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Lookin' for a Good Preamp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by funkyfretless, May 30, 2007.

  1. funkyfretless


    Jan 15, 2006
    Atlanta, Ga
    hey guys,
    i have spent so much money on findin the right head for me and none can do what i want, cause...well my tone preferences changes, or my gig changes...

    i was using a db 750 and 2 gs 122's.

    problem is that it wasnt cutting at gigs, plus it was way to damn loud and the preamp section isnt voiced well...(turnin knobs and nothin)...not hatin on the 750, im still keepin it for big outside gigs(its the king for that), but 90% of my gigs are medium clubs or high dollar small private parties in ****** rooms :)

    anyway i got 2 epi ul122's and am gettin either a crest ca series power amp or qsc plx2 series power amp. my basses are a garrison fodera 4 and a 64 p with flats... also use a alder fretless 4 and a hawkes hybrid upright.

    i love old school tone, but its becoming more aparent to me with the more gigs i do, is that solo tone by yourself and giggin tone are two different things. i play mostly funk, r&b, hip hop, contemporary christian(gotta make moeny some how :smug: ), a good bit of jazz, some salsa, and some country.

    so you can see i need to cop several tonal spectrums. lookin for a good preamp that is veratile, but most importantly need to sits well in the mix!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my friend told e about the bbe bmax, but ive read alot of bad reviews about its "poppin'". also condering the demeter 201 and its brotha the hb1...is there a big difference between the 2 as because a dememter will prorobly be what i go with. are there any others i should look at...was considering the alembic and aggie, but i think they would sound like my 750, really bloomy...but would get lost easily.

  2. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    My experience is that the most flexible preamps are not so damned pre-"voiced", but if you want a different tonal response they have enough EQ to do that without fighting a contradicting underlay that just confuses issues. This includes channel strips. The EQ sections need not be elaborate to be effective at this - as long as one's cab's themselves are not fighting EQ because of mid/upper bass humps, bad gaps in response, etc. A good system should reveal subtle changes in EQ at moderate levels.
  3. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Take a look at the Kern. It has the high end of the Demeter, and the low end of the Alembic. The EQ is very powerful, and the Tonal Balance knob comes in very handy. Even my scrubby playing sounds good through the Kern, and I know exactly what you mean about the DB750s EQ.

    I'd recommend heading over to http://www.basstasters.com/ to listen to some samples, maybe give you a better idea of what's good for you and what isn't
  4. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I use the Dem HPB-1 and the Kern IP-777. They are both excellent. To be brief the Kern is a buttery version of the Dem. The Dem is perfect in it's cleaness without being sterile like say a Glock or Millenia. To me.:meh:
  5. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    The ways I see it, the Demeter formula is like Kern without a bass pre-emphasis. And vice versa. Both are less colored than a lot of others, not playing any games with midrange where it really counts.
  6. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    I like the Alembic F2B.. I used one for 20 years and its still going... Real simple but efficient EQ if your bass and cab sounds good..

    The Demeter is nice and clean sounding.

    Higher up would be my favorite its a Vintech x73.. very nice pre... very fat too ....but $$$.

    I tried the DB750 on a few gigs and i too had a hard time getting a sound that i was happy with... Great amp , but just not my thing.... the Vintech would sound great throughthe power section of that amp i bet.. The Alembic does, and thats from experience..
  7. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I had an F1X. After wishing it had more than a Fender tone stack for EQ (passive mid cut only), and not wanting another space invested in a Superfilter, I picked up a Peavey Max for maybe 1/2 what I paid for the Alembic. The Peavey does the F1X thing anhd with just as little background hiss, but actually has some other stuff going on too, which sure comes in handy.
  8. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    My Eden Navigator ended my search for a pre amp. It has such a great tone with all knobs set flat and has a very good compressor and usefull footswitch included.
  9. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I just sold my Demeter HBP-1 because it was way too warm and tubey for my liking......and I like warm and tubey. I went back with the RBI that I had previously been using because with the blend knob you can adjust the level of tube emulation.
  10. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    I never tried the Peavy.. Im sure its fine with the noise.. no one will hear it once a band starts to play...
    I sold my F1X about a year or so ago and kept my 1977 F2B.. I thought it was a little warmer... but no DI out or DEEP switch.. but thats OK...
    its a meat and potato preamp for sure..
  11. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I have a Peavey TB Raxx that I use with my setup that I really like, it's got a lot of tone shaping ability, both pre and post tube gain stages, and you can find them for under $100 usually on ebay. It's got two tubes so you get that warmth, and with the pre and post gains and tone shaping it really gives you a lot of tone shaping capabilities.

    There's a couple of downsides, one is there's no balanced output. Secondly, it's got a very unique sound to it, so it's not something your going to make sound like an SVT or anything... but if your don't care about making it emulate an SVT then it works out well.

