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distortion, and at full-on 100% you get Trent Reznor-style wave clipping. I first encountered PreSonus’ tube drive design back in 2010 when I reviewed the company’s Studio Channel. Using the BlueTube DP V2 reconfirmed my impressions that the tube stage exhibits a slightly aggressive forward character that grows as you push it. You can hear it shift from subtle saturation to a full-on lo-fi crunch that would sit perfectly on a Jack White production, say, the Dead Weather. I won’t argue the “validity” of starvedplate designs here; they do allow you to have a real tube in your audio path at a very affordable price, but there are real technical distinctions and large sonic differences between preamps like this one and the more expensive tube designs out there, several of which I have and use regularly in my studio. For the purposes of this review I am speaking to recordists who are just getting started and who might not yet be able to afford a higher-end tube preamp, focusing on how the tube preamp in this unit sounds and can be useful to them in and of itself. Okay? In use Even with the tube preamp’s sound as a color on the palette and despite its “tube” monicker, I believe that it is the inclusion of the XMAX solid-state preamps
that takes this box to a whole new level of usefulness. Tube character can be a lot of fun, but first and foremost a preamp must deliver a good solid reliable sound, and the XMAX upgrade does that and then some for the BlueTube DP V2. This is one of the few budget boxes I have tried where I have been able to use a passive ribbon mic for quieter sources like vocals and acoustic guitar; usually that’s a dead giveaway that a preamp doesn’t have the oomph to do the job properly, either distorting in unmusical ways or hissing like crazy when turned
Conclusions To put the new BlueTube DP V2 in perspective—no, it won’t replace your boutique/high-end mic pres, be it Neve, Chandler, Millennia, John Hardy, Gordon Instruments, etc. What it will do is provide you with a nice solid step up from many entry-level boxes and it will do it with the added bonus of a fun and adjustable tube stage. And if you don’t want what the tube stage does for a particular application, one click to “off” and it’s out of the way, still leaving you with a very cost-effective and good-sounding solid-state preamp!
up to decent amounts of gain. Now, the BlueTube DP V2 won’t be as dead quiet as a dedicated ribbon mic preamp would be, but I had to crank the gain knob to 3 o’clock and higher before I found the noise floor intruded too much into the recording. To my ears this makes the new XMAX design one of the cleaner designs in its class, and makes the BlueTube DP V2 a significant and worthwhile investment for the entry-level recording musician rather than a waste of cash.
If all you need is a single channel, the Presonus TubePre V2 offers all of the features of the BlueTube DP V2 minus the full bypass of the tube stage. Either way, check them out if it’s time to move up from the preamps in your audio interface, or even if you just want to add some solid gain to your signal chain. Price: $229.95 More from: PreSonus, www.presonus.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013
Table of Contents
2012 AES Convention Report.
Universal Audio Apollo.
ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Monitors & Monitoring.
Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Getting Into Your Head.
Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
2012 Annual Index.
Recording - January 2013 - Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013 - Cover2
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Recording - January 2013 - 3
Recording - January 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - January 2013 - 5
Recording - January 2013 - Table of Contents
Recording - January 2013 - 7
Recording - January 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - January 2013 - 9
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 AES Convention Report.
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Recording - January 2013 - Universal Audio Apollo.
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Recording - January 2013 - ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Recording - January 2013 - 25
Recording - January 2013 - Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Recording - January 2013 - 27
Recording - January 2013 - Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
Recording - January 2013 - 29
Recording - January 2013 - AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 31
Recording - January 2013 - 32
Recording - January 2013 - 33
Recording - January 2013 - Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Recording - January 2013 - 35
Recording - January 2013 - Monitors & Monitoring.
Recording - January 2013 - 37
Recording - January 2013 - 38
Recording - January 2013 - 39
Recording - January 2013 - Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
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Recording - January 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
Recording - January 2013 - 43
Recording - January 2013 - PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Recording - January 2013 - 45
Recording - January 2013 - Getting Into Your Head.
Recording - January 2013 - 47
Recording - January 2013 - 48
Recording - January 2013 - 49
Recording - January 2013 - Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
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Recording - January 2013 - 55
Recording - January 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
Recording - January 2013 - 57
Recording - January 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Recording - January 2013 - 59
Recording - January 2013 - 60
Recording - January 2013 - 61
Recording - January 2013 - Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - Advertiser Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - 2012 Annual Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - January 2013 - Cover3
Recording - January 2013 - Cover4