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Single Rack Space - Preamp - Suggestions??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rimo, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. Rimo


    Sep 28, 2008
    I'm looking for a single rack space preamp if people can give some ideas??

    Sound I'm looking for is a tight, punchy, clean sound. Something that has a colour of it's own and is a little forgiving with a not so perfect playing technique.

    Some ideas I was tossing up on, was the Fender TBP-1, Alembic FX-1, EBS I think has a single rack space unit as well,
    Demeter HBP-1 or VTBP-201S.

    Don't know, will any of these units do what I'm looking for??

    Any better suggestions out there??

    Thanks .
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    What's your budget?

  3. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The Demeter and Alembic preamps are iconic and always a safe bet. If I were to gamble on a modern pre it would be a Mike Pope. I also love the sound of the now discontinued Aguilar DB659.
  4. Rimo


    Sep 28, 2008
    Budget - about $1500 Aussie dollars.

    Not sure if the Mike Pope is forgiving enough and isn't it very hi-fi, uncoloured and articulate??

    Is the DB659 single rack space?

    Another idea I had was the Phil Jones Bass Buddy - any opninons on this?
  5. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    The Demeter is warm pristine and fairly fat, but not what I would call ultra "punchy". The Alembic FX1 is sweet. Can't go too wrong with either.
  6. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    I really like my ampeg svp cl but you didn't mention ampeg in that list. Fills all your requirements but still is an ampeg.
  7. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    I use a Sansamp RBi with great results. I also use a Symetrix 501 compressor with it.
  8. Rimo


    Sep 28, 2008
    Can the Alembic get punchy but stay clean in the midrange or is the eq'ing too limited for this?
  9. Rimo


    Sep 28, 2008
    That's another good idea. Can you get the type of sound I'm aiming for as described in my opening post?
  10. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    It's been years since I had the FX-1 in my rack. If I recall, the mid range control is cut only and you mix in the bass and treble around it to taste. The Demeter HPB-1 (still one of my favorites) has more flexibility IMHO. The Yamaha PB-1 is one of THE punchiest SS pre's I have ever used, there was on sold here on classifieds just recently.
  11. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    The HBP-1 is one of my faves. The Yamaha PB-1 is pretty amazing though so I'd look into whether you can score one of those or not:)

    Also a big fan of the BBE 383 when it comes to budget.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Man-o-day...the choices! The Demeter HBP-1 is very clean, modern, and gets very transparent (if desired) thanks to the dual-band para EQ. I also use a SansAmp RPM in my second rack. More girth and grit along that route.

  13. Rimo


    Sep 28, 2008
    Any opinions on the Fender TBP-1 ?
  14. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I disagree.
    Both the Demeter preamps are very clean, not fat unless you try to dial that in (compared to the Alembic F-1X -- which should have a picture next to the dictionary definition of 'Phat', the Demeters are on the thin side -- not really thin, just in comparison to the Alembic). 'A bit leaner than most tube preamps' is probably the best way to put it.
    Both Demeters can be very punchy (especially with punchy cabinets).
    I gigged with the VTBP-201S for a couple of years and I'm all about having a solid, punchy tone.
    The original Demeter VTBP-201 (1 & 1/2 rack space preamp) was a bit closer to 'warm' than the current models.

    The 1 rack space Demeter preamps do have a bit of tube warmth, but also are fast enough that they almost sound solid state.

    I love both of the Demeter 1 rs preamps, but would go for the HBP-1 over the 201S in a heartbeat.
    The 201S comes with a Jensen transformered DI by default, the HBP-1 does not (I assume to keep the HBP-1's cost down -- it is an option if you order one).

    Of course, all this is totally IMO | IME | YMMV ...yada...yada...
  15. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    +1 on all counts.

    If you like a fender-type tone stack, the PB-1 is quite a buy.
    Likewise, the BBE BMAX-T has the FTS, is a bit more tubey and refined than the PB-1.
    They can be found at decent prices, both new and used.

    The Aguilar DB659 is indeed 1 rack space and if you put the right tubes in sounds awesome -- discontinued, so you'd have to buy used.
  16. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Oh, yeah, the Trace Elliott V Type preamp might fit your needs really well, also -- have to find one used as well.
  17. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i have a bunch of bass preamps and i think that the HBP-1 is very punchy, and so is the F-1X, but IME, the Demeter is alot more flexible, tone-wise.

    here's a pic of most of them that i have:

    Laklandfan likes this.
  18. koobie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I've enjoyed trying out some tube preamps over the last couple years, here are some observations from memory -

    Alembic F1-X: Big, warm, old-school tubey tone, I can see why these have remained popular over time. Depending on your power amp/cab, may be a bit too big/loose on the bottom. Although I really like this piece, I couldn't cut the lows enough with some amp/cab combinations. The least dynamically restricted of any preamps I've owned, very hi-fi in that respect.

    Trace V Type: A barkier, bawdier take on the F1-X. It's not as clear or big-sounding as the F1-X, but still I like it, can get ruder. The eq controls on the surface are dead simple, but they're extremely interactive - sometimes I find myself getting further away from what I wanted before I started twirling the dials.

    Hughes & Kettner Fortress: Still getting to know this one, I like it so far. Less fat than the Alembic & the Trace, a bit weightier & more aggressive than the SVPCL. So far I prefer it without engaging the tube drive circuit, which adds noise (yes, I tried new tubes). I'm not sure, but I think the two tubes are solely dedicated to the drive circuit so I'm probably using it just as a solid-state device. The comp is ok, but I'm spoiled by studio-level comps. It's got a headphone out, nice.

    Ampeg SVP-CL: More polite than the above preamps. More comprehensive eq too. Proving that not everything with tubes is about delivering grit, it leans more toward polished, hi-fi tones. Lower output than some other preamps, but shouldn't be an issue if you can adjust the input sensitivity of your power amp.

    Kern IP-777 Although it's rep & price hint at greatness, I'd take an F1-X myself. Getting it's Tonal Blend control adjusted for a balance of warmth & clarity added objectionable amounts of noise. Too dark too.

    Fender TPB-1: Thought it would be a F1-X with updated eq. The eq is a bit more flexible, but I found the overall tone muddier, less involving. Didn't care for the tube drive, wasn't meaty, just buzzy.

    Ashdown RPM-1: Fairly decent all-rounder, liked it more than the Fender, but felt a bit sluggish (wanted to like it, bought two). Again, didn't care for the tube drive, the solid-state side was punchier (but not enough for me). Very cool sub-harmonic generator, helped me fake some funk.

    BBE BMax-T: I'd heard this could cop F1-X tones, but I didn't think so. Fine for uber-clean stuff, maybe slapping, etc, but I wondered where the roundness/beef in the mids was. There's a tube in there?

    Haven't tried an Alembic F-2B, though I'd like to. But I'd be more inclined to try one of the Sarno preamps if I went that route, seems like a better/updated mousetrap without the hassle of updating ancient caps, pots etc.

    I haven't owned any of the Demeter preamps, figured from their rep they'd be too polite for my tastes.
  19. although this site is missing a couple of my faves the Yamaha PB-1 and Ashly BP-41 here's a link to give an idea of what's out there.

    Of course, nothing will sound like trying a preamp out in person but anyways....

  20. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    The READ PURITY if you can find one is one to add to the various models mentioned above.

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