Submitted March 28, 2011 by a customer from gmail.com
"Good value for the money, but change the tube to make it better"
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Best value for the money. You have to spend 2x the price to get to the next level, which is not really that much better anyhow. But, if you are looking for two channels, and have a bit more money, do check out the Art MPA II, which is really a whole lot better --a different league.
Over the past year, I have bought pretty much one of every make of cheap tube preamp out there, including this one. How does it rate? Swap out the tube and it is a solid third place, behind two much more expensive units, the Art MPA II, and the Studio Projects VTB1. (Both of those need their tubes changed too!) I like this little preamp and for the money it is the best sounding unit I know of.
What you need and then some.
Ease of Use
Easy, though it would be nice if the LED meter had a few more lights.
For the price, this is very reasonable quality. I have opened it up and it has pretty good components. Swap out the tube, though, and it will sound better. I experimented with a few and settled on a Tung-Sol, which fills out the sound making it richer. The distortion is now quite good, esp compared to the crackly distortion that the stock Chinese tube provided. (I know, this is a preamp, not a distortion box, but a little distortion can be a good thing too.)
Factor in a new tube (recommend Tung-Sol), and this is the best deal out there for the price. I should add that the power supplies on these Art units are not that great and can readily pick up ground loops and 60 hz hum. If possible, use a power conditioner.
The Wow Factor
I like its looks, though it is low impact.
lifelong amateur musician
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