Adding tube preamps to a small format mixer is such a no-brainer, it’s highly curious why there aren’t more of these around! But this is ART’s thing: deliver tubed-out gear at a sensible price. A listing on Thomann confirms that Applied Research and Technology, known in budget enthusiast circles for their affordable tube preamps like the ART Tube MP, is going to start shipping the TubeMix mid-August.
What’s a TubeMix? This is ART’s compact five-channel mixer featuring two tube microphone/instrument preamps and a built-in USB audio interface. Wooden sides and VU meters aside (a nice touch), it’s a rather no-frills affair. Digital audio is limited to a serviceable 16-bit, 48kHZ conversion that’s somewhat sub-par in the era of affordable 24-bit, 96kHZ interfacing. But the addition of a stereo line input with a 6.3mm jack is welcome – mixer manufacturers often overlook this part, or simply proceed with adding 2 x mono inputs in place of one stereo input, which doesn’t always make sense.
In addition to the two XLR inputs, there are two instrument inputs, and two balanced inputs. On the side of outputs, there are two main outs, two control outs, a headphone output, and aux send/return jacks. The mixer features a three-band parametric EQ with fixed frequencies on all channels, so you can do some basic sound carving. Other controls include pan, level, input trim, and sends. That’s pretty much it! Nothing overly generous, nothing out of place either.
Price and release date
At 283 EUR, this isn’t going to be the first choice for a budget mixer for many people, but the TubeMix is still decent value and a versatile little mischpult. It also has tubes, which makes it rather unique compared to mixers by Behringer, Soundcraft, Yamaha, and other prominent brands in this price category. Look for it after 18 August.