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Alembic FX-1 or Demeter VTBP-201S?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Yamarc, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Okemos, MI
    I know there is a similar thread happenin' right now, but I am curious....never owned an Alembic pre before.
  2. The alembic is based on the old fender tone circuit. So the controls are only cut. No boost. However you can dial in a fairly bassy round tone with some good highs. The mid control is not as good as some pres but thats sort of alwembics strong point too. Just plug and play and get a solid sweet tone. A bit mid scooped though.
  3. Hrothgar

    Hrothgar Guest

    Sep 22, 2003
    I use the Demeter, but I've tried the Alembic on several ocassions. The Alembic seems to be quite a bit too bassy, I love a good low end but it's built into this pre- and it's tough to get it out. The Demeter has the perfect amount of bass at 12 'o clock, in fact, I run it pretty much flat most of the time and absolutely love it. It has a little bit more 'true' tone to it, crappy bass=crappy tone, good bass=good tone.

    The demeter is more versatile, it can be laid back or agressive, the Alembic just can't get off the couch (which is great for jazz...).
    woodyng2 likes this.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Whereas to my ears, the Demeters aren't bassy enough! Don't get me wrong I think both Demeter pre's are amazing, they're just not the sound for me.

    As people have mentioned, the passive cut tone controls on the Alembic are less versatile than the boost eq of the demeter. That's definitely something to consider, as you might want to also get a parametric eq to go with the alembic if you go that path.

    Again, they're both great pre's. The Alembic is more bassy and old-school, the Demeter is more hi-fi (to my ears anyway)
  5. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Just chimin' in here.
    I'm a Demeter 201S man. I find it very very nice sounding. I've tried several other brands but have not tried the Alembic. I would love too an have been tempted to buy a used one just to see for myself and or have an extra. Just might do that some time, but right now I have a Walter Woods Ultra coming to me. (ya can't take it with you :D ) I can tell you the new price of an Alembic is considerably cheaper than a Dem. The Dem has the most excellent DI (with Jensen Transformer) and while it is also limited tonewise, the sound people just love the Demeter. I like clean and the Dem really delivers that. I added some NOS Telefunken 12ax7 smoothies and I'm really happy with them. Expensive and not completely necessary but very nice. The new production tubes sound good too. All in all it depends on what you like, what equipment you have, what you can afford and what is available to try. Most Makers of fine equipment will give you a trial period to see if it's your thang. My advise is take your time. My lovely wife is very understanding and also appreciates that buying and selling equipment is part of the "experiance" and can take a long time and cost you a few bucks in the process. She is a keeper.
    woodyng2 likes this.
  6. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I was sold on the Alembic until I heard the Demeter.

    The F-1X is a bit more the old school funk tone (still fairly versatile with all the switches).

    The midrange of the Dem's is more natural to me. I have a StingRay 5 and use a little of its bass boost and leave everything on the preamp flat (bright & presence switch in), great, smooth yet cut-through tone.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i like em both
    i have an older demeter preamp and an alembic
    both units have passive eq
    demeter is flat at 5-5-5, alembic is flat at 2-10-2
    in my experience you gotta really experiment with the alembic to figure out the eq - it is passive/interactive, which means each time you move one knob it kinda changes what the other 2 do
    also, using the deep switch changes the way all 3 knobs work, not just bass
    in my experience the eq on the demeter is a lot more subtle, i can get a lot more tones out of the alembic than the demeter
    other than that the alembic sounds "fatter" and the demeter sounds a little more "clear" and "tight"
    ya can't go wrong with either one
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  8. fernandobicho


    Mar 31, 2010
    It's all here.
    The Alembic has valve compressed sweet tone with any bass. The Demeter it's more neutral, with a better DI.
  9. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    An important element here is what bass and cabinet you will be pairing up with the preamp.

    Most of my basses are of the hi-fi active electronics variety and I find that the Alembic adds some old school tube warmth which is an important part of my sound. Add to that a couple largely flat response 3-way cabinets like Fearful or Acme, and having some of that "flava" vs. a more neutral sounding preamp is preferable. As I've come to learn, it's all in consideration of the other elements of the rig and what you're trying to go after with it!

  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
  11. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Also true!

    Used to own a Bergantino HT322 & a Demeter VTBP-201S= a great combination.
    The F1-X with the same cab made it more work to tighten up the lows.
    The F1-X with a fEarful 2x15 would make a great Reggae rig.
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Both are good. I prefer the Alembic. Yeah, the stack is an acquired taste. The Demeter seems sterile after the Alembic. With the Alembic, you embrace the flaws and make them part of your sound... I found the tomne controls on the Demeter to be largely ineffective.
  13. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    One thing to remember is that the Presence knob is boost only on the Demeter. I've been able to get all kinds of sounds with mine, a really early one. DI is as good as it gets, too.
  14. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    If I remember correctly the ranges on the B/M/T on the 201 was around +/- 6 dB, but I actually liked the available range, made it almost impossible to get bad sounding results regardless.

    On stage, with the other equipment I had, I could tell the difference with a small change of the EQ, can't say how it sounded off stage.

    I auditioned the VTBP-201S, the F1-X, & an Aguilar DB-659 when I bought my 1st decent rig. At the time I thought the F1-X sounded the best with the Berg HT310 (which I ended up not buying).
    I had a slight preference for the DB-659 over the 201 with the HT322, but it was enough more expensive that I ended up choosing the 201.
    I thought all three preamps sounded great though.
  15. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I agree with the above, I too auditioned the Demeter and a few other options before pulling the plug and getting the Alembic. To my ears the musical warmth trumped all other considerations, and as long as you don't mind adding a separate EQ for some extra flexibility it's a winning combo.

  16. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    I owned the Demeter 201 and own the F2B alembic. Both are great. I did get some distortion from the Demeter as some threads - older - would make comments about that. Mine was the rack and a half model. Very old. My alembic was made around 1980, I bought it used and I could use some repairs as I was thinking of sending it to them. I just can't think of selling it. It sounds like a clean fender bassman. Some like it and some don't.
  17. I did the ol' A/B/C at Guitar Center Way Back when BP magazine did their sub-$1000 bass pre shootout. I tried the F-1X, the Demeter VTBP-1 (quote from the shootout: this is the ****!) and the Ampeg SVP-Pro.

    I bought the F-1X. I wish I'd bought the Ampeg. The Demeter was too clean for me and I realized 2 months later that the Alembic just didn't do it for me at all. It sounded completely different in the store than it did at home and at practice I ended up just sticking a BBE in front of my power amp for a while... which sucked, too.

    The moral of this story is that you're going to get a different answer from every reply so just go out and try to make it do stuff it wasn't intended to do. Beat them to death and then see if one screams gimme more at you.
  18. jdwinva

    jdwinva Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2005
    Leesburg, VA
    All the comments above are accurate but for me the Demeter shines in a live band setting where the Alembic seems to get a bit lost in the mix.
    lo-freq and woodyng2 like this.
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