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Another Read Purity User

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thewanderer24, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    I got my Read Purity a couple weeks ago now, so have had a good chance to try it out in a variety of situations. I thought some of you might like to hear my impressions - if so, please bear with the ramblings below.

    When I first got it, I hooked it up through my Stewart World 2.1, into my berg HT112. Was going back and forth through the Purity and my Eden WT400 (had been using as a pre for the last year). I was actually happy with the Eden head, but wanted to use it for a smaller more portable rig, and shrink and lighten my big rig rack.

    At first, I couldn't believe how overwhelmingly tubey it was. Was almost mushy and a little slow in comparison to the Eden. Then I figured out that I had the gain up too high, and it turned out the mushiness I was hearing was tubey overdrive! That's something I've never gotten on the Eden.

    Once I backed off the gain, the purity was absolutely crystal clear, super tight, and very even and responsive up and down my neck (i only play standard 4 string tuned EADG - can't comment on how it handles the really low stuff). No harshness though. It is very accurate, but VERY smooth at the same time. What a great complement to my Bergies!!!

    I got to bring the Purity to a rehearsal the first night I got it, and playing through my Berg HT322, I was soooo happy. It has some of that tube warmth I was hoping for, but is very articulate, punchy and cuts like a mother. My drummer commented repeatedly about how he could hear me cutting through and punching a lot better with this pre. (that band has two very loud, often distorted guitars).

    A couple days later, my other band, played an outdoor gig at a county fair on a pretty big stage. I wound up going direct out of the purity to the board, and using my HT322 for stage volume. I didn't get to hear the audience mix with the purity, but from all counts, it sounded really good. On stage, it was punchy as hell, very smooth, and cut through everything.

    This past weekend, we did some recording in one of my guitarist's home studio, and he was floored at how good the bass sounded going direct from the purity. I actually had dialed in a tiny bit of overdrive and was getting a nice warm focused tight growl. Again, it sounded really punchy from what I heard. Tonight, I should hopefully get to hear a little bit of the recordings from that session with more rested ears.

    Sunday, I played an indoor bar gig and again this thing is great. It is so clear and cuts so well. Unfortunately, I had kind of an off night - But, I could hear every subtle nuance of everything I did, even with loud drums two guitars and a horn. I don't know what the deal is or what the difference is, but this thing really seems to cut through a mix a lot better than my eden does.

    I have been using the EQ bypass pretty much all the time, with the bright switch on and the deep switch on or off depending on my mood. I have left the presence knob zero'd, and added a little if I wanted a little more cut. The presence knob does seem to work. I kick it up to about 10 o'clock with the loud guitars, and don't need to be nearly as loud to cut through.

    The purity seems unbelievably loud compared to the Eden. Even at the same power levels (i.e., the output levels based on the indicator lights of the Stewart to the cabinet being equal), the purity just feels louder. It's like all those arguments we've all seen about how 100W of tube power seems/is louder than 100W of solid state power. It sure seems like the stuff my ears notice cuts through a lot better on the purity than on the Eden. I don't know how to explain or if this even makes any sense at all.

    Another thing that doesn't make much sense to me is as follows: I play a P/J pickup style bass, and I usually control my tone by going mostly P or blending in more of the bridge pickup depending on what I am going for. For some reason, I seem to be able to hear much more of the tonal differences I expect between these different pickup settings using the Purity than I can with the Eden. That must sound crazy, but to my ears it sure seems that way.

    I have played my Eden a few times since with my HT112, and in comparison to the Purity, it seems a little nasally. I still like and will keep the Eden, but the purity right now seems like it will be the one I keep for a long time for my main rig.

    With a good power and cab setup, the Purity will put out a very clean, articulate, and smooth reproduction of the bass you plug into it. It cuts great in a band setting, and I have found that I can dial in maddening amounts of warm tube overdrive if I want to (a hair of it is about as much as I ever really want).

    I wish that the first gain stage came with some kind of indicator LED or something to let me know if/when I am clipping, but that is the only complaint I can think of for this bad boy right now. Very very nice preamp. Also, Jack Read is extremely responsive and helpful - great customer service is a big plus!!!
  2. I've had mine for a while (six months I think??) I love it as much or more than I did when I first got it. I haven't even thought of another preamp since I got the "Purity". I can't imagine anything being better.!!

    Congrats... I hope you continue to enjoy it.
  3. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Great review. Glad you like it.

    I may have to recheck out a Purity. I got a little exposure to one recently but didn't play with any settings. From what you said, I think the input gain was set a bit high for my tastes and it seemed too warm and indistinct.

    Thanks for the info.
  4. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    I feel like I am just starting to really know how to use the thing. Every time I play through it, I like it more than the last time.
  5. Hey man... if there's not one closer... I'd be more than happy to let you play with mine in a better environment. And actually turn the knobs. I think I am coming down for the guitar show next month.. if not before.
  6. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Would be great if we could get together. I'll email you.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Great review!

