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New Rig Review...Demeter/Stewart/Accugroove...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MWBass, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    Ok, I finally feel ready to give a review on my current rig that was just completed. I have used endless amounts of gear which I will disclose in a few, but have had three major rigs that I have been very happy with. The first rig that I stuck with for a long time was an Eden Roadrunner head, used as a preamp, into a QSC PLX 3402, into a pair of Eden 410XLT's. The next which recently spent about 3 months in my house was a Millenia STT-1 Origin, into a QSC PLX 3402, into a pair of Accugroove Whappo Jr's. Then I lost my job and ended up trying to save some money, but I made a killing on ebay so, ended up getting a solid rig which I have now... Demeter HBP-1 into Stewart World 2.1 into an Accugroove El Whappo.


    Pre's - Eden Navigator, Alembic F-1X, Millenia STT-1, Avalon VT-737SP, and a Demeter HBP-1

    Heads - Ampeg SVT-4PRo, Eden Metro, Epifani UL-502, Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600, Aquilar DB750, Genz Benz GBE1200, SWR 750x, Mesa 400+, EA iAMP 800, and a few others.

    Power Amps - QSC RMX 2400, QSC PLX 3402, Peavey DPC 1400x, and Stewart World 2.1

    Cabs - SWR Triad, SWR Henry the 8X8, Ampeg 410HLF, Ampeg 810E, Mesa Boogie Powerhouse 1000, Mesa Boogie 410, Mesa Boogie 115, Eden 210XLT, Eden 410XLT, Eden 210XST, EDen 215XLT, Aquilar gs212, Aquilar gs410, Phil Jones 16B, Phil Jones 8T, Epifani 210UL, Epifani 210NYC, Euphonic Audio, NL-210, Euphonic Audio NM-410, Genz Benz NeoX212t, Accugroove El Whappo, Accugroove Whappo Jr., and an Accugroove Tri210L as well as probably some others...

    Yeah, I know, I have problems. At least I didn't keep it all...Tom Bowlus...

    Anyway The rig I have now is just truly amazing and hits the spot for me musically. It is a palette that will allow me to express myself for now and the future. So, on with the review.

    The Preamp...
    I absolutely love the Demeter HBP-1 and I recommend it highly to any bass player, well, any bass player that actually wants to hear the true nature of their playing. At first fire up, the Demeter is a lot brighter than anything I have used before. And I was surprised, but after some mild eq'ing, I hit tones that were amazing. All the notes ring out like bells. I recently got into the switchable parametric eq some more, and found that with the HBP-1, you can really shape your tone, to a t the way that you want it. the eq is very useable and allows you to easily find the frequencies that you want to cut and boost. Another great aspect of the Demeter is that it has an effects loop and the loop is able to be put in and pulled from the signal path. I really like this option because I am currently using a lexicon G2 processor and the effects loop allows me to place effects in the proper location in the signal path. Then I can pull the loop out and run thru the straight wire of the pre send on the Lexicon, and literally have totally clear unprocessed signal going to my demeter. I am a big fan of clear signals when not using effects.

    So, as compaired to the Millenia STT-1, you might find me crazy, but I actually like the demeter better. They are two different beasts, but have great qualities. The signal is totally clean and true to the instrument through both preamps. I guess it boils down to this... The Millenia is a preamp for everything, guitar, bass, vocals, whatever, and the Demeter is a bass preamp, and in my practice, the Millenia produces stellar bass tone, but I could only find one or two useable settings that totally rocked my world. The demeter feels like every setting and every touch of the eq subtly changes the tone to a new world of sound. Everything seems useable on the Demeter. And on the demeter I could get more bass, right where I like it. So, I would say that the Millenia is the clearest most natural tone, but has a sort of a dryness to it, like the sound is literally coming out of studio monitors. The Demeter, is clear, and totally natural, but just allows the bass to ring out a little fuller and the sound seems to jump of the speakers and smack you in the gut. Basically both are leagues above anything else in clarity and naturalness, but the demeter is half the weight, half the size, a third of the price, and provides more useable tones. Don't take this as a bash in any way on the Millenia, as I said both of these pres are way beyond any thing else I have used, the Demeter is just an insane value...

    The Power Amp...

    Well, I have only used three power amps, so this is fairly easy to explain. The QSC PLX and RMX sounded exactly the same to my ears, its just that the PLX was half the weight, so it was worth the extra price.

