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Rackmount Preamps Discussion

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lynnchpin, Sep 7, 2017.


  1. lynnchpin

    lynnchpin

    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Looking for a discussion of rack preamps with the hope of a developing a comprehensive thread that can help broaden my own and other's understanding of what is relatively appropriate for different playing styles, rig designs and tonal desires. Although it seems rack gear is slowly dying off, it seems appropriate to ask as The Preamp Gear Review Section only touches on four units, but there are some really great units still available these days.

    Personally, I seek warmth, clarity, articulation,
    responseiveness and magic all in one unit. I've gravitated toward the all-tube SVT tone although I've deeply appreciated SWR Engineering's GranPrix, likely the clean side of my style appreciating their efforts...and being that these are really the only two rigs I've really known intimately, I'm ignorant to that degree. Although, I have some experience with Tech 21's PSA-1, but I never was able to dial in anything inspiring. Seems like Jule Amps Monique is a starting point to capture all 5 of my holy requirements. Aguilar seems to have some promising options.

    At any rate, I'm not seeking just my own needs fulfilled so regardless of the tonal quality acheived from the respective unit you can contribute, please throw the experience out here to get this as comprehensive as possible. Thanks for your help, talk to you soon. If there is already a thread on this, please send me a link so I can sit in a corner an illuminate.
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  2. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Montreal
    Tone is difficult to put into words, but based on your description (warm, articulate) the Demeter HBP-1 is the most pleasing sounding preamp I have ever used. Sprinkles on top include the fact that it's full featured and built by hand.
    The adjustable Q-width makes it possible to tweak with a precision lacking in most other preamps.
     
  3. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I still think racks are the way to go, but, because preferences seem to be for mini heads currently, you can try some used pre's with little loss. Some higher cost pre's may be a little harder to find.

    My favorite is the Arkham Zephyr, sweet tubey tone with great features. Monique is great. The Ampeg SVT pres are great, pretty cheap, and common. I really like the SVPCL, clean and punchy.
     
  4. jazzbass_5

    jazzbass_5

    Sep 1, 2007
    NY, Albion
    Ampeg SVPCL. super all tube pre.
     
    10cc likes this.
  5. jazzbass_5

    jazzbass_5

    Sep 1, 2007
    NY, Albion
    I was thinking about starting a similar thread and I've gleaned a ton of information from Talkbass if you'd like me to post it here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  6. jazzbass_5

    jazzbass_5

    Sep 1, 2007
    NY, Albion
    Also, I own an SVPCL and a pro. Both great all tube preamps. But the SVPCL Is the clean and full sounding pre. Doesn't have the growl of the SVP-PRO though.
     
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    What specific features and form factor would suit your collective needs?
     
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  8. wolfkeller

    wolfkeller Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    detroit
    I am all about a driving sound, but I don't like fuzz. I have owned the SVP pro twice and sold both (probably because I ended up getting a heritage eventually). They were good but i thought the tech 21 VTRM was much better. It had much more tones in it, no tube matching issues, noise and much more connectivity. I had an old Peavy pre, didn't keep for long. I like the RBI sound but I did like the brittle top end. I have a custom made Spector HAZ clone preamp that's really cool, esp for adding highs with my Thunderbird. I just got an SWR intersteller overdrive and after 1 gig I am loving it. Definitely too soon to tell but this could be the one. It would probably be better if I ran it into a Poweramp as opposed to the front of my Gk 2001 but....
     
    son_of_mogh likes this.
  9. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Montreal
    Fits in a shallow rack case (so depth <11"), single space. If I could have all my cupcakes and smoke them, too, it'd have
    all the features of the Mesa D800+, less the deep and bright switches (which I never use), adjustable Q on the dual mid controls (like the Demeter...I REALLY like that!)....... a full featured compressor would be cherries and choco sauce on top. I would not need phones out, but aux in is a huge plus for me, now that I have discovered the joy of the Samson 88 wireless headset which allows me to have my vocals come out of my bass cab.
     
  10. lynnchpin

    lynnchpin

    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Thanks for all your input so far. Indeed, if you have the time and patience to condense the high points of all you've noted in your experience it would be greatly appreciated. It would seem for what I'm seeking personally, I could go with the SVP-PRO cost effectively...but Monique sounds to be a juiced up version of SVT that is calling my name. Demeter and Aguilar are knocking on my door too.
     
    jazzbass_5 likes this.
  11. lynnchpin

    lynnchpin

    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    So was the SVP PRO giving you fuzz that the Heritage eliminated or did the Tech 21 VTRM trump them entirely in that parameter? I too do not like fuzz. Growl, bite, clang, and drive are more desireable...subjective indeed, I wish I knew what terms to equate these descriptives to objectively.
     
  12. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Madison,Wisconsin
    Love my BBE BMAXT, I find it to be highly under-sought (if that's a word.) I wouldn't say it has "Magic," but it definitely has warmth, clarity, articulation, and responsiveness. It also has a great feature set, is lightweight and quite affordable.
     
  13. lynnchpin

    lynnchpin

    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Would you say it has the ability to respond through a wide range of intensity you exert upon the strings, specifically in fingerstyle?
     
  14. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    I don't have a rack preamp, maybe eventually... but do you fellas consider this as an option to use as a preamp? (it doesn't meet the cupcake lists I don't think, at least not as far as features)

    Edit: I deleted the image, because it was huge and overbearing. It was the SansAmp Geddy Lee: Tech 21 Geddy Lee Signature SansAmp
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  15. Ampslut

    Ampslut

    May 15, 2017
    Back in the 90's Bass Player magazine did a shoot out of all the rack mount pre's. At that time the Alembic F1-X was the winner. Back in those days, the F1-X was about $500.00 new, now they are $1500 and up. I had one and yes it was tube'ish and rich in tone but, I ended up selling it and getting a Ampeg SVP-Pro. Today rackmount pre's are not near as popular as they were back then so your choices are not near as big. I personally like the Ampeg SVP-Pro the best out of the ones I've owned.
     
    svlilioukalani likes this.
  16. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Madison,Wisconsin
    Yes and no. If you're looking for something that will get you any sort of overdrive with a strong attack, keep looking. Even at maximum gain, the BMAXT is clean, although it's right up to the edge IMHO. As far as responsiveness to your attack intensity, I'd say yes, it has that ability. To me, with max gain and a hard attack it'll move towards more of a GK kind of grind rather than a SVT style OD...but still clean. It takes pedals very well.
     
  17. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    If you can find one the Kern IP-777 is quite lovely.

    I hear nice things about the Jules Monique.
     
  18. FugaziBomb

    FugaziBomb

    Jun 5, 2017
    I'm currently using a Demeter VTBP-201S and it is pretty close to what you're describing. I have it mated with a Crown XTI and it sounds great. It isn't nearly as warm as an SVT, but it definitely has a sweet top end. Even up into 4-8k territory, it doesn't sound at all harsh. I can really let the high end breath and sit in the mix nicely. The only irksome thing about it is that it is top vented and requires an empty space above it.
     
    son_of_mogh likes this.
  19. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    Another vote for the VTBP. It's a incredibly quick and articulate while still being fat and 'tubey'.
     
    son_of_mogh likes this.
  20. heatheroo1

    heatheroo1

    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    used a Roland SIP-301 into a QSC power amp from 1980 until 2015 when I finally got tired of lugging that rack around. I still have it but for live I use a PF-500
     

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