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On a happier note--Alembic SF-2

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassmonkeee, Apr 30, 2002.


  1. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    While I deal with FedEx to try and figure out where they sent my GS112, my new Alembic SF-2 actually found its way to the mailroom today.

    I've only had a chance to play it into my digital 8 track so far, but, WOW! This thing has some serious shaping capacity. After playing Dave Siff's new Exploiter with a Q control, I decided I needed that ability. I managed to find one for $350 used, and it has already exceeded my expectations.

    I'll have to enjoy the sound through studio headphones until my rig is complete. My amp is acting squirrely, so I am waiting until my DB750 shows. I've got an amazing setup paid for, and half of the darned thing is not in my possession...:rolleyes:

    But, someday soon, I'll be playing my 8 string fretless Curbow (something else not finished yet...) through an Aguilar DB750 with two GS112s, and the Alembic SF-2. It'll all be worth the hassle, I am sure.

    Anyone else have one of these? I'm looking forward to spending some serious time getting to know it.

    Maybe I'll try and finally get some mp3s online with this thing.
     
  2. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Hey, I've got one of these too, though technically, it's only a loaner. The shaping ability is really vast, and you have to be careful. I have yet to really settle on any specific settings that I like for this sound, or that sound, but demo recording sessions coming up should iron those out.
     
  3. Ok...so why do I want an SF-2 and not some other decent parametric? I play much dub bass and am always trying to maximise my 30hz bottom w/o layering everything with muck. How do you guys use yours? What the heck is that "dampening" knob?
     
  4. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    I think an SF-2 would be great for dub. I has a much sub bass output as you want. And you can blend the sub bass filter sound with the original signal. Hey monkee, back me up on the bass output of this thing eh??
     
  5. I want one...I just want to know what it will do that a regular parametric won't?
     
  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    What limited time I have spent with this thing has already shown me that "with great power comes great responsibility." :D

    Seriously, the tone options on this thing are ridiculous. I don't think it's fair to describe it as "just a parametric." It is so much more. A quick turn of the frequency knob gives a big ol' "bwwwwwooooourrrrrrrrp" through the spectrum like the biggest wah pedal you've ever heard.

    I know I'm just scratching the surface (especially with two channels that interact), but as far as the 'dub' possibilities, you only have to look as far as the BP '95 product review. In it, Karl Hoyt says that it had so much subsonic fury that at extreme settings, it actually caused nausea and vertigo to hit some people in the testing room. He advised being careful. Any filter that can cause physical discomfort is okay in my book.
     
  7. That sounds just like the filter and Q-switch in my Alembic on-boards...good stuff.

    Nausea and vertigo! Woohoo! Count me in...
     
  8. jock

    jock

    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Sounds interesting.
    How does it sound used alone with a poweramp?
    Can it be used this way?
     
  9. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Though I haven't tried it as a lone preamp yet, it can be used as such and has a 10 db gain at the fromt input, which can be modified to 0 or 20? (maybe its 15) db gain to accomodate varying instrument inputs. I will try soon and report.
     
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I checked this out today. My 2nd Aguilar 1x12 showed up today, and I had my slightly ill Carvin R600 at home. I wanted to see what kind of sound I could get out of the SF-2 as a preamp, since I was pretty sure my Carvin's problem was in the preamp section.

    So, I ran my 93 USA Curbow into the SF-2 front input, into the power amp 'IN' on the Carvin, and bridged 500W into the GS112.

    WOW. :eek: It exceeded my expectations in so many ways, I was considering canceling my order for an Aguilar DB750 (just kidding, Gard ;) ). The preamp was as quiet as a church mouse, and the tone was pure, and sweet. I spent about an hour fiddling with the controls, and I have to say that the Alembic is really very easy to use once you get used to the controls. After only 2 hours of messing with it, I can already begin to hear a sound in my head, and find it with the Alembic.

    The Carvin worked great using just the poweramp, and delivered a severe tone to the 1x12 with headroom to spare.

    The direct sound (with the filter volumes at 0) through the SF2 was great, as well. The Curbow has bass, mid, and treble controls, so I didn't miss any amp options, and the SF2 was delivering some great filtered tones to boot.

    I am amazed that these things aren't more popular. The Alembic website is kinda cryptic about what the SF2 can do. I mean, "the Swiss Army Knife of tone" is a very accurate description after you have heard one. Until then, you are pretty much left with "yeah, that sounds cool, but what, exactly[/], does it do?"

    If you EVER get a chance to fool around with one, DO. This setup will definitely tide me over until the Aggie shows up, and I can't wait to use the SF2 in conjunction with the DB750. I really don't think there isn't a tone that I won't be able to pull out of it. I mean, if I can make the neck pickup of a 6 string Curbow sound like the bridge pickup of a Jazz bass...well, I think the options are pretty much only limited by my imagination.
     
  11. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    I like my Superfilter. :) And it's got a lot more capability than I've really used.

    The main thing I've used it for is as a low-pass at around 6.8kHz (highest frequency), with a high Q. Takes out the extreme high-end and puts some high-mid bite in there.

    Right now I have my signal split into two paths: one goes into the SF2 ch A, full direct plus 10dB gain high pass at around 3-4kHz high Q, into one channel of an F-2B. The other goes though a SansAmp into ch B of the Superfilter, set to zero direct gain, 10dB filter gain, low pass at 6.8kHz high Q, into the other F-2B channel. This came about through some serious fiddling, don't ask how I came up with those settings :).

    When I first got it though I messed around with it a bit, and truly the "low pass" setting at 100Hz or so is really, really scary. Just bass. Very clean - it doesn't have that "mrf rff wrhfff" sound that just playing through a subwoofer seems to have.

    The big difference between the SF-2 and a parametric, as they say on the Alembic website is: with an equalizer, you've always got the original signal going through at unity gain (minus any bits you subtract with the EQs of course). With the Superfilter you can turn it down, and hear only the filtered signal.
     
  12. jock

    jock

    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Can anyone post a closeup pic of the front of the SF2 so I can see what all the knobs do? What´s a good price for a used one?
     
  13. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    The controls are, for each channel:

    - direct gain
    - filter gain
    - frequency (45Hz to 6.8kHz)
    - damping ratio (Q, 1.25 - 10)
    - 3-way type switch: low-pass, band-pass, high-pass

    I've seen them on Ebay frequenly for $300-$350. I got mine for $320 I think. They left the store sticker on it when the sent it and it said $250 :rolleyes: :p
     
  14. Hey bassmonkee - after a month with the SF-2, is it still the cat's a**? I'm thinking of adding a high-end parametric filter to complete my rig, and this specs out like the cream of the crop. I'd be interested in a few of your favourite settings to play around with when I test one next month...plus sample settings from any other SF-2 users (descriptions and/or mp3's welcome).