Obsolete guitar gear: ADA MP-1
There's some guitar gear out there that many players think have some magical sonic quality to it when in reality there's really nothing magical about it at all. One of these is the ADA MP-1.
The MP-1 is a programmable tube preamp. It has two overdrives, master gain, 3-band EQ (4 if you count "presence"), chorus and like many other rack units of the time has effects loop support.
What made the MP-1 such a big deal back in the 80s? Mainly the fact that for the time it did so much in such a small package (again, for its time), and could be remotely operated by a ginormous foot controller if desired. The way the MP-1 did its thing is via an embedded Zilog Z80 computer processor on the inside.
The only reason anyone wants an MP-1 these days is because they think that because guys like
KirkHamster Kirk Hammett and Paul Gilbert used one, they should own one too.
Worth owning? No. Here's why:
Reasons NOT to own an MP-1
- Tone killer - Any tonal character your guitar has will be squashed by the MP-1; it also squashes amp and cabinet tone as well. And yes, these are bad things. This is why just about every YouTube video featuring the MP-1 sounds exactly the same no matter what guitar is plugged into it.
- Noisy as hell - There is no noise reduction in the MP-1 at all, meaning whenever you dial it in, a lot of noise happens. Awful, nasty noise.
- Unreliable - The MP-1 is one of the earlier digital + tube designs combined with a membrane style keypad that can go batty on you at any moment. Not a recipe for reliability. Not at all.
- Only sounds good through large amp/cabinet setups - The MP-1 was "voiced" for large cabinet rigs. Attempting to push it through a smaller rig just won't sound right. And don't even think about trying to record one direct because that will make it sound even worse.
There's a lot of modern guitar gear these days that totally smokes anything the MP-1 could ever do - along with adding in the ability to plug in direct (DI) and still sound great which the MP-1 never had.
I suppose there is a bit of cool factor to the MP-1 just from its appearance. Seeing it in a rack with all its blue buttons and large LED display does look neat. But in all honesty, you can get that classic 80s rock sound without the bulk or the noise using other stuff.