View Full Version : ART Tube MP or USB audio interface?

12-05-2010, 10:53 AM
Been doing some research based on some posts here for setting up a PC recording rig using a condenser mic. I would like to leave open the option of multitracking voice and instruments.

I don't run a separate audio capture card today. My new ASUS motherboard has stereo line in (mini jack) and a Mono Mic input.

I was going to get on of the ART Tube MP pre-amps to drive an MXL condenser mic but then I got to thinking. Since I don't have any way to bring in a stereo analog signal into the desktop, am I better off looking into an audio interface that would do the analog to digital convert and send to the PC via USB. Several of these have mic/instrument and stereo line level inputs.

Any idea on who's ADC sounds the best for a reasonable price? I have no idea at this point how good the ASUS on board ADC is. Could be total crap which would mean the ART Tube MP would need an interface anyways.

Thanks for any comments. '

12-05-2010, 11:59 AM
Talking to myself. I didn't think ART still made a USB model but they have it under digital interfaces instead of under preamps. I am checking out the ART tube mp project USB which I think was mentioned in this subforum before. Looks like best price is around $75 for it which is ok if it is a decent sounding ADC.

Also I just went back and read spots reply on the condenser mics thread I started and he had several comments there that did not register as I was thinking mics back then


12-05-2010, 02:46 PM

Sent you a PM.

Doug W
12-05-2010, 04:26 PM
ART Tube MP or USB audio interface?
My opinion is that you are better off with:

1. Standard condenser mic, with an XLR connection.
2. Decent desktop mixer with at least 2 XLR inputs with decent built in preamps and of course phantom power.
3. Dedicated sound card.

I am no expert, really just a hobbyist recorder but I have been recording on the computer for 17 years at home. I have played in bluegrass and folky bands for the last 30 years and made almost enough money at it to pay for the gas to get back and forth to gigs.

My suggestion would be to start with spending $100.00 on a little mixer. Use that with your SM57 and whatever sound card it is you have in your ASUS computer. Spread out the expenses so you spend $100 + on your condenser mic after a few months, then spend $100.00 + on a new recording sound card.

I bought a Kel HM-1 condenser mic for $60.00 when they were being introduced. Unfortunately they are now $179.00

12-05-2010, 05:25 PM
I built the PC so you would think I know what was in it, but I don't. The audio support is built into the motherboard so I'll have to see how good it is. It 6 mini audio connectors with different colors and not labels. Somehow it supports up to 7.1 output, a mic in and headphone out as well as a line in. Good trick.

I get an adapter for an SM57, load up Krystal or Audacity and see what comes out. If its is really bad I will have to decide what route to go down. The ART offers both analog out and USB so if USB sucks I can still go the standalone sound card route.

I have USB 3.0 on this beast as well but doesn't look like there is anything out there yet for that.

I doubt I will ever have any use for more than two channels and I would prefer to capture the recording single mic'ed or double track with a single mic.

Thanks for the suggestions.


Doug W
12-05-2010, 06:17 PM
I get an adapter for an SM57, load up Krystal or Audacity and see what comes out. If its is really bad I will have to decide what route to go down. The ART offers both analog out and USB so if USB sucks I can still go the standalone sound card route.

I may be misunderstanding what you are saying here. If you are talking about first using an impedance transformer like one of these (http://www.adorama.com/HOMIT156.html) to feed directly into your sound card, the signal will be weak.

If your are talking about feeding the SM57 into the ART which will have both USB and 1/4" outputs you should be fine.

12-06-2010, 04:07 AM
The Shure USB mic adapter has gotten some good reviews. I purchased Blue Microphone's equivalent, "The Icicle", and was not impressed when using it with a dynamic mic. I found the volume too low to be useful. That's when I went with the ART project series mic preamp. I thought I would only need one input line, but found I needed more.

I ended up adding a mixer because I wanted a way to plug both a mic, and an active amplified uke, in at the same time. The ART only allows for a single input. For $60 a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer will let you do: one mic, two mics, a mic and a uke with either an active or passive pickup. Plus you get the ability to adjust the high, mid, and low on the mic inputs.

In terms of bang for the buck my vote goes to the Xenyx 802 mixer over the ART.

I found the biggest difference in the warmth/richness of sound has come from the use of a dynamic mic rather than from the mic preamp at this price point. The bass boost (proximity effect) one gets from being closer to a dynamic mic adds the warmth.

12-06-2010, 05:30 AM
I bought an Alesis MultiMix 4 USB mixer about a week ago, and after playing around with it a little this weekend, I got a very nice, clean recording to Audacity. And only $80 @ Guitar Center.


I'm using a passive Fishman AG pickup, Fishman Pro EQ Platinum DI and the Alesis mixer.