ART TPS II Reviews4.5/5.0 based on 13 customer reviews
The ART TPS II is the perfect two-channel preamp for anyone doing music. The preset voicings make sense to a beginner, yet sound great for the pro. The fact of the matter is that this unit sounds great, works well in many scenarios, and is very affordable. Rode and Shure matched pairs sound great when run through these tube pres.
from Staten Island USA
January 2, 2013Music Background:
Producer, Engineer, Musician, Song writer
Warm to the boneOh yes a sweet add on to the studio for the money. You can beat it, it truly does what it saids! No hypocrisy in this item it delivers great sound and very attractive!
from Atlanta, GA
August 30, 2012Music Background:
Semi-pro musician/home recording enthusiast
ART (must mean Amazing Recorded Tracks)I've had this unit for 4 years and it still amazes me at how much it will do for so little money. Thinking about buying another one now. I use my current one in a rack that I take to gigs for 2 vocal mics. We always get kudos for our vocal quality. The gain helps warm things up and cut through the drums and other instruments without sounding harsh. Now I've tried it with my new DAW in my home studio...WOW! The vocal tracks ride perfectly in the mix and the bass guitar now has some nice punch. At $185 it's a steal. It'll do wonders for your sound.
from New York
August 7, 2009Music Background:
15 Years experience in home recording, visiting studios, and helping bands get their sound!
The other brands haven't gone out of business yet?For the price, there is NOTHING better! Not only does this sound good (theres a little hiss, that's all I can really neg it for) but when you upgrade your setup, you can customize the TPSII as you learn about electronics! It is built in such a way that it is a perfect electronics project...don't hesitate to take it apart when you get something pricier, you will learn a lot, and may even regret a buy or two from the past!
from Baxley / McRae, GA
April 1, 2008Music Background:
Producer, Performer, Engineer, Studio Owner
STILL love this unit!I've written a review here a couple of years ago (you can read that one at the bottom of the page), and I'm still loving this unit. I recorded a soulful jazz gospel vocalist recently thru a Shure KSM 27, and I was expecting mediocre tracks compared to the Rode K2 I was also using (I'm a huge Rode fan, by the way), running both channels into an 002 rack. I am more impressed with the ART TPS II / Shure KSM 27 combo everytime I use it. After adding a Waves compressor & just a touch of the Waves R-verb vocal plate to the vocal track, I swear it's the best vocal I've ever gotten out of my studio. I'm so impressed with this combination, I'm considering getting a couple of more Shue KSM 27's, even though I've got a matched pair of Rode NT1a's on the way.
I've been tracking horns for an oldies cover band about to release their CD (I'm a horn player of 25+ years), and my tenor & bari sax with the ART TPS II / Shure KSM 27 combo is just perfect. I'm getting the grit, the full sound you'd expect from a high-end tube condensor, and it's so easy to dial in a tone. Recently I just upgraded some gear in my studio, and I'm about to buy two more of these units, and am thinking of getting a third for my live gigs (I previously used the one in the studio in my "live" rack.)
I've read that changing the tubes in these units will make the sound even better. As it is, I'm convinced you can't get a better unit for the price. This is a must-have for a project studio, someone on a budget, or for someone wanting to break into the world of tube mic pres. Don't let the relatively low price fool you.
from Calgary Alberta CANADA
February 8, 2007Music Background:
Performer, songwriter, teacher, producer, recording engineer
Quick update to my last reviewFor anyone buying this preamp, a gigantic word of advice. Two weeks ago, I decided to try upgrading the tube in my tps II to the Mesa Boogie branded Sovtek 12ax7, a twelve dollar upgrade. And all I can say is "OH MY GOD!!!!" This is easy to do. Take the top off, unplug the old tube, plug in the new one, screw the top back on, and prepare to be absolutely blown away. All the dullness you hear people complaining about with ART's is gone. Suddenly the warm air just goes on forever, and I have about ten Db more apparrent gain before serious break up. The "Valve" setting on the warm switch of the V3 sounds so much like my UA Solo 610 that I'm thinking of taking it back and buying four more of these. Still doesn't sound like my Avalons, but I wouldn't actually say it sounds worse. Just different. I can't overstress this. Change the tube, amaze yourself, amaze your friends. This thing Kicks A**.
July 13, 2012
ValueI use this as the studio project room preamp at my studio. It does it's job, it's quiet and clear. Really worth the money
Brian C. Keith
from Tulare , CA
April 18, 2012Music Background:
ART TPS IIThis unit is very cost effective and sounds good. The variable voicing is definitely added value. The sound is clean to warm with good tube amp warmth. It is am excellent pre amp that any studio can use for microphones or as a DI box .It made my acoustic /electric guitars stand out . Don't let the price fool you, or comments from others the ART TPS II will provide a great front end and is a step up from standard mixer pre's or DAW stock pre's.
from northfield ohio
March 13, 2012Music Background:
sax player /home studio novice
nice preampfor the money Im impressed . havnt explored all the possibilities with it yet but it improves my recordings a lot .I recorded moon flowers with it and the other cuts with out it. i hear a difference. Im on the sax with an akg mic
from Augusta, GA
December 21, 2008
I know---opinions are like.............I know what they say about opinions---and that's precisely why I rarely comment on anything. However, after doing what had been recommended by other reviewers here--changing out the tube--I felt compelled to get on and write something. True, I'm sure there are bunches of $$$-men (few and far between I'm sure in todays climate ;) ) who can splurge on the big names and those items are obviously superior to the TPS--but if you are looking for an extra couple of decent quality preamps and / or maybe a different niche as far as sound goes--I HIGHLY recommend you pick this up and DEFINITELY change out the tubes. I won't lie and will tell you the stock tubes sound pretty lousy, but I assure you, if you buy a new halfway decent quality replacement tube this thing is incredible. Especially considering that after the replacement tube it comes in at around $200. The dude from Calgary pretty much nailed it right on the head so I suppose my comments are overkill---but it's true. Change out the tube and be prepared to be blown away.
from Atlanta, GA
February 13, 2008Music Background:
Guitarist and Vocals for the last 35 years.
