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Rackmount Preamps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by RomancintheTone, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. I'm looking to build behemoth of a live rig, and I've been very intrigued by the separate preamp/poweramp setup. It gives the tone of the preamp and lets me choose the power amp of my liking.

    So I really like QSC power amps and I'll most likely get one when the time comes, but I'm pretty foggy on the preamp. I know I want tube warmth and growl, but that's about it.

    So far, the Eden Navigator and the BBE Maxt somethinoruther tube pre has caught my interest. Any thoughts on those pre's? Any other suggestions? Would it be cost effective to just buy a full amp like the SVT -3PRO and just use it's pre into the QSC? Any and all input is greatly appreciated.
  2. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    old school SWR grand prix or IOD
    alembic f1-x
  3. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    If it were me I would definitely check out the Sansamp RBI and RPM. They make awesome equipment

    The Mike Pope looks interesting and if you have the coin... the Jonas Hellborg :eek:
  4. thirtypoint87


    Feb 9, 2004
    Manager/Repairman: Music-Go-Round
    Sansamp makes a couple of rackmount preamps that you can get some good growl/overdrive out of. Consider also their Programmable and "Deluxe" floor models; they allow you to program multiple tones and stomp your way between them... handy if you play with both pick and fingers, or if you switch between basses with different outputs. These can go right into your power amp and you're good to go.

    You might want to check out a Stewart power amp, too. They'll cost a bit but weigh about 1/3-1/4 as much as other power amps, making it far easier to lug around. I'm pretty sure they run on magic.......
  5. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I have tried the Navigator ..sweet, now I am triying a Demeter, great preamp, so clean.
    You should look at Alembic FX 1, great warm sound
  6. yep...i now have an Alembic F-1x into a QSC PLX3402. It's tonal bliss with power in spades...
  7. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I have a Demeter and it is not exactly "growly" but clean as a whistle and pristine it is!
  8. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    If it's growl you're looking for, IME the Ampeg pre's (or at least my SVT-IIP) growls more than the Alembic but is still nice and warm.

    Rather than buy the whole head of the SVT3Pro, if you're just going to use it for a preamp, I'm pretty sure the SVP-Pro is what you'd be looking for.
  9. what im thinking of doing myself is getting a Walter Woods and getting the Mike Pope MPP-1 and using that as my main amp to get tons of diversity of a strong clean tone and then getting an aguilar tonehammer and putting it in conjunction with my ampeg svtmp to get the tube warmth and growl.

    this i think would complete mysearch for a killer clean town with the growl of the tubes for when i get more intense.

    so thatd be an idea, it would also allow me to change between the US and Australia without changeing equipment as both the Walter Woods and the Mike Pope MPP-1 are voltage switchable.

    what does everyone think about this?
  10. yamaha


    Apr 7, 2006
    I've had 3 preamps, all fine, but very different sounding. I Just love the Ampeg SVPCL I have right now. Very warm tube sound. SWR Grand prix is much cleaner, studio type of clear quality. The BBE BmatT is a tone monster, very agressive, extremely interactive EQ, and was too much for me.
  11. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Growl? SWR IOD
    Ampeg growl? SVP-CL
    Snarl? Trace Elliot SMX-series
    Warmth? Alembic or Demeter. They're both clean & warm. Like a Danish cottage.
  12. Red Planet

    Red Planet

    May 29, 2005

    Not for everyone.

    Covers all the Basses! Except Dirty.

    Tube 1st Input Gain Stage, Tube DI, Tube Compressor, Tube EQ.

    Boatloads of features.

    Made for Clean Sound. Very Quiet / Zero Distortion.
  13. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    After buying a Peavey Max for backup I discovered it not only did the Alembic F1-X tones well and perhaps with even better s/n ratio, but did a lot of other ones besides, and could footswitch between tube, SS, and user-blend of the two.

    Later I contected Peavey about getting a simple mod for more pregain on the tube side, and substituted a nicer tube for the AX7: a military three-spacer long black plate Sylvania 5751. It not only had a nicer clean tone, but with the added pregain gave me a richer creamier overdrive.

