Alembic Series I controls.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Whafrodamus, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I'm putting a down payment on an Alembic Series I at the end of the month. I saw the pictures and it's a beauty! I just have no idea what the controls do. It coems with this little power source/preamp box or something.. Can anyone explain in detail?
  2. Stinkoman20xx


    Oct 19, 2003
    Couldnt tell you the lay out but thats awesome your getting an Alembic I. I wish i had one when i was 17. That bass will be sure to make EVERYBODY jealous.Im sure alot of hard work went into to put the money down on it. Congrats.
  3. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Hopefully the attached helps.

    Each Tone Filter allows you to dial in the predominent or "centering" frequency for each pickup. The 3 position Q switch boosts the frequencies closest to the centered frequency by pre-determined amounts (sorry, don't remember the specific amounts and I don't want to guess).

    The Pick Up Selector has 4 positions. Off - Bridge Only - Both - Neck Only. On older basses and some custom orders the P/U selector is on the upper horn.

    Volume is pretty self explanatory. Each P/U has separate control.

    Differences between Series I & Series II......
    1. Series II has a Master Volume in addition to the individual P/U Volumes.
    2. Series II has Continuously Variable Q instead of 3 Position Q

    The Box
    Almost forgot about the box. The DS-5. This box will become your friend. Series I and Series II basses have 18 volt electronics. That's two 9-volt batteries in the back. And they munch through those batteries in short order. The box is an external power supply. Use it and you don't need no stinkin' batteries. Of course, you need the 5-pin cable that goes with it. Hopefully that's part of your purchase. They go $60 -85 on eBay when you can find them.

    Up until the late '80s, Series I and II basses were usually wired for stereo. One drawback there is that the 1/4" jack would only drive one pickup. If you use the power supply, you drive both pickups. Later basses are wired mono or with a mono / stereo switch. Either of these will allow you to operate both pick-ups when using a typical 1/4" guitar cord. With Series I or II and the DS-5, you can direct your BASS signal to one amp / speaker setup and drive the TREBLE signal to another amp / speaker. Finally IF your bass has side LEDs, they will only operate when you are powering the bass through the 5-pin connector and the box.

    Earlier basses came with the smaller floor box. Later basses come with a rackmount (DS-5R, SEE PICTURE) version of the same. I'm lucky.....I have one of each. The little box is convienient 'cause I can just toss it and a couple cables in a gig bag and I'm off. The rackmount is convenient 'cause if I'm using my own rig, there it is!



    Do yourself a favor and surf around at The Alembic Club. You'll learn a lot more than I can tell you by hanging out there.

    Attached Files:

  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Itd be cool if you got that bass man. Quite a piece of wood for someone our age;) Im happy as hell i just got a Sterling. Any more expensive of a bass, and id feel silly. :p
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Nothing to add to James' explanation, except to say congrats from another S1 owner. Is yours new or used? And post some pix when you get it.
  6. phatcactus


    Apr 2, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I hate you all. :D I've been lusting after an Alembic for about a year now, and the Guitar Center I visit every now and then has a few, and I just got to play 'em the other day and they're so so so nice. $4,000. Anybody wanna leave me in their will?

    One day I was walkin' home from the train station with my bass in its case and a guy goes "That a bass?" and I'm like "Yup." and he's like "Alembic" and I cried the rest of the way home. Well no, not really. But I could've. So beautiful.

    Aight, I'm done now. Sorry.
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, those Alembics are some nice basses. After playing one of those for a while, it'll be a tough act to follow. The tone controls take some getting used to though. They're not like y'r average tone controls. Well, in one position (of the Q switch) they are, they can act like ordinary passive tone controls that just cut the treble. But when you kick in the Q switch, you get a second order filter that has a few-db boost "right before" the cutoff frequency, so for instance if you were to dial out everything above 6 kHz, yo'ud get a slight peak just under 6 Khz. And if you set the tone control way down, so let's say you're cutting off everything above 800 Hz, then you'd get a slight peak just under 800 Hz.

    It's an unusual tone control, but it's really cool once you get used to it, 'cause you can "countour" the sound by adding in different boosts from the different pickups. Then if have a stereo bass, you can run one of the old two-channel Alembic preamps like the F2B, and you can get even more tonal variation per channel (that way each channel has its own tone stack in addition to the Q control), and that's also an easy way to mix the two channels back down to mono (just use the "both" output on the back of the preamp).

    Alembics are so much fun, congrats on your purchase!