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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MWBass, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    So, as many of you know I have been going back and forth over this rig stuff for a long time. I have had many great rigs and played a ton of stuff that is out there. Most turn to me and say, just pick something and spend more time playing, rather then fussing over gear, and I agree...

    And I do play, a lot... about 80 gigs in the last 6 months... but I just want to have this ironed out and done with...

    So, I have an IP310 on the way with no reservations about it at all. I know the cab will fit the tonal bill I was looking for... "supreme clarity with note to note fullness" I was looking for something between the AG cab fatness and EA cab clarity... and this is it...

    So, we know its down to the pre.

    Based on my extensive testing and recommendations from close friends, this is what I have it down to...

    Demeter HBP-1
    Demeter VTBP-201
    Kern IP-777
    PJB Bass Buddy
    Summit 2BA221
    Universal Solo 110
    Avalon U5

    And thats about it. Basically from former posts, I am a very percussive player, and I want something that is going to be super quiet (noise wise) very clear, while still retaining note to note fullness, and will allow the IP to scream...

    My thoughts so far are that I like the Demeter Stuff, I have owned it before, but I am not sure about which one, I had the HBP-1 but never used or prefered to use the parametric EQ. The fact that the VTBP-201 doesn't have a parameteric, comes stock with a Jensen T. DI and many have said sounds more pure... that sounds appealing to me...

    as for the Kern, No, I have not played one, but it has been recommended numerous times. I have also been told many times that the Kern is a great match for the IP.

    As for the Summit, the Universal Audio, and the Avalon, I am up in the air about tone controls. I would like them there to be safe, but if the tone is dead on, then I have always been a set it and forget it guy... I chose the Summit 2BA pre rather then the TD-100 because it has infinite variable gain, in input/output/ss/tube format. Thus, I can have the signal completly off and and volume via the ss input gain, then add any tube warmth i like from the tube output gain... but I have to know the tone is solid...

    The Universal was chosen because like the SPL gainstation i found before, it has input gain, and output volume control, and ss straight through..

    And the only reason the Avalon is in there is because it sounded good, via clips I have heard, and Jim B. recommended it... but no ability to turn it completly down, scares me... and I am not about to keep going behind the IP to adjust its level... I will only touch that for bedrrom level, and stage level... otherwise, it will not move...

    And finally the bass buddy. The BB looks like a killer product, and I have heard it is super quiet and sounds great with the IP's... and its two pounds and can fit in the storage space inside of my bass case... On top of this, the combo of the PJB Bass Buddy with the Avalon U5 that TB'r Dunamis was using sounds very cool, even though its an oxymoron, weight and size wise...

    So, am just asking your opinion one last time, if I were to choose a top four in no particular order, it would probably be

    PJB Bass Buddy, Demeter VTBP-201, Summit 2BA, Kern IP777

    I as always want clarity above all, but not sterile or anemic... basically, my accugroove/millenia/qsc rig was great, but still just a bit to fat... EA iAMP800/cxl112/cxl112 rig was to thin sounding... I need something in between... supreme clarity, and articulation with meat... thats what i need...

    I think the IP310 is a good cab choice between the EA and the AG, but what pre... for the percussive player like myself...
  2. HBP-1
  3. jobu3

    jobu3 It ain’t ideal but I deal Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Aguilar DB-680 :p
  4. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    Now, there's no cheating Big Joe...

    great preamp though...
  5. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    Just a note on the HBP-1. You can order it with a Jensen if you wanted to.

  6. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    A note on the Summits: I have no idea if it's the unit for you, but my solution with the TD-100 was to add a nice half-rack parametric EQ to it, providing the tone shaping and output gain control that it lacks. It's a good system. Again, maybe or maybe not what you're looking for, but I'm just saying don't rule out the device just because it is missing a feature which easily added- much more easily/conveniently than packing/racking a Bass Buddy with a U5.
  7. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet?

