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Demeter Owners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rumzini, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    As some of you may know I've been looking into getting a new pre, maily Dmemeter. however it seems lately that I've been finding a lot of Demeter VTB 201's up for sale. Have they lost there luster, or is everyone just wanting something new like me?

    While I'm at it. Besides the parametric EQ, what are the differences in the VTB 201S and the HBP1????
  2. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The HPB doesn't allow you to switch the bass and presence EQ frequencies and doesn't have a Jensen transformer on the DI.

    I have a 201S that I will probably sell, but not because it isn't great ... just that preamps are a very personal thing, and we're always searching for the sound that suits US most. The 201S has all the purity and sheen that you've heard it has, so if that sounds like the ticket for you then don't hesitate.
  3. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Theres been some discussion about this. Aside from the obvious knob and switch differences, I gather that the VTBP is a little more tubey and dimensional, while the HBP is a little more hifi and surgical sounding, even though the difference is pretty minimal. The VTBP also has 2 tubes, while the HBP has 1.

    I've been toying with the idea of swapping my HBP for a VTBP, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

    I'm guessing why you see so many for sale is simply because there are alot of them in circulation and so you see more pop up. Thats a good thing, not a bad thing IMO. Lots of people bought them because they really are that good. I'd be hard pressed to reccomend a better tube preamp in that price range.
  4. Got a 201s for 2 weeks now. In parallel to my trusty Ampeg SVP-CL.

    Both have very different sounds and I like them both for what they are strong at.
    The Dem seem a bit more punchy in sound. The CL is definitely very muted in comparison (plus the ouput of the CL is very low -need that mod done at one point).
    Passive basses on both sound great (F BNF-5 and Fender MM V). The Dem has clearly the advantage for the punch in slap.
    The CL has that growl with finger technique on the bridge pickup. The Dem has it too but in a different style.

    I brought the Dem for a gig and it really cut through. In comparison to the CL where I really had to crank it up.

    Dem boasts this passive eq system and I am having trouble adapting to it. I am an engineer and need to get things figure out in my head before feeling comfortable :rolleyes:
    The mids and bass are a bit under represented in comparison to higher frequencies equalization. That is why I'd be interested in hearing the HT...

    With active basses both CL and 201S have the punch... need more experimentation

    Hope this helps!
  5. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Hey Pickles, can you explain more about the switchable bass and presence, please?
  6. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Sure, look at the front panel of a 201S. It has two in/out switches to set the bass control frequency (60hz/120hz) and presence control frequency (2k/4k). On the HPB these settings are fixed (I'm not sure which point they picked for each). Those switches are perhaps the most dramatic way to change the sound of that pre, so if you like the choices they made you'll probably love the HPB.
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    and you're comparing this to a straight DI'ed sound of your bass, i'm assuming.

    FYI, i'm the proud owner of a HBP-1, and couldnt be happier. the fully parametric EQ is by far the best i've come across in the bass world. even more versatile than the Aguilar DB680, which doesnt seem to cover the same sonic ground as i'd wish it could. i.e. i like boosting around 200Hz while cutting 400 Hz. cant do that on the 680, cause those freq's are on the same knob! :( demeter doesnt have that problem.

    i did have a VTBP-201s, and loved its sound, but really wanted the flexiblity of a parametric EQ, and liked the idea of being able to get that along w/ the Dem sound in a 1U rack space. the VTBP does sound palpably fatter, but on gig, you're not gonna really notice. besides w/ the parametric EQ, i can practically psuedo dial that sound in! EQ is an amazing thing.

    little OT: speaking of which, has anyone noticed how ironic the word "equalization" in terms of music production really is? :eyebrow: :p
  8. slagbass

    slagbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    No experience with the HBP-1, but I've had the 201 for about 5 years and still love it.
    My only gripe with the 201 is the lack of EQ (like others have mentioned). That said, it performs great in the studio and "neutral-sounding" rooms.
    The 201 is a scalpel. For some gigs you need a chainsaw. :meh:
  9. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    They are both very clean sounding pre-amps with the ability to give you back what you give it - with or without tonal modifications. The VTBP is one of my favorite pre-amps in terms of tone and simplicity. If you like the sound of your bass out of the box and you don't find yourself needing to adapt for different rooms very often, it's an obvious and easy choice. The EQ doesn't have the flexibility of the HBP but in many cases you won't care because it just works.

