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Rating and Reviews: ART Pro MPA II Mic Preamp

Get more out of your mics with this 2-channel tube preamp! Shape sounds with variable impedance, selectable plate voltage, 15-150 Hz high-pass, and more.

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The Wow Factor
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"Best in class --but swap out the tubes" submitted May 31, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: lifelong amateur
Music Style: jazz
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Sound: This product is the best in its class. I have tried pretty much all the cheaper tube-based preamps and this product is by far the best. That said, the stock Chinese tubes are not very good and I would highly recommend upgrading them, preferably with vintage "New Old Stock" tubes. (12AT7 tubes work well, as well as many others in the general family that includes 12AX7's that are the stock item. Don't be afraid to experiment! I found a number of nice choices.) Quality: I have a slightly older Art MPA II digital unit and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the new MPA II has better front-end gain. Same model names, but I guess Art has been quietly improving them. Value: Best in class. When comparing prices with cheaper low-voltage units, remember that many of them are mono, and that this unit has two channels. It is worth the few extra dollars --for sure. As I said above, replace the tubes --easy to do and makes a big difference, given a good vintage tube. The Wow Factor: Basic design. Not "sexy" but functional. What more do you need? Overall: If lost, I would replace it. Many other tube preamps I would not replace...
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"Great Preamp for Stereo recording" submitted September 7, 2012

By Tim C in Smithsburg, MD
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Musical Background: Producer, Engineer, Professional Studio Owner, Musician
Music Style: Punk, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Country, Metal, Jazz
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Sound: I use this mostly for stereo micing on acoustic guitar and drum overheads. I use a Universal Audio 710 for vocal recordings. I have usaed the ART for vocals but it doesn't quite do the job I want it to. But on acoustic guitar with 2 mics, it's amazing! There are lots of options for shaping a great sound. In stereo mode, the right channel output knob becomes a pan pot which I think is pretty cool. The mod-side matrix is also a great feature. I changed my tubes in this for a pair of EH 12AX7's and that really really helped too. I recommend anyone buying this to do the same. Feature: Lots of features for a preamp this cheap. I had to play around with them for a little while to really grasp it. But a lot can be achieved with this product. Quality: Great quality. Solid build. Value: For under $300 this thing is a steal! The Wow Factor: This has a really sleek look on my rack. Looks very pro. Overall: This unit gets a ton of use in my studio. I have used and own high-end equipment and I still use this preamp a lot. If it breaks, I will buy another one. But I must say that this has given me not one single problem at all. Really great product and value.
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"Decent value for the money" submitted May 2, 2011

By a customer from andrew.cmu.edu
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Musical Background: Recording Engineer
Music Style: Electronic/Jazz
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Sound: The sound overall is what you'd expect from an entry level mic pre. Right channel is quieter than the left. I don't know why, but the left has a slight hum. It is not that noticeable if you pay attention to your S/N ratios when recording. Sound is nice and warm and you can really focus on your mic's sound by using the low cut and impedance controls. Need to use the +20 gain a lot with dynamic mics, but with condensers you can get a quiet yet punchy signal without it. Feature: no accessories Ease of Use: What you see is what you get in terms of the interface. The manual needs to be rewritten for the current version of the unit. It refers to switches by the meters that do not exist on the current unit. Quality: it is in a project studio now, no idea of its roadworthiness. Seems to be reasonably solid construction. Value: excellent value for money. If you are using mixer preamps for your vocals you will notice an instant improvement in intelligibility and clarity. If, however, you are using a high end mic pre, you will be able to tolerate the MPA sound, but you will likely not be impressed. Manufacturer Support: haven't needed any support. The Wow Factor: ART makes decent looking gear. Overall: If it were lost or stolen, I'd probably take another step up the ladder of mic preamps and purchase something better. That said, it is a good utility pre that is nice to have around for vocals, voiceovers, or acoustic recordings.
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"This thing is amazing." submitted January 28, 2014

By Robert Wright in Nashville, TN
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Musical Background: 25+ yr record producer and engineer with multiple gold and platinum record awards.
Music Style: Country rock, Rock, Pop, Holiday, Electronica, Acapella, pretty much everything.
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Overall: Fantastic sounding unit. I bought it for the M/S mode, to use it with my Avantone CK40 stereo condenser mic, and in both normal and high plate voltage modes, it sounds incredible -- vibey and warm in normal, crystal clear and clean as a whistle in HPV -- but everything I use it on takes on this warm presence, bringing the sounds a little closer to me in a way where it feels like I can reach out and physically touch them. The DI is just as amazing; I may never use my Eden Navigator for bass again!
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"WOW" submitted February 1, 2012

By Robert Rutherford in Waco, TX
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Musical Background: Internet broadcasting since 2003 at events all over the country
Music Style: Rock, Hard Rock and Metal
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Overall: I run a internet radio station, this preamp took live events to a amazing level. Mics never sounded better, no noise and very clear broadcasting in front of the stage. Going to Add one more to my rack very soon!In the studio this preamp also shines Have not needed to contact support
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"ART Pro MPA II Mic Preamp" submitted March 7, 2016

