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Best preamp under $350?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by deepestend, Oct 27, 2004.


  1. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    I just sold my hartke 3500 head and I’m looking for a pre to go with my crown power amp. I play funk and rock and have never really had a full tube pre. I’ve been talking to one person about a sansamp rbi and another about an ampeg svp-pro.

    Any other suggestions on things to look at?
     
  2. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    With some patience, you can occasionally catch a one of the original 1 1/2 space Demeters for $350.00.

    Ted
     
  3. . . .or used Ambeic F1
     
  4. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    I've seen a couple of the demeter's on bassgear for $350. Not sure if I'd get a chacne to check one out in person. Any quick reviews before I do more research in the archives?
     
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    you can check out my review on tb
    esentially a great sounding preamp. i have one and you'd have to kill me to get it. not a lot of eq flexibility but it doesnt need it. a great sounding preamp. huge. :cool:
     
  6. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Id keep my eye out for an old ADA MB-1 (no longer made). Fully programmable eq, presets, tube and solid state options. Takes some time to learn how to best use it, but they're great and you'll still have over $100 in your pocket
     
  7. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Australia
    There is an ADA MB-1 on ebay right now... I think.
     
  8. xax712

    xax712

    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    I love my Trace Elliot V-Type pre, and you can get those for under $350.
     
  9. johans

    johans G.U.I - Groovin' under influence

    Oct 28, 2004
    the Bay Area, CA
    how many watts do you need? ss or valve?
     
  10. johans

    johans G.U.I - Groovin' under influence

    Oct 28, 2004
    the Bay Area, CA
    how about ..

    qsc rmx 1450 + a used sansamp rbi

    know lots of people use that setup
     
  11. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    You can get almost any bass preamp in that price range if it is used, so lets talk about what kind of music you play and what sounds you like ...

    I just picked up an SVP-Pro for $300 ... its a great sounding preamp for rock and aggro funk.
     
  12. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    I'm hoping the answer to this question is a Sansamp RBI...as I just ordered a new one for $295! :p
     
  13. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Thanks for all of the replies so far. Here’s my situation. Up until last year, I’d been using a 200 watt solid state GK head. It was a good starter amp and I started using a Sansamp DI pre (the DI pedal version) with it. Last year, I was browsing Craigslist and saw a Hartke 3500 head that was $250. I wasn’t totally psyched about Hartke, but it was a step up and a good price, so I went with it. The Hartke was a good inbetween amp but I never felt like it was really that warm even with a single tube pre in it. Two or three months ago, I got a Crown XLS 202 power amp. Again, something I’ll eventually need to move up from, but with 450-500 watts bridged, it’s enough power for my rehearsal space. I just sold my Hartke and got the $250 back and I’m ready to put that into a good used pre.

    I play a lot of rock and funk and groove music—sort of your typical mix of jamband styles with a blues and rock bent. As I’ve had a mainly SS sound so far, I’d really like to move into something a little bit warmer and tubey sounding (even if it’s not really tube). As I already have a Sansamp DI, I’m hesitant to get the RBI as I feel like I can always use the DI to get that Sansamp sound when I need it—even if the mids on the RBI are better—which is my main complaint with the DI.

    I really love the Ampeg warmth and just spent the weekend seeing Galactic twice and falling in love (again) with their bass player’s Ampeg sound. So, I’d like to get a pre- that can have that kind of warmth. I’ve even found an SVP-Pro for a good price. My main concern with that pre- is the noise factor as I keep reading again and again about how noisy it can be. I’m willing to put some work into the pre- to make it sound good… but I don’t want to get a pre- where my new full-time project is ordering sets of tubes and switching them in and out and brining the pre- to a tech and spending even more money on it.

    So, to sum it all up:

    I can spend about $350
    I’m looking for something with a warm, tubey sound in the ampeg range of tones.
    I’ve found a good priced SVP, but I’m concerned about dealing with the noise (maybe it’s not so bad).
    I’ve also found a good priced Sansamp RBI, but I’m concerned that it’s a little too hi-fi sounding and I already have a DI that will basically give me that sound.
    Some have suggested the Demeter—and it looks good, but I’m concerned that it’s not warm and tubey enough. Every review I’ve read says that it’s not the pre for that.
    I’ve also found an SWR Interstellar Overdrive, but I’m concerned that it might be a little “too” much grit.

    So, that’s where I’m at. I’ve done a lot of research, so I know a lot about what’s out there—I just need some gut reactions on what you people think I should look for.
     
  14. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    Given your stated preferences, I think you'd LOVE a Kern 777 or an Aguilar 659. But, of course, you'd have to find them used and someone desperate to unload them to get anywhere close to your price range, especially with the Kern. The SVP is probably your best bet. That thing has mega output and you can tame the noise by rolling the top-end off a bit. I owned one for a while and was impressed with its ability to sorta get the SVT sound. Ultimately, it was a bit noisy for my taste. I still own and use the Kern and Aguilar pre's referred to above. I'd stay away from the Demeter. As you've deduced, it's a "hi-fi" sound that won't give you what you're looking for, really.

    There are so many good bands on the jam band scene these days! Galactic rocks. Good luck, man. :cool:
     
  15. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Ebozz has said it a million times as well.

    PEAVEY MAX !
    Do a search and check out it's features and reviews. It's a great preamp you can get for under $200.
     
  16. What about the Ashdown RPM pre amp very warm sounding and low priced as new, will also do the Ampeg type of sound.
     
  17. LJW

    LJW

    Feb 8, 2002
    northeastern pa.






    I like mine.
     
  18. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    It is really not that bad. They make a little more background hiss than other preamps, but big deal?! The sound more than makes up for it. I used one for years on all kinds of gigs, and never had a problem.

    P.S. you can run your SansAmp DI strait into your power amp.
     
  19. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    I'm leaning heavily towards the ampeg... anyone want to talk me out of it?
     
  20. incubus2432

    incubus2432

    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    Just get the SVP-Pro. It sounds like that is what you want to get and if you don't you'll be wondering if you would have been happier. I had one for a few years and sold it for "something better" and could never get the sound I wanted without it so I bought another a few years ago and couldn't be happier.