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New East designed ACG preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by edwinhurwitz, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS

    I just got this in a couple days ago and put it into my '67 Guild Starfire with Bartolini triple coil (two with magnets and one without for humbucking single coil sounds) pickups. It replaced a Bartolini quad buffer and 3 band eq which I used so I could have an active blend, which I really prefer.

    Right off the bat, the tones of the bass are much clearer and punchier. I have always have had issues trying to get nice low end boost without boominess, but with the filters on this preamp, you can dial in the frequencies below the boom on the neck pickup and either use the other pickup to dial in the mids you want or bring highs back in with the treble control. The last is really part of the genius of this preamp. I have an Alembic Series I which I love, but have always felt that the filters don't go quite far enough down (350 HZ vs 70hz on the AGC) and once you dial in the mids you like, it can be at the expense of the highs. The AGC treble control takes its signal from before the filters, so no matter what you filter out, the full range of the highs are there to have (or not, if that's what you need). You can also decide which pickup (or blend between the two) that the feed for the treble control comes from.

    When sweeping the filters at maximum resonance (or overshoot, as AGC calls it), you can really hear the resonances of the instrument with the pickups. On a bass like a Starfire, which, for you those of you who might not know, is hollow, there are a lot of interesting resonances and filters like this really allow you to deal with them as you like, rather than a bass/mid/high setup, which gives generic control, but doesn't really suit basses with character like the Starfire. I think, from my experience with Alembics and other similar filters, that low pass filters with resonance controls interact with the signal in a way that is much cleaner than a standard eq tone control. When I add low end with a standard EQ, the sound muddies up in a way that sounds different than adding a low pass filter with resonance. The Alembic Superfilter also sounds like this. Standard tone controls can have a comforting thickness to them, but this works a lot better for me.

    There are some things to get used to, for me the biggest one is that when adding the different sounds on each pickup, they can have drastically different amounts of gain, so the blend control is not always centered for a balanced blend between them. However, this is a pretty small thing to have to deal with for such a powerful range of tones.

    Finally, the build quality is excellent. It was a very easy install. I had John build mine with separate volume and blend controls, mostly because I have so many holes to fill in this bass (7) and didn't want to have any empties. Alan and John are great to work with. In the US, with such a weak dollar, the price is not cheap, but compared to an Alembic Series II setup, it's a bargain, plus it does more and goes further. The build quality certainly seems like it's on the same level. I am now wondering what this would sound like in my Modulus Q6!

    I think my next step for this bass is to go back to the original Hagstrom pickups (or Dark Star equivalents) and an Alembic style bridge (which has been sitting on my work bench for a couple years).


    Attached Files:

    RMacBass likes this.
  2. Skelf


    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    Just a line to say thank you for taking the time to post.
  3. Aarix


    May 19, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I'm going to assume that you mean John East. Although you never know, maybe Nathan has some spare time on his hands...
  4. John East

    John East Commercial User

    Jan 10, 2002
    Oxford UK
    Owner of E-Pro & East UK
    Assumption correct, John.
  5. Nathan,

    what are you doing using John's logon?

  6. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    john is nathan? finkle is einhorn????

    all kidding aside, your preamps are amazing mr. east.
  7. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    And this one is no exception. I've been finding myself getting distracted quite a lot the past few days, just finding new tones. It's certainly possible to get a ton of sounds that would be hard to find a good use for, but there are even more useful sounds. So much more of the natural sounds of the bass are available to be brought out with this style of eq. I think this preamp is destined to be a classic!

    I'll see if I can figure out how to post some clips, if anyone is interested.
  8. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    yes, please do post clips. i have been watching this pre with interest (using alembic activators atm), and am thinking of using this with the lefay jazz pups...:bassist:
  9. Sugden


    Oct 5, 2006
    Well i have only this evening received my acg custom build http://www.acguitars.co.uk/Gallery/104/ so my initial thoughts on the pre amp are wow.

    Iv been playing with it for about 3 hours reading all about it adjusting things when they suddenly make sense to me and kind of repeating that process for along time. Im not really the play for 3 hours kinda guy either so this bass and pre amp are something very special. Ortho my fingers are rather raw as i swaped back to steels tonight as well.

