ART Studio V3 Mic Preamp

I'm of the opinion that more bang for the buck cannot be found in a mic preamp. This little unit provides an easy interface from microphone to recording device--be it a computer, a 4-track cassette machine, a digital multi-track, whatever... It's really simple to use and it sounds much better than just plugging the mic straight into whatever you're recording on. There’s a "Voicings" knob that slightly modifies the characteristics of the sound, and the settings are marked for what the manufacturer thinks the settings are good for, but my advice is just tweak it and stop when you like the sound. You can crank the input knob and push in the +20 gain button to get some seriously gritty sounds or back them off and it's crystal clear. I've found this little box to be invaluable, and frankly better sounding and more versatile than similar offerings from other manufacturers. For $70 brand new, there is simply no better way to make your microphones sound better.

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