Presonus – Tube Pre ($129.95)
by scott colburn
What it is: (from the website)
“The TubePRE is the highest quality vacuum tube preamp in its class. Loaded with PreSonus’ award winning dual servo preamplifier, the TubePre affordably delivers low noise tube warmth for vocals, guitars, bass guitars, synths and sound modules. The TubePre noticeably outperforms preamps in low cost mixers and recording interfaces making it an easy choice for anyone desiring to enhance their recordings with the magic of tubes.
How it works:
I’m sort of a sucker for anything tube. It’s not so much that I’m a tube or analog purists, it’s more that it’s different than most of the solid state mic pres that are in the consoles I use. The price is crazy for this unit, which makes it more attractive. The connection is either ¼” unbalanced or XLR. The front panel sports a VU meter and two knobs labeled “Drive” and “Gain”. Apparently gain is the mic pre part of it and Drive is the addition of distortion (the good kind). There are also 4 buttons on the front that reverse the phase of the incoming signal, provide a -20dB pad for louder signals, a high pass filter set for 80 hz and phantom power. Yep, basic controls for a basic mic pre. It sounds great and can be used on almost anything, but I noticed that it doesn’t like really quiet things. Fortunately most things we record are not quiet.