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Art MPA Gold or Grace m101?
Old 16th August 2009
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Art MPA Gold or Grace m101?

Would anyone like to elaborate on which i should get?

I'll be recording vocals and some percussion instruments.
Old 16th August 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
they're are both so different. The MPA Gold with a nice tube swap sounds really good for the price, but the Grace will give you a totally CLEAN gain with wire preamp. Depends if you are looking for the pre to impart any character on the signal.
Old 16th August 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbonez ➑️
they're are both so different. The MPA Gold with a nice tube swap sounds really good for the price, but the Grace will give you a totally CLEAN gain with wire preamp. Depends if you are looking for the pre to impart any character on the signal.
I agree. I guess it depends if you already have another preamp that's kind of your "cornerstone". If not, and you're looking for that cornerstone preamp, then I'd probably go with the Grace 101, which I think would work great on pretty much everything.

Frank
Old 16th August 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I need a clean signal (not "squeaky" clean), but I know if I want "color", I can always get a Tube Mic.

Right now I have a Shure KSM27 and a Behringer 1204fx mixer that my buddy let me borrow for the time being. It sounds "good", but, when i start to stack vocals, I notice that the "character" changes and the tone starts to lose its "flavor."

Here is an example of how I do my recording takes (hook - 6 stacks, 2 panned 60% L, 2 panned 60% R, 2 stacks in the center)(verse - 3 stacks, 1 in the center, 1 panned 30% L, 1 panned 30% R)

I just want to be able to HEAR the microphone without any artifacts showing up in the signal.

If the Grace does this better than the ART, then I'll buy the Grace.

If not, should I go with the ART, or should I find another pre suitable for my needs?

- Senor Jaime

P.S. This will be my ONLY pre amp purchase. If I decide to buy another one, it won't be for another 10 years.
Old 16th August 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Hmmm...that's a tough call. Either one of them will smoke the preamps in the mixer. The MPA Gold will be really flexible...it can go clean or with color dialed in, and it sounds great either way. On the other hand, it's noisier than the Grace 101 is and the overall focus isn't quite as good. It's 85% as good though, and it's a lot cheaper.

I don't know...I'm going to kinda reverse myself here I think. You might be happier with the MPA in the long run simply because of the flexibility, and because you'll have two channels rather than one.

Frank
Old 16th August 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
i like the fact that the Art MPA has 2 channels vs. the Grace m101 with 1. but, the pre amp will mostly be used for vocals (i'll do percussion, but not as much as vocals)

so i don't know if i would need that XTRA channel. i can do stereo recording with the mixer and use the new pre amp for vocals.

i just want to know if there is anything out there that competes with both the Grace and the Art MPA (best bang for buck).

my budget is $500, but i can bump it up if y'all think the Grace should be THE pre I should get.

- Senor Jaime
Old 17th August 2009
  #7
Registered User
 
Kain's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
MPA

I use the MPA daily and is one of the most versitile pre's ive ever used.Changed the stock tubes for Mallards and have'nt looked back. Nice clean but i like a little color and it has plenty of that.Also it's a 2 channel and i think the grace is overpriced I.M.O but is a super clean pre,can't go wrong with either but i take the MPA overall.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Registered User
 
Kain's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
dont forget this little Gem!

FMR RNP is one of the cleanest 2 channel pre's around and go for around $450-$500 on ebay and will be my next pre for acoustic guitar. Widely considered the best bang for buck pre out there,worth considering,not that it matters but it,s ugly as sin,
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
Both are different, one is clean (M101), the other is colored (MPA) and both can work well in different situations.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
fossaree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In this case , grace for sure . My 2c $ .
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Alot of good answers so far... The Grace is a clean machine and very detailed. Each mic will show it's true character thru this excellent pre. I don't think it's overpriced at all.

The MPA Gold is more versatile. Good clean and good color if you want it. If you tube swap you can eliminate the noise because the Chinese tubes are the problem there.. Telefunkens will make it very quiet and very detailed! The most overlooked feature of the MPA Gold is the impedance selector knobs which can really make mic voicings very tweakable and when you find the "sweet spot" it's amazing. The high voltage plate switch at the "in" position delivers some beautiful and silky tube warmth which is super on vocals!

If you really want clean with a lot of channels (4), the Sytek is an excellent buy.

They are "all excellent." It's just a matter of what you want.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Get the Gold. The Grace just gloms onto the Jeff Buckley album, riding on its coat tails if you will.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 ➑️

If you really want clean with a lot of channels (4), the Sytek is an excellent buy.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
The Sytek is outta my league. I'm open to DIY stuff, but I'm not very good at it, so I would need a local shop to do it for me.

In fact, is there a DIY kit for 1 or 2 channel pre amps? For under $500? And "clean," not "colored?"

The ART sounds like the winner, but how much would it costs to upgrade the tubes? And if swapping the tubes out is easy, than what would be the top 5 tubes to purchase?
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Jaime ➑️
The Sytek is outta my league. I'm open to DIY stuff, but I'm not very good at it, so I would need a local shop to do it for me.

In fact, is there a DIY kit for 1 or 2 channel pre amps? For under $500? And "clean," not "colored?"