    You reminded me of an experience I recently had: when I first received my Purity, I set the eq pretty much how I used to eq it with my old Fafner, which was a mild boost to the lows and highs, and bigger boost to the low mids. What I remember is being frustrated with an overdriven, yet squishy tone.

    I pulled out my Purity manual just to find out what Jack considered "zero" and re-eq'd it, according to my ear this time. What was left was NOTHING even close to resembling that squishy tone. Instead, it's throaty and authoritative! And, like you've experienced, any slight changes to my onboard preamps are extremely noticeable through the Purity, in a way I've never experienced before (good thing)!

    I have a new love affair with an amp I always thought was great, but now I love it even more!

    Other preamps? I doubt it! :smug:
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Great review. I've had mine since early June and love it. It's very versatile. It can get very tubey sounding, but as you noted that can be tamed. The tubeyness is the beauty IMO... the Purity can make my Stewart 2.1 sound like it uses EL6's or 6550's. The EQ is also very cool: for some rooms I bypass it completely; for tricky ones I tweak away. Using my RB5 strung with flatwounds I can get the girthy old 70's funk/soul tone with ease.
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    ...oh, and I learned something interesting from Jack Read last week...

    For those who use the Stewart 2.1 (but not other power amps, to his knowledge), he now recommends setting the master on channel one ABOVE 1/2 way and adjusting the output from the preamp master. Prior to using this process, my low B on my Jerzy and low E on my Spector were farting out a little. Now, not happening...Jack explained why, but suffice it to say...not happening.
  10. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Nice review, thanks.
    OK, you knew somebody was going to do it. :bag:
    Anyone compare the Read to the Demeter 201S not the HPB model ?
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    This explains why my one attempt to bridge my Stew 2.1 into my Berg HT310 didn't produce the expected result. I didn't need to bridge so I switched back to single-channel, but I know what to do next time I try. Thanks, RAM.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    At the DC/MD/VA GTG a month ago I played through Rick Blanc's 201/QSC/EA rig... it's definitely a sweet setup; in a different way than my Purity/Stew/Berg rig. Now, any impressions I have aren't fair because I didn't do a direct A/B to isolate the differences in the preamps from the differences in the speakers. But despite the caveat I will say this: Purity/Berg sounded closer in tone to the Kern/Epifani rig than it did to Demeter/EA. The Dem seemed to have more shimmer (that word again!); Kern and Read seemed to be mo' phat. Next GTG if the same rigs are there I'll do a better A/B, I promise!
  13. With my 2.1 I am normally running in bridged mode. I set the amp at about 2:00, then use the master on the Purity for volume.

    When I am running both sides to different cabs... I turn them almost all the way (until the volumes are equal) and then control with the Purity.

    I found that not turning the amp up enough caused all kinds of ugliness.
  14. When I am bridged mono---- I set both knobs on the Stewart at 2:00 (ish) sometimes 3:00 (ish) But I always set them the same... (I know I don't need to.. but I like things to be symetrical, and even..... )

    The Purity volume knob gets set as loud as possible until people tell me turn down... and then I "pretend" to turn it down, and actually turn up just a little... (And then people will usually say something stupid.. like.. "That's better.. Thanks!)
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    does Jack still use that all steel chassis that weighs like 20 lbs.? has he gone with the ol' alumnium shell , yet?
  16. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    In my experiences, the Read is much tubier, but doesn't have quite the treble sheen of the Demeter. That said, you can actually dial in excessive warmth and low end with the Read, unlike the Demeter. The Purity can get fat if you want it to, but it can also do the clarity very well. Think of it sitting right between the F1-X and the 201S.
  17. Another very happy Read customer... I've had mine since June and I've been all smiles. I'm running a couple of FBB 5'ers thru the Purity, into a PLX 1602 and out thru a Berg HT112 and a Low B2.

    I'm experimenting with tubes (12ax7's) right now; so far I've tried the JJ Tesla (stock), the GT Mullard reissue, and an EI Elite. So far the JJ is my choice, altho the GT is a close second. The EI I didn't like at all. Now I'm gonna venture into the world of NOS 12ax7 and 5751's. Based on what I've read, I have a feeling I'll have a new favorite once I stick those baby's in!
  18. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    What Jack told me last week was that if you DON'T bridge, you should have the master on the power amp at a minimum of 50%. With the power amp less than 50%, the lowest notes may be more prone to farting out. Since turning the master on my power amp above 50%, I no longer experience the farting. The tone is much more consistent from string to string.

    He said it's an anomolie he didn't know about until he traded someone his 1.2 for the 2.1 he now uses. Apparently it wasn't an issue with the 1.2.
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Another thing Jack told me was the left channel operates the entire power amp in bridged mode, so the right channel should have no affect.
  20. Ram is correct. In Bridged mode, only the left knob does anything. (But I turn both jsut to have them look the same... I'm O.C.)