Changing the Tube on an ART MP USB Tube Preamp


(Watch full screen at 720 P for best audio for the before and after tests.) Changing the Tube on the inexpensive ART MP USB Tube Preamp gives a MUCH better sound. But it’s hard to figure out how to open the case, and it’s easy to damage things while doing so. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it, easily and without breaking anything. Also included here are audio comparisons of before and after replacing the tube.

Get the ART MP USB Tube pre-amp

Get the Tung-sol replacement tube

Microphone: The Nady RSM-4 is apparently discontinued, but the Nady RSM-5 is very similar sonically and not much more expensive


Here are the settings I use on the Pre-Amp, left to right on the front panel. These are a good place to start, but different mics will require different settings:

GAIN knob: 36 db
Gain: in
Impedance: out
Filter: in
Phantom: out (for ribbon mics and dynamic mics. Should be In for Condenser mics. Condenser mics will also require much lower gain settings)
Limit: in
Phase: out
OUTPUT knob: 1 db

In addition, I did a little bit of sound fluffing on both the before and after samples, same on both of them. It looks like a lot, but it’s subtle. The sound before doing this sounds largely the same, but I can tell the difference, and this is what I do always on my podcasting audio anyway. I take the sound recorded out of the pre-amp (recorded via USB into my computer on SoundForge), and bring it into Sony Vegas. I add a little bit of EQ:

EQ in Vegas for Ribbon Mic

And a tiny bit of Track Noise Gate:

Track Noise Gate in Sony Vegas for ribbon mic

and a tiny bit of Track Compression:

track compression in sony Vegas for nady ribbon mic

Then I render it out, bring it back into SoundForge, and normalize:

Before normalizing in SoundForge

Normalizing in SoundForge

After normalizing in SoundForge

That’s how I’m getting amazing podcast audio these days. Enjoy!

If you’re recording singing instead of talking, use the “music” setting for normalizing in SoundForge instead of the “Speech” setting.

Video and tutorial is by Michael W. Dean of FREEDOM FEENS Podcast – Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi’s fun ‘n’ feisty weekly chat about Constitutional, libertarian, voluntaryist, minarchist and anarchist issues, abuse of authority by police, the War on Drugs, self-defense, States’ Rights, Natural Rights, Austrian Economics, DIY art, low-budget filmmaking, digital recording, activism, punk rock, hip-hop and more.

Now with streaming audio for mobile: