ART TUBE MP - Recording guitar - signal chain.

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Member Since: Feb 05, 2009

Hey all.
i am recording some tracks with a band.
done a fair bit before, and been reasonably happy with the results - apart from getting a decent guitar sound.

have tried various direct options, pod, black box etc.. and they don't quite cut get there.

So we are back to a good old SM57 in front of a marshal 100hdfx 4 x 12.

due to the head being digital, the distortion that comes out of it can sometimes sound a tad digital too.

Have been looking at a ART tube MP preamp.

has anyone used these?
I have read some good reviews.

anyway, i guess my question is, where would i sit this in my signal chain?

Guitar > Tube MP > Marshal > Mic > mixer (preamp for the mic) > Computer.


Guitar > Marshal > Mic >Tube MP > Computer.


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I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 05, 2009 02:19 pm

The job of a preamp is to boost a microphone's signal up to line level. So you want to plug your mic into the preamp, then the preamp into your audio interface.

I've owned an ART Tube MP Studio for several years now and I've never been very impressed by it.

To my ears, it tends to attenuate the high frequencies and sound muddy. I specifically used it with a SM57 for guitar, vocals and some percussion. I found that for all of those applications, my mixes kept coming out very muffled/muddy.

It does make a great bass DI though. Run a bass through it direct and it sounds pretty darn good.

The Tube MP doesn't totally suck ***, but I can't endorse it as being all that great.

Since: Feb 05, 2009

Feb 05, 2009 02:28 pm

thanks for the input.

Did you use it as a preamp? ie, guitar straight into the amp, then the 57 into the mp?

or guitar into the MP, mp to amp....etc..

I read some where that the second option would help the digital head sound a bit more tubey?

would it damage the amp in anyway doing it this way?


I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 05, 2009 04:08 pm

Correct, that's a typical use for this unit (between your microphone and your interface). Plug a mic into the input, plug the output into your interface and then set your levels.

Using a preamp in your guitar chain (between your guitar and amp) isn't going to do much. About the only use I can think of is if your pickups are really low output and you want to boost your signal before it gets to your amplifier.

Making a guitar amp sound more "tubey" basically isn't going to happen. Tube amps sound tubey. Solid-state amps don't. That Marshall MG series is a well-liked amp for a lot of folks, but take it for what it is: a budget-friendly solid-state amp.

Beg or borrow an amp with a tube power section if you want tube amp sound. Otherwise, its a matter of making the best of what you have. If you're recording heavy distorted guitars, the most common error beginners make is using too much distortion (which makes the amp sound all fizzy and thin when recorded) or scooping out all of the mids so they sound like Metallica's old albums (which makes the guitars hard to distinguish when recorded).

If you're recording clean guitars, you might try to record from the direct output on the amp's head. that removes the complication of using a mic and getting it positioned properly.

Which reminds me, the position of the microphone relative to the amp's speakers is a pretty big factor in the end result. On a 4x12, you want to position the mic on the perimiter of the cabinet, not the interior. Put the SM57 within a few inches of the grille cloth, or even touching it. To start, point the mic straight into the speaker. Then experiment with angling it slightly. The closer to the center of the speaker cone you place the mic, the more high-end you'll capture. the closer to the perimiter of the speaker cone, the more bass you'll capture. Find a balance that you like.

Oh I could go on and on...there's a ton of info around here on micing a guitar amp. But it sounds like you're just startng out, so just be patient. Practice setting everything up, positioning the mic, setting the levels on all of your equipment so that you get a strong signal but don't clip/overload anything.

Here are a couple of articles that'll help out with micing a guitar cab:



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