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Useful Arts Hornet Instrument Preamp/DI  From Useful Arts

Mini. Mighty. Go.

Useful Arts


"Experience the Difference"

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Useful Arts Audio Hornet Sound Samples

Introducing the new, compact preamp and DI box from Useful Arts Audio, the Hornet. In this video, hear to the comparisons between the Hornet and other mic preamps. 

  • Signal Chain
    • Useful Arts Hornet Instrument Preamp/DI

Manufacturer's Description from Useful Arts

The idea behind the Hornet is simple: give people an affordable, portable preamp/DI that can go toe to toe with any of the $1000+ preamps on the market.  After years of development, it’s here.  An ultra low-noise front end that gives signal the creamy thickness, bite and power that built-in pres on interfaces just don’t deliver like dedicated preamps.  Need an even thicker, more powerful sound?  Just dial in the Color control, and the personality of the signal is enhanced without the need for compression or EQ.  The Hornet features discrete gain cell topology, a custom Cinemag input transformer, and JFET DI.  Even at 60 dB of gain, it’s insanely quiet. The Hornet is tiny, but don’t let that fool you – it’s perfectly capable of serving as the front end of choice even in the best studios.



  • Microphone and Instrument inputs
  • Color control
  • Discrete gain topology
  • Custom Cinemag input transformer
Useful Arts

About Manufacturer

Useful Arts was born out of an aesthetic quest for vibrant, living sound straight from the source -- not merely a technically clean sound that needs enhancement after enhancement to speak in a mix.  Back in the days when the U-47 was a commonly-used "standard" microphone, there were no "standard" preamps -- studios used hand-built consoles with custom tube preamps designed to capture the personality of the recording.  In the same way, our hand-built products are designed to enhance dynamics and perceived tonal richness, not simply to make a small signal electrically bigger.  We invite you to hear for yourself the difference that philosophy makes.

We hand-build Class A tube gear in the United States for recording professionals and musicians.  We don't build "clones" of classic gear -- our designs are created from the ground up and thoroughly optimized to achieve specific sonic goals.  We use circuit topologies inspired by some of the most treasured gear made during the 40s, 50s and 60s, coupled with modern design techniques to ensure reliability, compatability and feature sets that meet the needs of the digital age.  This approach requires expensive, bulky and heavy components, but as a small company we don't have to cut corners to meet the rigid cost constraints of mass-produced brands.  (We don't make washing machines or cell phones, nor do we report to those who do).  Our engineering mandate is to create the best-sounding equipment possible, not to figure out how to get acceptable sound at a retail price point.  The result is gear that captures the sound of microphones and instruments not only with clarity, but with beauty.

There is plenty of usable gear out there that will give reliable performance with amazing specs.  So who needs yet another option?  People who want their recordings and live performances to sound intimate and powerful without the need for further processing.   Plugins can do incredible things, but they can't create raw data that isn't there.  Our devices ensure that every nuance and every transient is translated in a way that excites the ear.  

That's the art of sound.


Preamp Type: Solid State

Number of Channels: 1

Phantom Power: Yes

Analog Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4"

Analog Outputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4"

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

Power Source: 48V DC power supply (included)

Height: 2"

Depth: 3.5"

Width: 4.62"