Sounds Like (Video)

It’s also very quiet for a mic pre at this price point, with the end result being crisper and more defined recordings.

Built-In Limiter

You can also choose to use the unit’s Output Protection Limiting (OPL) circuitry to reduce clipping or overloading in the next device you connect to the MP Studio V3.

The limiter circuitry provides a fast attack and slow release on the signal.  This is very useful when recording instruments with fast transients like percussion, snare drum, or even piano, keeping loud passages from distorting or overloading.

Final Thoughts

For under $100, the MP Studio V3 is an impressive mic pre with lots of character and features that rivals mic preamps that cost much much more.  It’s ideal for beginning project studios, mobile recording setups, or anyone on a really tight budget that wants high-quality sound.

ART Tube MP Studio V3

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Single-channel tube mic preamp
  • Channel strip design with built-in limiter
  • Has ART’s V3 Variable Valve Voicing circuitry with 16 preset preamp settings
  • Can also function as a tube DI
  • Uses an industry-standard 12AX7A tube
  • 72dB of gain
  • XLR and ¼” inputs and outputs
  • 48v phantom power
  • Phase reverse switch
  • External power supply
  • All steel construction

The Presonus Studio Channel is a professional level channel strip that combines a Class A tube mic preamp with a VCA-based compressor and three-band parametric EQ.  It delivers a warm fat musical sound that is perfect for recording vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and more.

Users love its sound (especially on vocals), and it offers features other manufacturers don’t offer at this price point.

With its XLR and 1/4” line-level inputs and outputs, it’s at home in recording studios as a mic pre or direct box, but it also shines in live sound venues or for mobile recording sessions.

The Studio Channel is housed in a single 19” rack enclosure.

Tube Mic Pre

The Studio Channel uses a high-output 12AX7 tube that’s an industry standard for tube mic preamps.

Presonus designed the Studio Channel to operate at a higher voltage than other mic preamps at this price level, resulting in impressive gain, low noise, and lots of character.

The unit’s Gain and Tube Drive controls allow you to get tones ranging from clean and transparent to an overdriven “tube” vibe.

VCA-Based Compressor

The VCA-based compressor includes controls for threshold, ratio, attack, and release.  VCA (voltage controlled amplifier) compression is known for its musicality, ease of handling of fast attacks, and accurate control over the signal’s attack and release.   This allows you to record instruments such as snare drum, acoustic guitar, percussion, or slap bass without worrying about distorting or overloading your recording input.

Hard Knee and Soft Knee Compression

The Studio Channel offers both hard knee and soft knee compression.  Check out the following video to understand the differences:

By default, the unit uses a Hard Knee compression curve.  Hard Knee compression reduces the signal immediately upon exceeding the Threshold settings level.  It is useful for instruments with very sharp attacks like snare drum.

There is also a Soft Compression button that enables a Soft Knee compression curve.  This allows gain reduction to occur gradually rather than immediately.  It is frequently used on vocals or piano where you want a more subtle sound.

The Auto Attack/ Release function provides preset settings that make it really easy to use.  You can choose soft compressing or put the unit in Auto for automatic selection.

As compression frequently results in a lower signal level, the Studio Channel also includes a Gain control to make up any signal level lost due to compression.

The compressor can by bypassed by clicking the Comp Bypass button.

Three-band Parametric EQ

The parametric EQ features low-, mid-, and high-frequency controls that allow you to sculpt your sound.

The Low and High bands are semi-parametric with controls for frequency and gain but with a fixed Q.

(Q is the width of the frequency range 0- learn more about it here.)

For added flexibility, both Low and High bands have a Peak button that changes the EQ from a shelving EQ to a standard peak EQ with a fixed Q of 0.7.

The Mid band is fully parametric and includes a variable Q that allow you to maximum flexibility in tailoring the sound.

The EQ can by bypassed by clicking the EQ Bypass button.

The following video has an overview of the Studio Channel:

Presonus Studio Channel Overview

How Does It Sound?

Overall, the Studio Channel delivers a clean, transparent, and musical sound with the Tube Drive at a minimal level.  Cranking the Tube Drive up adds a smooth vintage quality that adds warmth and depth.

The ability to shape the sound with the EQ and compressor makes this a one-stop unit for recording professional sounding tracks.

Final Thoughts

The Studio Channel is a very affordable mic preamp aimed at the prosumer or entry-level studio market.  It has garnered many 4 and 5 star reviews for its great sound and versatile features.  With its built-in EQ and compressor adding lots of extra value, the Studio Channel is well worth considering.