    I sold the Alembic and walked away with a few hundred extra dinars.
  14. Red Planet

    Red Planet

    May 29, 2005

    Very interesting.
  15. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Tech 21 Sansamp RPM. Well made, dead silent.

    More tonal control than the RBI, IMHO.
  16. hrgiger


    Jan 11, 2009
    Could you post some clips to demonstrate this fine pre? I am thinking of getting one soon, and I would love to hear it, especially with the mod...:hyper:
  17. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Sorry, no clips coming out of here any time soon. Need a new soundcard but it's way low in my priorities, since I'd have to get one that's most excellent and extravagant to even make it worth bothering with.
  18. PSPookie

    PSPookie Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
    Well, aren't you fancy ;)
  19. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I love my Eden Nav -- makes my rig sing. It has a "tube" blend knob -- but I'm not sure how "warm" it actually gets as compared to a real Ampeg tube design. I go for clean and LOUD with a ton of low end. The Eden does that easily.

    I also had an Aguilar DB680 for several years which was AWESOME sounding -- but lacked the compressor and surgical EQ features of the Nav. Otherwise, a very warm and punchy pre.
  20. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Ampeg... one man's warm is another man's muddy. I hated mine. Lasted maybe a week...

    Tech 21 RBI - didn't dig it from the git go. Just not life like. Once you've experience some of the *real* as opposed to emulation type devices out there, it will not be a satisfactory experience - unless maybe they are paying you for full page ad's in BP mag...

    Demeter 201 warm ? crystaline clean and pristine - lije a DI but warm ? not by my definition. Like a Danish Cottage - except you open the door and find Michael Jackson inhabiting ... great pre but not for live use for me due to the lack of real, effective tone controls. (I have been largely a passive bass guy over the years. I think the Demeter might have made more sense had I been using basses with active EQ on board.)

    Alembic F2B - highly reactive to the tube installed. Counter-intuitive tone stack. I dig it but lot's of folks don't. Doesn't grind worth a crap unless you stack the channels together which limits the useful ness IMO - YMMV. A lot of character in the Allembic though. Folks that grasp the way it works worship the thing and good on 'em.

    BMax - no grind at all but a great clean sound. See comment on on Alembic tone stack - it's the same basic deal. They did include a semi parametric mid after the tone stack that cures many of the issues you might encounter with the Alembic tone stack in a live setting. Nice compressor. The Sonic MaxiMangler has a defeat switch :D OK - the Maximizer is kinda cool but I rarely if ever use it...

    BMax-T - phatt, phat, phat & Tubey. Same tone stack as above. Personaly I liked mine a lot. Sold it to get the Navigator.

    Eden Navigator - basically it's the one you want ... It will grind. It will go extremely clean & clear. Most points in between. For me the only real downside was too many freaking knobs for dark stages or places where I was too remote from my rig for quck adjustment. Still - it's a great pre and the used price is right.

    I've been running Pre/Pwr amp rig's off and on for years. My main head went back to EA for service recently. I had sold off my GK and was in the process of acquiring a WT-800, so I had to carry my rack to the last gig. I seriously can't wait to get the EA back. It is a miracle of convenience and it sounds just great. It isn't real powerful but for the acoustic jazz & blue grass stuff I'm doing these days... hell I could probably show up with a kazoo...

    IMO - a really good, powerful integrated head is easier to live with. Given the power on tap with some of them, there really isn't any inherent advantage on a pre/pwr amp setup except for cost / watt. That begin's to evaporate or at least the gap narrows a lot when you start talking higher end, light weight power amps as well... Sure my old Navigator / PLX 2402 rig was capable of delivering enormous power but - effectivly my Gk 1001 RB II or WT-800a are just as loud - all three are too powerful to run wide open under any circumstance's I'm going to play in - even if I go back to the rock 'n freakin' roll thing I used to do. It's a matter of how much overkill is enough if you get my drift.

    The WT-800 is a killer integrated amp that has a lot of what I liked in the Eden/QSC setup and doesn't have much of what I didn't like about it. Thick 'n rich. Gob's of warmth while retaining clarity... YMMV and all that ...

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