Read Purity pre vs. Kern IP?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by arbitrary, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    So after playing through a wonderful Read Purity preamp (Thank you Eric) earlier today, I realized that I should find one in a timely fashion.

    But I am curious though how the Read compares to the Kern IP-777 preamp (other than both being hard to find). Don't make me PM you Tom!!!

    Oh...and if anyone knows how to get ahold of a Read...let me know :D
  2. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Do they make Read Purity preamps anymore??? :eyebrow:
  3. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    AFAIK Jack stopped building basses to concentrate on the production of the Purity and other audio gear, but his website is gone and I don't know if he's still working on that.

    Regarding the preamp: I love it. Do a serach here and you'll see is one of the best.
  4. Emperor Elite

    Emperor Elite Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    New Jersey
    Jack's Purity preamp is the polar opposite of the Kern. The purity is crystal clear and buttery-sounding, while in my opinion the Kern is bloated and muffled. There are folks that swear by the Kerns, but I am not one of them. That overly bass-heavy tone is not my thing at all. If you were to combine the warm butteriness of the Alembic F1X with the clarity and detail of a Demeter preamp, you would get very close to the sound of the Purity. You should try them both, and choose the one that is right for you. Each has its proponents.

  5. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    I've never found the Kern muffled. It has a lot of low end, sure, but I've always found it clear. In fact, BassPlayer said the same thing about the Kern that you said about the Purity, "The Kern combines the Demeter's brilliance with the Alembic's fatness"
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    To my ears, the difference seems to be that the Purity (which I proudly own) seems more natural sounding. Jack actually built his original Purity without an eq section, and only reluctantly added it after being pressured to do so. As testament to this, the eq still has a defeat switch for those who like a pure signal path.

    I liked the Kerns I've played through, and thought they were some of the better preamps I've heard. But, in comparison to the Purity (which is like splitting hairs, at this level), it didn't seem quite as natural sounding.
  7. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    I agree with what you're saying. The Kern does color the signal, but thats what I like about it, I play rock, and I don't want that accurate a representation of the bass, I like the signal to be colored.
  8. Emperor Elite

    Emperor Elite Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    New Jersey
    As I mentioned, some folks like the Kerns, others do not. To my ears, with all due respect for Bass Player Magazine, there is nothing Demeter-like sounding about the Kern preamp. I auditioned two of them and in each case, they sounded like I was playing with a blanket over the speaker cabinet - that is the exact opposite of the brilliant, clear sound of a Demeter. Again, this is only my experience. There are folks, many of whom I respect that post regularly in this forum, who swear by these preamps. Everybody's ears are different, you should definitely try one for yourself, rather than relying fully on the opinion of others.

    For what it is worth, I liked my old prototype Purity so much that I had Jack make me a custom Transcendence version (audiophile quality) of the preamp.

  9. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    I did, that's why it's in my sig
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'm sure it depends on the cabs you have. Through Epifani cabs, the Kern preamp is coloured for sure but I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.
    The Read, as other people have said, is much more transparent. If you like the Demeter sound, I'm sure you'd love the Read.
  11. Emperor Elite

    Emperor Elite Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    New Jersey
    Amen, bro. I hear you.

  12. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Both are great preamps; I loved them both. The Kern is colored, but it's a great color... tons of clean low end and great mids. The Read is a lot cleaner, but has a lot of flexibility. Definitely need to hear them both though.
  13. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    At the northwest GTG yesterday we tried a bunch of different preamps through my ca9 & nv610 w/my 5 string Ritter.

    The demeter was way cool, but I liked the alembic a little more due to the tubiness of it. The gk didn't sound too bad itself either.
    Then I tried the Read and it killed. Hence me wanting a Read now. I think the Raven Labs pre sounded nice as well, but most thought the Read was the best.

    So I guess I'm stuck w/the f1-x until I find myself a Read. I was curious though how the Kern compared to either a Read or an F1-x since those are my basis of comparison and I don't know when I'll ever find or hear a Kern.
  14. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    At one point this past spring I read some things here on TB that suggested that Jack Read might be working on a next generation or newer version of the Read Purity. Anyone know any more details/updates about this?

