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Rackmount premp options for home studio

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Mar 10, 2017.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I am mostly a double bassist but am getting back into BG playing after a long layoff. I have a nice music room at home where I practice, and the centerpiece of it is a nice recording desk with rack rails that holds my recording gear. It also has a monitor bridge with a pair of decent powered monitors and a rack mounted mixer. To facilitate easy practicing along with recordings and drum samples, I'd like to add a decent rackmount bass preamp ( possibly including some basic effects) that I can patch through the mixer.

    I've been out of the loop on this kind of stuff and know about basic stuff like the Sansamp RBI, but I'm sure there are a lot of other options out there that might serve as well or better. What are some of the other options for this kind of function? My only requirements are that it should be one or two rack spaces, and that it not be insanely expensive.

    Also, would also be interested in a similar guitar unit for the same purpose. Time to dust off some of those old instruments and have some fun. Thanks in advance!
     
    BadExample likes this.
  2. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    The old Alembic preamps sound really nice.

    Get @Azure Skies to build you something custom to your exact specs.
     
    40Hz and blindrabbit like this.
  3. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    You might try to find an Ashly BP41 (discontinued).
    Here is my mid-80's Ashly BP41 (top space) and the Ashly PQ16 Parametric EQ,(second space), both purchased from the factory in Rochester, NY, back when Ashly was still owned by Bill Thompson.
    Great sounding, bullet-proof gear. (They also made power amps.)
    photo-136-.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  4. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    I'd love to see a pic of that desk/rack dealeo!

    I've been working on a WAF rack suitable for home/wife, with bling capability, or roll away and hide.
     
  5. Yup, this is the way to go. He's done at least one amazing rack preamp for @nshuman and could certainly make you whatever you want, including something that would be friendly and useful for both EB and DB.
     
  6. Thrillhouse

    Thrillhouse Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I'd personally recommend an Avalon U5 because it doesn't only sound great with bass but virtually any other instrument (including guitar). It's not technically a full-feature preamp but more of a fancy DI. However, it does have some tone shaping options and decent I/O.
     
    TheEmptyCell likes this.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm sure that I will get an Azureskies unit at some point for my live rig, but I may end up getting a Sansamp for practice purposes for my recording/practice desk. I only have a couple of basses at this point - - Rob Allen mouse with a high C strung with flats, and a Blacktop jazz with rounds that I may trade in for a regular jazz if the right one comes along. At this point I mostly just want to practice and play along with recordings to gradually regain some BG chops for fun and so I can better help my students at the university who double.

    I thought there might be a whole bunch of rack bass gear out there that I hadn't seen, but it looks like this isn't the case.

    Will do when I get home. But this thing is pretty huge, and while it's definitely a dream desk it would be pretty hard to hide!
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    @BadExample - I couldn't find a decent pic and my phone pics look crappy, but Here's a link to a recent video I did where the desk is the backdrop for the shot (the link should be fast forwarded to the scene with the desk). I n this scene I have an amp sitting by it, but I really just want to run my electric instruments into the system and mix them with whatever I'm playing with Those monitors can handle what I'm planning to do at the minimal volumes I plan to be using for practice.

    On the guitar front, I've been doing some searching, and found this:



    which looks absolutely perfect.
     
  9. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    Thanks, Chris! That's really nice. My design began somewhat desk shaped, probably about 2/3 as wide as yours. I decided I would be screwed if the wife failed to accept it, so I changed to minimize the foot print and cut the design in half, so it's rack width and pretty deep for storage of junk. It's more podium shaped now with a slated top for the mixer and an LCD. It's on 4" poly castors to roll to the spare bedroom and is birch plywood so I can finish it. It's usable and being used now, but I'm still working on it, deciding if and where to add drawers as I move into it and use it a bit. Kind of a design as I go project. If I make it bling and keep in the living room full time, and if I can let a pair of floor speakers go, I might add the other half on and be back to the original plan except the rack side is about 6" taller.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  11. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    What kind of music do play on electric, Chris?
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Pics, or it didn't happen. :)
     
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    So far, only jazz and jazzish stuff, since I use the mouse as a travel bass when I can't take a DB. But I'm hoping to get into more pop oriented stuff. At the moment I'm enjoying jamming along with Hutch Hutchinson on a bunch of Bonnie Raitt records plus much of the Steely Dan catalog. Hutchinson plays great but very tasteful grooves. The Dan stuff is all over the map because it's a lot of different players, but they're all pretty much great. I especially appreciate Walter Becker's minimalistic grooves.

