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PreSonus TubePre v2
Single-channel mic/instrument preamp with tube tone circuit
Our take on the PreSonus TubePre v2 by Crutchfield's Steve Kindig
Have it both ways with this compact preamp
The TubePre v2 lets you choose either clean, neutral solid-state sound or the added warmth and presence of a vacuum tube stage.
The PreSonus TubePre v2 microphone preamp is small in size and price, but mighty in its capabilities. You can choose from a wide palette of sound options. There's the clean, neutral sound of PreSonus's XMAX™ Class A solid-state preamp. And then there's the built-in vacuum tube tone circuit — just twist the Drive saturation control to add the perfect amount of warmth and color.
The TubePre v2 plays well with all types of microphones — it has built-in phantom power for use with condenser mics. And because it also has a separate hi-Z instrument input, it's a dynamite direct box (DI) for plugging in your guitar or bass.
Class A XMAX microphone preamp delivers transparent, musical sound
PreSonus understands how important the mic preamplifier is to the sonic quality of a recording. Microphone-level signals need to be boosted by a factor of nearly 400 before they can be converted to digital. Cheap, op-amp-based mic preamps can supply the boost, but the results may sound thin, noisy, or harsh. PreSonus's XMAX preamp uses three core design elements to ensure maximum sound quality:
- High voltage: The XMAX preamplifier runs on power rails of 30V. Most off-the-shelf, op-amp-based designs run on power rails of 10V to 18V. Higher-voltage power rails deliver more headroom, deeper bass, and richer overall sound.
- Discrete components: For ultra-low noise and transparent sound, PreSonus uses transistors, resistors, and capacitors — no op-amps.
- Class A: Class A circuits eliminate switching distortion and deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the more typical Class AB designs found in many preamps.
Whatever you plug into the TubePre v2, expect to hear dynamic, musical sound with exceptional transparency.
What's in the Box:
- Tube preamplifier/DI box
- AC power adapter
- AC power cord
- Owner's Manual
- XMAX™ Class A solid-state preamp input stage delivers clean, clear sound
- 12AX7-driven vacuum tube output stage lets you blend in tube saturation using the Drive control
- switchable 48V phantom power for use with condenser microphones
- separate hi-Z instrument input allows you to directly plug in your guitar or bass
- 80 Hz high-pass filter lets you roll off low frequencies
- 20 dB pad accommodates extra hot signal levels
- polarity-reverse switch lets you fix phase issues at the source
- backlit VU meter and separate LED clip indicator
- balanced XLR mic input and unbalanced 1/4" TS instrument input
- balanced XLR output and unbalanced 1/4" TS output
- frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz (-0.3 dB)
- 5-1/2"W x 1-3/4"H x 5-1/2"D
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
PreSonus TubePre v2 Reviews
What's in the box?
- Tube preamplifier/DI box
- AC power adapter
- AC power cord
- Owner's Manual
Tube Preamplifier/DI Box: The Presonus TubePre v2is a fully professional tube preamp, with a dual-servo (no capacitors) gain stage that lets you boost the program signal to smoking hot levels without significantly increasing the background noise. Discrete components and high-voltage operation offer dynamic range and detail not often found in other single-channel tube preamps in its class.
XMAX Preamps: The TubePre v2 is equipped with Presonus XMAX microphone preamplifiers for use with all types of microphones. The net result of the XMAX preamp design is high headroom, low noise, wide dynamic range, extended frequency response, and most importantly, musicality and transparency, with smooth highs, solid deep lows, and everything in between. XMAX preamplifiers are built with three key elements.
- High Voltage: The XMAX preamplifier runs on power rails of 30V. Most off-the-shelf, op-amp-based designs run on power rails of 10V to 18V. Higher-voltage power rails deliver more headroom, deeper lows, smoother highs, and a richer overall sound.
- Discrete Components: XMAX preamplifiers only use genuine transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Other Op-amps add noise, coloration, and harshness to a signal. This discrete design delivers ultra-low noise and transparency.
- Class A: Class A circuits have no crossover distortion and deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the Class AB designs that are found in many preamps.
Vacuum-Tube Stage: The XMAX preamplifier is followed in the signal path by a 12AX7 vacuum-tube stage for high headroom and big tone.
Inputs/Outputs: The TubePre v2 rear panel sports separate unbalanced 1/4" instrument and balanced XLR mic inputs, as well as and unbalanced 1/4" and balanced XLR line outputs. Thanks to its separate instrument and mic inputs, it also serves as a dynamite direct box (DI) for guitars and basses.
- Mic Input: The balanced XLR input of the TubePre v2 can be used to connect a wide variety of microphones; including dynamic, condensers, and ribbons. The 1/4" TS connector in the input section of the TubePre V2 is for use with a passive instrument (e.g., guitar or bass).
- Main Outputs: The TubePre v2 features both an unbalanced 1/4" TS and a balanced XLR outputs.
Note: An active instrument has an internal preamp and should be plugged into a line input rather than an instrument input. Plugging a line-level source into the Instrument input on the TubePre v2 may result in a very loud and distorted audio signal.
48V Phantom Power: The Presonus TubePre v2 provides 48V phantom power for the microphone input. There is a button on the front-panel (labeled "+48V) which activates and deactivates phantom power.
Drive Control: The Drive knob controls the signal level being routed
through the 12AX7 vacuum tube. The effect ranges from subtle to extreme,
depending on the
setting; the more signal being sent to the tube, the more distortion you will hear. This is great for guitar, bass, and even vocals, if that is the effect you want to achieve. Of course, in some applications, tube drive is not needed. Adjusting the tube drive can create these desirable effects:
- Warming Up The Sound: This is achieved by adding in a small amount of tube drive (30% or less). It is especially desirable for vocals and electric bass. The resulting sound is richer and sweeter.
- Overdriven Tube Sound: This effect is achieved by adding in 30 to 100% tube drive. The more tube drive you add, the more overdriven the sound will be. This sound is extremely useful for creating distorted guitar, and it's great for an authentic "blues harp" harmonica sound.
Gain Control: The Gain (input gain) knob controls the amount of boost applied to the pre-amplified signal and provides the following gain structure.
- Microphone Input: 80 dB of variable gain (-15 dB to +65 dB)
- Instrument Input: 80 dB of variable gain (-30 dB to +50 dB)
Phase Reverse: Reverses the polarity of the signal. Use Phase Reverse when recording with more than one open microphone to combat phase cancellation between microphones.
Instrument Input: This button activates the instrument preamp circuit, bypassing the microphone preamp. When this button is engaged, the XLR input will not pass signal.
80Hz: The 80Hz button is a low-end roll-off filter. When enabled, this button causes all frequencies below 80Hz to be attenuated (cut) by 12 dB. This can be handy in live and studio applications. For example, the 80Hz filter can help to reduce the "boominess" or "muddiness" of a vocal, improving the overall clarity.
VU Meter: The analog VU meter displays the output level of your TubePre v2.
Clip LED: The Clip LED will illuminate if your input signal exceeds +20 dBu. Clipping the input produces very unpleasant distortion. If you want good sounding distortion, increase the Drive control while lowering the Gain.
Rugged Portable Chassis: The TubePre v2 is housed in a rugged case and is small enough to carry almost anywhere. It can also be screw-mounted to a standard rack tray.
Our Product Research Team
At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.