Presonus Studio Channel Tube Mic Pre

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Single-channel Class A vacuum tube mic preamp
  • Channel strip design with compressor and EQ
  • Can also function as a direct box for instruments
  • Ultra-low noise design
  • 12AX7 vacuum tube
  • Precision analog VU meter
  • EQ Pre/Post compressor switch
  • Variable input & output gain controls
  • XLR + ¼” inputs and outputs
  • 48V phantom power
  • -20 dB pad
  • 80Hz high-pass filter
  • Polarity reverse switch
  • Single space 19” rackmount metal chassis

DBX is known for its history of outstanding pro audio signal processors like the renowned 160A compressor.

They continue this lineage with the DBX 286s, a pro studio quality powerhouse that delivers the classic DBX sound.

Overview

The 286s is a single-channel channel strip mic preamp that packs tons of features into a very affordable package.

The 286s is an update of the popular 286A model with a new silver faceplate and updated electronics.

Not only has it become a favorite for vocal recording in recording studios, but it’s also a highly sought after mic pre for podcasts and voiceovers.

The 286s contains a professional level solid-state mic pre plus 4 modules:

  • compressor
  • de-esser
  • enhancer
  • expander/gate

Each module can be used independently in any combination, making this an extremely flexible processor for recording or live sound applications.

286A Mic Pre Module

The solid-state mic pre section delivers clean, crisp uncolored sound.  With a single control for gain, it is very easy to use.

It is designed to be very low noise and has sufficient headroom to handle all types of mics, whether condensers, dynamics, or ribbons.

The unit has balanced XLR and ¼” TRS inputs, and balanced/unbalanced ¼” outputs.

Other features include 48V phantom power and an 80Hz high-pass filter that effectively removes any room rumble or P “pops” from being recorded.

286A Compressor Module

The compressor in the 286s is different from most other compressors in that instead of the usual threshold, ratio, attack, and Release controls there are only Drive and Density controls.

Drive controls the amount of gain reduction while Density controls the release.

Why would DBX use an unconventional approach with the 286s?

First, you have to know that DBX is well-known for its professional compressor/ limiters – check out the world famous DBX 160A, 266xs, and 1066 units – so it’s not that they don’t know what they are doing.

DBX, in fact, invented the compressor!

My guess is that DBX wanted to give its 286s users – who are likely project studio owners – great results with minimal futzing around with settings.

They probably decided a simpler approach that delivers the coveted “DBX compressor sound” in a channel strip would make recording sessions easier for nonprofessionals.

Whatever their reason, the 286s employs the celebrated DBX OverEasy® compression that lets you subtly smooth out uneven performances or go for a fat “in your face” compressed sound.

286A De-Esser Module

De-essers are used to reduce sibilance when recording vocals.  Sibilance is the “S” sound in words that frequently gets over-exaggerated when recording vocals, resulting in hissing and harsh sounding vocals.

The 286s has controls for frequency and threshold that allow you to find and correct any overbearing sibilance.

286A Enhancer Module

The Enhancer module functions as a specialized EQ that can add excitement and sheen to a recording.

The most famous example of an enhancer is the Aphex Aural Exciter, which has been used for years to help vocals stand out or boost clarity and presence in a mix.

The 286s features independent controls for Low Detail and High-Frequency Detail.

286A Expander/Gate Module

An expander is the opposite of a compressor.  It’s designed to expand the dynamic range of material, whereas a compressor reduces dynamic range.

Check out the following video to learn more about expanders:


One of the most common uses of an expander is as a noise gate.  When set correctly, a gate will trigger when there is no signal and remove all background sound.

For example, on a vocal track, setting a gate will cut off all background sounds when the singer is not singing, eliminating recording session take destroyers like clothing rustles, keychain jangles or air conditioning noise.

The 286As’ expander is program adaptive; it adjusts to the signal coming in and optimizes its results automatically.

Insert Jack

The 286s features an Insert jack on the rear panel.  This is used to insert other signal processing devices such as a delays or EQ between the mic preamp section and the processing section.

Final Thoughts

With a great-sounding mic pre plus four processing modules, the 286s delivers an all-in-one package at a very affordable price.  You get the classic DBX sound and features that will make your next recordings sound amazing!

DBX 286s Channel Strip

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Single-channel solid-state mic preamp
  • Channel strip design with compressor, de-esser, enhancer, and expander/gate
  • Can also function as a direct box for instruments
  • Ultra-low noise design
  • LED metering
  • Variable input & output gain controls
  • XLR + ¼” inputs | ¼” output
  • 48V phantom power
  • 80Hz high-pass filter
  • Single space 19” rackmount metal chassis

The ThreeQ is a half-rack channel strip mic pre with an optical compressor and three-band EQ.

