I have a Presonus Firepod. I quite like it.
My silly question is: is another preamp necessary or are the preamps on the Firepod enough?
I bought an ART MP preamp. The problem is that it is REALLY noisy. Lots of hiss. I went back to just using the Firepod preamps and the hiss was gone.
So any ideas or recommendations would be appreciated.
If you're happy with the Firepod and the way it sounds, then that's good enough.
Another preamp is certainly not "necessary", although you may find it useful to have some different sounding preamps to give you more options in shaping your sounds. But, again, if what you have sounds fine to you, then there is no reason to add more preamps, and you'll notice a much bigger change in sound by adding different microphones before adding more preamps.
There is certainly something to be said about the nicer, dedicated preamps... and, by "nicer", I mean those that typically start around $1000 or more. I would not put the ART MP in that category. My favorite preamp that I own, by far, is the Great River ME-1NV. At some point I may add a second one, or get a dual channel version (2NV). That preamp can make even some crappy microphones sound great! But, it's not cheap either!
If you aren't recording professionally, or trying to sell your music on a mass level, investing in $1000+ preamps is probably not the wisest way to spend your money, especially in this economy!
If you are near any major city, there are probably also some pro audio rental places around where you can rent some high-end preamps to try out to see if they make any difference. Many rental places have lots of the "classic" preamps for rent, such as the Neve preamps (the Great River preamp that I love is designed to sound like a more modern version of a Neve preamp).
If your ART MP is REALLY noisy, perhaps it's broken? Maybe a bad tube? If it's still under warranty, try to send it back for a new one.