    The HBP has a very similar core voicing with the added versatility of a very powerful parametric EQ. It's EQ is super flexible and very forgiving. It will allow you to be quite precise (I read "surgical" above and I would agree") but it's also very easy to get a good sound out of unlike some parametrics which require a bit more knob turning.

    To me it is really a feature/benefit question. If you need the additional functionality you should absolutely get the HBP1. You won't look back and you won't regret it. Otherwise grap a VTBP and prepare for tonal nirvana!

  10. pmcd

    pmcd Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    yo slag...

    "The 201 is a scalpel. For some gigs you need a chainsaw."

    Excellent way to put it. I am selling my 201s largely due to the lack of eq. I think if I played an active bass I could live with it. After borrowing a friends 70's Ampeg V4B, that sealed the deal. I realised how much I missed having the option of a drastic EQ.
  11. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Fantastic input from everyone! Thank you very much.

    So an active bass may not be that bed you say? Such as my Lakalnd 55-01?
  12. slagbass

    slagbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    pmcd raises a good point on active vs. passive. I'm not so keen on the sound of my P bass through the 201. I find it needs a bit more EQ than the 201 can deliver. Active basses sound great, however.

    Your Lakland 55-01 should sound great in most situations with the 201.

    That said, I can remember playing a gig where the stage was a 4' high, hollow, enclosed wooden platform bounded on 3 sides by a brick wall. The lows coming from the kick drum and bass were unbelievable. I ended up cutting the lows completely (-15dB) on my amp just to sound "normal". In that situation, I was glad I left the 201 at home.
  13. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I only have one bass & it's active (SR5).

    I usually like just a little bit of boost at 40Hz from my SR5's preamp, (the 201S's lower point is 60Hz -- I usually use just a little bit of that boosted as well).

    To me, if you boost the 60Hz too much, it starts to take on a bloated/pillowy tone (not bad compared to a lot of other amps, but not like the tightness I get with my setup/settings).

    The low end is very solid and quick for tubes and the lower mid-bass is very punchy.
    Midrange boosted gives a great cut-through tone in a band setting.
    Highs are clear and as bright as you want (my Jan-Philips 12AX7WA's help keep the highs smooth).
  14. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    I had a 201s I used for a while. Nice pre but I found that it had an inescapable treble response. Coundnt eq it out. Ended up with a DB 680.
  15. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI

    Right now I'm really digging my Sansamp BDDI, due to it's valvular tubey sound, yet gives me that snappy pick attack that I like, due to it's presence control. Seems to me since the 201 is an actual tube pre with a presence control, and if it has a lil trebbly sound like the above poster says. It seems the 201 is for me.

    I gues as a final thought before decision. As some of you know I'm really going for the Justin Chancellor tone from Tool. As far as I know, he has or is using Demeter. For you 201 users...does your unit seem to get you that tone if you were to dial it in. Etherially heavey low mid, trebly thick, snappy tone. That's the best I can describe it.
  16. v-12


    Mar 3, 2005
    FL Panhandle
    i actually play schism and sober as some of the songs i use to try out a new peice of gear, and the 201 really could do these songs well. with my active bass i could always get the trebbly top for his sound, but lower mids were a bit of a problem without tinkering with the eq on my bass quite a bit; although it was close enough nobody would have been able to tell on a gig- i'm just a bit picky. for me a passive bass seemed to get a little closer to lower end of his tone, but then without the as much snap and top end:meh: - and then there is 1/10 the flexibility. i always was tinkering with the idea of putting a parametric eq in the effects loop, but i like to just plug in and play without messing with knobs all day, so i just picked up an epifani quest and the demeter is soon to be sold....
    for me the quest is a bit better, but i can definetely recommend the 201s.
  17. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Dang it there ya go. I was also looking into the Quest due to the recent price drop and other favorable reviews. Otherwise it has footswitchable channels...hmmm...one for clean...one for distortion, cool!

    The heck withit. I guess while I'm at it. i was also looking at the Ashdown RPM as well.
  18. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    Where are you seeing used Demeter preamps for sale?
  19. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    In the TB classifieds and all over the web in different online shops, such as bassemporium, bassexchange, gguitars, etc.
  20. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

    I've had both of the Demeter preamps......I kept the HBP-1 for the great parametric, and the fat tone.

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