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Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp  

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Top Rated
Overview
  • 48 Volt Phantom Power
  • Phase Reverse
  • Variable Input Gain Control On Detented Pot
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $199.99
  • Your Savings:
    - $20.00
  • Your Price:
    $17999

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See All Studio Projects Microphone Preamps
Studio Projects

Single-channel mic preamp with Tube Drive.

The VTB-1 from Studio Projects is a low-cost, single-channel tube blend mic preamplifier that incorporates true class A/B switching. The VTB-1 is a totally discrete circuit with a unique "Tube Drive" function that gives you the ability to blend as little, or as much of the Tube Drive as you want. The VTB-a allows you to go from a pristine solid state sound, to any combination of Tube Drive you choose, even hard distortion for guitars and bass, making this a must have mic preamp for any recording application.

Features
  • 48 Volt Phantom Power
  • Phase Reverse
  • Variable Input Gain Control On Detented Pot
  • 1/4" D.I. Jack On Front Panel
  • High Pass Filter
  • Descrete Solid State Class A/B Design
  • TRS Insert
  • Mic/Line Switch
  • VariableTube Blend On Detented Pot
  • Meter Read Select Between Input and Output level
  • Switchable Impedance between 50/200 Ohm
  • 5 position LED metering
  • XLR mic input
  • Balanced outputs on XLR and 1/4"
  • External AC Power Supply For extreme Low Noise Operation

Choose your sound with this versatile mic preamp, order today.

 

VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp Specifications:

  • Maximum Gain :
  • Mic In to Bal Out: 72dB (60dB preamp gain, 12dB output gain)
  • Line In to Bal Out: 42dB (30dB preamp gain, 12dB output gain)
  • Distortion/Noise (THD + Noise):
  • -20dBu input-Mic; 0dBu input-Line
  • Both measured at +15dBu output
  • Mic or Line In to Bal or Line Out: <0.0015% (Blend set full CCW- no tube)
  • Mic EIN: -128dBu (150 ohm source, 60dB gain)
  • Frequency response (20-20kHz, ref 1kHz):
  • -20dBu input, +15dBu output
  • Mic In to Bal Out: +0 /-0.25 dB
  • 0dBu input, +15dBu output
  • Line In to Bal Out: +0 /-0.5 dB
  • Phase response
  • <+/- 15 degrees
  • Input impedance:
  • Mic Input (Rear switch in 200 ohm position): 2000 ohms
  • Mic Input (Rear switch in 50 ohm position): 300 ohms
  • Line Input (Front panel TRS jack): 1.5 meg ohms
  • Output impedance:
  • Male-XLR Balanced Output: 100 ohms (50 ohms each leg)
  • TRS Line Out: 300 ohms (Impedance Balanced)
  • Insert Jack (TRS):
  • Nominal level approx 0dBu
  • Located between SS preamp stage and tube/output stage
  • Tip=Send: 50 ohms output impedance
  • Ring=Return: 7500 ohms input impedance
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Studio ProjectsVTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp
 
4.8

(based on 37 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (34)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Very good for the price!

I can definitely recommend this mic pre. It has a nice character that, as many have noted in reviews, does nice work especially with a bass guitar. I have used it for several...Read complete review