    Now for the Stewart. I have read a lot about the stewarts and the Crest CA-9 as well as a bunch of others. I recently had a Peavey DPC 1400x for a short time as well, and I think I can make a few fair statements about the Stewart World 2.1. Lets start off easy, it is my favorite power amp I have used so far. It is extremely clear and insanely powerful. I actually really liiked the punchiness and clarity of the Peavey as well, but for me, the Fan on the DPC 1400x was just to darn annoying. IT is reactive and fires up and down with your playing. It's fine at stage volumes, but if you play a lot like myself at home setting levels, it can be annoying. But as for the power and sound of the DPC 1400x, it is absolutely incredible.

    So, on Mark Wright from Accugrooves suggestion, I took the Stew. I'll be the first to admit that power amps are the last thing I feel that effects your tone. The stewart is clear, loud and punchy, like the QSC's and any others I have heard. But the Stewart does produce the low bass frequencies a bit more full, but most important, the biggest thing about the stewart is its dynamics. When I started playing through it, I was like, this just sounds different than before, what is it??? then I realized that I wasn't actually playing my lines very balanced and some of the notes were coming out a lot louder and more forceful than I had heard before. After playing for a while, I began to play my lines more balanced. It actually kinda helped me play better. So, with the stew, you get what you put in dynamics wise. You want loud hit hard, you want soft, play light, it really allows you to create some nice aural effects, and moods in your playing. I highly recommend it.

    The Cab...

    Well, I have played a bunch of cabs, as you can see above, but I learned something. I started with Ampeg, then I moved to Eden Cabs. I would try other things and keep returning to the eden cabs because I loved the way they sounded. I finally got to a point where I decided that the eden's sounded amazing up close, but I needed to carry two 410XLT's to get the volume and projection I wanted, then I finally had a good chance at using the Accugroove cabs and loved them. I had a pair of Jr's. Then after losing my job, I tried to sell, and save some money, but after trying a bunch of other cabs, I can safetly say, once you go Accugroove you can't go back. The clarity and balanced tone is just absolutely addictive.

    So, I got the El Whappo. And it is outstanding. The El Whappo can actually do what they say, it can replace two 410's . Of course it doesn't sound as full as 2 410's or even as loud, but it has a massive volume, great projection, and clarity beyond belief. IT projects your notes, not your notes and horrible muddiness. you can hear the distinguished sound of your bass.

    As for the El Whappo compaired to the Junior...well, I'll put it like this. The Jr has a little more punch, its true, but didn't have quite as much bottom as I was looking. I was scared moving to the whappo that I wouldn't get more punch you in the stomach bass that I like, but more fill the room bass. As it turns out you can get both. The cabinet is really versatile, and allows you to shape it a lot. The Whappo is compaired sound wise to the JR. as they appear physically. The Whappo Just sounds bigger, massive in fact. The good thing is that the 2 Jr's was more then enough, but one, just wasn't quite enough. The El Whappo is the ticket for getting what I need done with one cab. What I have noticed about the Whappo is that you can eq back to the Jr type feel, but the Jr. cannot get the massiveness of the El Whappo.


    I was looking for something Totally clear and accurate, loud enough to handle what I need it for, well protected, and manageable to transport. I also wanted to have all of my bases covered so that into the future the only thing I would be buying would be new basses.

    Well, my old rig was a 110 pound custom rack, 2 100 pound cabinets, a 40 pound floorboard, and my bass. ( Eden Rig)

    Now I have a Furman Power Factor Pro R, Lexicon G2, and Demeter HBP-1 in 1 light shallow shock rack, and the Stewart World 2.1 in another shallow light shock rack, my El Whappo, and I put my Fodera Monarch Classic in a double gig bag with the Lexicon MPX-R1 and slide that into an SKB Bass Safe.

    Now one 88 pound cabinet, 2 less than 50 pound rack cases, and the Bass Safe, which has wheels.

    I saved myself over 160 pounds of lugged weight. Not it isn't as light as say 2 light 210's and a single head, but it gives me the massive sound I need, all the options I need and is extremely manageable, and easy in transport.

    I even painted my shock racks padding black to give it a tight look. Check out the pics.

    So, I highly recommend all of this gear, and also as I always say, I recommend the Millenia STT-1, The EA iAMP 800, and the QSC and Crest Power amps as well. They are all incredible pieces of equipment

    This setup just works the best for me.

    Signing off.......

    Attached Files:

  2. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    great review! I use an HBP-1 and an El Whappo, and I definitely agree with your observations. I find the HBP to be a great compromise between the transparent tonalities of a hifi preamp, and the usefullness and features of a bass preamp. Also, the parametric is incredibly useful with the el whappo, which responds so well to eq changes.

