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tubey preamps!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jasonbraatz, Jul 3, 2001.

  1. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    ok, i'm looking for a preamp under 600 bucks (retail/used, not MSRP). it's gotta have PHAT tube tone, warm, punchy, but be pretty versatile.

    i'm seeing -

    SWR Interstellar Overdrive
    Alembic F-1X
    Warwick Quadruplet
    Eden Navigator

    what else is there? i'm strongly leaning towards the IOD but i'm still not 100% sure. i love SWR tone, and i think the IOD would add just the warmth i need. The IOD and the quadruplet both have dummy power stages to get a more authentic classic tube sound....

  2. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Have you considered the Ampeg SVP-PRO?
    or the BSP-PRO Billy Sheehan Model ?
  3. Or the Tech 21 NYC PSA-1?
  4. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Or the Demeter tube preamp?
  5. grooveguru


    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    Alembic F-1X Nuff said!
  6. LowRanger


    Dec 24, 2000
    The Alembic is a pretty good bet if you don't want radical tone shaping or a lot of options. I had one, but didn't care too much for the subtle mids. Tried a bunch more, and ended up happiest with the SVP-BSP. Very simple, potent tone controls, dirt on-board if required, and reasonably priced.

    I had a Warwick Quadruplet for a while. I liked the mid treatment much better than the Alembic, but this is one seriously low-output unit. I've got a light touch, so even maxxed out it never got loud enough. I liked the SVP-Pro, too, but it was just a little too noisey for me (great sound though).

    So many preamps, so little time! Good luck, trust your own ears, and let us all know what you end up getting!
  7. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Demeter, Demeter, Demeter
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I've got the Demeter--it's a great sounding preamp, very clean and dynamic, but not precisely what I think of as "PHAT tube sound". Like the Alembic, it also has a somewhat limited EQ, so you're not going to radically change your sound with it.

    I've had the Eden Navigator, which has a ridiculous amount of EQ--very flexible, not so "open" sounding as the Demeter, but a bit more warm and growly. The footswitch adds some nice options for live performance.

    I've played the SWR IOD and liked it. Since when most people think of classic tube sound, they're actually thinking of a slight bit of overdrive and growl, I suspect it would do what you want.

  9. LowRanger


    Dec 24, 2000
    To you Demeter users:

    Which one... older 1 1/2 rack space, newer 1-space or the latest version with 2-bands of parametric?

    Also, some of the reviews I've read have left me wondering if a Demeter would match my QSC-PLX3002? My understanding is that the design of the QSC requires a hotter preamp, and that the Demeter is somewhat on par with the Quadruplet in terms of low output. Any opinions? I've not tried one, but I've been thinking about the parametric version....

  10. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    My Demeter is the older 1-1/2 space model. Yes, there is a newer one with some aditional midrange EQ, which would make it more flexible. I understand that aside from the EQ, the sound is very much like the older one. If nthing else, having something that would fit in a single rack space would be nice.

    I've heard the reports about the QSC needing hotter inputs than some other power amps, and there is a fix for the QSC to adjust the input gain. However, I've never gotten the impression that the Demeter has the same low output problem that, say, the Trace pre has (which is the one I heard was a problem in relation to the QSC). My Demeter seemed to have about the same level of gain as my Eden Navigator did, IIRC.
  11. I have Rane crossovers and EQ between the Alembic preamp and my QSC, so adjusting the input level to the QSC is not a problem.

    QSC publishes all the input voltage specs for their amps. I would suggest comparing these to the comparable Crown, Crest, etc power amps to see if there is a difference.
  12. You could try a Trace Elliot V Type preamp. Warm, but focused valve sound. Tone shaping is subtle. An ideal preamp for a vintage type sound.
  13. bassclarinet7

    bassclarinet7 Guest

    Jul 5, 2001
    I've had some experience with the SVT-Pro and it's rather nice. It has five tubes, so you do get a good sound. It is rather versitile, I think, as far as shaping your sound. I like it.
  14. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    There was an Ampeg SBP Billy Sheehan preamp in a local shop. I didn't bother to play through it but I fiddled with the knobs a little and they seemed kinda loose. It seemed like if I played with them for an hour or so they might just fall off.

    I've heard great things about the Kern preamp. It is supposed to get a really fat tube sound. New ones are not exactly in your price range but maybe if you can find a used one....
  15. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Kern! Great tone.

    I got mine from David King new for less than $600.

  16. I've finally got my Alembic F-1X rig fired up, and really don't hear anything different from the previous SWR 750 head I used to own. Both are clear and hiss-free. I can twiddle with the F-1X using the tone controls and Deep switch, etc, but I'm not hearing anything radically different. Just an observation. Too bad I don't have the SWR anymore for an A/B comparison.

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