I can definitely recommend this mic pre. It has a nice character that, as many have noted in reviews, does nice work especially with a bass guitar. I have used it for several puposes and have found it to be pretty versatile but my favorite use is bass. The tube blending option CAN be useful, but I have found most of the time I don't use it much. I keep it on about 50% of the time, but around 2 or 3 and like what it does there, just a little coloration without getting in the way. I can't recommend it turned up though. Once again tastes apply here, but to me when driven hard the tube sounds too crackly and harsh as opposed to nice and fat, more like something is wrong with a cable rather than a "musical" breakup. Most of the budget mic pre's sound like that though because they aren't true "tube" pre amps... the tube is real but it's added into the path, the signal path is not dependant on it. I really appreciate they give the option to dial in just what you want there, even if it means no tube at all. I have two of these now so I can record in stereo. If I had one wish for this unit to be better I would say the headroom could use a little work. It has plenty enough to get a solid tracking but it can struggle with really loud sources, or if you need to boost it a lot. Seems to be pretty touchy when you're driving it hard so I guess I couldn't recommend it for say a kick drum because of the db it has to handle. Once again that's not something you can really expect to have at this price point though and really, it doesn't effect it's usefullness much. I always try this on everything new I track and have been surprised on what it can do for a signal often being better than my other mic pres. For the cost, it's definitely a good start on a mic pre collection, a solid option for someone on a budget who needs a "does everything" mic pre and worth having one in your aresenal, even if you have a lot of mic pre's already. Definitely try it on a bass guitar!
Especially for the price there are all the options you could really ask for in a mic pre. Phantom power, phase reverse, mic and line in/outs, Hi-Z in, and a way to color your sound (tube blend section). For my needs there isn't much I can think of that I would like to have that is missing. Maybe the only thing would be it has a rather large wall wart, if they had moved the power block into the center of the cable instead of a large, wall socket blocking end, there would be no issues. It's a small complaint though, this type of power block seems to be pretty commong with music gear.
The unit is metal and solidly built. I have another one for about 4 years now and it has held up well, even done some traveling with me. The metal casing the circuit board sits on is a little thinner leaving the bottom of the unit slightly flexible, but it is still metal. You might be able to do some damage here if it were badly mishandled but it's not something I would think would be easy to do, other than breaking the tube in a drop maybe? The knobs are fairly sturdy compared to what I am used to seeing at this price point. I don't think overall it's any less durable than some of my upper end mic pres, with normal studio use or even some field use. It's doesn't have the same "quality" feel to the knobs, plugs and switches as some pricier units, but for the cost these are small issues to me. I don't think there would be any problems with this unit holding up for a long time.
I feel like this unit is a fantastic deal. It's not perfect and it's not able to compete in every way with "high-end" units, but it does what it's supposed to do and does it well for an awesome price! For a pre that costs so little, I am impressed with how it performs. It's all about taste I supposed, but I have tried 3 ART units in a similar price range and even a little more and hated them all. I have also tried a Behringer unit around the same price and didn't like it either. Somehow they have made a pre that isn't just a one trick pony and that can actually be used on serious recordings. I have a Grace 101 and a FRM RNP and still find plenty of uses for this unit. Mic pres can be like mics, options are always good and having a variety can save the day. It's nice to see there are companies making affordable options so those of us not gifted with a large bank account can still have choices.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Garbage

This is the worst product I have ever purchased. From the first use, the product had an awful hum that made it almost unusable. Then, after almost no use, I lost all...Read complete review

This is the worst product I have ever purchased. From the first use, the product had an awful hum that made it almost unusable. Then, after almost no use, I lost all sound from the output. I returned the product to the manufacturer for warranty service at the specified address, and the product was returned to me as undeliverable to that address. I subsquently sent numerous emails and placed numerous calls to the manuracturer and received no responses. So I am out the $*** purchase price plus $** in wasted shipping costs. Do not buy anything from this manufacturer.

Reviewed by 37 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Great for home studio use

By fred

from SLC

About Me Professional Musician

Pros

  • Clear Sound
  • Easy To Use
  • Powerful
  • Professional Functions
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • All Tube Overdrive
    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

    Excellent for use as an all-tube overdrive for a guitar or bass. Also a must for recording with condensor mics. So many uses.

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great preamp, puts others to shame.

    By wdcodi

    from Ohio

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Easy To Use
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Events
      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      These preamps are incredible; especially for the money. I have other preamps that cost much more and they either sound sterile or are too noisy. This preamp is very quiet! And you can adjust the tone by changing out the tube, and then dialing in however much tube tone you want. My favorite tubes are the General Electric JAN (military version) of the 12AT7 tubes, they have part numbers 12AT7WA, 12AT7WB, or 12AT7WC; but only get the ones made by GE, the ones made by Philips are only so so. I haven't tried the RCA ones. You can still get the GE JAN 12AT7WC / 6201 TUBES, the fidelity is fantastic; and no I don't sell them.
      I would love to see Studio Projects expand on this design; have a version with EQ for example.