    Glad you finally found the right setup. I'm sure it kicks

  3. Piezoman


    Nov 29, 2002
    Bronx, New York
    Now that is a rig........All equipment, I would love to own(one day I will).

    I dont understand the difference between the plx3402 and the Stewart 2.1. I understant the stewart wieghs about 5lbs. less but is it worth the loss in power? Does it actually make everything sound better?

    Also, Isnt the lexicon a guitar effects processor? I was under the impression that guitar stuff doesnt perform well for bass. Is this true or does it not really matter?
  4. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I own the avalon. How does it compare to the demeter preamp?
  5. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    Congrats on your rig, yes the whappo is an impressive cab...I agree that power amps probably have the least impact on tone, but definitely not on feel!....
  6. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    Nice...how much does the HBP-1 weigh exactly? I couldn't find that info on their specs.
  7. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    Hey, sorry I couldn't get back until now, so I will try to respond to you guys separately, thanks for the comments by the way...

    Jake.. Thanks a lot man. I have gained alot of advice from you over the last few months and my only regret now is that I didn't go for the Whappo/Demeter Combo earlier. I guess I am in a different place right now, so I had made my decisions on what I needed at the time.

    Anyway, thanks again Jake. You are a great player and I value your advice greatly.

    Also, how is that CA-9 working out for you. When I was deciding on a power amp I had it down to the Crest Pro 5200, The CA-9, and the Stewart world 2.1. I chose the stewart just becuase it was the most bang for the buck, and the CA-9 and the Stewart have both gotten such great reviews I figured either of them would be incredible.


    The rig is truly awesome and just puts a smile on my face every time I play. As for the power amps. I honestly really liked the QSC, It just clipped a lot when I had it. I am sure it wouldn't have clipped if I dumped all 3400 watts into the whappo, but that seemed a little excessive. So, I talked to Mark Wright at Accugroove, and he recommended the Stewart. So, I jumped on it. I actually sold my QSC for 850, and got my Stewart fro 800, so I even saved a little cash. After getting the Stewart, all I can say is that, both power amps give out tones of clean power, but the stewart doesn't clip at ear drum shattering volume levels, and it has a much more dynamic feel, you can really get that soft and loud vibe straight from your finger tips. It is a nice feel. So, I would say, both are stellar, just the stewart is about 400 dollars cheaper, still plenty of watts, lighter, and has a noticeable amount more of dynamics. Hope that helps.

    Oh, and as for the lexicon, I haven't really gotten into it thast much yet, jkust the Jamman function for looping is insane and I love it. I was told that it had an open frequency response for almost all instruments. It is geared towards the guitar, but the was a Geddy setting in there as well, as another, I think like a Jamerson setting. So, I know that had bassists on there mind as well. I just used to have a Lexicon MPX1 and the reverbs and delays were awesome in it, so I expect to get the smae from this unit, once I fully discover its capabilities. I bought it because it has every effect that I wanted and its own matching foot controller, and has great wiring capabilities so that effects can be placed pre and post gain, as they are supposed to be. Plus from the input to the sends has a straight wire true bypass, so, I can get a dead straight shot and sound out of the HBP-1, so I like that. So far no complaints on the lex...


    I only owned the Avalon for a few days, so I cannot give the greatest comparison. I can just say that I am a very percussive player. I slap and tap a lot, and thuis I have been very drawn to a more"solid state" type sound. The Avalon sounded great, but was too warm and tubey for my taste. The demeter has a much clearer more round bell like tone to it. The only thing I can compair it to is the Mellenia STT-1, but a little bit wetter with more bass to it. Hope that helps...


    Thanks man. I totally agree, that is why I am digging the Stewart. It puts out what you put in, but exactly what you put in. I slightly feel it making me a better player, becuase I have to work on a balance of pressure between strings, so cool...


    I am not too sure about how much it weighs, but compairing it to my lexicon and my power conditioner, I would say 10 to 12 pounds around...
  8. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    A quick word of advice to people who are looking to move into the clean, transparent/flat category of heads and cabinets. I love accuracy and having made the move am totally happy that I did, but there is some sacrifice. The Demeter into the whappo, as well as the Mellenia into the Jr's, I used to have, are so clear, and so accurate, that you can hear a lot more that you couldn't before. A lot of finger noise against strings and stuff like that. I like it because you learn to play better, but I also noticed that you can actually hear your strings getting older. Not just as a whole, but one string at a time. Thats how clear it is, almost backfires... But, man I would never give up what the sound of a new pair of strings on a fodera, through a demeter/stewart/accugroove setup sounds like. It is truly amazing...