    Jul 31, 2002
    USA, Montana
    Of the last four you listed, I don't think you can go wrong. Preference of what you hear or want to hear, or don't want to hear will vary but you have narrowed it down to some good units. If you could only try them all, that would be best..... Is rack mounting into a single 1U important? I have been using the HBP-1 with my IP rigs with great success. Very transparent, I wouldn't call it tubey though. I recently acquired a Millinnea TD-1. It's tube channel is awesome and other than not being very portable, and being expensive, it is my all time favorite tone with my IP rigs.
  8. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU
    The Bass Buddy I tested was hissy when boosting the treble and weak on bass.
    Features and functionality in such a convenient package made it very enticing to me, but IMHO the tone falls short. :meh:

    I've been reading in other posts that the earlier IP's were a bit on the bass heavy side, which would have made them a good match both for the Bass Buddy and the Summit TD-100, the new one is supposed to be flater voiced, so I wonder if these two pre's would be suitable.

    Of your list, my definite favourite, is the UA Solo 110 :)
  9. You should try to find a way to play through the Kern before making your decison. It totally ended my search. I think it has the most well voiced EQ for bass purposes I've ever had the pleasure of playing through. It just seems to sound "right" to my ears. I love how I can just roll back the tonal balance knob and the high end comes out clear and smooth with just the right presence.
  10. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    Well, here is a further update...

    To give you an Idea... I think I am looking for Solid, Solid State tone... what I mean basically...

    Take the Avalon U5... it is a straight solid state class a preamp... when you listen to clips of it, or play through it, you can here that each note is very clean and plainly presented. The only problem with they Avalon is that it sounds a tad bit think and unstable...

    As TB'r Chadds put it one, it has kind of a plastic sound to it. I think this is a good way to describe it...

    Of all of the Tube based preamps I have played through, or heard, there is this kind of warm, dare i say musical fuzz, to each individual note. I have to believe this is the tube speaking... Where as I like the warmth of the tubes, I like the solidity and cleanlieness of the pure solid state...

    So, I guess I am looking for pure solid state, but a warm, clean solid note to note solid state...

    I still have to say to date that I feel the Ampeg SVP-CL is still my favorite Tube Based pre... It just sounds good to me... but I really would prefer to buy a current production piece...

    So if were looking at the solid state rhelm, that leaves only a few pres... I don't know of many bass pres that I have played that are pure solid state straight through... but I guess in my current state, this leaves...

    The Avalon U5, the Universal Solo 110, and the PJB Bass Buddy... OR any others that you may be able to think of...

    Warm fully solid state...hmmmmm...

    the one thing I can say is that I am definetly leaning towrds the Universal Solo 110 over the Avalon U5... why, it has input and output control, which I prefer, but also, they are similar class a pure solid state through, but from all of the Universal Units I have played, the Universal Audio pieces tend to work from the warmer side of the spectrum, where as the Avalon non tube based pieces don't hit it so much. This is speculation, but If I could get a bit more of a solid clear tone from the UA LA610 I played through, that could be very nice...

    Then again the Bass Buddy does have tone controls... but will it push as hard and thump as solid on each bnote as the UA Solo 110...

  11. If you're looking for a solid state pre and are considering the Bass Buddy you should also try to check out the Phil Jones P1 pre. It's only one rackspace and it has a more comprehensive feature set. It's not supposed to be as noisy/hissy in the top end as some people have found the Buddy to be.
  12. MWBass


    Jun 19, 2005
    Belford, NJ
    I agree, it is an incredible unit. I'm just not prepared to drop $1500... not now at least....

    So, the Phil Jones BB is noisy on the top. Thats a killer for me.. I hate top end hiss with a passion...

    Some have told me it is super quiet, others have said that its noisey... seems kind of spotty....

    Anyone have more extensive use of the UA Solo 110. I know many have used the Solo 610, but I am more interested in the 110 and how it compairs to the Avalon U5...

  13. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    All good choices, but the one I've played through an IP310 that REALLY stood out to me was the Kern IP777. That would be my FIRST choice.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Demeter VTBP-201, KISS with great tone.
  15. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    As far as I know, the Kern is not a current production unit.

    Aside from that, I'd recommend the Demeter HBP-1 (since the PJB P-1 and Millennia TD-1 are out of consideration price-wise).

    Blind-testing, I'd never guess the HBP-1 was a tube preamp.

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