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Another "better pre for me" thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stachio, Apr 19, 2004.


  1. Demeter VTBP 201

    8 vote(s)
    34.8%
  2. Aguilar DB 659

    8 vote(s)
    34.8%
  3. Alembic F1-X

    7 vote(s)
    30.4%
  1. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    Before I am mauled as I rightfully should be for posting about this...I did do a search, and found some helpful stuff. I also needed a poll to be an accomplished TB'er
    I play loud rock (read metal) with accordingly loud musicians and need to up the volume. Thus I am planning on moving to the pre/power set up.
    My Sonus Special is offering me a lot of cut as is, but I still want to make sure I don't get lost in the mix. I enjoy the clarity and punch of my SWR SM400s (love it for more quiet practices) but would like some more warmth. Therefore the following pre's have come to mind, in this order:

    - Demeter VTBP
    - Aguilar DB659
    - Alembic F1x

    I wish I could try them out but I'm not too sure if there are any in the area.
    I have a $900-1000-ish price range including a power amp, so any other reasonable suggestions in there would work.
    I'll be running the pre through some power amp (thinking Stewart 1.2...which will hopefully be enough power) through 2 210 XSTs
     
  2. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Out of my mind, back in 5 minutes! Supporting Member

    I have had both the Aguilar and the Alembic and, although both are GREAT preamps, I believe the Aguilar would work a little better for you. I just seems voiced to cut through in a rock setting. If you were playing a wide range of music I would recommend the Alembic.

    However, if you get a great deeal on and Alembic, go with it! The difference is not that large.

    Dan K.
     
  3. x2

    I got a great deal on my 2.1 from Jack, and not only myself, but the guys in the band love the Purity preamp. It certianly does metal well. Very warm... not sterile. And if you can swing it, the 2.1 is a much better choice. I just love the way it kicks out the low notes down to low A!!
     
  4. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    Thanks Josh. I wasn't set on the Stewart. The weight attracted me.
    Great input from everyone so far. I still like to crank out some low volume jazz tunes or jam in a laid back setting, but metal would be it's primary application.
    I'll likely be seeing some unexpected money my way so the power/pre setup might be close. I guess the SM400S will depart soon as well :(
     
  5. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    how about an eden navigator or the new ampeg svp-cl...that pre- looks really sweet
     
  6. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    I'm trying to steer away from the Ampeg sound, but I haven't tried the pre yet. I'll give it a go some time this week.
     
  7. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    Stachio,

    I've listened to all three pre's you listed. I prefer the Dem for the music I do and sound I'm after.

    But...for metal, I think the Ag might work better (that is if you want a bit more growl in your tone).

    I like the tightness and articulation of the Dem (with good tubes), but the only way to get a bit of gruffness in its tone is to push all the tone buttons in, crank the overall preamp gain level (about 2:00 with my setup) and turn up the midrange (that's what I do on "Smoke On The Water" by DP and it adds just enough grunt to get a little of that OD feel).

    I think the Alembic is a bit shy in the mids for what you want.

    Another pre to consider is the BBE BMAX (check the clips on www.basstasters.com). Very low price available from http://www.riksmusic.com/

    Good luck.
     
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  9. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    I saw that and shot him a PM. Thanks for the heads up.
    So far it looks like the Aggie is getting most people's votes, but the Dem wins it for versatility?
    Just curious lo-freq, what sort of music do you play?
    The only real qualm I have with it so far is the price. I know it's a great preamp but $1K. Supply and demand though. Patience might be key in getting a good deal.
    I'm sort of curious about the Jack Read as I've read only positives about it, but I think at this point it's the Dem or the Aggie in my mind.
    Decisions...
     
  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    Mostly straight-up rock, some country, a little jazz & blues.

    I don't know that the Dem is more versatile than the Ag; it can do clean better, but not grunge. [I got my 201S for under $600 new.]

    If I could afford any pre, I would check out Jack Read's for sure, a Glockenklang BassArt, and the BBE BMAX.
     
  11. Funkateer

    Funkateer

    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    You should also consider a Kern IP-777.
     
  12. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    For metal... and all IMHO of course :D

    Dem - way too bright with a zon, very inflexible (unless it's the parametric version)

    Alembic - great sound, but a little smooth for metal

    Aggie - not as fat as you'd expect, but great definition, and very warm

    Kern - way too fat and bloated. gobs and gobs of bass.

    bmax - quick and fairly tight, would sound pretty good

    TRULY you're comparing preamps that are all EXCEPTIONAL, so there's really no losers. I'd suggest you also listen to the Warwick pre, which struck me as incredible for rock/metal.

    That's my 0.02 :bag:
     
  13. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    Man...choices...
    Thank you to everyone who has posted so far.
    I had looked at the Kern but it seemed very bassy and fat.
    I guess the Dem is a bit too hifi for my needs. I was reading up on the VTBP and the HBP and thought that VTBP offered the more tubey option with a hint of hifi clarity, but it seems that the hifi part predominates. Considering the Sonus Special allready cuts through like none other with that graphite sound, maybe it would be too much for a rock setting.
    I've been giving Basstasters a serious listen trying to check out my options. The BBE clip sounded fairly darker than the other ones. I'm not sure if that would be the one. The Warwick sounded decent.
    How comparable is the DB 659 to the DB 750 or the DB 680?

    If only I'd chosen the harmonica... :D
     
  14. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    i dunno, man...i know a harp player that has a suitcase full of different harmonicas...nuts...i'm watching this thread, as i have a zon sonus special and i'm in the market for a new pre- as well...i'm looking at mainly a navigator or the ashdown rpm-1...have you tried that guy out yet? it sounds nothing short of amazing with a zon through it...
     
  15. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    I was listening to the Eden Navigator and it really didn't sound half bad at all. It's got the Eden sound, which seems to be well suited to rock and louder settings.
    I've had limited experience with Ashdown. I think I listened to someone playing through an Ashdown head and it sounded very good. I'm afraid it would be too warm. But then at the same time, I think no matter what you put the Zon through it'll cut.
     
  16. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Zon user here, but not a Special...

    I had a Navigator for a while with a Zon, and of course, everything here is pretty subjective, but the Navigator's tone just kind of sat there. It's got a lot of bells and whistles, but it didn't really do anything for me. The DB 680 on the other hand...

    The SWR IOD might be interesting to try in a rock setting, even if you don't think you'll use the overdrive feature (but you will) I have one, but I'm not really in a "rock" setting right now, kinda wish I were...
     
  17. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    I wish the DB 680 were an option for me at this point. But too much EQ intimidates me and the price smarts.
     
  18. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    no kiddin'....that pre rocks, and don't have the ends for it :(
     
  19. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    The preamp that most rivals the beauty of the DB680 to my ears is the Ashdown RPM-1. I've seen those go for $500, and it comes very close to being as complex, clear, and flexible as the DB680 - plus the EQ is much more intuitive :)

    You should check one out!

    ed: and it's not as warm as the Ashdown heads - it can be very quick and clear.
     
  20. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    Not in the least - other than the logo on the case. The DB659 is nowhere near as interesting sounding as the 680, less flexibility, less clarity, less punch, not as fat, etc etc. It's a decent preamp for a rock sound, but it doesn't have quite the grunt you'd expect. I remember being unpleasantly surprised - but then again, lots of people love them. The DB750 I haven't played myself, so I can't comment from experience, but people tell me it's like the 659 paired up with a great power section, and much punchier and thicker than the 659.