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More cut from an Alembic F-1X?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CaptainWally, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. So I traded out my Aguilar 659 for Alembic F1-X and I'm loving the buttery tones. Not that there was anything wrong with the 659, but I love the F1-X lows and its smooth sound takes the edge of my Modulus Q5.

    The only problem is that in a recent rehearsal I wasn't hearing myself well enough with my single SWR 2x10. With the 659, I had more mids and cut through better. I love the tone of the Alembic, but I'm told that "flat" is mid all the way up and lows and highs dropped to nothing. So I'm "flat" on the preamp, and my bass mid control is up all the way, and I'm still not getting enough. Suggestions (besides adding another speaker obviously as the 659 worked ok with the single 2x10) ? :hyper:
  2. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    The Alembic preamps (F-1X & F-2B ) are pretty responsive to the differences of various tubes. What kind of tube do you have in yours, and have you tried any other tube brands? I've heard that the Amperex Bugle Boys are pretty stong in the mids, but I've never tried them. My F-2B came with some RFT's (re-labled as "Amperex Made in W. Germany"), and I thought those tubes were strong in the mids compared with others that I tried. In fact, those RFT's were the best tubes I ever tried in my F-2B, until I got the Telefunkens (though I wouldn't call the Telefunkens strong in the mids, just very smooth).
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The mid control is cut only, at 10 there's zero cut being applied.

    When I've used an F-1X, I've either boosted mids on the bass or used a parameteric eq rack unit with it.
  4. That is one of the primary reasons I sold my F-1X and replaced it with an Interstellar Overdrive.

    The solution is an outboard EQ, either graphic or parametric. I don't do dials well, which is why I sold my Rane PE17, and replaced it with a GE-30 graphic with 1/3 octave sliders.
  5. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The mid control is cut only, at 10 there's zero cut being applied.

    Not exactly, if the tone stack is what I've been told it is, a passive Fender clone. That'd be something like this download will model: http://www.duncanamps.com/tsc/

    A Baxandall tone stack will allow plenty of mid boost, or more properly concurrent high and low cut, if you're married to passive EQ.

    As far as active EQ, I prefer a true parametric EQ to any graphic, but as BG alludes to, many people don't dig the less intuitive interface. Thing is, the graphic interface misrepresents the actual transfer function by a big margin in many cases. This may or may not matter to you, but it bugs me quite a bit.
  7. The starting point (flat response) is [ BASS AT 9:00 oclock MID AT 3:00 oclock and TREBLE AT 9:00 oclock ] I've determined this by taking the DI into my studio board and toggling between pre and post. At this setting I can't hear any difference in tone or gain. Start with the tone controls set to the above settings. If you need more mids, you've still got a little bit left so crank um.
  8. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The F1-X is designed to have a natural mid-cut sound. That is why is sounds really good when playing alone, and tends to get lost in the mix in a group setting, especially rock. (IMO)

    Instead of adding more tone-sucking components to your system to get the sound you want, I suggest you fix the source of the problem. In other words, get a different pre.
  9. I agree and disagree with this statement. Besides my F1-X I have access to an SVP-Pro and a POD Pro as well as the tube pre that was in my VT-300A. I can get just as flat a sound out of the F1-X as I could from the other pre-amps. Different textures but very similar frequency responses. So I'm saying that you can get a flat sound or even a mid-boost from the F1-X if you forget about having the tone controls set at12 o’clock and set them as I prescribe or even turn the mid up full and the bass and treble completely off. Then add bass and treble as needed. I know this sounds wacky but this is how it works. If, however, you still can't get the tone you want, sell the F1-X and get something that has the tone controls you need. JMO
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    What you're doing is pairing a mid-cut only preamp with a speaker cab that is heavily mid shy. Bad combonation I think. Check out other cabs like the Epifani or Bergantino cabinets if you really like the sound of the F1-X.
  11. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    I have to agree here. I just recently started using a BMax preamp which has the same control setup as the F1X as far as mids being cut only. In fact the BMax was loosely based on the F1X as far as I know. Anyway, I also recently added Model J pups my bass and knowing they would be low and beefy and purposely added stainless strings to retain some high end, which worked unbelievably good. So maybe a warmer nickel string will help you get some more mids?
  12. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i just sold an f1x (my third) because of the problem being discussed.
    i replaced it with-gasp- a sans amp d.i... although the alembic is a tone monster, it is so hi-fi and smooth it makes it hard to sit evenly in a mix. i tried the sans amp out at a decent sized gig, dialing in some extra dirt and our soundman freaked in the best way possible. praise from the audience as well. its a bit noisier, but the point is that once you're in a group situation, the needs of your instrument change very dramatically. the bottom line seems to be that the alembic was made to enhance tone very minimally. most situations require a bit more as far as tonal options are concerned.luckily, there are lots of inexpensive additions you can make to your rig.
    cheers dk
  13. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    The first time that I used an F1-x out live was the last time I used it. It just didn't work live.
  14. :meh:

    Seems I'm not the only one with this problem. I think it's true that F1-X + SWR doesn't leave a lot in the mids department.

    I think I'd be more inclined to swap out the F1-X than add more gear gadgets to fix the problem. What to get though?

    So the BMax-T has the same issue?

    Don't say Aguilar 659! ;)
  15. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Sounds real familar! I experienced the same thing on live gigs with the F-1X. It's not the SWR JR. You'll experience the same thing with a 2 X 10 Berg (as I did) and a Goliath III 4-10 (as I did). I used the F1-X with my 2 x 10 JR III, Goliath III and Berg and without additional EQ you won't find the mids to cut through. I never had that problem when I used my SM400S or Mesa M-Pulse 600 with any of my cabinets. When I used the F1-X I typically boosted the Mids via the 3-band Bart on my Roscoes and it helped a great deal. IMO the F1-X has the best solo bass sound I've ever heard (I've owned 2), but it can be a hard pre to EQ to cut through a loud mix (especially a rock gig with lots of guitar!).
  16. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Mesa M-Pulse 600! I used it at a LOUD gig last week with the SWR JR III (I was lazy). Cut through the mix like a knife! Even better with the Goliath III or 2 Avatar 112's. Phat! :hyper:
  17. Once again demonstrating that what sounds great in the living room doesn't always translate to the gig! :bassist:

    So which preamp to try next?
  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you want to stick with the preamp route than my suggestion would be to just get yourself a Demeter 201s. I'm sure that you'd be very happy with it. Even the older 1 1/2 space Demeter pre with the Jenson DI would be great. It's got a great warm tube sound with a cut and boost eq section. It would do great things for your Modulus.
  19. dnburgess


    Jul 20, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Proprietor: Bass People, Green Square Music
    I think flat on the F1X is 2:10:2 (bass:mid:treble)
  20. You might want to check out an Electro Harmonix 12AX7EH preamp tube. It's a nice tube with good clarity and has a bit of mid/upper mid emphasis that was perfect for "unscooping" an all SWR rig I used to run.

    One of the things I liked about it was that the mid honk was touch sensitive (it increased with the strength of the signal). If I needed to cut more, I just pulled the strings a bit harder.

    Although these are available at GC and other music stores, I recommend buying from a reputable tube dealer that tests tubes before selling. It's worth it for the peace of mind.

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