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What Tube Pre's Do You Recommend?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Fishtank171, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Hey, I'm considering upgrading from just a head to a Preamp/Poweramp combo, and i want a good sounding tube preamp, not too expensive. I'm looking and the SVP-CL, SVP-Pro, the BBE Bmax-t, but i dont really know of any others besides the Alembic FX1 and the newer one of Demeter's. Im looking for one under $1000, what do you guys/gals think? thanks!
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    There are LOTS of great preamps $1000 and under. What kind of sound are you looking for: bright, phat, growly, clean, dirty? What sort of features do you need: tuner out, distortion, FX loop, DI, crossover, channel switching? EQ: how many bands do you need, and what type (rotary, graphic, parametric)?

    You don't have to answer all of those questions, but any additional info you could give would help us. :)
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The answer to this question could mostly be answered by a trip to http://www.basstasters.com but I'll list the ones I'd recommend which I have real world experience with:

    The Trace Elliot GP12SMX preamps are among the most versatile out there. 12 band EQ, onboard multiband crossover, two tone shaping settings, stereo effects loop, sweepable crossover for biamping (with the high end split into stereo channels), a tube/ss blend knob, printing that's easily readable on a dim stage, and looks cool. The only cons are that the company is out of business (so they're tough to find), it takes 2U of rack space, and the output level is weak enough that it needs boosting if being used with a PA amp that doesn't have gain adjustment.

    The SWR Interstellar Overdrive has great tone and is only 1U. It's got a somewhat useful EQ section and a tube/ss blend knob that's foot pedal controllable. It also has a 5w onboard amp which is great for quiet acoustic-type situations or recording. Cons: I don't really feel confident about the cooling setup, but that's opinion talking.

    The SWR Electric Blue is an all tube preamp coupled with a SS amp section that will do 150 watts. I mainly just use the preamp section of mine. I don't really think it's possible to beat for a pure hi-fi tone in anything under $500, and they cost maybe half that used if you look hard enough. IvanMike wrote a review of it that sums it up better than I could and like him, I doubt I'll ever sell mine. The only pseudo con for me is that I wish it were in a 1U rack space but I'm willing to put up with it since the size and shape it is make it a great grab and go amp for smaller stuff.
  4. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    I got a used Aguilar DB680 for under $1000. Actually, I can't think of many pre's that are MORE than a thousand on the used market.
    Check out basstasters.com, and try out as many as you can yourself. Buy whatever sounds best to you. With a $1000 limit you have TONS of options!
  5. Rod Harder

    Rod Harder Supporting Member

    I personally LOVE my SWR Grand Prix bass preamp, in a single rack space I haven't found anything that compares, including the SWR Interstellar O/D. I'm a big fan of the SWR sound, and this preamp does it for me big time. Great EQ section, and lots of flexible output options as well, too bad they don't still make this unit. They are no longer in production, but if you can find a good deal on a used one, and you probably can if you look for a while on the net, they are hard to beat.
    Just my $0.02, but hey, you asked..............
  6. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Buy used and you can afford almost any preamp for under $1,000. I like the Aguilar DB659 and I'm sure the 680 is fantastic as well.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I agree that you'll find a LONG list of GREAT preamps under a grand. Take, for instance, my Read Purity...well, don't "take" it, because I won't give it up. But, it's an amazing sounding preamp! :hyper:

    According to Jack's website, this preamp sells *new* for $995. http://www.readcustom.com/tubeamps.htm [​IMG]
  8. I like my Mindprint EnVoice, which is actually a mic pre with an instrument input. Only has a tube comp though (with adjustable saturation)
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I really like my eden navigator a lot.
  10. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I bought a used ampeg CL dropped in 4 telefunken Smooth plates. 435$ total,This thing rocks!

    If you can live with out a effects loop I highly recomend!

  11. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    The Demeter VTBP201 is my pick for sub $1K pre-amps. Super tight, punchy, and responsive! All the things I look for in a tube pre.

    Lots of other good ones are out there, but that is my personal pick.
  12. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    If we were in the same city, then we could try each other's preamps!:D

    We keep meeting up in these preamp threads...probably not by coincidence.:D