1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Alembic F1-X vs. Demeter VTBP201S

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by remo, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    I’m looking into replacing my Sansamp RBI with (at this stage) either an Alembic F1-X or a Demeter VTBP201S. I play pop/rock and my bass is a MM SR5. The RBI is good but I find it acts like more like an effect than a preamp.. i.e. very couloured sound.. and I'm not a huge fan of the its sound with the RBI blend rolled back..

    I use the DI out of the RBI at every gig. Just wondering how the DI out’s of the Alembic and the Demeter sound in a live situation, any comments from FOH guys re. the tone/level?

    Also I read that phantom power can kill the Demeter.. is this also true of the Alembic pre?

    I read of an apparent lack of mid from the F1-X, could this be remedied by boosting the mids on my SR5 onboard EQ?

    Does the Demeter have any problem with delivering mids?

    Also just after any other comments on the difference between how these pres sound as I have not been able to find a great deal on the Demeter VTBP201S on TB. :help:
  2. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG Commercial User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner of Bass Gear Direct
    Hi Remo,

    I currently own the VTBP201 (older version 1.5 rack space) also use to own the Alembic F1-X and Demeter HBP-1 (should have kept that one).

    The Alembic, I wasn't too crazy about. I was going to replace my older Demeter with the Alembic but changed my mind and sold the Alembic and kept the Demeter.
    Although the Alembic has a very warm tone I just could not get it to work for me in a live application. Just too limited in the tone control. Yes I did also notice the lack of mids on the Alembic. Very subtle.
    The Demeter tone controls are also very subtle also but at least you have a switch for low mids (120HZ) and another mid shelving type control which I think is voiced between 500HZ & 1000HZ, which I found very handy. Also there is a Shelving treble control, Presence control, and a Bright switch. Overall the Demeter was much more versatile with a very warm but transparent sound which was also quick.

    MY Demeter , came with a Jensen Transformer for the DI which is fantastically warm, noise free and crystal clear, and the soundman will luv ya' for it. IMO, it sounded better than the Alembic's DI.
    As for for the Phantom power issue I have never encountered such a problem so I can't comment on that.

    You may also want to consider the Demeter HBP-1 which I wish I hadn't sold because it works even better than the Demeter VTBP-201 in live apllications. It has the 2 parametric controls with a "Q" width control on each parametric. This model overall has a more mid-rangey type of sound than the VTBP-201 and the parametric can come in very handy in venue's with really bad acoustics.

    Aslo I'm not sure if you got my PM I sent you the other day regarding EA.
    Cheers anyway, hope the above has been helpful.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    ...I've heard the Kern meets the best of both worlds regarding the 2 pre's discussed here...

  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I didn't like the interactive EQ on the Alembic. When you are on a gig, and you want a little more mids, you don't want it to change the *tone*, just the EQ balance. I just got a 201S and so far I'm real impressed. The EQ seems very well voiced.

    The alembic does sound great, and get get some very funky tones if you mess with it, I just didn't find it very practical.
  5. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Owned both. Loved the Dem 201S! Super clear, great tone, quick, responsive. It was a very easy choice between the two for me, but I like a very modern, clean tone.
    Your ears may vary!
  6. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    The Alembic was originally designed off the Fender Dual Showman preamp section, and is naturally mid-shy. I think "flat" on it is 2-10-2 on bass, mid, treble. I used to fight with it a lot (former F2B owner) until I read somewhere that the mids were cut-only. So if you set everything at 5, you'd have a smiley curve, and a fairly big one at that. For more mids, you'd have to cut your bass and treble back a WHOLE lot, then max the mids. Not intuitive, unless you're a g****r player who used to play through a Dual Showman! I love the sound of the Alembic pre, but never played through a Demeter. I hear they're a lot flatter. The Kern sounds like it's an interesting one as well, though I've come to really love my BBE B-Max solid-state.
  7. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