    Just two more cents...
  9. Tigereyemaple


    Dec 16, 2005
    My rig is an AccuGroove El Whappo with an Ampeg Classic SVT 4X10 sitting on top of it, powered by an EBS TD650.
    I wrote a nasty-gram to AccuGroove re: buying a 2000.00 cab that had cheap, thin aluminum cups and castors with tiny wood screws. I had to put lug screws on 1x2 boards and after market castors from Home Depot. The sound is fabulous but I must say I was more than a little disappointed that AccuGroove would skimp in such a fashion.
    Anyway, has anyone else encountered this problem? Thanks tig.
  10. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I hear you about the solid state thing. We probably play very similar. I owned and gigged an aguilar AG500 very extensively. I sold it to get the avalon and really miss it already. I wonder how the aguilar compares to your demeter? I will probably end up getting that head again due to it's simplicity and great tone in the worst of rooms. I will however play a few gigs with the avalon first. My rack is getting alittle too full now!
  11. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    Hey man,

    I think if you ever return the avalon you should seriously consider getting the demeter HBP-1 into any good power amp, QSC Stewart, Crest. Screw it, if you get like the dem and a Soundtech PS802 even, you would have 2 units, the same as the Aguilar, but the sound will blow your mind. I say this only because I have played through the aguilar a lot in the stor ethat is near my house. It is a great head, has a great tone, but you will be in awe of the dem if you played them back to back. As I said, the dem is pretty bright at first plug in, but I cut the mids, cut the treble a bit, boosted the bass a drop, and man oh man, unheard of clarity, I would put it into serious consideration.

    I didn't by the solid state aguilar, just because
    It didn't have enough juice for what I was doing at the time. I agree though, it is a great head.
  12. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    Great rig! Works for me!
  13. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    The CA9 is unbelievable with this rig. Like Jacove says, it definitely has more affect on feel than tone, but it's very noticeable, and having all that extra headroom is beautiful. I have played through a few Stewarts, and if I had a back problem I wouldn't hesitiate to get one, they're definitely great pweramps, especially considering weight and price, but I love my CA9! I don't even mind lugging my 70 pound rack around. If thats not a testament, I don't know what is.

    Anyways, good luck with the new setup MW. Let us know how it goes.

  14. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

    +1 on the Demeter....I love mine....great tone and the parametric is a great tool. I am planing on picking up a Stewart 1.6 to power my Schroeder 1212...should be nice.
  15. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I just ordered the demeter and will have a head to head with them this week. There can be only one highlander!!!! hahahaha :D
  16. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Just FYI:
    For you Demeter freaks, a good NOS tube in the gain/tone socket makes a fairly significant difference (IMO) in improving the tone even more.

    I have a Jan Philips 12AX7WA in mine and it has a very tight, smooth, & balanced tone.

    Word is the Telefunken ECC83 is very nice as well (Mullard also).
  17. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC

    I have tried a few different tubes in my HBP-1. All the current EH tubes, a NOS telefunken, a 5751, JJ tesla, a svetlana, and others, and I finally came back to a Sovtek 12ax7LPS. That tube didn't sound so great in some of the other amps I've used, but it seems to be perfect for the HBP-1. It has a little less bite than some of the others, but the low end is great, and I can dial up some snap if I need it. Maybe that makes a good match because, as you guys say, the HBP-1 is kind of a bright sounding preamp, so perhaps it mellows it out. I dunno, but the tone is smooooth city!
  18. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I have the VTBP-201S.

    I assume the tone circuitry on the HPB-1 is SS (but I'm not sure); the 201S is the interactive tube tone stack type.

    I'm sure there are some similarities and some differences in the tone between the two pre's with various tubes.

    I tried the stock EH, a Mitsubishi tube that was very fast & tight, but a bit lean harmonicly, a cheesy sounding Chinese 12ax7, an old, used GE 12ax7 (a bit softer, rounder sounding), and a Sylvania 7501 (basically the same tube as the Jan Philips I use).
  19. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ

    let me know once you get the demeter what your thoughts are, I'm curious to hear if you like it, Although I am almost certain of what your answer is going to be...
  20. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    Oh, I will! The reason that I got the avalon was that I loved my aguilar to death but wish that it had just alittle more clarity at home and just a hint more of a tube sound. Neither of these things would be noticed at a gig, obviously. The avalon has the nicest top end and mid range that I have ever wittnessed. It has the low mid punch of the aguilar but a much clearer and 3D sound. I may prefer the aggies low end in a live setting though. It's killing me that my next giggs are 3 weeks away. The demeter will be here tomorow. I'll give it a good workout next to the avalon and let everyone know on this thread.