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Simple basic preamp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Funky Doctor, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    I currently use an Ampeg SVP-PRO which is doing a fine job, and has a tonne of bells whistles and doovas that I don't use, like a bright switch, ultralow, ultrahigh, 10 band eq (which is really kinda cool), semi parametric mid eq... the list could probly go on a bit more. What I am now looking for is somehting really simple and good sounding. Can anyone recommend a really basic preamp that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Can be tube, opamp, fet, whatever. Just something really, really basic and of decent quality.
  2. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Yamaha PB1. Has a couple of extras like a single band para and a 2 way xover, but otherwise is a relatively simple opamp based design with only a vol, bass, mid, treble that sounds really good IMO. I paid <$A150 for mine this year.
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    How 'bout something designed as an onboard active preamp installed in a box instread of onboard the bass? Easy to add an external power supply and it will still run on batteries when that might be practical.
  4. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    The Low End is a 3 tube preamp with only gain controls. Doesn't get much more simple than that.
  5. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    ART Tube MP. I got mine for $25 used. I run that into an ART Levelar tube compressor ($50 used) and into the effects loop input. Two tubes, compression, and the only preamp adjustments are loud and louder.
  6. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
  7. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses &amp; Cort Basses
    How about a SansAmp RBI or RPM? You'd probably have to buy used to get them cheap though.... :bassist:
  8. Bigwan


    Feb 22, 2002
    Ballymena (hey)
    Why change? If you're happy with the svp-pro, regardless of how many of it's features you don't use, why bother with another preamp?
  9. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Well for starters the SVP is a tube preamp. That's 5 little breakable bottles of tone. My band travels with a van and a trailer, and neither me or the guitarist keep our amps in the trailer due the fact that too many tubes have been smashed from the vibration. I know it sounds a little crazy, but tubes are more fragile than you would probably care to acknowledge. So if I sell the SVP and buy something cheaper, I would also be left with a little extra money to fix my bass(es). I have made one to use in my rig, and it worked quite well, and honestly I have never used a piece of gear that is quieter, but one it is ugly (yes I am a superficial bastard) and two I can't be bothered designing a usable eq. That's one bell/whistle that I DO want. Bah... I give up.
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I was going to recommend visiting Cafe Walter as well except I'd point you toward Walter's bass preamp schematic.

    If you're interested in building one on your own, he had designed a no frills bass preamp. No tone controls to speak of as he designed it to compliment his active bass with on-board EQ. http://www.cafewalter.com/cafewalter/rackpre/rackpre.htm

    If not that...how about an Avalon U5? But that might involve the arm and leg that you're not willing to give up...
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Look at an Avalon U5. They're amazing.
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Okay then, sounds like a solid state preamp. Are you electronically inclined? If so, you can build one really cheap. There are schematics all over the Net, or you can e-mail me and I can dig a few out of the archives. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're looking for an SS pre with just gain and tone controls. Any other criteria? Does it have to have a "real" power plug or can it use a wall wart? Does it have to be rack mountable? Would you consider getting a nice old Acoustic 370 and using the "line out" to feed your power amp?
  13. Bigwan


    Feb 22, 2002
    Ballymena (hey)
    Your fear of smashing yer tubes is a valid one - I'd go for a second hand Sansamp RBI if I were you...

    It'd probably end up cheaper than building yer own, unless you really want the experience of doing it yourself!
  14. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    How about a properly modded Sansamp BDDI?
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics

    Time to find an art major at uni, and get them to screen a rack case for you. Find a cute one, while you're at it. Don't give up on DIY, sounds like you're well on your way. The ESP preamp project I'm procrastinating on working on :cool: has adequate EQ from the look of it, and it's even an Aussie design.

    Here's a nice little tone stack design applet: http://www.duncanamps.com/tsc/ . I have had good results from impedance scaling everything downward on the Fender stack, using an op amp gain stage to drive the stack. My homebrewed preamps are surely the ugliest of all time, but they sound great. I intend to make the next one look at least "industrial-chic". You could always gut a defunct piece of rack gear, and make it your own.


  16. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    You can't beat the simplicity and great sound of one of the old Demeter 1 1/2 sp VTP-201's.


    Opps, sorry- this is a tube pre.

    Maybe you should invest in a shock rack?

  17. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003

    Haha! I think I might take that a bit further and say that my fear is based on experience. There's nothing like a retarded sax player stacking all the racks onto a bigger rack with wheels, then rolling off the top of a small flight of stairs. BAM! "But I didn't see it." "You idiot, you walked up those stairs 8 friggin times getting all the gear IN you @#$%^&**&^%$##^%$$&%$#%(*%(&%%$##%#^#&$ dufus!!!!!!" That little excercise ended up braeking 4 out of the 5 tubes in my preamp.

    So yeah. Tubes = beautiful sound but also = nightmare at gig if you have only 3 spare ones and you break 4.
  18. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    That's a really cool little pre. I'm a big fan of super simple. I have a DB659 because of it. Some don't like it I love it 3 tone controls a deep and a bright switch and input and ouput volume. Fairly simple, if I ever get a DB728 I'll probably just plug straight into that sometimes and just have volume. Of cource the problem with simple is that you have to like the tone you get. I've oten thought that if I ever started making amps and such as a profession (I'm trying to learn about amplifiers) that I would just make something that sounds inarguably great to begin with, no eq no switches no nothing just an input and volume and a speaker out and it sounds great.
  19. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    phridg, I just read your profile, and if you're studying to be an EE, build one.
  20. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Wrong. :p

    Ever tried plugging straight into the power amp? ;)
    Simple and as the signal chain is shorter, its also a bit clearer / less damped.