ART TPS Real ValueI have had the ART TPS for over a year now and up until recently thought of it as a good low end preamp but it was missing some presence. I begin doing research and as one of the previous reviewers discussed found out that I could replace the 12AX7 Tube. I went for the Tung SOl ECC803S at a cost of $20 bucks and what a difference in sound. Better lows and highs. It doesn't have the cost of the Avalon and some of the features but it is close.
from Calgary Ab, Canada
July 20, 2006Music Background:
Professional Musician, Recording Engineer, Producer, Guitar Teacher
Actually, a a lot better than it oughta beI have three tube preamps, two very expensive Avalons, and this one, which I got as a birthday present from my girlfriend. And I didn't think I would ever use it. However, I have to say that, while this certainly isn't my normal go-to preamp, it has some amazing qualities. The variable impedence is absolutely mind bogglingly useful. I have an audio-tecnica 3035 that has always bugged me a bit, as it's overwhelmingly boomy in the bottom end. However, crank the impedence up to 2.8k or so, and all of a sudden this is my favorite male vocal strip (I kid you not, I like it better than my TLM-103 through an Avalon). Down on the other end of the spectrum, try a shure 57 with the impedence way down around 350 or 400. Killer bass amp mic setup. As for the "Tube" thing, I generally bypass it by heading for the Neutral setting. Sorry, this doesn't really have a very high quality tube sound, as the tube isn't really in the preamp, but in the signal chain later on. I realize everyone wants this thing for it's "Tubey-ness" but honestly, the variable impedence is (to me, at least) the whole point of this preamp. And frankly, at two hundred bucks, it's more than worth it.
from Salt Lake City, Utah
April 12, 2006
Warm, Sweet and DEAD quietI'm not at all sure why previous reviewers of this product referred to it as noisy. Without the intention of being insulting, anyone that uses this unit and finds it noisy has NO working knowledge of gain structures and how to adjust them in the system with a given source. I first tested it out with a Rode NT1-A into a D3200 Korg DAW. It is so quiet you hear nothing but absolute silence when all gain levels are correctly set. There is no annoying distortion, just that buttery smooth and creamy sweetness one associates with tubes. I was very sceptical as to whether or not it was possible for such a reasonably priced unit to provide the goods. Well...simply put IT DOES. On a nice electric guitar (I'm using a Brian Moore I guitar since I use a Roland 13 pin output as well as the pickups) it provides that wonderful DI'd character which very closely emulates a cabinet miked up. With my on board chorus and reverb effects it is a very palpable and believable live performance with the attendant warmth you'd expect. It seems very precise in it's build as well. Makes absolutely NO noise of it's own. All in all I couldn't recommend this more highly. As for those that have had noise issues, all I can say is learn how to balance your gain structures and you'll have NO more issues.
from mcrae, ga
January 1, 2005
great gear, great sound... 9+ out of 10I HIGHLY recommend the ART TPSII for live application or recording (I use it for both). For the price, this is an wonderful tube mic-pre.
When I first got the TPSII, I used it to record acoustic guitar with a friend of mine. We recorded 2 tracks, both direct and through a Shure KSM27 large cardioid condenser mic. The difference between the direct track and the mic track with the Shure mic was incredibly noticeable. The warmth from the TPSII blew us away. Listening to the track through headphones, it sounded like there was too much bass - an indication that the tubes were really working and the track was really, really warm! (I did use one of the warmer pre-sets, as the TPS offers several.) My friend commented that his guitar tracks sounded as if he were on a "real cd" - i.e. a professional recording - and that was with no eq or compression, just a good, clean mic placement. Just for the record, I used the warmer "vocal" setting to get the sound I was looking, gain turned up about 2/3, and I placed the mic in front of the tone hole and just far enough away to keep from his picking hand hitting the mic, so we got the bottom end from the box but also his finger-picking nuances.
Also, I'm a professional horn player (sax, trumpet) so I use this piece of equipment regularly now with saxophone - mainly playing classic rock, soul, blues & funk. My sound engineer commented the first night that I used the TPSII that he didn't have to adjust the EQ settings at all, that the sound was just so full and warm. I don't use any compression, as our group's overall stereo signal goes through a compressor, yet the sound has incredible character and evenness, even without compression. I use an Audio Technica wireless horn mic.
I've recorded vocals and gotten great results. I recorded "Harmon" muted trumpet - a`la Miles Davis - and was very surprised. Usually recording with a mute is something a trumpet player is skidish about because it's tough to capture a good muted sound, but this mic-pre really captures the warmth and full tonality I've been looking for. My only problem is that I don't have enough time to experiment with it.
I like this mic-pre so well that I'm seriously considering getting another. You could go out and buy a really expensive mic-pre by some other company, but I HIGHLY recommend you try this unit, especially if you're on a budget and are just looking to add a cool piece of gear to your arsenal. When I finish my home studio revamp, I'll definitely check into getting the upper-line mic-pre's by ART. I give the TPSII a 9+ out of 10.
Email me if you're interested in what I'm up to these days with this mic-pre. I'll be glad to fill you in.