The current ThreeQ is a redesign of an older version and was developed by one of the designers of the Trident consoles used on classic records by Queen, Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and many others.  This heritage is apparent in the classic British sound (think 1960s and 1970s British pop and rock) it gives to recordings.

The mic pre by itself delivers a clean, transparent sound, but by adding the compressor and EQ sections, you can add lots of character and warmth.

Joemeek ThreeQ Demo

Features

The ThreeQ has a balanced XLR input as well as a balanced line-level ¼” input.

For outputs, there are two outputs selectable at +4dBu or -10dBu. One of the outputs is available for direct monitoring with computer recording systems, very useful for those systems that have latency.

Insert

The ThreeQ features an Insert jack on the rear panel.  This is used to insert other signal processing devices between the mic preamp section and the compressor.

ThreeQ Compressor Module

The ThreeQ compressor is an optical compressor.  Optical compressors are known for a dynamic sound, akin to a soft-knee compression curve.  There are three controls for Compress, Attack, and Release, and the compression ratio is fixed at 5:1.

The main drawback of optical compressors is that they impart a distinctive sound character on the signal, though you can dial down the compression level to minimize its effect.  It can give a subtle “glue” to a recording or provide an aggressive “in your face” attitude.

ThreeQ EQ Module

The three-band EQ is very musical, utilizing three bell curve equalizers.  Low- and High-Frequency controls are set at 80Hz and 12kHz respectively, while the mids have a frequency sweep to dial in changes more precisely.

A nice feature is the stepped gain controls on the Input and Output knobs that are really helpful in creating repeatable level settings.

Conclusion

The ThreeQ delivers the great sound that Joemeek products are known for, and at a very affordable price point.  The mic pre by itself produces clean, uncolored sound, and adding in the compressor and EQ can add lots of vintage 70s character.

Overall, the ThreeQ is a great value for the money.

Joemeek ThreeQ

Check Price:
Amazon | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Single-channel solid-state mic preamp
  • Channel strip design with optical compressor and three-band EQ
  • Can also function as a direct box for instruments
  • Low noise design
  • LED metering
  • Variable input & output gain controls
  • XLR + ¼” inputs | ¼” output
  • 48V phantom power
  • Single space 19” half rackmount metal chassis

Multi-Channel Mic Preamps:

Hybrid Tube/Solid-State Mic Preamps

PreSonus is a well-respected manufacturer of recording software, studio monitors, mic preamps and mixing systems.

The Bluetube DP V2 is the third generation of the original Blue Tube mic preamp first released in 2001.   The first two versions made their way into thousands of studios all over the world.  This latest model (It’s called V2 because the first version was just BlueTube and the second version was V1) improves on the solid-state circuitry and delivers excellent sound quality at an affordable price.

Overview

DP stands for dual path, and the BlueTube DP V2 is a dual-channel desktop hybrid tube/solid-state mic preamp.  It combines both tube and solid-state circuitry to take advantage of the best of both types of amplification.

Most notable, the newest V2 model includes Presonus’ acclaimed XMAX solid-state mic preamp.

Features

Each channel has a good sized VU meter as well as independent controls for gain, Tube Drive, 48V phantom power, and polarity inversion.

Also on each channel are a high-pass filter that helps remove rumble and boominess from low-end vocals and instruments.

The unit’s half rack size allows you to either keep it on your workspace or put it on a rack shelf.

How Does It Sound?

The preamp can be used for a clean, uncolored sound with the Tube Drive at 0.   Or, with Tube Drive dialed in, you get an increasingly warmer colored sound.

Some users have found it a bit noisy when using Tube Drive.  While it’s true that pushing the Tube Drive towards maximum level will increase the noise level accordingly, this is not a defect of the mic pre.   Rather, it’s a byproduct of tube amplification which is inherently noisier than solid-state amps.

For many users, a 12 o’clock setting on Tube Drive gave a nice subtle warm “tube” sound with an acceptable noise level.

Final Thoughts

The BlueTube DP V2 is a definite step up from the mic preamps found in most mixing consoles or audio interfaces.  It makes a great mic pre for everyday use, or a cost-effective way to add two more mic pre channels to your studio for different sound color options when recording.

In addition, it can also be used as a great-sounding DI box for keyboards or live sound.

All in all, the BlueTube DP V2 delivers excellent sound quality at a very affordable price.

