Great little preamp - TubeMPpsUSB
The reviews of the new ART Tube MP Porject Series preamp have been praising this little dynamo, so I called my Sweetwater rep. - Patrick Dennis, to put me on the waiting list for the USB unit, since the delta in price is a no-brainer.
Having worked with other ART preamps - TPS and TubePRE mostly, I was hoping to see a big improvement in the new design. I wasn't disappointed.
The Project Series retains the warmth of the older units, but with less noise and more clarity and headroom. The case is even more rugged than before so I won't be afraid of throughing in a gag bag on had for the road.
There's plenty of gain, even for a ribbon mic - I tried a Royer R-122 and found the sound together to very good. Not quite up to an Avalon M-5, but that's a different beast althogether. I acheived a great sound for my vocals using a Rode NT1000. I also DI's my nylon stringed guitar to get a good sound.
In my applications, I desire everthing from a smoothing of transients (for my whistling) to a nice edge (for my guitar). I have to say the the range of Project Series is very broad.
Some unexpected exptras include an impedance switch for the XLR input, and a very basic but nice-to-have limiter. With my equipment, I couldn't decern any changes in sound using the impedance button, but I did finally figure out how to use the limiter, which is tied to the output level.
There's also a hi-pass filter, pad, phase, and of-course phantom-power settings...wow, what a deal in such a small format.
On the negative-side: there's no ON/OFF switch, it has a wall-wart, and all connections are on the back.
Support is very responsive. I emailed ART with questions and always go a response from Thom within a day.
If you're looking for a great value in a preamp, especially as an up-grade to a board's channel, this is the ticket.