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In-depth Feature:  Presonus TubePre - mono preamp/D.I.
Albert Potts writes: .

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As a Mic Preamp
Although it has DI features that extend it's usefulness, the Presonus TubePRE is primarily intended to be used as a microphone preamp. And it is in this role that I felt the TubePRE shone the brightest. Readers will no doubt be interested in the TubePRE versus the BlueTube, so let me offer just a little commentary on that, being somewhat familiar with the BlueTube. To my ears, the TubePRE is a bit quieter and cleaner than the BlueTube, and gives the subjective impression of being a higher quality sound. The BlueTube seems slightly darker and more "tubey" to me ("valvey" for you Brits!).

Running my own voice through the TubePRE without tube drive, the result was accurate and real sounding. The recording was quiet, as in no objectionable noise was added. Then, recording my voice again adding in the tube drive, and a subtle bit of fullness entered the tone. Not dramatically different, but pleasantly richer, a nice contrast. Next, recording cello, I felt the TubePRE was nuanced and picked up good detail. This mic preamp sounds better than its price would indicate it should. I felt I had enough gain, actually more than enough, especially considering the tube drive feature.

The recording tests were done using an AKG C-BULS 414 mic, running from the TubePRE into an assignable input on my Tascam DM-24 mixer.

Conclusion
The TubePRE is a bang for the buck kind of item. While you could spend a lot more for a top of the line preamp, and get the kind of tone that big money buys, that kind of budget is far beyond many home studio recordists and music hobbyists. The Presonus TubePRE fills a need for those on a budget who still want to make a good clean recording and have the kind of tonal variety a tube can add.

Especially nice features that set the TubePRE apart in its price class are the VU meter and the 80Hz filter, both of which come in handy in everyday use. It's small size and weight were also appreciated, as I could literally set the TubePRE in my lap as I sat at the mic and adjust the drive and gain controls while watching the VU meter. The DI instrument input makes the unit versatile, allowing guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists to use it on their rigs in addition to getting a nice little preamp. On the down side, there is the external wallwart power supply, plus no power switch. Both not my favorite designs, but I think fair tradeoffs to meet this price and size point.

Overall, the Presonus TubePRE is an excellent value for the money and a nicely designed budget preamp that should appeal to a lot of people. The competition has really heated up in the low price preamp department, and the TubePRE at $99 street is a worthy entry in the category.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Presonus WWW
  • Presonus Products @ Zzounds.com
  • TubePre PDF Manual

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