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Alembic F-1X vs. Ampeg SVP-Pro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rick1906, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. rick1906


    Jun 6, 2002
    I am looking at an F-1X preamp and would like opinions before I buy it. Currently, I play an SVP-Pro through a QSC PLX1602 which feeds an Eden D410T cab. I eventually want to get rid of the Eden cab and get a Bergie HT322. Before I do that, I'm considering trading my Ampeg pre for the Alembic F-1X. What's your opinions of this setup. For what it's worth, ny two basses are a Ken Smith BSR5M and a MM SR5. I play mostly funk, R&B, and gospel. Thanks for any input...
  2. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I had both in my rack for a while, and ended up selling the F1-X. I just think the SVP sounds better, and has a MUCH better feature set for me. If you want your sound to have more depth and sparkle, but be a little blurrier, and can live without the adjustable mids and switchable graphic EQ, then by all means go to an F1-X. The SVP-Pro is a great preamp.

    Sounds like a great little rig you've got.
  3. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    The F1-X sounds great in the living room, but it doesn't cut very well. I kept mine all of about 2 weeks because I couldn't hear myself, wheras I could hear myself in the same situation with the same gear just fine with an Aguilar 659 or the BBE Max-t. I say keep the Ampeg or get something else besides the Alembic.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The F1-X is a fantastic preamp (I used its conjoined sibling, the F2-B, for over 20 years), but the Achilles heel is its passive midrange control. Even running it 0-10-0 doesn't give much of a mid boost, and of course cutting through live is often achieved via mid boost.

    The F1-X is cleaner and more transparent. I wouldn't call it blurrier, except in that it doesn't boost mids well. The SVP can be run pretty clean, but IMO it's best used in achieving old-school Ampeg vibe. Boosting Gain and/or Drive gives varying degrees of warm overdrive... I use a mild amount. Then of course there's the variable mid control, multiple EQ contour switches... and the 9-band Eq (I don't use the latter).

    Honestly, if you're playing funk/gospel and using a Ken Smith through a QSC/Bergie rig, I would recommend the Alembic! OTOH, I think MusicMan basses go better with Ampeg (and a sealed cab, but that's not relevant here...) Just My Humble Opinion... Your Ears May Vary. :)
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Can't comment on the Ampeg, 'cause I've only played them in stores. What I can say about the F-1X is this....

    I had an SWR SM500 amp. Pretty decent sounding, but sometimes got lost in the mix.

    I bypassed the pre and drove the power section with an F-1X. Big improvement.

    I replaced the SM500 completely with a Crown Xs500, so that I'm playing the F-1X into the Crown Xs500. Huge improvement. That's what bass is supposed to sound like.


  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The Fender/RCA/Alembic tone stack is funadamentally a different approach from the mpeg/Baxandall tone stack. I dislike the Ampeg and like the Fender. So I like the tonality of Alembic pre's. You do have to consider the rest of the chain though. So the bass & cab's will have a huge impact on the final results...
  7. 7thbass


    Nov 21, 2003
    Houston, Tx
    I play with F1-x with Stewart 2.1 and Avatar 2x12.

    Tone controls take getting used to, as said previously, but once I got the hang of it never had problem cutting through.

    Tone is open, round. I like the Ampeg sound, but mostly the dirty variety. For clean, the F1-x is fantastic. Could not be happier with the tone.
  8. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
  9. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    True dat.

    If your factors include SWR Gol. cabs and a QSC1602 power source, it doesn't cut very well.
  10. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I've never had any problems cutting through with the Alembic. If you fool around with it enough, you can get it to sound like a Demeter, Ampeg, or SWR. It's one of the best sounding but I think most misunderstood preamps out there.
  11. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    everything he said. :cool:

    btw, rick, w/ this new rig, i.e. alembic/berg, your sound will change considerably. from an aggressive, inyourface, woolly tone, to a more smoother, fatter, richer sound.
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    At least with the two examples I had, the lows on the alembic were blurry compared to the SVP run clean. The SVP was tighter and clearer down low. I don't use the SVP for any overdrive, though when I have done this I've found that the best sound comes from overdriving the output stage with the master control rather than pushing up the gain.

    I liked the sound of the Alembic, just not as much as the SVP :D The highs on the alembic are amazing.
  13. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I simply love the F-1X. It has taken me several years to see what it really has to offer. Initially, I was put off by the inability to boost mids, which I tend to do. In time, I found that by manipulating the bass and treble controls, I could achieve what I was looking for in the midrange. The pre, to me, is clear as a bell. The sound is wide. I use a PLX 1602 into a pair of Aggie GS112s and couldn't be happier. I have gotten a TF550 and play it into my other pair of Aggies...it's a hoot, too! The F-1X will not be for sale...now or until after I am dead.

  14. Where do you set your controls?
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    That makes sense. And of course our opinions re blurriness might vary (slightly) simply due to our choice of tubes, or even other components in our respective signal chains (speaker cabs, etc). I absolutely agree with you about the highs on the Alembic!
  16. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    It varies. Mids are usually either 9 or 10. Treble usually lives at about 5. Bass varies from 1 to about 4. Bright off. Deep off.

  17. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I loved the tone of the F-1X, but I wanted more cut. The product manager of BBE told me on this board that the Max-t was like the F-1X, but with mid controls and more cut.

    I thought it had it's own unique tone, but it definitely had more cut.

    Then I switched to an Ashdown head, and I'm done.
  18. OBBM


    Jan 26, 2005
    Surrey, UK
    I have an F-1X and a BBE BMAX-T. I have drawn out the circuits for both to see if they are the same or similar. They are not. The tube stage of the BMAX-T is a clone of one channel of the F-2B. It has two gain stages and that is why it is so sensitive on the input.

    The F-1X has a cathode follower (unity gain) first stage, which drives the FX send and then a single gain stage. I'm considering rebuilding my BMAX-T tube stage to be the same as the F-1X. Now that would be something.
  19. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    That BBE unit is interesting. If the F1-X had a variable active mid control I'd have been more tempted to stick with it.
  20. Guess which preamp I use? ;)

    This is a great, classic preamp. Built like a tank, super reliable. Never had any problems with mine for the 8+ years I've had it. Running it through a PLX-2402 and an Acme B-2.