Demeter preamps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Brian Gordon, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. I'm back after a LONG hiatus. I got laid off from my job at Motorola and hence could no longer sit and while away the hours reading every post on TalkBass all day every day. But now I plan on making an appearance around here more often.

    Here's the point of my post... Demeter Preamps.

    What do you think? Are they "The Sh*t" or are they sh*t? I love my programmable Rocktron preamp but I know I can get a sweeter tone. I figure I can get the great tone and use a programmable effects rack in the effects loop for changes.

    I'm interested in any opinions on the VTBP-201S or the HBP-1 preamps from Demeter. Also, if you want to point me to any alternatives, feel free. I am on a tone quest for the hugest sound possible (aren't we all?).

    Thanks for any input,

  2. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    other than huge, what kind of sound are you looking for? rock grit, hi-fi, smooth compression?? it might be useful to determine the kind of sound you want before trying to find out how to get it.
    Matt R likes this.
  3. I play thru a VTBP-201S. I love it. It's warm and has a nice degree of natural compression. It's eq is passive so there isn't a lot of control in terms of timbre. I know theHBP-1 has a parametric eq, but I haven't played thru it. But I played through a few tube pre's before deciding on the Demeter. For the money, it's the best in my opinion.

    Hope that helps!
  4. LowRanger


    Dec 24, 2000
    LakLnd5, I have to agree. I've been through a bunch of preamps in search of my tone, and wasn't expecting much when I plugged into my first Demeter... boy, was I surprised! Fat and incredibly FAST, I can see why they make it into "reference" rigs! The tone controls are subtle but powerful, as you said. I don't think the Demeters are shy on the mids, either, like the Alembics they're often compared too.

    I went through a lot of equipment in search of a sound that I couldn't get until I got a Demeter. Go for it!
    Matt R likes this.
  5. some guy#2

    some guy#2

    Feb 3, 2001
    I do not have first hand experience with this is, however, made locally. I thought I'd try to help my local economy out!

    ps it no longer has the wall wart
  6. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I have the VTBP 201 with the Jensen transformer. Best sound I ever had. If you want distortion, then you would probably want to look for something else. If you want a warm, clean, tone machine then I highly recommend the Demeter. It is the sh!t.
    Matt R likes this.
  7. captainpabst


    Mar 18, 2001
    one of the best bass tones i've ever heard was a MM stingray thru a demeter (dunno what model - this was some time ago - it was a 1/2 rack space one) preamp, a GK 400rb and a hartke 4x10xl. i remember thinking that the demeter was the absolute sh!t - it made mundane gear like the 400rb and 410xl sound amazing.

    i haven't heard one, but people say aguilar equipment is 'tonal nirvana'. they make a couple different preamps, as well as an all tube head.
  8. Has anyone played thru an HBP-1? I'm curious how the solid state EQ affects the quality. It's almost $200 more than the 201s, which is still cheaper than a Kern. I wonder if it's worth it.
  9. I like a clean sound that is very solid and has a lot of power. I am playing mostly metal (classic and prog) and I prefer a bright tone, which still has the bottom end behind it. My main bass is a Zon Sonus Special V, which has a great sound thanks to its Bartolini pickups and electronics. My 2nd bass is a Rick 4001 with Bartolinis. So I've got good sound sources. I'm just looking for the best sculpting tool. I'm a little discouraged by those saying the EQ on the VTBP-201S is subtle and doesn't offer much control. I would think if I were to spend a lot on a preamp, it should be able to shape my tone into whatever I wanted. I am used to having many different tones and my command with my Rocktron pre. I want the same control with higher quality tone.
    With that said, any further advice?

  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i had the demeter, and while i liked it, i found it a bit lackluster in the "liveliness" department. i play in a rock band, and i want some happening, grinding tone, and it seemed like the demeter was fighting that a bit. so i sold it to pacman and got an aguilar db-680, and was very happy. the demeter is very good if you want to have a clean, jazzy tone, but for my uses, the aguilar is just way more versitile. best sounding amp i've ever tried.
  11. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I've heard great things about Demeter, and their rep is no doubt well deserved. In addition, I have read that the only thing some people didn't care for was that they were so clean. I suppose that sounds odd, but for those looking for a tube pre with more edge or grind to it, the Demeter may not be the final word. Regardless, I would really like to try one some time, but haven't had the opportunity.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Pres like the Alembic and Deneter use simple tone stacks (in fact Alembic uses the standard Fender style circuit which is why it seems mid-shy to some). Compared to modern solid state pres with massive boost/cut, variable bandwidth, sweepable frequencies, etc. they give less overall boost or cut, have more interaction between bands but have less audible artifacts.

    The idea is that extreme tone shaping should not be required if you have a good bass, good power amp and good speakers.

    In my own experience this is true. I find the better the amp, the less I touch the EQ.
  13. JT,

    I thought you had the big-boy Aguilar.. DB980 (?)

    How does the grind of the Aguilar compare to an IOD or SVP, (or my F-1X?)
  14. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    As I totally agree with brianrost in spirit I disagree on a practical level. If the system is played in a controlled environment then tone shaping is not needed if you have the right stuff. But in the real world of gigging we as bassists get stuck in some awful room that booms or sucks all the low notes out of the air. :eek:

    I absolutely love the tone of the Alembic 1F-X and think that it probably will work in most situations. I'm sure this would be the case with the Demeter's as well.
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    no i have the db-680, along with a bgw power amp.

    i really dig the aguilar - very clean and quick-sounding, but with a great grind. it's better than anything else i've ever played.
  16. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i sorta agree with this from experience, but one thing that is missing is that it sorta assumes that the amp designer had your desired tone in mind every amp, even a supposed "transparent" one, is going to have a sound to it.

    the sound of my aguilar db680 is awesome, and clean, and it gives powerful tone shaping abilities - 2 bands of fully parametric eq, along with bass and treble cut and boost. the eq is capable of very extreme settings. i don't consider this a sign of weakness on the amp's part, and most of the time i use very gentle eq settings, if any at all. the difference between the aguilar set flat and the demeter set flat were slight but noticeable, the aguilar fit what i wanted more than the demeter did.

    you know, i don't completely buy the design philosophy that says that, if your gear is good enough, you shouldn't need any kind of tone shaping, or limited tone shaping at best. sometimes i like the ability to have an extreme, unnatural tone. to limit that is to limit one's musical capabilities. imo this seems to be "high end gear" marketing technique, sometimes.