Alembic SF-2 clone?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matches, May 4, 2020.


  1. Matches

    Matches

    Mar 17, 2012
    Portland, Or
    I was wondering if there was a clone or a very good substitute for the Alembic SF-2. These are getting more difficult to find second hand and at this time, a brand new one is at this point financially out of the question. I know Frog Pedals and AMT Electronics have good copies of the Alembic FX-1 but it's the filter that I am looking for. Is there also a combination of pedals that would roughly approximate what the SF-2 does? I know that
    the original version is the best but I would be happy for the second best thing too.
    Thanks.
     
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It doesn’t look to be too difficult a circuit to duplicate. Alembic has been very open as to what it is, which is basically a pair of 2-pole filters switchable to low, high, or bandpass operation along with a preamp and some signal path switching and mixing capabilities.

    I wonder if it’d be possible to interest someone like Broughton Audio or JohnK in taking it on.

    Otherwise a couple of filters, some patch cables, and a small mixer could allow you to experiment with what it does albeit not conveniently. The manual (which you can google for) has all the relevant info along with block diagrams.
     
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  3. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012

    Having owned an SF-2 for ~15 years or so, I can only conclude that the reason there aren't any clones on the market is simply because not enough people have heard one. Because once you hear one you're like "OH. MY. GOD. THIS. THING. IS. FREAKIN'. AWESOME!!!"

    Though I suppose another reason could be that perhaps there's something tricky about getting the summed responses of the filters phase-accurate with respect to the unfiltered signal?
     
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’m envious. I have one of their F1X preamps and formerly owned one of their basses. So I know just how good their products sound. I’ve also had several opportunities to plug into an SF-2. And I’ll agree it’s a pretty awesome sounding filter.

    That’s above my pay grade. I know some electronics. But not enough to know all the intricacies and details of something like that. And the devil is always in those details.
     
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  5. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
     
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Craig Anderton's Superfilter circuit is definitely on the same page and with a little massaging there's a lot more in the tank IMO and IME.

    I also know a guy who working in this general vein with non-commercial open source DIY-friendly designs in mind. Meant as onboards, but adaptable to pedal format. No promises on a timeline though... CoolGP.gif

    And as always, my general disclaimer: I don't do clone circuits and I recommend just buying an SF-2 if that's what you want. I had one here once for a rehab and never bonded with it, at least not enough to throw down what it was worth to the guy who was selling it. I've always had huge respect for Alembic though.
     
    Loring, Gfkfloyd, DirtyDuke and 3 others like this.
  7. The SF2 is a unique tool, and as much as filters are batted around here on the TB, this will certainly give you an earful. Ron Wickersham has always preferred them to conventional tone controls, and Alembic finally started offering conventional onboard 2-band lo/hi cut and boost years later as a nod to the market, although I'd bet the 'take rate' on it is relatively low.

    alembic_sf2.jpg

    Anyway, some absorbing reading, the SF2 Manual, from Alembic:

    http://alembic.com/support/SF2_Manual.pdf

    My Spoiler 5 had this circuit:

    1 gain, 1 filter ( a LPF w/ Q switch), and a rotary selector (neck, both, bridge, standby) for the 2 pickups (AXY's originally, updated to FatBoys later). And within that seemingly very simple setup, I could get anything from ultra-lump organ pedals all the way to what I used to jokingly call 'clavinet on meth' tone, so incredibly spike-y it jangled your nerves. Filters-only is a different but wonderful world once you wrap your head around it.

    DSCF1315 (Copy).JPG
     
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I think I know that guy too! :thumbsup:
     
    Passinwind likes this.
  9. jazzyvee

    jazzyvee

    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    There is a used one on reverb at the moment. ( i have no connection with the seller)
     
  10. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    @Passinwind is the Superfilter the same as Craig's Bi-Follower Filter?
     
  11. Matches

    Matches

    Mar 17, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Thanks. I checked it out and it's the F-2b which is a preamp. What I'm looking for is the rack mounted filter. Still,
    thank you for the heads up.
     
  12. Matches

    Matches

    Mar 17, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Probably close though I have zero knowledge on electronic DIY projects. I would probably set my house on fire if I tried it.
     
  13. thumbslapper

    thumbslapper Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    San Francisco
    I vaguely remember that broughton was thinking of making one - not sure if the resonant eq box that it made was the result or if its still in design...

    I had a SF2 for about 10 years - you really could get amazing sounds out of it (including the best dub sound i ever heard) - but because it was rack unit and i had moved onto pedals i didn't use it as much, and sold it...

    would love to see 1 or 2 of these filters in pedal form!
     
    Matches, extreme and Bob_Ross like this.
  14. Matches

    Matches

    Mar 17, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Oops. I found the SF-2 on reverb. First, I typed Alembic in the search but for some reason it didn't come up. 900 dollars is a little steep for me at this point. Iv'e seen posts where they were around 750. So unfortunately, until I win the lottery, I'll have to pass on this one.
     
  15. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    The Broughton Resonant Filter EQ is an awesome device, but more like a distant cousin to the SF-2. Aside from a very different feature set and signal flow, the RFE simply sounds different. Specifically the way each device boosts the signal at the cutoff, just a different character.
    You need both, no question.
     
    extreme likes this.
  16. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    What I'd really love to see is a full-blown SF-2 as onboard bass electronics.

    I've heard folks talk about Alembic Series II electronics as being "similar" but it's the differences that make the SF-2 the real unobtanium...and as long as we're putting together a wishlist, how about an onboard SF-2 with preset memories?!?!
     
    Gfkfloyd likes this.
  17. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I fear that presets would suck out all the mojo.
     
  18. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    How so?

    [edit: And to be clear: I'm not talking about a bunch of canned factory presets. I just mean the ability to, once you've dialed in a sound that you love, hit Save and then be able to recall that exact sound instantly without having to remember the specific combination of knob settings that were involved.]
     
  19. jazzyvee

    jazzyvee

    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I am sure I have read on the Alembic site of at least one bass made with 1 channel of the SF-2 built in.
     
  20. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I’m not being logical. On one hand I was bored, and babbling when I posted that. On the other hand, It’s an old design, Time tested, tried and true, and it is truly spectacular. I guess part of me feels like introducing digital control of the analog circuits, would somehow mess with the magic. And you’re right it makes no sense, sorry.
    But then again, the nature of the controls and response, makes it very easy and quick to dial it in. Presets stored in my brain.
     
    Bob_Ross and thumbslapper like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 15, 2021

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