    on the Demeters...I used to have that same VTBP-201 (11/2 space) and I just got the HBP-1....I agree that the parametric ED on the HBP-1 adds great tonal flexability to that clean trademark Demeter tone. I've also been trying it out for my Clevinger electric upright, and it sounds great.
  8. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    Hi George, yes I did get your pm, thanks for that.. I will give you a call re. EA in the next few days once my schedule clears. Thanks for your view on the Demeter vs. Alembic pre's. Looks like the HBP-1 is the way to go.. I'm thinking the Demeter HBP-1 looks like the way to go.. anyone have anything negative to say about them?
  9. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    yeah, The power light on mine stopped working after my rack tipped over and plopped on the ground. My fault. But I'm trying hard to be negative.

    Other than that, mine sounds great and its quality gear. I'll never sell mine either. It's a keeper.
  10. Piezoman


    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    The Demeter will sound fantastic with your stingray too. I'd say go demeter.
  11. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    great.. can you guys suggest the cheapest place to pick a HBP-1 up online?
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    alembic = cloudy butter fat
    demeter = clarified mono-unsaturated butter
  13. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    I have both except i have the F-2B alembic.
    Love them both. I will use one for awhile than switch.
    The Demeter although a great sounding pre it does not have major tonal shaping ability. What you hear is what you get. You turn the dials and it won't be drastic at all. But its still nice. As far as the alembic it has more tonal ability. But Im not crazy over the highs. It think it peeks at around 5.5 k. But the lows are great. Use them with a CA 6 by Crest. and a Whoopo Jr. All I can say is.......................... get both.
    I know its expensive right now, but as you go on the road of playing you will have another pre somewhat soon anyway. Sell a few, have gas for a few more. The quest for tone.........
  14. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

    Not sure about absolute cheapest....but I got mine from Bass Central Online
  15. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    If you are interested I'm considering selling my Demeter 201s.
  16. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    If you love the sound of your bass, talk to Big String! The 201's sometimes take a little getting use to because of their clarity IMHO. I change my mind about tone a bit, but I've had my Demeter awhile, and still love it. Soundmen also love the DI, but I'm not sure if the HBP-1 has the Jenson transformer like the 201.
  17. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    AFAIK, The Jensen transformer is not available on the HBP-1; not even as an option. I own the older, 1 1/2 space 201 and I am very well pleased with it.
  18. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    An alternative to the Alembic, but with the same basic tone-stack is the Trace Elliot V-type. It solves the midrange issue with a wacking great mid-boost pull switch.

    Works great, sounds great, cuts through like a hot knife through buttah.

    Of course, they are no longer made. So you'd have to do some hunting.

    I have a V-6 and a V-300H with that preamp and I've had no problems with phantom power. The line out works great. Sound guys love 'em, too.
  19. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i owned an older demeter for awhile, don't know the model,
    it was great. excellent di.(jensen?) a bit more glassy high-end...not my thing really. i now use the f1-x, it's my fav, i've owned more than a few over the years, and keep going back. excellent di as well.
    the demeter definiely had more on-board tone shaping, but
    the alembic is much warmer, more pleasing to me, i just run it flat(2-10-2) and use the eq on my bass.
    i found the fron't-end on the alembic much more difficult, if nearly impossible(nearly) to overdrive.
    if your bass doesn't have much eq and you want more options, the demeter is probably better for you, as you've sussed out.
  20. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    The Alembic definitely sacrifices broad tone flexibility for very natural warm goodness. It won't readily overdrive or get gritty - but if that's the sound you're looking for, this isn't really what this preamp was designed to do. I've definitely gotten a good response from engineers taking the DI off it. I don't know much about the Demeter other than its nuetrality - where the Alembic will give you some old school flava, the Dem won't "add" flava to your sound. The lack of mid on the Alembic definitely takes getting the hang of - I've added a parametric EQ in the chain to give some added depth. But yes, that means one more thing to haul... :)