By John J in WILMINGTON, NC
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Musical Background: I have been in radio all of my life, and I play Keyboards. Now learning guitar!!!
Music Style: Definitely Album Oriented Rock...Jazz and Blues.
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Overall: Overall this impressive mic pre-amp is very good. I had to exchange it for the ART Pro stereo EQ Compressor, because I made an error in choice of equipment, and it was not the correct device for what I am trying to do in my studio. MY FAULT!!! Otherwise this tube pre-amp is excellent to use with studio condenser mics that need 48VDC phantom power as well. You cannot get the warmth and resonance of tubes in a solid state device! That is where this unit is unique indeed. WZRF-LPFM
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"Quite nice for the price" submitted April 3, 2016

By Larry C in Plymouth, MI
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Musical Background: Musician, Orchestrator, Vocalist, Audio Engineer.
Music Style: Most of the above.
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Overall: This preamp, although priced well below the competition, does quite well in providing quality audio, substantial gain and variable controls (Impedance and low cut filter) features that create a value-packed item. Only used it about a month in my home studio, but am very pleased with the results.
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ART Pro MPA II Mic Preamp Customer Review submitted September 19, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Manager
Music Style: Blues
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Sound: I am a proud owner and I love this amp and I ill spread the word as well as continue to order fromzZounds, again and again. Ease of Use: Very easy.
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"High quality, Smooth sound, Perfect for Mastering" submitted April 17, 2014

By Stephen S in Seattle, WA
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Music Style: Ambient, Electronic, Hip hop
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Sound: Excellent. Don't be afraid of the DA-AD conversion. This compressor is worth going out of the box. As long as your using high quality converters (Im using the EMU 1212 PCI-e) and your levels are set correctly you will be just fine. My signal chain is as follows: DA -> ART PRO MPA II -> ART PRO VLAII ->mixer ->AD ->DAW. You will have to play around with the attack, release, ratio and threshold to find the best results. That simply comes with experimentation and trial and error. Feature: Has all the features one needs to dial in good sounding compression. If I were to nip pick, It would be nice to have a side-chain input and high pass filter, but with this style of compression and at this price point its not really all that necessary. I have yet to use this on individual tracks in a mix but would like to experiment with that soon. Ease of Use: Pretty easy. For mastering I have found that attack times in the range of 30 - 50 ms and release times from 150 - 500 ms will get you in the ballpark. I tend to set my ratio very high to help me "hear" my attack and release, then when you find the music is pumping the way you want, back it off to a more suitable setting....generally 4:1 or lower. Quality: Its a tank. its a heavy metal box. Knobs and buttons feel high quality. Hopefully it will last and be reliable for years to come. Value: For the price point of this compressor you cannot afford to not have one. This will give your mixes that vibe and sheen you've been looking for and add a nice analog quality that's difficult to achieve only using plugins. Manufacturer Support: Never used them cant say. The Wow Factor: I've been mastering in the box and get pretty good results, so no, you don't absolutely need this compressor. But it does add that extra oomph to your mixes that I have not been able to find exclusively with plugins. So if you want that extra sparkle its definitely worth having. Overall: I purchased this compressor to be used in mastering. This is my first hardware compressor that I have ever worked with. Over the years I have built up a carefully select few of good, high quality mastering plugins. I have gotten great results and my clients have been happy. However I felt it was time to jump into the analog world and add some hardware flavor into my mastering chain. I could not have been more satisfied with my choice. Used correctly, this box will take your mix and zip it up in a nice warm blanket of analog goodness. It gives your mixes that final sheen. Solid, punchy lows, clear mid's and smooth highs that's not just high frequency dulling. When mastering I encode my mixes to M/S. This allows me to process the mid and side separately. Once The audio is routed back into my DAW, I then decode the side information and mix it back in with the mid. This method has yielded the best sonic results. You also have the option for stereo and dual channel compression.
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"Art PRI MPA microphone preamplifier" submitted July 20, 2015

By Eugene D in Pittsburgh, PA
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Musical Background: Musical producer, I've been in the business for about 16 yes.
Music Style: Just about everything, no preference
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Overall: Thanks zzounds for play as you pay. I can afford to do other things, and also make payments, never had a problem. That they didn't fix immediately and I was satisfied. I will continue as a long time customer thanks again.
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"fender supersonic 60 1×12 combo" submitted June 17, 2014

By Fabian Vasquez in hart, MI
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Musical Background: I've been playing for 30 plus years mostly professional I play bass and drums also and have a small project studio
Music Style: rock punk rock stoner rock garage all kinds
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Overall: I got a chance to use the fender supersonic 60 a few years back and I was blown away by the sound of that American made tube sweetness I just had to have it thanks to zZounds they made it happen it's made me a better guitar player right off the bat by being able to actually feel the dynamics of your playing through the amp just blows my mind now I don't wanna put my guitar down!
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"Serious gear..." submitted September 6, 2009

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Sound: I bought this preamp to be a secondary stereo channel. I work mostly with Summit audio gear (with sounds great). But, the ART preamp ended up being the best sounding preamp I've ever worked with. It has a very big and open sound when used with good world class mics. It's super smooth. Very surprising. Feature: It has everything. Ease of Use: You need to find your sound. But, with good ears you can get a great setup.
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