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Alembic F-1X Problem

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thombo, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    so i have an F-1X pre that i sent into alembic about a year ago to have serviced b/c the DI wasn't working and i had some noise complaint issues.
    after the repair, the DI was fixed but alembic service person said that they didn't find any noise issue.

    i know that these units have a fair amount of hiss which i tolerate because i love the tone. that is not what i am talking about (though suggestions on minimizing that would be helpful.

    the noise tends to come and go and i have no idea what causes it. it sounds like very loud microphonics w/ a crackly, cycling type of sound.
    it is not all of the time, but when it happens the preamp is near unusable. it tends to happen in waves (ie; a week straight then nothing for a month). i have banged around the unit w/ a pen, cleaned the jacks, tried different tubes, and nothing has worked.

    the unit is plugged into a furman power conditioner. i have tried totally isolated circuits (yes circuits, not individual outlets... worked as and electrician for a few years) so that nothing else is causing interference (ie; washer, dryer, etc). it is not the poweramp or my instrument (the sound happens when the w/out any input plugged in, and stops when the unit is unplugged from my poweramp... i have also tried different poweramps.

    i love the sound of this unit. i can deal with the hiss. b/c of the awsome tone, but it is becoming usable. any suggestions?
  2. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Call Alembic. They're good folks and have been more than helpful to me when I owned an F-1X. If they can tell you how to fix it yourself without having you send the unit in they will.
  3. grace & groove

    grace & groove

    Nov 30, 2005
    Self-Appointed Ambassador to the Dragonfly
    He already did that.
  4. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    From the OP's comments, I didn't get the sense that he had totally explained the circumstances during that call. I could be wrong. Even so, I'd call again.
  5. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004

    Something wrong if you are getting hiss. I have 2 of these units and neither exhibit these tendencies.
  6. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    You must not have done a search (DAS!) This has been covered in the F-1X Megathread.

    It most likely is one of two things:

    1) preamp tube is going out. Replace the tube.

    2) jacks need to be exercised. See either the Megathread, or the Alembic Forum on details on how to do this.

    I know you've already done this, but try it again just to make sure. If this isn't the problem, and you're able to rule out problems with the AC power or your other pieces of the signal chain, then it does need service and Alembic will definitely work with you on it.
  7. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    I had a similar problem with mine.... It was the effects loop jacks on the rear.. get a jack and push it in and out of the send and return jacks a dozen or so times.. if you have tuner cleaner spray it in there.... the send receive jacks get some slight oxidation oi them and have intermittent contacts.. it worked for me... if you are in a pinch just put a short maybe 1 foot long jack from the send right back to the return jack.. that will take the loop out of the question.. problem fixed.. try it.. i bet it works.. i found out by my trial and error... PM me if you better directions and i will give you my phone number to trouble shoot.. Im off to a gig now but will be in tomorrow..
    good luck
  8. koobie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    +1 Mine has a very low noise floor.
  9. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I have to concur that the hiss thing sounds funny to me. My F-1X (11 years old) has always been dead quiet.

    Hope the suggestion by svtb15 helps.

  10. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    thanks for the input, i am greatful.

    i did browse and search the mega-thread but didn't find any problems that were similar to mine. i saw some noise issues, but none seemed this severe (minor hiss and microphonics).

    i have spoke to alembic in the past, described the problem to them in full detail. their customer service is always very quick and courteous. they have suggested "exercising" the jacks each time, and i had each time (main inputs, effects loop, and outputs). i did this both by pushing a 1/4" in and out 50 times each, and w/ a q-tip and alcohol... neither of these yielded the desired result. as suggested by svtb15, i will do this again.

    as for the hiss, i have tried new tubes.... the original russian sovtek and a mesa tube, as well as some other randoms for short periods of time. typically don't tubes make microphonics when tapped if they are on their way out?

    as for the hiss, i don't know... maybe the unit isn't grounded properly? i can't imagine that alembic would have missed that when they serviced it. i have always seem it as par for the course w/ tubes.

    regardless, i do really like the tone i get from this puppy and hope to get it back to tip-top... thanks for the help.
  11. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    It's a good ideal to spray the tube socket with cleaner every couple of years.
  12. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    what kind of cleaner? brand wise i'm obviously not using windex or lysol)?
  13. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    opened'er up and the ground wasn't connected... easy fix! cleaned up the jacks while i was at it, thanks for the replies!

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