The Alembic F-1X Megathread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Michael Vee, Jul 28, 2006.


  1. August update: Let's turn this into a full-blown F-1X megathread. This classic preamp deserves it.
    I also corrected my "F1-X" typos.. :oops:

    Original post, July 28, 2006:

    I've got a pretty good pile of amplification pieces- not like a Bowlus pile, but it's a pile nonetheless. I periodically mix and match pieces just to see what sounds good together. Recently- I put a good mix together.

    Bass: Spirit XZ-2, with EMG HBCS pickups, EMG BTC system, and Status roundwounds.

    Amp: 1993 Alembic F-1X, bridged Carvin DCM1500 power amp, Bag End S15D-X.

    I had been playing through a programmable Sansamp BDDI into the DCM. Changing back out to the F-1X was a night and day improvement. I played about an hour and a half- I just could not put the bass down. I tweaked around on various setting on both the BTC and the F-1X- not a bad sound to be had!

    Tonal bliss! It's true..
     
    SandCBass and carsbybigd like this.
  2. Cool man. How are the slap tones from this? I'm curious as to the slap tone of a Tube Pre/SS Amp matched together.
     
  3. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    nice, mike...

    what's the make up of the bagend cab? 2x10? 1x15?
     
  4. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Excellent! The F-1X deservedly finds its way onto pretty much any list of the top preamp choices. What a great unit! :cool:
     
  5. AlembicBob

    AlembicBob

    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    I was speaking with one of the guys at Alembic yesterday and hopefully asked if they were planning to update the model at some point. No such luck. After seeing the specs on the Fender TBP-1, I only wish Alembic would build something along those lines. An F-1X with a second tube channel for a little drive and half an SF-2 built in would be at the very top of the food chain!

    (stop drooling on your keyboards, they tell me it's not going to happen...)
     
  6. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    while that would be mad cool, honestly, if it aint broke...
     
  7. Yeah, the F-1X is a classic design. It doesn't have a few modern amenities, like a tuner mute button, and crossovers are not needed these days as much as they were 10+ years ago. These preamps are solid as rocks, excellent quality everything. Alembic didn't and doesn't cut corners.

    I bought mine new through David King back in 1993. It's one of the few old pieces of gear I own that I will never sell. The tube is still in very good shape and I've never had to replace it.

    After I bought the Eden CXC stack, I started playing with it a lot more often because it's small and modern. I also relish the Eden tone.

    But- as I noted in the first post, and all you fellow F-1X enthusiasts know, the F1-X has arguably the most amazing tube tone that is available.

    I still have the F-1X/DCM pile set up in the studio/office, and have hooked up a variety of cabinets to it since the first post. Right now, I have the DCM unbridged, and connected to the Bag End S15D-X, also to my 1993 Flite Sound 4x8 (a truly rare gem of a cabinet). Thunderous and detailed!

    I love my F-1X! :)
     
  8. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I bought an Epifani Quest II and the F1-X at the same time. Once I changed the tube in the f1-X to a JJ I fell in love. Coupled with a CA9, you have a lethal combination. The Quest II now sits up at Juan Ortiz's shop awaiting a home.
     
  9. Snake, some F-1X settings possibilities for slap:

    With the bright switch on, the highs are routed around the tone circuit. The effect is greater at low volume and diminishes as the volume control is turned up.

    You can also cut the mids fairly effectively with the mid control.

    Yet another slap sound is turning on the deep switch, which cuts low mids but leaves low bass frequencies intact. The resulting effect sounds like the lows are boosted. You can leave the tone controls set flat (2-10-2), but with both bright and deep switches engaged, get a pounding slap tone.

    The tube circuit sweetens and mellows the highs, and the 300 volt power supply ensures that slap transients are rendered faithfully.

    Even though I'm not a slap player, I do think that the F-1X could be an ideal slap preamp in a lot of respects.
     
  10. Even though I've rediscovered my love for the wondrous tube sound of the F-1X, I have often wondered if it could be idealized with a different tube. Mica at Alembic has said that Alembic uses a variety of tubes for the F-1X, as long as they meet Alembic's specs. Alembic doesn't have one tube that they recommend as the very best sounding.

    I've read a number of threads here on TB about different tube choices for the preamp. There isn't a clearcut consensus on the optimal tube choice, but then, you wouldn't expect there to be. It's something I do intend to re-investigate, though.

    Yeah, Folmeister- There's something about that Alembic tone.. it does make you tend to fall in love and ignore your other amps.. ;)

    A Crest CA-9! With an F-1X!? :D (No emoticon for flat-out daydreaming)
     
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Yep. The Alembic F2B was my usual tone machine for 20 years, literally (most of you probably know that the stereo F2B is the older sister of the F1X - it has the extra channel but fewer features than the mono F1X). I'd occasionally flirt with "flavor of the month" preamps, but they'd come and go while the Alembic stayed.

    The only thing I wished for from the Alembic was an active mid control for rooms with funky acoustics... especially important this millenium because I usually play basses without mid controls. So, the main reason I switched from the F2B to the Read Purity is the latter's somewhat greater tweakability in the mids. But I don't want to overstate the caveat: the Alembic's EQ was enough for over 90% of the gigs I played. And again, it took me 20 years to find a suitable replacement... a spendier one, at that. So, I don't hesitate to recommend either the F1X or F2B. :)
     
  12. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    I just replaced the SVT IV Pro in my rig with an F1-X, SF-2, and QSC power amp. What a difference a day makes. Highs, lows, they're all there. Low noise as well.

    There's a reason the Alembic pre's are consistent shoot out winners - they're one of if not the best out there.

    Alan
     
  13. Another thumbs up for the F1X. I just did my first gig with my new Schroeder 1212L along with my QSC PLX1602/F1X rig. Great combination!! I play Modulus basses - Q5 with EMG and a VJ4 with a Sadowsky VTC onboard pre. Wonderful fat and warm tones with great response.
     
  14. ibz

    ibz

    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    The F1-X and Schroeders pair up very nicely in my opinion. It is fav. combination with Schroeder's pre-amp wise.

    Sounds like a pretty portable, but powerful rig you got there. And of course has good tone as a nice side benifit. ;)
     
  15. Loel

    Loel Blazin' Acadian

    Oct 31, 2004
    has anyone paired the FI-X with
    the berg IP's cabinets?

    cheers
     
  16. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Surely! And yes, it kicks major booty. :bassist::bassist::bassist:
     
  17. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I just LOVE my F-1X. Interestingly, we played a large outdoor festival yesterday and I was planning to run through the DI, (pre-eq) to the house feed, as I usually do. Unfortunately, the FOH engineer said he was picking up a little bit of occasional noise through the line during the soundcheck. He said it didn't sound like a ground/lift problem, and it didn't seem like the tube was out (the guy mentioned that the preamp sounded awesome except for the periodic dirt) and it sounds fine through Schroeder rig. Any ideas what this might have been? It was a large outdoor festival stage and the power was coming from a generator truck - I was getting clean voltage the entire time.

    Looking forward to your ideas on what the problem and solution might be...

    Lonnybass
     
  18. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Could it have been an intermittent issue with the sound co.'s snake or cables?

    Tom.
     
  19. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Fender sure did get that tone stack right the first time, eh? :smug:
     
  20. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    This crossed my mind. Unfortunately we didn't have time to properly troubleshoot because of some thunderstorms in the area that required the crew to temporarily tarp the stage and speaker towers. Think it's worth taking the preamp into the shop to get checked out? I've had a few periodic complaints about noise from the DI in the past and haven't successfully isolated it yet...

    Lonnybass
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Aug 5, 2021

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