Presonus BlueTube V2

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Two-channel hybrid tube/solid-state mic preamp
  • Two class A XMAX preamp circuits
  • 80 dB gain range
  • 12AX7 tubes
  • 70 dB of mic gain
  • Tube Drive controls for each channel
  • Gain boost control
  • XLR + ¼” inputs and outputs
  • 48V phantom power
  • -20 dB pad
  • 80Hz high-pass filter
  • Polarity reverse switch

Tube Mic Preamps

ART lives up to its reputation of making great sounding yet affordable professional audio products with the Pro MPA II.

Overview & Features

The Pro MPA II is a dual-channel tube mic preamp that is capable of delivering tones that range from clean and transparent to warm “tube” coloration, all at a very affordable price.

It’s housed in a double (2U) rack space metal rack enclosure that’s quite impressive looking.

On the front panel, each channel has large analog VU meter and:

  • input and output gain controls
  • impedance selector
  • low cut filter
  • +20 dB gain switch
  • phantom power switch
  • plate voltage switch
  • phase inversion switch

There is also a LED meter for Tube Warmth, which indicates the amount of tube processing gain.

The rear panel features XLR inputs and XLR and ¼” outputs.  The output level can be set to +4dBu or -10dBv to accommodate pro or consumer level connections.

How Does It Sound?

The Pro MPA II is capable of delivering a wide variety of tones.

Audio Examples

You can hear demos on guitars, bass, vocals, and more at the site below.  Just click on Preamps and then choose the ART Pro MPA II:

ZenPro Audio Clipalator

NOTE: You can also download all files as high-quality 320K mp3s for comparison against other mic preamps.

While pushing the input level will create quite a distorted sound, a subtle amount really makes vocals and instruments like acoustic guitar shine.

The following video demonstrates the mic pre on electric guitar.  The demo starts around 3:00.

Using the ART Pro MPA II With DI Guitars

In an interesting twist, the 20dB boost switch, besides boosting the signal, actually affects the sound quality!

With the 20dB boost off, the mic pre gives a transparent, uncolored sound.

With the 20dB boost on, higher input level increases the amount of tube warmth.

Many users find the best results with the level set so only one or two of the Tube Warmth LEDs are lit up.  The sound is clean and transparent, yet with the gentle warmth that tubes impart on the sound.

Special Features

In addition to versatile tones, what makes this mic pre especially noteworthy are some pro features not usually available at this price:

  • continually variable input impedance
  • the ability to run the unit as two mono mic pres, one stereo mic pre, or in M/S (Mid/Side) configuration
  • the ability to change tube voltage for different tonal qualities

Variable Input Impedance

All mics interact differently with mic preamps.  Due to different impedances or “loads” on the preamp’s input, a mic can sound quite different from one mic pre to another.

ART provides a variable impedance control to help fine tune the mic and mic preamp’s connection.  This feature is especially invaluable when working with low-output ribbon mics or dynamic mics.

Changing the impedance varies the mic’s sound; for example, a mic’s output level may increase, and the tone may become brighter.

Lower impedance can also reduce hum and noise, while higher impedance can help “open” up the sound.

Stereo Recording Features

The Pro MPA II has the ability to be used as a stereo mic pre; in this mode, the left output knob controls the stereo signal master level, and the right output knob controls the stereo balance.

Mid/Side Recording

Mid/Side or M/S recording is a technique of recording instruments or vocals in stereo.

Unlike XY stereo recording that requires 2 matching microphones, M/S recordings can be done with different mics, and it has the advantage of giving you the ability to change the width of the stereo recording afterward.

Also, M/S recordings are always mono-compatible.

To make M/S recording work, you must have an M/S decoder that sums up the 3 resultant audio channels – Mid Center channel and two Side channels – into a stereo track.

The Pro MPA II has the decoding function built in – you just activate the Mid/Side Matrix button on the front panel.

Plate Voltage Settings

Changing the plate voltage settings also results in different tones.

The Normal setting provides an old-school tube sound that gives warmth and depth to the signal.

Switching to high voltage creates a thicker, richer sound.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Pro MPA II is an excellent choice for pro or home studios.  The stereo recording ability is a bonus, and the unit’s flexibility and advanced features make it a top buy.

ART Pro MPA II

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Features:

  • Two-channel tube mic preamp
  • Two class A XMAX preamp circuits
  • 80 dB gain range
  • Two industry-standard12AX7 vacuum tubes
  • 70 dB of mic gain
  • Plate voltage switch
  • XLR inputs and XLR + ¼” outputs
  • 48V phantom power
  • Low cut filter on each channel
  • Phase reverse on each channel
  • 2u space rack-mounted steel chassis
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