The ART sounds like the winner, but how much would it costs to upgrade the tubes? And if swapping the tubes out is easy, than what would be the top 5 tubes to purchase?
search for BOWIE on the boards here, he is great to buy tubes from as a number of people here can attest to...I personally got an old amperex and ge longplate from him...when you email him, let him know what you are looking for and he will let you know about which tubes he recommends...this guy really knows his stuff
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
thanx!

i'll try and get a hold of him.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had an MPA Gold and swapped the tubes to NOS Telefunkens but even with the swap I found the MPA Gold to be MUCH noisier than my other pres. I did like the tone of the MPA Gold but found it to be too noisy for critical recording!

I have a Focusrite ISA ONE as my main go to pre at the moment and I'm looking to get either a Grace M101 or True Systems P-Solo to compliment it.

If your budget is around $500 then I would consider :-

True Systems P-Solo
Grace M-101
Black Lion Auteur
GAP PRE-73

It's worth noting that ART has upgraded the MPA Gold to the PRO MPA II :-

Applied Research & Technology: Tube Mic Preamps

Apparently the noise has been improved as has the gain staging but I would personally go for one of the other four I listed.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, I've not used the two space ART mic amps, but have the one space one with digital out. It's useable but I wouldn't stack a bunch of recorded parts through it. Especially on backup vocals, it builds up some crud, I mean like on consonants it's gets crunchy. The Grace on the other hand will stack for days which is really how I judge pre's. Soloed bits like in the shoot outs really don't tell me much at all about how a stack of recorded parts will translate.

Many on these boards go on and on about the two space units so it's probably a whole different animal. The RNP is very nice and useable unit as well.

If you think you might want to go the Grace route, I've got one of the originals (chrome face) in excellent condition with manual, original ship box etc. that I'm thinking of selling. In my shoot outs, it's a very similar sound on my mics to my Avalon so gonna let it go. Pm if interested.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David C. ➑️
Many on these boards go on and on about the two space units so it's probably a whole different animal. The RNP is very nice and useable unit as well.
They are TOTALLY different preamps...night and day.

Frank
Old 17th August 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 
chess999's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
IMO the grace is the obvious choice if your not buying another pre for another 10 years. I had the MPA gold with tubes changed out...sound while somewhat versatile was only OK at best...certainly gonna be better than your mixer pre's as mentioned before but probably something you will be unhappy with after a short period of time unless you already own a "quality" pre. btw, I sold the mpa gold about a month ago and went with seventh circle.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
If your budget is around $500 then I would consider :-

True Systems P-Solo
Grace M-101
Black Lion Auteur
GAP PRE-73



Anyone used these for hip-hop/rap vocals? Or for voice-over work?

And BigGreen, explain to me how the Grace takes the life out of sounds it captures.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #22
RTR
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I sold my grace m101 and I now have the mpa, it sounded good even with the stock tubes..I have swapped them out for a solvtec and a funken tube and it really is not that BIG of a difference IMO!!
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Registered User
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Product support is important to consider. I blew my Grace 101 (my fault) and they replaced it no charge. They didn't have to do that. The 101 is very detailed and accurate
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Iggy Poop's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The Grace doesn't take anything out of a mic. It just doesn't add anything into it. When you hear a mic through a Grace, you're hearing exactly what that mic sounds like. That being said, maybe you want to hear something added. The people at Grace have chosen to differentiate their preamps from all the others in this way. Instead of pleasantly coloring the sound, they tranfer the signal as cleanly as possible. That's either what you want or it isn't. That's why we use more than one preamp in our studios. My 2 cents.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Nut
 
chess999's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
GAP PRE-73 is another good budget pre as previously mentioned. At least it has transformers in it. Forget the tube hype, transformers give that "sound". plus the GAP is based off of Neve topology. Sure it's made in asia but what great bang for the buck. Probably would be noticeably better than the ART, although I'm certainly not knocking the art either, it's good for the price point and it is stereo.
Old 17th August 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Iggy Poop's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chess999 ➑️
GAP PRE-73 is another good budget pre as previously mentioned. At least it has transformers in it. Forget the tube hype, transformers give that "sound". plus the GAP is based off of Neve topology. Sure it's made in asia but what great bang for the buck. Probably would be noticeably better than the ART, although I'm certainly not knocking the art either, it's good for the price point and it is stereo.
You know I heard some good things about this. Anyone out there have it?
Old 18th August 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I checked out the Zen Pro Audio website and listened to the samples they had for the GAP Pre73.

Not bad. I LOVE the fact that they have 2 upgrade options to choose from.

I wonder if there is a cheaper mod then the $300 one they currently have.

Anyone know if they do?
Old 18th August 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
MikeFFG's Avatar
I have the m101 and love it...it's super quiet..however like everyone else said there is no coloration. This is great sometimes but I definitely wish I had a second pre with more character. But you could stack 100 vocal tracks on top of each other with no problem with the grace . IMO this pre will last you for MANY years...even if you start moving up in price range you will be hard pressed to find a quieter and more transparent pre.
Old 18th August 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I would go with the Grace as well. Better to have something that doesn't get in the way of the mic's sound. If you want a different sound, just use a different mic.

As far stacking is concerned, if you're stacking stuff in the same spectral range it's not gong to matter what you're using, you're gong to wind up with mud. You need to separate tracks out spectrally if you really want to hear everything.
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