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Sweet New Tube Preamp!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J.Wolf, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I recently acquired this, and I thought I'd share it here. It was built by Don Johnson (of legendary Miami vice fame, sadly not the same guy), a good friend of mine and a great amp builder. Most of what he does is small tube guitar amps, and tube mics mods and rebuilds. Lots of hotrodding old beat up Fender amps!

    This preamp uses a single 6SL7 (or 6SN7), which originally piqued my interest, because how many standalone bass preamps are not 12AX7 or 12AX7 based? There's probably a few, but I don't know of them. Anyways, the circuit in this preamp was described to me as a modified boxendall tone stack, which if I'm not mistaken, is the preamp section of an old B15. Its just vol/bass/treble.

    Anyways, the bottom line is that it sounds fantastic! I really like the simplicity and the quality of the tones. I had told Don I was looking for something that would be ideal for solo bass shows, and for accompanying small acoustic groups. This preamp has a beautiful warmth and midrange character that I think lends itself well to those criteria. Perhaps it's something about the 6SL7, but this pre has a mid presence that is not nasal or honky sounding at all, just rich and smooth. This pre nails the combination of "tube" and "hifi". Its an interesting contrast to my Demeter HBP-1. The Demeter is incredibly versatile and sounds great, but this pre has a musicality that is hard to describe, and makes the Demeter sound a little flat in comparison. I still think the Demeter is better for "normal" gigs and is probably more controllable at high volumes, but this pre has some serious tone, and when you crank the gain, it gets all stanky and mean!

    It's definitely not the most versatile preamp out there, just bass/treble/volume, and a 1/4" output jack. Also, it has a really hot output, which luckily is OK for my poweramp.

    He named it "Preamp Zero". I told him all that is missing is nice light so you can tell when it's on. Oh, and he needs a cool logo to accompany his Miami Vice name, something that reeks of palm trees, ray bans, white suits, and Tubbs of course.

    Anyways, just thought i'd share.

    Jake[​IMG] DSCF2903.gif
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Though I'm not a tube guy, I must say that it's a nice looking build. But what really impressed me was that impeccable-looking lab notebook.
  3. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    Brian, thats sweet, I didn't know your preamp used the 6SL7. I've heard nothing but great things about true voice preamps, and they look pretty sharp too. I wonder how much in common they share with what I have, beyond the tube choice? I think I remember plugging into one of yours last year, into an AI slave, and a smaller Schroeder cab. I remember liking it alot, but the area was so noisy, I feel like I didn't get a good read on it. I'd love to come by the shop and take a closer look.

    Well, I'm in Asheville which isn't too far. Are you still planning a GTG over there soon? I just saw the thread in your sig about it, and I would love to come by and bring some fun stuff if I'm available when it's happening. Is there a concrete date yet?

    If not, I'll see you at NAMM of course, I'll be there with AG again this year. Your guys' booth has always seemed to be a black hole for me, I just stand there and stare and stare, and the hours fly on by :)

    I will definitely want to check out your tube head, thats for sure.

    Hope all's well,

  4. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett Commercial User

    Nov 25, 2001
    Cane Ridge, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Thanks for reminding me to put a post up on the GTG. Yes its still a go! It will be the Sat after NAMM which is Sat 28th.

    If you can make it, that will be awesome. And we will be at NAMM as well, look forward to seeing you and Mark as well. I know he wasn't able to make it to Summer, I hope he's feeling much better.

    I bet it sounds great as the 6S*7 tubesare full of tone, but am sure they are quite different as the true-voice is a differnet design, but I'm sure yours sounds great. I'd love to check it out for kicks as well. I actually tested that design pre section as well at one time while R&Ding the TV.