      Comment on this review

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great purchase!!

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      Don't wait until they raise the price on this unit. Get a couple. Your vocals will be well rounded, warm and punchy sounding. The acoustic guitar sounds really sweet through this unit as well. Don't waste your money on the sub $100 preamps...save the extra $50 and get this!!!
      Not a whole lot of features, but be being able to blend solid state and tube together is a GREAT feature!!
      The build quality is excellent. It feels solid and seems to be able to handle long hours of work in one session. It doesn't "fatigue" like some of the lower priced preamps out there.
      You will not find a better value out there. Dollar for dollar, you're getting a much more expensive sounding mic pre...warmth and punch. This will beat any ART / BEHRINGER / PRESONUS....fantastic value!

      Comment on this review

      (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Very good for the price!

      By Jeremy Ruth

      from Beckley, WV

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I can definitely recommend this mic pre. It has a nice character that, as many have noted in reviews, does nice work especially with a bass guitar. I have used it for several puposes and have found it to be pretty versatile but my favorite use is bass. The tube blending option CAN be useful, but I have found most of the time I don't use it much. I keep it on about 50% of the time, but around 2 or 3 and like what it does there, just a little coloration without getting in the way. I can't recommend it turned up though. Once again tastes apply here, but to me when driven hard the tube sounds too crackly and harsh as opposed to nice and fat, more like something is wrong with a cable rather than a "musical" breakup. Most of the budget mic pre's sound like that though because they aren't true "tube" pre amps... the tube is real but it's added into the path, the signal path is not dependant on it. I really appreciate they give the option to dial in just what you want there, even if it means no tube at all. I have two of these now so I can record in stereo. If I had one wish for this unit to be better I would say the headroom could use a little work. It has plenty enough to get a solid tracking but it can struggle with really loud sources, or if you need to boost it a lot. Seems to be pretty touchy when you're driving it hard so I guess I couldn't recommend it for say a kick drum because of the db it has to handle. Once again that's not something you can really expect to have at this price point though and really, it doesn't effect it's usefullness much. I always try this on everything new I track and have been surprised on what it can do for a signal often being better than my other mic pres. For the cost, it's definitely a good start on a mic pre collection, a solid option for someone on a budget who needs a "does everything" mic pre and worth having one in your aresenal, even if you have a lot of mic pre's already. Definitely try it on a bass guitar!
      Especially for the price there are all the options you could really ask for in a mic pre. Phantom power, phase reverse, mic and line in/outs, Hi-Z in, and a way to color your sound (tube blend section). For my needs there isn't much I can think of that I would like to have that is missing. Maybe the only thing would be it has a rather large wall wart, if they had moved the power block into the center of the cable instead of a large, wall socket blocking end, there would be no issues. It's a small complaint though, this type of power block seems to be pretty commong with music gear.
      The unit is metal and solidly built. I have another one for about 4 years now and it has held up well, even done some traveling with me. The metal casing the circuit board sits on is a little thinner leaving the bottom of the unit slightly flexible, but it is still metal. You might be able to do some damage here if it were badly mishandled but it's not something I would think would be easy to do, other than breaking the tube in a drop maybe? The knobs are fairly sturdy compared to what I am used to seeing at this price point. I don't think overall it's any less durable than some of my upper end mic pres, with normal studio use or even some field use. It's doesn't have the same "quality" feel to the knobs, plugs and switches as some pricier units, but for the cost these are small issues to me. I don't think there would be any problems with this unit holding up for a long time.
      I feel like this unit is a fantastic deal. It's not perfect and it's not able to compete in every way with "high-end" units, but it does what it's supposed to do and does it well for an awesome price! For a pre that costs so little, I am impressed with how it performs. It's all about taste I supposed, but I have tried 3 ART units in a similar price range and even a little more and hated them all. I have also tried a Behringer unit around the same price and didn't like it either. Somehow they have made a pre that isn't just a one trick pony and that can actually be used on serious recordings. I have a Grace 101 and a FRM RNP and still find plenty of uses for this unit. Mic pres can be like mics, options are always good and having a variety can save the day. It's nice to see there are companies making affordable options so those of us not gifted with a large bank account can still have choices.