    Not enough Read Purity preamps to go around in the meantime, it would seem. :scowl:

    It sho' 'nuf sounded the best of all the preamps I heard yesterday at the GTG. Part of me is glad that I didn't hook it up to my IP310 given the rarity of them, and the resulting slim chances that I'll be able to score one any time soon. I don't need that kind of GAS.
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    IME, the kern is like the alembic taken to further heights. more butteriness, more hifi gloss, and a touch more versatility w/ the EQ.

    i had a Read, and the revision (seems like jack had made a few differently voiced versions) i owned had an EQ that i couldnt quite get used to. low mids seem to add more muffling wooliness, while the lows knob was too far low to really do anything appreciable unless cranked. also, the highs portion of the EQ seemed rather sharp and sizzly.

    also, i didnt really hear a buttery tube flavor like some seem to hear. rather, like daveW mentioned, more on the demeter side of the tonal spectrum. hate to say it, but i wasnt quite moved by the unit i owned for those many months.

    the Kerns i've owned (yes, i've bought and sold one, and bought another one that i currently use) all have a terrificly juicy tubey sound that has become the only "non parametric EQ'd" preamp that i own.

    again, the alembic comes close, but it doesnt quite match the upper end glossiness i hear in the high end that makes the kern a keeper.
  16. Headroom


    Apr 5, 2002
    Joker: although this has undoubtly been discussed before, how would you distinguish the qualities of the Kern from those of your Aguilar?

    Thanks for your expertise, and sorry to sidetrack the thread.
  17. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    "expertise"? hardly, but i'll try... ;)

    besides the obvious EQ advantage of the 680, the aguilar isnt nearly as smooth nor as buttery, which is a great word that describes both that soft almost greasy feel under the fingertips and that glossy warm tubey flavor. also, the 680's EQ allows a wider range of possible upper end detail that the kern cant possibly touch.

    truth be told, i've been pondering if i should sell the 680 and just go w/ parametric in the loop of the kern. the only thing that keeps me from doing so is the 680's terrific voicing of the bass knob that when combined w/ the a nice kick of the lower mids from the parametric section gives me *my* sound.
  18. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I have the Kern which I love... I had the Demeter and found it to be alittle to bright for my tastes, it didn't sound warm and tubey, very transparent.. The Aguilar DB-659 was nice and round sounding.. The Alembic sounded great, but as someone stated before, the Kern goes beyond the Alembic... I found the Kern to be a cross between the Alembic and the Aguilar, but deeper and warmer...
  19. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID
    I'd agree with the general assessment that the Kern is somewhat more low-end heavy and furry, but I think people often misunderstand the capabilities of the Kern. It's EQ section is actually quite versatile. Using the "tonal balance" knob you can go from fat and round (like the Alembic) to hi-fi clear (a la Demeter). Different tubes make a big difference as well.

    The Read Purity, as others have said, is warm and clear, especially with the EQ section bypassed. Mine may be for sale, if I ever get it back from Jack (I sent it to him to get a minor hum issue repaired several months ago). I don't think he's very focused on bass products right now.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The Read EQ is unusual, to be sure. The one I have seems to match yours: the bass knob is way low rumble, down in 5 string range. The low mid knob is actually "high bass". The high mid seems to be 400Hz, which is kind of between low mid and mid mid. The treble seems to be 4k, which is a bit more than clank but not quite sparkle. The bright switch is brighter, but doesn't glisten like the Alembic. I've noticed that the low mid is good for emphasizing notes on the G string, except perhaps the topmost. The others I don't think about, I just tweak to taste... usually straight up.

    Regarding the gain structure: when I ordered mine, I told Jack I already owned some preamps that did tube OD well, so I wanted the Purity to be clean. He selected the tubes accordingly (I don't recall the brands off the top of my head). My Purity usually is squeaky pure (to coin a phrase), but I've noticed that cranking Gain with a hot active bass can definitely bring out the tubey warmth and even some nice overdrive.

    That brings up an important point: tubes definitely do have a big impact on tone and response. Some of the differences in opinions in this thread might well be related to differences in tubes.
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