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Alembic Super Filter

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JehuJava, Dec 28, 2002.


  1. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I'm thinking about this Alembic Super Filter. I don't want to use it as a pre-amp. I would like to use it as an "effect unit". Is it bypassable? Should it be put in the effects loop? I would like to have access to it's filtered sounds for some song but not all.

    Al
     
  2. Cantstandsya

    Cantstandsya

    Jul 27, 2001
    Fontana, CA
    You might want to try asking Trip Wamsley about this one.He's a big fan and user of the Alembic Superfilter.He should be able to answer your questions.
     
  3. I bought mine a few months ago and together with my Alembic F-1X it forms a big part of my new set-up with which I am completely in love. It is not bypassable, you'd have to stick it in a bypass loop or something. You can run the two filters in stereo, mono, parallel or series. You have to think very differently with this box than you would with a graphic or parametric. The more I contemplate it the more I am enlightened about it's abilities; this is one deep tool. Folks seem just as happy with it in their fx loops as in series both B4 and after (which is how I run it.)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    What kinda sounds are you getting out of this box? Super deep lows...like ones used in dance music?

    Al
     
  5. Well, see this is the carzy thing with this box. You can get ANY sound that you can imagine. It's deep...the more I visualize it, the more I realize it will do. Super deep subs..singing mids, blend in a bit of "air", cut offensive "wolf" tones...everything. You can even use it as a sort of Bag End ELF system to extend the lowend response of your cabs....crazy stuff. I'll post some of these settings that I have...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I'd have to disagree ont he "it's not by-passable" response. The effects of the filters can be removed by simply turning down the level of the filter.

    My typical use of the SF2 is as such:

    My signal goes from the bass into an F1X, but it can be any preamp. I don't use the FX Loop, instead I run the signal directly out of the F1X into the SF2 in Mono mode into channel a and then out of chanel B into the Power Amp. There isn't a need for a cable out of A into B if you're in Mono. That is necessary if you're in stereo. You can also only use one channel of the SF2, but read on and you'll understand why I don't.

    With the signal chain as I've described it above, what you have now is a 3 way mixer. You have the signal/sound of your bass and the signal/sound of the bass run through two filters.

    With both Direct Gains turned all the way up and both filter gains turned all the way down, all you'll here is the sound of your bass through the pre amp, and the effect of the SF2 is bypassed. You can then mix in the sound of the SF2 by gradyually turning up the filter gains. Since you have two of them based on the frequency you got dialed in, the Damping ratio, and whether the filter you're fiddling with is in High Pass, Band Pass or Low Pass, as you gradually rais the filter gain, you'll gradually add more of that filtered sound. Now to further illustrate this, you can turn down the gain on Channel B and just deal with one filter at a time. But that's the unique flexibility of the SF 2.

    Don't let me get started on the stereo configuration!!!

    In addition, the frequency possibilities and the modes of low, high and band pass?? I don't gig without it. IT's all the adjustment I need from room to room.
     
  7. He meant bypassable as in being able to switch the box on or off like an effect. Of course he can reach over an turn it down but that is hardly an option....
     
  8. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    You guys both shed some good light on the SF-2.

    Mad-
    I didn't realize there were so many sound possibilities. How easy do you think it is to change sounds/settings between songs? It might be easier to set it up like Mario sugested, CH-A could be one filter sound and CH-B another. You made me laugh about reaching over and turning it down...I see you got my back..eh eh eh.

    Mario-
    Thanks for the ideas on routing my signal through the SF-2. Is there a difference running from the preamp into the SF-2 rather than using the effects loop?

    Have either of you used the ELF system? Does it even compare?
     
  9. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    The FX loop won't give you the same sonic clarity that running out of the F1X (or any preamp) directly into the SF2. Somethig about where the FX loop is within the signal chain internal to the pre. But you know what, it's just not what I'd do, or what I prefer. It may work for you and your playing style. Try it. You might like it. In fact, I think I'l go back and try it to see why I didn't like it.

