Run, don't walk, to get one for yourself.
The crowd response to my singing with the ART VS not has been staggering for me. Check it out.
Model Year: 1999
Price: $200.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Musicians Friend
It is advertised as a microphone preamp and compressor.
Tube-based mic/line premaplifier
Tube-based optical compressor
Hand selected 12AX7a tubes
VCA-less compressor circuitry=transparent dynamics control
Unique tube drive nad gain reduction metering
Bypassable compression circuitry
XLR balanced inputs and outputs
1/4" TS unbalanced inputs and outputs
+48V phantom power
Over 70dB of gain
I recently used it at a couple of gigs with my Carvin PA using an Electro Voice Mic (EV 927 Concert)
With out the ART my system sounded pretty darn good but when I plugged the preamp in...OH MY GOD.
The compressor caused my vocals to be as clear at a whisper as at a shout and the preamp brought the pressence up to...well the best way I can describe it is when you were a kid and you got new tennis shoes. You can jump higher, run faster, sing better, and get more tips at the gig.
It is not an effect it just allows you to express yourself with more dynamic control.
Plug it in and turn it on.
It is in a small half rack space little black box.
Looks like it can take a licking but I haven't used it long enough to comment.