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Preamp advice needed (Alembic, SWR, Demeter)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JohnL, Dec 5, 2000.

  1. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Sorry, I originally posted this in the wrong forum!

    I have been wanting to upgrade to a tube preamp and need some advice. I have a chance to pickup a used Alembic F1X for a reasonable amount, but wanted some advice before doing so. Bottom line: I've never heard anyone really say anything bad about this unit, but I've also never seen one around here to go try out. I wanted to look into the SWR Grand Prix (dealer never has in stock) and the Demeter (nobody has one in Atlanta). My budget will only allow me to buy used. There doesn't seem to be many floating around the used market. I guess that's a good testimonial for all of them, but it's a little tough to make a decision "sight unheard"!
    I do some studio work, so I would be really interested in hearing from you guys who have used any of these in the studio. Live, I play through a Crest LA901 into a Hartke 410XL, and both basses are passive Fender J's, so if you have any feedback about any of the above preamps with the Hartke cabs, that would be appreciated as well. BTW, is the Ampeg SVP in the same class? Let's see...what else is on the list...oh yeah, butter, eggs, milk, and pickup dry cleaning. Thanks!
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Despite what SWR would claim, the Grand Prix is not really a tube preamp like the Alembic, Demeter, Kern, Aguilar, etc.
    It uses exactly ONE 12AX7 tube in the inital gain stages but all the EQ and other functions are transistorized.

    If you've ever heard an SWR bass head, you know what it sounds like.

    The F1X is basically a clone of the Fender Showman preamp, with the addition of the "deep" switch from a Bassman. It is built with higher grade components than a Fender amp, so it's much quieter, thank goodness.

  3. I was digging around and found a photo of an Alembic F-1X preamp with the cover off. It appears to have exactly ONE tube installed, plus the web site documentation mentions transistorized support circuitry.

    Q: can anybody make a comparison between the SWR Grand Prix and the Alembic F-1X?

    I'd really like to hear from Grand Prix owners...
  4. Reid


    Aug 25, 2000
    Oakville, Ontario
    Wasn't the grand prix nixxed?
  5. Bernie


    Dec 12, 1999
    One thing on that SWR GP.They dont make it anymore!They still have the ISOD though.From all ive come across "sight unheard" id go with the Demeter.Good luck!
  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    the grand prix is basically the preamp of the sm-900. which is the same as every other swr amp except for the parametric EQ.

    i'd check out the IOD if you're looking at the alembic or demeter...won't find one used yet but new they're 600. more tubes = more warmth.

  7. I'm kinda wondering about the tube count thing. The Alembic appears to have a single tube, same as the SWR.

    Yes, the Grand Prix is discontinued, so is the Bassman tube series, and a bunch of other amps that folks lust over. I suspect SWR was not competing against the other big tube preamps, so they got out and went ISOD instead.

    I'm not intro grunge, dirt, or whatever else they call distortion. On a lark, I picked up a Boss ODB-3 pedal and.... yuck.

    However, I am into phat and bottom in spades. My SWR 750 head gives me a nice tone, so I figure the Grand Prix wouldn't be that far dissimilar. Never heard any of the others, so this is a deaf search. What I do value is, the opinions of the various owners of these preamps. Especially those who have owned multiple different ones.

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