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If the Spark Booster was a preamp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by McFarlin, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. McFarlin

    McFarlin Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Like many, I have attempted a long, on-again, off-again quest to find a nano-weight amp that can dethrone my bulky, teenaged mainstay.

    My most recent acquisition is a Quilter Bass Block. And despite being impressed, there is something about the preamp voicing that bothers me (at any setting).
    The mids have (for lack of a smarter description) a harsh edge that reminds me of sound reflecting off concrete surfaces. It makes me think of 18 years ago, when the only rehearsal space we could find in San Marcos, TX was called Tom Thumb Mini Storage. (Most of my hearing loss probably occurred during those years.)
    Still, the amp has a unique quality that makes me want to keep it around. It feels quick and responsive, while retaining enough of the thump and/or thunk that I remember from my time with the Walkabout.

    This morning, on a "why the hell not", I ran a TC Electronic Spark Booster direct into the Quilter line in.

    I liked it.

    A lot

    The bass knob was boosted far up around 3-4 o' clock, and the treble was dialed back to around 10 o'clock. The gain knob was set barely on the edge of break-up (with aggressive playing).

    Here's the info I found on the Spark Booster E.Q.:
    Centre: 500Hz
    Bass boost/cut 125Hz
    Treble boost/cut: 2kHz

    So, why not just use the Spark Booster into the Quilter?
    It doesn't like my other pedals enough to work as a preamp.

    I'm still skeptical, but there may be some magic sauce in that Quilter power section. So a pedal-format preamp should do it. But which?
    Is it just a matter of finding something fairly clean sounding with similar e.q. points?
    (Regarding "fairly clean", I do like the optional gritty sound with the Spark Booster.)

    I can't think of what preamps (or integrated amps) might be capable of a similar sound, other than a Subway D-800+. Maybe I could get close by pushing the Subway input knob to "on the edge", boosting the bass and/or voicing control a bit, boosting the low-mid at 150, and then using a similar approach to mimic the Spark Booster treble cut.
    I know that's the amp most folks want to recommend, anyway ;).
    (I had the o.g. D-800 in 2015 and liked a lot about it, but the e.q. points didn't work with my cabs.)

    My other thought was the Tech 21 Q\Strip, but it's easy for me to be turned-off by a 40Hz bass knob.

    FWIW, this is using a G&L LB-100 with E. B. Cobalt flats and Baer ML112 cabs.
    My current and most recent favorite amp is the Ashdown ABM500. My usual pedals are a Malekko Diabolik, Fairfield The Accountant, Bearfoot Blueberry, and sometimes a Bass Octave Deluxe.
    Ideally, this would also be compatible with a fretless Stingray 5 and another fancy-pants custom bass.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    Pocket4 likes this.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Mesa Subway DI into the Quilter is glorious.
  3. McFarlin

    McFarlin Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
    And you would think between the voicing knob, 200Hz low mid and 2.5K treble control it could get close to the Spark e.q.
    I still want to see the mythical D-800+ pedal, only for the flexible midrange controls.
    agedhorse likes this.
  4. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    Funny how a simple Bass Treble circuit really works well sometimes.

    Sometimes simpler the better. Long as the center is around 4/500

    Kinda end up just leaving things in the same spot.

    Otherwise just multiband EQ pedal works good too. Usually almost flat and then slight cuts or boost on certain bands.

    Ironically everyone talks about this pre and that pre. And old cheapo Acoustic and Kustom practice amps had pretty dang good preamp. Basically Bass and Treble, then multiple band....all done. Dam good notch filter for super high gain

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