    Iv been able to find a huge array of tones and sounds i first went looking for the tones im used to found the ritter, my old spector euro, a nice jazz sound and deffinatly a musicman tone. Then tones of aditional veriations and slighty different characteristics that can be dialed in.

    Pretty versatile pre amp. I think its fantastic i was abit sceptical about it to begin with as i have never even attempted to use or been near a filtered pre amp before but im very very impressed with this from alan at ACG and john east.

    The pre amp just compliments the basses tones fantasticly its got a warm deep tone that sings. The sustain on it and mids are lovely as well something that will really cut through and have a huge presence in the mix i think. I will hopfuly do abit of recording if my mate brings round his lovely box of tricks and get some samples up. Ortho dont hold your breath as its bloody hard to get music students to get up and do anything i mean they dont even go to uni... :p

    Just because im on about my acg i have to mention the bass as well its stunning, its the best bass i have ever played. This isnt from a bias either i was quite happy to keep hold of my ritter classic if it had something the acg didnt acheive but im now selling the ritter as i just dont need to have it around with the acg with me.

    The build quality is fantastic and the woods are just brilliant.

    As people maybe able to tell im very happy with the preamp and the bass.

    Got to thank alan for all the help during the build as well he has been fantastic.

    Glad to see others are getting on so well with his pre amp i think its a great idea and something that little bit different and versatile behond need. Also the wah-wah effect you can get is most imusing :D
  10. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    i am enjoying mine immensely :bassist: really a fantastic pre, impeccably constructed, and a vast myriad of tones can be found. i am awaiting the arrival of the big polled delanos (barts atm) to "open it up" a bit more...:cool:
  11. So, what is the price of this preamp in US dollars?

    And I think many of us are waiting for someone to make a Wal bass "copy" with this preamp and do a comparison. I, as do wquite a few guys here believe the famous Wal tone can be achieved with this pre.. I hope to do so next year with a Stambaugh.
  12. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    just a little over $400 US (shipped), and arrived from Scotland in three days! you need to contact Alan to make sure they are available (as he gets a "batch" of them made at intervals) before you are ready to order.
  13. David Vector

    David Vector Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    I'm definitely watching this with a lot of interest. The other main part of the equation of course is using some big, bold-sounding MM pickups to provide the preamp with the right "raw material" to sculpt into shape (although from what I've read, there probably are no pickups out there that are quite like the custom pups that Pete winds by hand).

    I think my "ideal" bass tone would be something akin to Geddy Lee's Power Windows sound but with a little more bottom end. I've gotten somewhat in that ballpark in recording by using resonant lowpass filter plugins like the Waldorf D-Pole and Naive LPF.

    But it would be nice to get that kind of tone more out of the bass instead of having to get so elaborate with outboard processing. I'm thinking that replacing the Bartolini MM pickup in my Lakland 44-02 with a more aggressive-sounding MM and popping an ACG preamp in there might be the ticket.
  14. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    that was my reasoning behind paring the delano pups with the ag: the mc/mv series delanos have the large poll pieces, akin to a stingray's (and advertised as "in your face" by delano). while i'm not after the "wal sound" per se (mainly more tonal variety), it wouldn't hurt...:D

  15. I know Delano makes a quite hot MM pickup. The hottest MM (though it doesn't have the MM pole layout)that I know of is the RioGrande Powerbucker, which might be the ticket. However, I have the ever so slightest urge to use Gibsons TB plus pickups, which are pretty much the hottest pickups I've ever heard.
  16. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Since when was super-high output synonymous with aggressive tone?
  17. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY

    I plan to use Delano pickups with an ACG preamp in my Walenti project. I chose the Delanos because they have a very clear tone, not muddy. That seems to be a staple of the Wals tone, to my ears.
  18. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    when i manhandle the bass (and play w/ the pre filters) ;)
  19. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Any recordings? I'm curious how this pre sounds.
  20. crazyfish


    Sep 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I'm incredibly eager to hear some recordings. Maybe I can cure my Alembic GAS without having to pay Alembic prices!

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