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Skjold Designs Pre-Amp Prototype

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Juneau, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Hey everyone, I got to check out Pete's prototype today. Im really at a loss for words to how to properly describe it. It sounds very clear and crisp, with a great vintage sorta sound. It could deffinantly pull off some major growl if wanted as well. The EQ bypass was awesome sounding as well. It really tranlates the sound of the bass used very well.

    We compared it side by side next to the Alembic FX-1 which I've always thought sounded really good. The only thing I can say about the comparison is Pete's pre made the Alembic sound like mud. Chords, fingerstyle nuances, every little thing comes through.

    Sorry Im not as much of an audiophile as some of you fellas to provide a more in depth review of the pre, but as best I can say it is it was one of the nicest sounding tone devices I've heard so far.

    Hopefully Pete can get one off to Basstasters once its finalized so everyone can judge for themselves.
  2. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Thanks, Juneau!

    Sounds very interesting.

    I'm anxious to play through it at the DFW GTG.
  3. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Interesting. I play through an FX-1. I'm going to try to make it to the GTG. Is it likely that Pete will have his prototype there?
  4. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Yeah it will be there.
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine



    to drive...

    18 hours!!!! And back!!! :eek:

  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
  7. JSCHRO7376

    JSCHRO7376 Commercial User

    Feb 23, 2004
    Los Angeles County, CA
    Owner, Schroeder Cabinets
  8. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Only reason there are no pics is it is only the prototype. No silkscreening, and simple knobs that wont be the same as the final product. It is 2U high, rackmountable, black, with a blue LED light.

    I dont remember all the controls off the top of my head, but it has an active/passive input with a switch to go back and forth. It has a bypass, which cuts out the EQ (also a switch). It has gain, master volume I believe, and then the EQ is a bass knob, a midrange knob, a midrange frequency selector knob, and a treble knob.

    I didnt look at the back to see what that had on it on the output sides. I also dont have very many details really. Im not versed enough in pre-amps to be able to accurately compare it something else you guys may know.

    Once its all nailed down exactly right (Pete had a grounding issue that was likely caused in shipping he was correcting, and also wanted to tweak the midrange frequency points a bit). Once thats all done, I'll get him to come over and record with it direct into my Audigy and I'll post clips of that. I believe he also plans on sending the pre-amp, along with a couple of basses to Todd at Basstasters for posting, so look for that in the near future.
  9. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    cool, I'm curious about this one too... Look forward to seeing it's development!
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine

    What tube did Pete end up using in that bad boy?

  11. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    No idea Tom. I believe the one he posted about in the other thread, but I didnt ask.

    If I can, I'll take a short video of Pete playing through it next time Im there so yall can at least hear it on my crappy camera sound hehe.

    If possible, Ill do a direct comparison, with EQ set flat on both (or bypassed on Pete's vs Flat on Alembic), with the Alembic FX-1.
  12. subscribing!
  13. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Aw, c'mon, Tom. You KNOW you want to come to Dallas!
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I would if I could, bro!
  15. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Well, several of you guys got to hear the pre at the GTG, please post your much more informed thoughts :)
  16. I took a good listen to Pete's new preamp design. I'm kinda busy so I'll make this short for now.

    I liked the overall design, as the knob and switch layout was very simple, and easy. Even with no markings on this one, since it's just a prototype, you could easily understand what everything was for.

    The eq section was bass, mid, treble (all cut/boost) there was an enhance switch which offered three selections if I remember correctly... and they were centered somewhere around 200, 400 and 800... but I could be totally off on this... there was a lot going on at the GTG, so my rememberer ain't workin too good!!! When the eq bypass was engaged it bumped the overall volume a lot... I think it was 15db???? I'm not sure if I liked that or not...

    Overall... when compared to my Read "Purity"... I'd say the Skjold has a cleaner output than the "Purity". By that I mean the tone coming out is less effected than it is on the Read. The tube in the Skjold is for power only, and has no effect on the tone. That's probably where the biggest difference lies. The Read preamp with the gain all the way up and a couple of tweaks can get a really throaty, distorted-ish tone.... I didn't play around with the Skjold enough... but I don't think it will do that... But then... I don't use my Read in that way so who cares.

    The prototype had a coulple of little bugs that still need to be worked out... but overall it was one heck of a preamp... when compared to the Demeter, the Read, and everything else that was at the GTG Saturday... it more than held it's own.

    I'm broke, and satisfied with my current rig... but if I was in the market for a pre... I would have a hard time not getting the Skjold. And who knows... when they are ready for consumer purchase... I may have to get one anyway!!
  17. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    BTW Henry, if you crank the gain, you can get that distorted overdriven tube sound out of it, but have to compensate with the volume of course so it doesnt blow you out of your chair. Pete really should have done a demo of it, and had everyone sit around and listen to what it could do if put through its paces. (why dont I think of this crap when it matters lol)
  18. Cool!! Like I said.. I took a good listen... but with other's playing... Pete showed me the knob layout, and he did a little demo for me.. I can't rightly recall if it got as gritty as the Read or not. But... the vast majority of the time... I've got the eq bypassed on the Read anyway... I only adjust the gain, or the "emphasis" knob as desired. Pete's pre really sounded good... it was clean, offered nice eq options that a bass player can and does actually use, and looked simple to operate... on a dark stage simple and easy are good!!
  19. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I did not play around with the EQ section at all, so that leaves various tonal regions unexplored.
    Also, my bass needs new strings, so I can't address how well the preamp reproduces the higher frequencies.
    I listened to his preamp using his Carvin power amp and my Schroeder 410.
    I listened to Henry's Purity using his Stewart W2.1 and Schroeder 21012 + 1210.
    I used my SR5 with both.

    With Pete's preamp set flat, just varying the gain and master level you could go from VERY clean & articulate to more of a round tubey OD-ish type sound.
    I'd love to hear it through some other types of cabs (EA, Acme, Accugroove, Bergantino, etc.) and other basses.
    There was so much going on while I was at the GTG, it was difficult to check out everything I wanted too.

    When I compared it set flat and clean to Henry's Purity set very similarly (EQ bypassed, little or no emphasis, gain lower and master higher), I preferred Pete's preamp, but both sounded very good.

    Ideally, I would have liked to have had new strings, both preamps hooked up to the same power amp & cabinet and spent probably all day getting familiar with the tonal possibilities of each unit and then I could give a more difinitive opinion on which better matched my tastes.

    There is so much subjectivity to tonal tastes and impressions.

    Both preamps sound very good and Pete has a definite winner on his hands.
    I highly recommend to all of you who can, check it out with your gear.

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