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great bargain

      By Jason White

      from Georgia

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I originally bought this unit for my home recording setup. Really warmed up my vocals and acoustic mics, but after hearing the results as a D.I. for bass, I tried it through my PA system and was really impressed. I sometimes fill in on bass for local bands, but not enough to warrant a bass amp. Now this is all I need. Run it as a D.I. box for the house system and you've got a great tone with lots of punch, all in a package that only weighs a coule pounds.
      Simple easy to use set up.
      Feels pretty solid.

      Comment on this review

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Review

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I like many of you are looking for the $5000 preamp for under $200 and and have drank the cool-aid that ?tube warmth? is what my recordings lack!In this quest I have tried all the preamps in this class? and several at higher price points. To me this is the best in its class by far. Very clean, very quite, very nice gain. It is not a monster gain and does not over color like some of the others if that is what you want- it does what a good preamp is suppose to do. I delivers a professional sound far beyond its price point. But this I believe is hands down the best preamp in this price range. I have also fallen for the hook that if you ?pop? in a better tube presto: $5000 preamp! Of course that does not happen, but it does make subtle differences ? and the tinkerer in me loves to do it. I?ll never be sure that its not a placebo effect ;) I will say that this is the hardest of the preamps to swap the tube ? the tube is pretty buried and you may find you prefer to leave the factory tube intact. I was happy with it with the stock tube- of course I love it with a vintage telefunken ? ha ha!I always end up going back to this one.

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Pinch me! This Preamp can't be this good!

      By Bonfire Jones

      from Clifton, NJ

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      Outstanding all around! Extremely quiet operation. Bass recorded [direct] is well-defined. This unit is outstanding for vocals as well. I've heard wonderful cello recorded with this thing. Definitely the best "starved plate" preamp out there. In my humble opinion.Get an old used Symetrix, DBX, etc... compressor, use it with the VTB-1 and you will not be disappointed! Trust me....

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Cannot do better for the price

      By Nick-ENhc3

      from Detriot Area, MI

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I have been using this preamp for a little over two years with an upgraded GT 12AX7 tube in it and it is amazing. I use it mostly on vocals with a ST59 Mic, the sound comes out incredibly clean and clear with the perfect amount of warmth. I would recommend to anyone.

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Try on direct bass!

      By wechtermongoose

      from Tucson AZ

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I originally bought this for vocal work. Works well to add some glassy sheen. Moved on to a higher quality vocal preamp, and found it lying around and decided to try it as a live bass DI since I had read some positives about that application...Had been running a GK Backline 115 with an Aphex Bass Xciter & Aphex Punch Compressor in the loop, using the line out to the PA. The Aphex pedals are amazing, but the tone always lost substance on its was through the PA.So, enter VTB-1... since we are working toward in-ear monitoring, we ran the Aphex pedals through the VTB-1 DIRECT to the PA. Definitely improved the sound, but it was when I popped in the recording that I did a double take. HUGE tone, fat and deep. I have tried this product in a few apps for which it was more than adequate, but this is simply amazing for Bass DI or recording!

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great preamp for a low budget

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about Studio Projects VTB-1 Tube Blend Mic Preamp:

      I was starting a new album after stepping up to some better equipment, but I didn't have any preamps aside from the ones in my Firestudio Project (which aren't bad, but had no control obviously). I did a ton of research on low budget preamps, and I heard not-great things about the Presonus TubePre and others like it. The VTB-1 seemed good, so I got it. Now I wish I had another one or two of them. I always run mics through it - I use mostly ones from the MXL series and they sound great. Bass drums and snares sound great through this thing, and it really adds a lot to a bass record direct!

      Comment on this review

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