What Would Be in your "Ultimate" Bass Preamp???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Hey all,

    i just got off the phone with a local guitar amp builder, trying to talk him into making a high end bass preamp for us gear heads.

    he says he's been looking into it, and has something in the works.

    but it got me thinking...

    what would be in my "ultimate" bass pre???

    • instead of 12AX7's or its variants, how 'bout a pair of 6SL7's or EF86's like in high end "Vox AC30" boutique amps like what Matchless use? would make for an interesting tone, eh?
    • instead of the usual boosts, how bout a button beneath each EQ that allows the user to choose one of the two freq too boost or cut? e.g. 30 hz or 60 hz for the bass, 125 ha or 400 hz for the mids, 4 kHz or 8 kHz for the trebs?
    • front mounted volume control for the DI out
    • clip lights for both the gain and master out
    • jensen DI

    soooo, what about y'all?

    (EDIT: btw, as killer as the preamps mentioned in this thread are, that's kinda not what i'm looking for.

    rather, what are the features that you wish your preamp had, but in reality, doesnt.

    Or, to take the flipside, what are the features that really float your boat when it comes to your fav preamps?)
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    First of all, I'm guessing this is probably a two space pre, right? ;)

    Warwick Quadruplet is probably the most flexible preamp out there that has the type of adjustment available that you mention. The quadramatrix knob let's you choose four different underlying frequency curves which affects the bass,lo mid,high mid,treble knobs and lo/hi boost switches. Additionally, the lo and high mid knobs have shift buttons to adjust their frequency. Also, two of the quadramatrix settings kick in an extra tube gain stage to give a less clean sound.
    Between all of that, you get a lot of options.

    But apart from that, what would I like it to have...

    You see, I vary between two schools of thought on this.

    On one hand, I love the tweakability of amps like the Quadruplet or DB680. However, I've found that when I have 20 different knobs available, I use them. Constantly. There's something to be said for the simplicity of the Alembic F-1X or Kern where you generally find one setting, leave it that way and make adjustments in a graphic / para eq or onboard your bass.

    Also, the fat sound that comes out of the Alembic with only one tube makes me wonder how many tubes are necessary in a preamp. Obviously the DB680 sounds great with it's multiple tubes, but I don't care how many it has or what type they are as long as it's a bootilicious bass sound coming out of it.

    Anyway, assuming I'm able to control my compulsive knob twiddling...

    • Gain/Master controls with level LED's and clip indication ala EBS preamp
    • 4 band parmetric eq, each with frequency/bandwidth + cut/boost. An extension of the demeter hbp-1 eq.
    • Two stage bass boost ala Aguilar db680
    • Cross over
    • Effects loop controls ala DB680
    • Front mounted DI with pre/post eq switch and db pad
    • Some kind of low shelf filter ala SWR Grand Prix
    • Footswitch with mute, eq bypass

    As you can tell, I'm kind of taken with the Aguilar DB680 :)
    What I've described is kind of the DB680 with (more) knobs on.
  3. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    My fantasy bass preamp is actualy somewhat simular to the Walter Woods or the Raven-Labs Universal. A dual preamp with class A fully balanced circuts and two massive power supplies with built in AC-DC-AC filters. Manly style build quality, Millenium style archatecture (tube/solid state).

    Two line level metered (Ashdown style) inputs. Input A feeds both channels when B is not in use (line level outputs on the instruments). Electronic (chip based Burr Brown?) input and master gain attenuators (no pots, no 1/4" phone jacks).

    Seperat dedicated balanced EQ loops and effects loops for each channel.

    Eden Enhance circut. I know it's hoky but when I'm home alone trying to do Bootsy it's very theraputic.

    Two balanced outputs and two level controled DI outputs.

    Manufactured in Hawaii by highly skilled, vegiterian, non smoking, surfers with a very flexable work schedual and wonderful benifets.
  4. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Have you tried calling Jack Read? I know he's got a new audiophile bass preamp design out, but he's only building them to order and they're totally customisable. It's called the Read Custom Bass Purity.

    Personally I love the sound of my SWR GP but the only knob that I ever turn is the master volume, and all the EQ is set flat. So I guess I'd like one with no EQ, the Aural Enhancer in a fixed position, and just gain, volume and DI level knobs (and a tuner mute switch).

  5. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    say no more, say no more!!! cant get enough of her mic pre's... :cool:

    LMAO! hehe, that's good enough for a signature tag... ;)

    hmm.... Jack? what's he known for? i was actually talking to a local Philly builder.
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Joker, you need to get on the phone with Jack Read. You have no idea what is about to happen with bass preamps. I was there yesterday. You are in for a big shock when you finally get to hear the Purity preamp. I just ordered one. There is nothing on the market that even holds a candle to Jack's preamp. This guy is brilliant.
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    this is the one that only has a volume control, right?
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Glockenklang Bugatti


    But my Green Audio 2-channel preamp is great too. Great tone and very, very flexible.
  9. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    ultimate bass pre:

    auto play button

    you press it and you can run to the bar or restroom :D ;)
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    What I'm using is working great for me (AMP BH-420). I basically want pre and Master gains and a clean DI with as little between the amp and whatever bass I'm playing to affect the actual tone of the bass.

    I haven't used my amp's EQ section in about a decade... no need, plug in a great bass and let it through is my way of doing things.

    In summary, I'd want something that could send a big enough signal to my amp to get the job done and also send my signal to the board... unmolested:D
  11. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    How about Ultimate tone?

    Seriously, I would subscribe to Walter's theory (of Cafe Walter) of the less circuitry the better.

    All solid state, tuned for speed and transparency (possibly some natural-sounding slight warmth added--maybe a 'Warmth' control knob). An input level control, a clip light, a variable high filter, a one band parametric control for filtering out room boom, a master level control, a bypass switch, a couple of outputs and a good balanced XLR DI with adjustable level.

    I think that would do it.

    Thank you very much.

    [Let me know when it's ready.]

  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    jeez joker
    other than great tone.........

    i would say the features i would appreciate most would be a variety of outputs like on the navigator and an effects blend ala the swr

    honestly though, my biggest rush would be to have quite a few pres and switch them at will between songs or even during songs
    eq or no, each preamp on its own seems to me to have enough of a tonal difference from its bretheren to justify its use at times
  13. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    I am soooo there.
  14. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    OK em, you can't just leave it at that. Splane it to me Lucy. What did you buy? Is it a printed wireing board or does Mr. Jack solder wires together? Are there any glass parts?

    I'm rushing you, sorry. I can wait till you bring it home.
  15. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    David, Jack Read started with a pre with just a volume control but now it is a completely different monster. For a little teaser it does have an all eq bypass so that your signal is strait to the output, after it passes through a couple of tubes of coarse.

    I can't give away too much because it won't be in production for a couple of more months.

    lo-freq, Jack could make that. He does complete custom amps and preamps as well.
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  17. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    'cept he's a tube freak, I looked at his website.

    But what matters most is the tone, so maybe tubes would work.

    [I'm not an anti-tube freak.]
  18. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    According to Avalon the AD2022 is supposed to blow the 737 totally away.

    There's a huge price difference between the AD2022 and the U5 (more than 2 channel vs. mono). The M5 only takes XLR's as inputs.

    Wish they made a mono AD2022 with functionality similar to the of the U5 or VT-737SP (either would be pretty high dollar I'm sure).
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Tell me more about this AD2022, I've never heard of it. But at a recent recording session, I was initiated into the world of the 737, and all I can say is WOW.
  20. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Can you share his website address?