    At a later point in time, try the stereo configuration, where you plug into channel A, then run a cable from the Out of A to the In of channel B and then from the out of Channel B to the power amp. The effect of the filter use is totally different and the sculpting possibilites are even more significant, but I've found that the added benefit of the stereo configuration are not substantial enough for a live gig unless the room is really crap. The best thing to do is to get in there and try different configurations. There are no SF2 police that will cart you away for running it a partiicular way. i just told you waht works for me. And to be honest, I have tried it several different ways and my buddies liked it in ways contrary to the way I use it.

    have fun.

    And for the record, I've got your back too. Sorry it didn't come across that way.

    As for the ELF, IMO, the benefits of the ELF system are unique to Bag End products that can reproduce frequencies that low (18 Hz, I think) While the SF2 CAN produce frequencies that gave the Bass Player reviewer a little vertigo a few years back, the ELF is mostly geared toward accurate projection of loud low notes as opposed to subliminal sickness. I don't think the two are on the same plane. (Sort of an Apples and exotic banana's comparison.)
     
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    GAS strikes again. :(
     
  11. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I know you're with me...or we wouldn't be exchanging great information! Or for that matter both be playing the bass...one of us would be a drummer. LOL!

    Subliminal sickness sounds BAD! Is there any other effects or tricks (read: setups) you use to get subliminal sickness? I couldn't find a better way to describe what I'm after if I tried. I don't want to sound effected, know what I mean?

    I've been working on a heavy project with ambient, tribal, and trip hop influeneces. It's kind of a sonic exploration of aural interpetations of the earth and man. Very emotional and deep but still natural sounding. Any thoughts?

    Al
     
  12. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Go back and read the review that Bass Player did on the SF2. The reviewer commented on getting vertigo with some settings. He didn't say what those setting were, but having sat up with the SF2 for many a night, I can tell you that the little devil can make some pretty ghastly sounds. You just have to get in there and do it. Start with the recommended settings that are posted in the thread above, and from there, try it in Stereo. Also try getting the sound as low as possible with the pre and the bass, and pan between the two pickups, etc. Essentially, use all the tools you have available INCLUDING the SF2. The possibilities are limitless.

    For me, I play pretty much the same music (gospel) all the time, and my sound variations don't need to be that vast. I've got a good tight tone with my Smith 6 , the F1X and the SF2 and the power (a la QSC 3002 w/3000 W at 4 ohms in bridge to my Epi 212 and two Epi 112's) to deliver it. That's what I'm after and that's what I get time after time. The SF2 helps keep it tight at that volume in the vacuum of a church I play in.

    So play with the knobs more and I'm sure you'll find what you're after.

    The one knob that really does the voodoo for me is the Damping Ratio. My best laymen's explanation of this function is the inverse of the damping factor as it relates to speaker cone movement. With speakers and power amps, I have understood damping to be the power amp's ability to control and /or stop the cones from moving, giving the tone/sound coming from the speaker more definition and less warble & fuzz. The Damping Ratio knob on the SF2 works inverse to that theory, in that the more it is turned toward 10, (and this this is only related to the wave of the frequency you're playing with your instrument) the less contol the SF2 exerts on it. The more it is turned toward 1, the more control the SF2 has on it. Notice in the examples of the recommended setting in earlier posts of this thread, all of the Damping Ratio knobs are turned to 10, or fully clockwise. Really delve into what this function can do for you.

