Tube Preamp/Opto-compressor with Independent Circuits, XLR and 1/4" I/O, Transformer-isolated XLR Output, and 12AX7a Tube
ART Tube MP/C image 1
ART Tube MP/C image 1
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Affordable, Great-sounding Tube Channel Strip

The ART Tube MP/C rocks. For around a hundred bucks, you get a great-sounding tube preamp and opto-compressor in a compact chassis. The Tube MP/C sports an XLR mic input, as well as an instrument input, a 20dB gain boost, and a low-cut filter. The independent compressor circuit is bypassable, and boasts threshold, as well as speed and slope controls. Lastly, you have your choice of either XLR output or unbalanced TS. This flexibility makes the Tube MP/C perfect for re-amping or DI duties. If you're in the market for an affordable, transparent-sounding channel strip, audition the ART Tube MP/C!

ART quality and value

ART is known for its high-quality/low cost tube mojo, and the Tube MP/C delivers. If you're in need of a mic preamp, why not buy a warm-sounding tube preamp and get a great-sounding soft-knee optical compressor as a bonus? Throw in the DI/re-amping functionality, and you have a formidable, transparent-sounding channel strip bundled into a tidy little package that won't take up much space on your desktop - or make to big a dent in your wallet.

ART Tube MP/C Preamp/Compressor/DI Features at a Glance:
  • Tube-based mic/line preamplifier with up to 70dB of gain
  • Hand-selected 12AX7a tube
  • Optical (VCA-less) compressor circuitry = transparent dynamics control
  • Bypassable compression circuitry
  • 1/4" TS unbalanced inputs and outputs (front panel hi-Z instrument input)
  • XLR balanced inputs and outputs
  • Transformer isolated XLR output
  • Selectable output range for Line/Instrument interface levels
  • LED meters for Tube Warmth, Gain Reduction and Output level
  • +48V phantom power
  • Phase reversal switch
  • Selectable release time settings
  • Greater than 90dB dynamic range
  • Custom extruded aluminum chassis
The ART Tube MP/C - proof that great sound comes in small packages!

Additional Media

Studio Preamp Buying Guide
Tube MP/C User Manual

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Hybrid
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 30Hz-60kHz (±1dB)
Phantom Power Yes
Compressor Threshold Variable
Compressor Ratio 2:1 (compress), 11:1 (limit)
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR, 1 x TS
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR, 1 x TS
Height 1.75"
Depth 6.5"
Width 5.9"
Weight 2.9 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number Tube MP/C

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
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Try it with your digital amp modeler

I swapped the tube with my favorite premium grade replacement tube (which makes a difference) and use it as my guitar preamp that feeds in to the line input of my Eleven Rack. I generally run the tube signal level in the "warm" region, with a little compression/limiting to keep from clipping the output. It sounds great! It gives my rig that little something extra that I can't explain. It's tempting to push it a bit harder and clip the tube section for a little breakup, but I don't see a need for that.
Music background: Home Studio/Road Gigs

Amazingly good for pulpit-mic management

At my itinerant church, where the sound system packs into a closet every week, the ART Tube MP/C has substantially improved our quality of life. The super-transparent compressor is proving ideal for our live sound reinforcement needs. We can hear worship leaders and Scripture-readers above the noise of children, but the preacher doesn't hurt our ears when he raises his voice for emphasis. The MP/C powers a Shure lectern mic (which we mount to a mic stand) and outputs to our Fender Passport Pro 150 PA system (using an XLR-to-TRS adaptor; plugging into the XLR input yielded a buzz). I use the compressor in Limit mode, I set the threshold just above the preacher's conversational voice level, and I don't have to ride the volume knob anymore. It's luxurious. When I took it home to track a choral rehearsal recording, I was yet more impressed with how unobtrusive the compressor is—the main impression was that loud passages just didn't hurt my ears coming out of the headphones anymore. Just for fun, I switched it to limit mode and recorded a few lines of a Jason Mraz song, exaggerating the whisper-then-shout technique. The Tube MP/C was unfazed. The absence of an expander/gate or de-esser became apparent with that kind of pushing, but it still sounded quite remarkably polished. Also, it just feels classy. Compared with the ART Tube MP V3, the connections feel more secure, the XLR input locks, and the knobs feel sturdy. Praise the Lord.
Music background: worship leader, composer, church live sound manager

everything and more

Simply put, it does everything it says it will. I am using it as a preamp for my bass rig. The tube pre delivers a warm rich tone with that sweet break up when pushed just over the limit. The compressor it's absolutely marvelous. It is so smooth. You actually never really hear it working until you turn it off. The compressor itself is worth the purchase. I absolutely love it and totally recommend this product. I'm sure it will work fabulously for your application as well.

instructions + review

this thing is best when following the guide for setting levels, which i've tweaked a bit below. as a bit of background, i use this mostly for guitar di, but also do vocals and moog synth thru it; all work well. so heres the setup: 1. Turn on pre-amp before mixer or anything else. Turn off after mixer is off. 2. Set gain so second yellow LED is warm 75% of the time, red doesn't necessarily mean clip, use yr ear 3. Set threshhold for compressor. Counterclockwise means more compression. Start with dial 100% wet and back it off slowly until you see yellow 0 threshhold light. Use ear and gain reduction meter to guide. For morst transparent results, adjust threshhold and slope to limit gain reduction to 9db or less. 4. Speed switch. FAST for signals that are repetitive, ie drum beats, vocals. SLOW for signals that vary in decay, or for mixing. 5. Optional: OPTO COMP switch OUT means compressor is BYPASSED and goes from tube to output. Use to set unity gain, achieved when sound ON and OFF is the same. 6. Set output level control. Guitar: Set at -3 and press INST. Button on back for sending signal to amplifier, or for general gain reduction to mix board. 7. Output level display shows yellow "O" when you have 12db or less of headroom before clipping. Level switch on rear shifts output without changing level display. INST setting for going OUT to another instrument in put, LINE setting for going to line in on mixing board (gives you more gain, better for recording). 8. For DI guitar setting, best results use line input in order to bypass mixer's onboard pre-amp. If youre going XLR out into your XLR in of your board, make sure INST mode is selected to lower gain/noise. review: love this thing, and i hear replacing the tube works wonders, though the stock is just fine for me. its also worth noting that this is mono in ONLY. i was thinking i could do 1 XLR + 1 TRS sum to stereo but the front input (high Z) prevents that from happening, and your xlr is bypassed whenever its used. the compressor itself is great. this is cheaper than (most) stompbox compressors and gives you the added xlr input and makeup, so its a no brainer for the price. with a bit of gain and fiddling with the compressor, you can even wiggle fx out of this thing. recommended.
Music background: Musician

Worked for the Mandolin

It did the job I needed. Provided the boost I needed for the contact mike on my mandolin.
Music background: Singer / songwriter
See also: ART, ART Channel Strips