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Preamp Options

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Plain Old Me, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    It has come to my attention that a certain DB 728 may become avalible to me should I muster up enough money to get it. Should I be able to get this power amp, I will use my FX unit to drive it until I can get a decent preamp. Which preamps should I check out when trying the 728? On my list so far are the 680 and 659 Aggies, and whatever Demeters I can find. What else would go well with this 400 watt tube monster? Oh, and which cabs should I try it on? There are some Aggie cabs and Bergie cabs which I have my eyes on, and maybe a Mesa 1000. What else?
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    First off, let me say that this is a great amp! I've been able to play around with number of nice tube amps, and the 728 is right up near the top of the list. It has the full tube sound, but it's very tight, punchy and articulate, and it imparts what I like to call "sonic texture", or that weird, almost 3D, effect of conveying a sense that you could reach out and touch the notes that it's cranking out. Great amp.

    Okay, for preamps, I have only used my 659 and 680 in a gigging situation, and both did just what you would expect. The 659 was more gritty/growly, and the 680 was more hi-fi (in the audiophile sense of the word - which is good! - and not implying that it sounds "scooped"), open, and shimmery. I have also played my Demeter 201s and Alembic F-1X through the 728, and they all sounded great (and again, much as you would expect from these preamps), but I have not gigged with them (and the 728). Other preamps that I think would sound good include the Read Purity (perhaps akin to the 680, but a tad more full but less airy), the Kern IP-777 (for big, thick, tubey goodness!), the Fender TBP-1 (very versatile, but it takes some tweaking), the Eden Navigator (an all around excellent preamp with tones of signal routing options), the Epifani Quest (slightly dark, but smooth and tonally flexible) or Brian Barrett's True Voice. I've been playing around with one of these, and I think it would be killer with the 728 (though the sound varies a good bit from tube to tube).

    So, as you can see, I'm recommending a pretty broad range of preamps to go with this amp, but to me, that's because this amp will let them all do what they do best. My only caution would be that the low end on the Kern through the 728 might get dangerous, if your cabs aren't up for it. But I do have to add that the Aggie preamps definitely look super cool with the 728!

    As for cabs, I actually have a shorter list! :D My top choice would be the Bergantino NV215, though depending on your playing style, some may prefer the NV610 or NV425 (there's a recent thread comparing the three). The NV215 is followed very closely by the Accugroove Whappo, Jr. Some guys have had great success pairing up the El Whappo with a tube amp (and I agree it sounds very good!), but I think that especially with a tube amp, the low end on the Jr. is a little more tight, and for whatever reason, I get more of that 3D "sonic texture" thing with the Jr. (compared to the EW). Finally, somewhat to my surprise, my ACME Low B-2II's just seem to love tube amps. They can really take a beating and beg for more! But, with regard to other cabs, I've tried a bunch of them with my 728, and either they weren't a match made in heaven tonally, or else I felt that the drivers were jumping around a bit too much and/or over-excursing.

    Well, I hope this is somewhat helpful. I'd be happy to comment on or try out particular combinations, if you like. But again, this is an incredible amp, and if the deal is not unreasonable, then I would say go for it.

    Take care, Tom.
  3. Let me echo my agreement with Tom's post above. The DB728 pairs beautifully with the DB680 preamp. The DB680 has a tendency to be just a little bit on the bright side, so it is the perfect match for a DB728 which has a mildly dark tendency. You'll still be able to get grit and growl, but not to the same extent as the DB659 if that is the character that you're looking for. Either preamp would be a fine choice.

    Also on speakers I would agree that if you are using tubes the Whappo Jr. is a little tighter than the El Whappo (I am using primaily solid state power, which the El Whappo loves). I have also found that the Acme speakers love tube power, and that the DB728 is an extremely good match-up.

    Best of luck!