    Edit: I just wanted to add I play mine with a fretless as well, and play some of the styles you do. I use it for Rock, Contemporary Christian, Praise and Worship, Jazz, Blues, and really anything else I have to pull out of my hat. I ended up getting it because at one point I was part of a gig that seemed to have a identity disorder.... we had songs that ran across Blues, Folk, Funk, Rock, and even one 80's Metal Ballad and then I was using the same rig to play in church on Sunday mornings.
  12. people around here tend to bash behringer but the bass vamp pro gets good review from those who use it, including myself. Deal is its cheap and rather versatile I am a believer in this product because if i want a different sound i program it into the pre amp and its there ready for use
  13. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    The Kern is an excellent choice if you can find one.

    The Demeter is also really nice, and I was really impressed by the Eden I heard running through a Crest and into a Berg HT322, as well. Stacked up pretty well to the Kern.

    The best choice, though, is to get a solid pre which has the general tone you like and then get a really good parametric EQ so that your sound doesn't get lost in the mix. A parametric EQ can solve a lot of room problems which can force less skilled soundmen to just turn down the bass wholesale because of "boominess."
  14. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    The more I've played bass the less I think this matters, and that's coming from a soundman background - a soundman who's used a lot of parametrics, notch filters, graphics, and mutliband feedback suppressors.

    First of all, most people here seem to run pre-EQ DI it seems, and so what EQ you do on stage has no bearing on what the FOH mixer is getting. Second, what's going on onstage is a localized phenom and anyone who is EQing up there to deal with "boominess" is in no position to ascertain what the majority of the room is actually sounding like. They can only know what they think it sounds like where they are located and that is even open to argument ; }

    The problem-solving-EQ-use philosophy simply does not help any audience member at a PA-supported gig unless the stage rig is totally overrunning the house. And if that's the case, things are worse yet. That's much like the no-PA-support gig where you second-guess what it sounds like out in the room in various positions, decide it's boomy, and then gut your low end (instead of the mid/upper bass between 100-200 Hz where lies the actual cause), or tinker excessively with fine EQ that may only pertain to the position you are standing.

    Nope. More and more, I think EQ in the backline is mainly a tonal tool, and for a stage mix.

    Less skilled soundmen don't need any actual boominess to have excuses. But it does behoove a bassist to have a good setup, and cabs that don't have so damned much mid-upper bass hump which is the main catalyst for boominess, and then possess a sense for using EQ better as a tonal option or voicing preference, and less as an attempt to solve problems that are really the soundman's to address.
  15. I had one also, and that was my reason for selling it.

    I wound up with an SWR Interstellar Overdrive with active tone controls. This old dawg likes Flat in the middle detent, not the crazy reverse logic of the Fender stack in the F1X.

    I also wanted grind-on-demand, which the IOD provides through a pair of over-driven EL84 power tubes. I find I don't use it, but it is there should I play tunes that require it. I run the IOD with everything flat almost all the time.
  16. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I recently had the same experience with a db659->CA6 setup. I use a GS412. Sounded amazingly wonderful and creamy solo -- but it sat like a fog machine in the mix.

    I swapped back to my Mesa Boogie M-pulse 600, and am once again very happy with my tone. I don't even use the parametric, the 3 band EQ on this head is just perfect. Mids are passive, bass and treble are active, so there is no "interactivity" like you get with a Fender tone stack. I find those hard to deal with on the gig.

    My favorite *sounding* preamps are fender tone stack pres (alembic and trace v-type), but I don't like dealing with their EQs while gigging. Too twitchy. The M-pulse gives me some of that vibe (though a little flatter and not quite as tubey) with a versatile and effective live EQ stack. Not to mention one of the best compressors I've ever heard, and its very loud for a 600 watt amp.

    I think you might really like the Mesa. It walks the fine line between hi-fi and old school warmth really well.
  17. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Another vote for the Alembic F-2B.
    I got mine in August of 1982 for $416 new, and it's still going strong. I replaced the electrolytic caps (total of $24) a few years ago as a safeguard (it was still working fine), and now have some Telefunken tubes in it (though the original RFTs still work/sound great).
  18. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV Bushwood Caddy Day: 1:00 to 1:15 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Ampeg SVP-CL preamp. Set it to #4 (Ultra Low Classic), and crank it up! I've had quite a few preamps, and this one is clearly my favorite. It has 4 preamp tubes. 2 - 12ax7, 2 - 12au7. The ONLY possible downside I can find (but it may not be for most) is that there is NO effects loop in it.

    I use it with a Crest CA9, and it's outstanding. If you want to stay the "head" route, the new Ampeg SVT-8 PRO is the same preamp as the CL.

    Good luck!
  19. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    Alembic, Demeter...Kern I've never tried. The F-2B is a dual channel with less features, but it gives you the sound you've been wanting all your life ;)

    The Aguilar stuff is some of the most overhyped garbage I've ever tried. I mean I literally plugged into a DB750 one day at a store and after about ten minutes, thought "this is it?"

    Check out the Mesa stuff too..their tone controls work in very much the same way as the Alembic and are a great deal
  20. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'd suggest the Fender TBP-1 or a BBE BMAX-T (tube version). Both are very nice and have lots of features. The Fender is a little warmer and the BBE a little brighter. IMO great preamps and not that expensive if you look around.

    I for one love my DB750 but I agree that maybe for smaller gigs it's just overkill. I'd suggest to try these preamps or the others that most have mentioned.
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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