    In addition, be mindful of the mode you're in. Low, High or Band pass. In case you don't understand, in low pass, you allowing all freqs below what the Freq Selector knob is set to - to pass through, in high pass, only those freqs above what your freq select knob is set at will pass- and in band pass, you're selecting the freq range that you want to effect, so if you want to bring out more mids, dial it in accordingly with the freq knob, put the appropriate channel of the SF2 in Band Pass mode and be sure that filter gain is maxed so that you can hear what you're doing, and then play with the damping ratio to get the sound you want, but don't forget that you have some "input" to what the SF2 works with-with your pre amp that feeds into it and the bass you're playing that feeds into what feeding the SF2..... See what I mean by using all of your tools? This would be especially usefull with a preamp such as the Eden Navigator with it's semiparametric EQ section. I've always wanted to try that pre with the SF2 for that specific reason, but to be honest, the number of knobs to fiddle with overwhelms me. So the F1X with it's bass ackwards Mids control (crank full to cut mids) works fine for me.

    Like I've said, don't expect to use only the SF2 to make the diference in your sound. Consider the bass' electronics and the pre amp feeding the bass' signal to the SF2 as parts of the equation.

    BUT...... don't forget that you can also use the SF2 as your pre. Did you know that? There is a jumper internal to the unit (call Alembic to inquire on how to change the settings) but the SF2 has a 0, +10dB and +20dB pad if your bass is passive or sends a really hot signal, and you can remove the pre amp (F1X, SWR IOD, Eden Navigator, whatever) altogether and just use the SF2 which I've known some guys to do.

    Hope this helps!!
     
  13. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I just thought, since I've ranted so much already, that I'd let you know what my settings are.

    1. I'm in mono via the dip switch on the back of the unit

    2. In to channel a and ot of channle b and straight to the power amp.

    3. the First gain knob is maxed. Stays that way. I can decrease the volume of the entire rig with this knob. It stays at 10 for ny tastes, however.

    4. The other gain knob is between 80 and 90% full. Depends on the venue.

    5. Both freq select knobs are on 100

    6. The first channel is in high pass

    7. the second channel is in low pass.

    8. the damping ration for the channel A is at about 9:00 if not a little less,

    9. the damping ration for channel b is a little past 10:00

    10. the filter gains for both are between 80-90% full.

    My F1X has the bass at 1:00 sometimes a little more. Mids are 90-100% cranked and the treble is a little less than the bass. Both the hi and low gain switches are open. The master volume rarely gets cranked past 12:00

    The power amp stays cranked full and I control the volume with the gain control on my smith. The p/u pan is always in the middle, the bass is between 70 and 80% as are the highs and the mids are between flat and 70% depending on the room and how much cut I need.

    This give me the loudest mid scoop sound (which I prefer) with booming lows that the Epi's can easily handle w/o distorting, and glossy highs with snap, and the folks on the back row can still hear it accurately and feel it internally and every note is articulated.

    Chill!! I've said enough. Gotta go put my teflon on.
     
  14. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I don't think anyone could have explained the SF2 any better than that. I can't wait to start messing around with it like you suggested. It'll be a lot of one on one time with this baby until I can manage it on the fly. Thanks again...God bless.

    Peace,
    Al
     
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    That is fascinating. I always assumed that damping factor was affected solely by the power amp.
     
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    GAS just gets worse! I love my F2B, but I sometimes desire the more tweakable tweakability that a parametric provides.

    Despite the fact that my wallet is cringing in terror, I thank you for your explanation of this device.
     
  17. Dang...that is allot of info! Good work Mario.
    I just assembled this same set-up! I use EB-MM HD212's for cabs. I cannot believe how much I am in love with my new F-1X; SO rich and deep. I haven't heard my rig sound this good since my old Mesa 400+ days. Right now, I haven't even needed to delve much into the SF-2 as my signal is just so perfect with the fat F-1X alone. I 'spose it's because of it's Fender-style preamp that I think the 400+ is also based on.
    JehuJava; for a quick and classic deep dub, trip-hop fix find yourself a used DOD FX25 ($30 on Ebait?) This simple filter adds a massive subharmonic filtered synth tone that is perfect for these styles.
     
  18. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I have used just the F1X alone. There are times that I dial out the filters and just go that route, but then I dial the filters back in and I'm reminded why I like it so.