Help With Preamp Selection
I'm going modular and I need some help selecting a preamp for my set up.
Right now, I'm running the post eq XLR out of my GK-700RB-II into a Peavey Classic 120 tube poweramp.
I'm looking for a preamp to replace the GK.
I really like the GK sound, and it sort of feels like "home" for me (started on a backline combo and the 700RB-II has been the only amp I've owned for years) But I'm looking to try something a bit different.
I really like Justin Chancellor's sound. Thick and detailed without being boomy or harsh. That's kind of what I'm going for. Something that meets those criteria with a versatile mid range eq would probably be perfect
NOTE: I DON'T WANT JUSTIN'S TONE! I just admire the qualities of it and am searching for something similar.
I've been looking for a Hiwatt/Reeves sounding preamp because a lot of my favorite players used Hiwatts for their sound, and all of the descriptions I've read match what I'm looking for in terms of a clean tone, but I can't find anything like that on the market. I've got a Tech21 Leeds (doesn't drive the poweramp) and a Catalinbread WIIO (more of an overdrive) but they're not cutting it for my purposes.
I'm not trippin' on tube vs solid state either. The solid state GK preamp sounds much more lively through the tube poweramp, so I think either one will be fine.
Any suggestions (preferably with sound clips) are greatly appreciated.
Other possibly relevant info:
I'm primarily a rock player and I play with both fingers and a pick, and usually with a very hard attack.
I play Jazz basses, Precision basses, a T-40, a 4003 and a custom Jaguar depending on the specific needs of a gig/the mood I'm in.
I play through a GK MBE410 with the tweeter turned off
I have a Rane DC-24 compressor and PE-15 Parametric EQ that can (and most likely will) be a part of this setup.
I would seriously check out the Aguilar Tone Hammer pre.
I've been pretty interested in trying one out. I played through an Aguilar tube pre at a rehearsal studio, and thought it sounded pretty rich.
My only concern is my current pedal preamp (Tech 21) doesn't drive the power amp nearly enough for a clean sound at a decent volume.
I guess a budget would help too, right? I'm not planning on it, but I'd be willing to spend up to $1000 for the right unit. I'd like to keep it under $500 though if that's possible.
I realize that's a pretty big difference, but I've been saving a lot, and have a lot of gear to sell off, so I'd like keep my options open.
I run my TH into an ART pro Channel II (which you should also check out as it is a killer pre for the cash). I do this via XLR cable. The TH has enough to drive my IRP via XLR or line out though.
I've got the Leeds Character Series Hiwatt emulator pedal. If I have the level cranked all the way up, it's not particularly loud, especially in a band context. That's with the gain at around noon. I can crank the gain and get more volume, but I also get more dirt (which is awesome, but not when I just want a clean sound that can compete at band level).
I know it's not the power tubes breaking up either, because with the GK, I can get a much louder clean sound before it goes into tube grit and nastiness.
I've seen your posts about the ART and I've been seriously considering that one as well.
Thanks for your help so far!
Edit: Sorry, I meant the Tech21 pedal doesn't drive the POWERAMP enough in that last post. I'm using it as my preamp.
I have driven a poweramp with an ART Tube MP V3 with good success and is a good cost-effective tool if you want a nice punch clean tone.
If I was building a rig based on a preamp: I would go with an Avalon U5 - it's pure class A and has tone that's thick and creamy with a good tube power-amp. Have played thru them several times while recording and must say that they are amazing little boxes.
If I remember correctly it's what Geddy uses for his clean tone & deep-bass tones.
If you like the G-K sound, and you're using a 700's preamp to get it, then I'd say go get an MB200 and run it as a preamp. Small, light, cheap. I did that for a while (into either an RMX-1450 or an SLA-2) and it sounded great.
A bit outside your budget but you may want to check out the Monique thread. Lots of gushing about her tonal characteristics and flexibility. I haven't had the pleasure to check her out yet but hope to sometime.
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