    That looks great, and I hope to be able to afford one someday. It would also double as a great mic preamp. But at $1500, it's out of my price range for now.
     
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I had a LA-610 Mk II for a couple years, it made for a fabulous recording preamp. Yes, it was a bit pricy but I looked at it as two pieces of gear in one case so that made it not too bad. Other great sounding preamps I've had were a couple of Alembic F-1Xs and an Aguilar DB659. The F-1X had the classic Fender tone stack so they were pretty interactive but produced a great tone. The aguilar was fairly limited in the EQ department but sounded fine, nothing near as great as my Tone Hammer 500 does, though.

    Another sleeper (to me, anyway) preamp were the old Furman PQ-3 units. I had a couple of those over the years, my first being the original green face one I got in 1978.

    Another possible contender could be an Avalon U5 as they have lots of gain on tap, although their Tone switch was pretty limiting to me when I had one; there were really only a couple of switch settings that were truly useful for bass, the other were too extreme in their effect, tonally. It did record well, and I used it for one of our jazz fusion CDs (Rare Blend - Evolution Theory). I used my old Zon Sonus 5/1 basses (fretted and fretless) on that.

    I treat effects as something that should be separate from a preamp (except for something like compression, perhaps). Lots of pedals and rackmount effects are in many respects a flavor of the month kind of thing, so I would not want to have it married with a preamp. JMHO. Over the decades I have gone through way too many pedals (i could have bought a decent bass with all that money!). Nowadays, I just use my Strymon Flint, and, occasionally, a tc electronic MOJOMOJO.
     
  15. +1 for an Azure Skies Broughton Special !

    Get a P-15, rackmount style.

    Better still, just get a P-15 and you can use it on your DB, too, at gigs!

    P-15 just won a shoot-out with a bunch of other preamps... I think that thread's in the amp sub-forum.

    Get a P-15 with Josh's built-in H/LPF.
     
  16. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    Well... it hasn't happened yet, only halfway happened :D I'll get a pic soon.
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Could not find the preamp shootout thread. Anybody got a link?
     
  18. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    Rack mount ART tube preamps looks yummy to me... and on a budget: ART Preamps | Sweetwater

    My only personal experience with ART is the small box/footprint solid state MP Phono Preamp, and it has been excellent. It works very well (and quiet) as an MI audio interface. There is small buzz by a few folks here using the small box tube preamps for bass (both here and amp forum) and most or all seem to like them. I had a PM going with one fella that said the newer MP series works better than the older blue ones, so it might be worth $100ish to skip over the nice looking blue rack pre, assuming these share circuitry with the small box versions. Several in the $300 to $450 range. I don't know what is needed for your UB.

    Re: Bling-O-Podiurack, see? Looks like a podium for now... Minimum to do list:

    Add rack rails to the top for the mixer (prefabricated like on the front or just some aluminum angle stock with four holes drilled and tapped.
    Add small PA power amp
    Decide what else to buy/do with rack space and blank off gaps
    Decide to keep or toss DAW and mount LCD, add keyboard drawer or accommodate a laptop
    Pedal/gizmo drawer maybe
    Screw down powerstrips, make/add 9/18VDC PS, maybe a +/- supply for op amp projects
    Cable management
    Storage and a small recessed box for adaptors and stuff by the mixer.
    ??? I can't decide :D
    Blank of remaining space, wood on top, regular blank plates on the front.
    Back curtain and maybe front doors?

    Part of the indecision is based on sneaking stuff past the night boss/accounting and getting an audio interface that does not involve my stereo. Right now I have to rip out the ART phono pre, or unplug the RCA's from the turn table and run RCA's from Rack to stereo and USB back to DAW. Gaaaaah! SWAMBO doesn't know I bought her a PA amp and cabs yet, have to get a pair of stereo speakers out of the living room first. My life's become a pack of lies! A PACK OF LIES!!! A PACK OF PHIL COLLINS LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIES!!!!!!!!!

    Money is not a concern until I get caught. Time and space are concerns. If I ever stop posting, she's killed me. Oh, yah, pic:

    20170312_105913.
     
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Nice! I would go with some cheap rack mountable Furman strips with the outlets on the back. I have 2 in my system and they keep all of the snaky wire stuff out of sight. The presonus fire studio units are nice for front-mounted audio interface inputs that go both to the mixer and to a DAW when you want without any cable switching. This reminds me of my previous unit that I adapted/built for similar purposes. Don't get in trouble with the wife! Life is too short.
     

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