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Which Preamp Is Right For Me?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jan 18, 2005.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I'm sure this has been asked before, but now it's my turn ;) I should also preface this by saying I will most likely not be able to try out many of these, as local selection ain't great, and I seldom get to travel far, so "try a bunch out and get what you like" won't fly.

    I'm planning on getting a new setup in the next month and I'm looking to get a new preamp that will most likely go with a QSC PLX1602 power amp. I think I'd prefer to have a pre/power setup to just one head, as I'd prefer to just have to replace one piece of gear if something goes wrong rather than the whole thing, but I'm open to suggestions if there's a head that really great for my needs.

    I have around $1000 to spend on both parts, and the power amp should cost a little over $500, so I've probably got up to $500 for the preamp. I currently have a Carvin R1000 head that needs replacing-it sounds pretty good, but it's front panel is a bit confusing (tons of knobs and eqs, so it's hard to quickly find good tones), and I don't like that it relies on preshape buttons to get any sort of a good sound. The sound I'm looking for is somewhere between vintage and hi-fi, not super deep or woofy, and not overly bright and crystaline. I like a somewhat growly low-mid sound with warmer highs and high-mids. Being able to dial in a good slap tone is also a plus, although I've personally found that that tends to come more from the bass and the cab. Being able to dial in a good tone quickly is preferred, and I'd like it to have a few good tones in it-not looking for a one-trick pony. I'd like it to have a fairly quick response. I play mostly funky/jazzy-type jam band material, with rock and occasional metal thrown in there-I don't play the blues (I'm too happy). I don't need it to have any effects, but I don't mind if they're there. Tubes aren't a big deal to me either. It will most likely be for home use, and for recording, but will hopefully get some gigging time when my daughter gets a little older. My basses are fretted and fretless Elrick singlecut five-strings, if that matters (I suppose good low B definition is also a requirement). I also use an Avatar B4x10.

    I've read about a couple that seem interesting-the BBE BMax sounds nice, but I'm worried that the boost-only bass may be too much and too "blues/country" sounding. The Sansamp RBI is also pretty popular, but it seems to have a built-in mid cut, so I didn't know if it had a naturally scooped tone.

    Hope I gave enough info, and feel free to suggest anything. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Eden Navigator comes to mind. It will cover every genre/need that you listed. Very powerful EQ, very flexible but also sounds great flat. Onboard effects that are actually usable and footswitchable. It fits your budget as well... :smug:
     
  3. Gallien-Krueger 2001RPB preamp. Lots of tone in one rackspace.
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Gallien-Krueger is one of the few amp brands I've tried out a lot-I've never gotten tones I really like from them. They were almost always grouped with GK cabs though, so it's possible that it was the cabs.
     
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Navigator from Eden is the way to go

    Since you can not play many in person, you NEED to go to basstasters and listen to all of the samples fellow TB'er Vanselus has made available.

    Bass Tasters

    -Mike
     
  6. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    An SWR Grand Prix would also work fo rthe music you listed. I've had 2 of them and they were great. Nice DI as well.

    I went to an Avalon U5 with my PLX 1202 and Bergie HT112.
     
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut

    How much have you seen them go for new? Musican's Friend has them listed at over $800 new...
     
  8. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I meant used... sorry. New they go around $749.00 or so.
     
  9. Sammy

    Sammy

    Aug 31, 2000
    SoCal
    I am in a similar situation and have been waiting to hear more on the new Fender pre-amp. I have not seen one in stores yet.
     
  10. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    $450-600 is what I've typically seen on the used market.

    My Navigator is the one that was used on the Basstaster site. It sounds better in person. The EQ can be very confusing or it can be VERY simple (just set it flat). I have mine hooked up with a Stewart 2.1.

    I've heard great things about the Read Purity preamp. But just haven't seen any on the used market.
     
  11. +1

    That or the EBS Classic 1 :D which I perfer
     
  12. csholtmeier

    csholtmeier

    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    You mentioned the Bmax and the RBI. These are the last two pres I have owned. These two units are about as opposite tonewise as you can get.

    The Bmax was extremely clean and hi-fi, but to my ears sterile and small-sounding. No growl whatsoever. The RBI, on the other hand, is much warmer, dirtier and has tons of growl. It is all solid-state, so it has quicker response than tube pres I have used. The presence knob on the RBI is a thing of beauty, allowing me to dial just the right amount of pick or finger attack. I would not call it mid-scooped, just be mindful of how you set the blend knob.

    You can probably tell that I'm a fan of the RBI. I just love the sounds that come out of this box.
     
  13. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I'll chime in on behalf of the Ashdown RPM-1. It is exactly what you described. You can get Vintage tones with some grit and growl, warmth, nice highs, either Modern or Old school. Extremely Versatile Preamp.
     
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    The RBI is an incredible bargain. If you crank Blend all the way then your tone does become noticeably scooped. That said, many of us keep Blend at 50% max: this reduces the scoop, and also allows a gritty tone that isn't overwhelmingly so. Other RBI users either don't notice or enjoy the scoop.

    The Ampeg SVP-Pro is very cool if you like the Ampeg tone. Even without the graphic (which I leave switched out) it has much more versatile EQ than the RBI. The "tubeyness" is a different flavor than the RBI. Some report noise issues with their SVP-Pros, but mine was retubed by its previous owner and the hiss is a very minor factor.
     
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I've been offered a good deal on a new Demeter VTBP-201s preamp that I'm going to go for if nothing falls through. I did a little reading on it here at TB and it seems to fall into most of the parameters I'm looking for (clear but not brittle or crystaline, warm, simple knob layout, etc.). What do you guys think of it? Anyone have any experience with one?
     
  16. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Good overall tone... A little bright but still warm and very detailed. Not much along the lines of flexibility. :cool:
     
  17. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I've got an old 60's Amperex Bugle Boy in mine and I sure don't find any brightness. I do have to older 1.5 space verson. I do think that the tube plays a big role in the tone of this amp.

    Bryan, if you are a knob twirler you might not like this amp. It's real lean on the EQ changes. I hooked up my 31-band Ashley equilizer and played around with the tonal flexibility. It was cool but I find that I can get what I want the amp alone and my bass. It is still my pre of choice out of the three preamps I have.
     
  18. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Thanks for the tip, Jerry. I'm a knob twirler on my bass for sure, but I prefer to not adjust my amp if I don't have to. I prefer plug and play with an amp-a good built-in sound is nice. I do prefer it to have 2 or 3 different usable tones (not drastically different mind you, just subtley so). Is that possible with the Demeter?
     
  19. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    i'd say no.

    didnt really find it growly at all. either go for the Eden, or even the Ashdown RPM-1, but they're hard to come by at the price range you're looking, new or used.

    i think the RBI would be right up your alley, too. and even if it did mostly a mid cut, nothing's wrong with a nice hard turn to the right. ;)
     
  20. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    After the response I recieved here (and through a couple PMs) from several of you guys, I've decided not to get the Demeter.

    So what's the best new price for an RBI? $295 is the best I've seen so far-it's a great price, just wanted to check if there's lower. No Navigators on the used market right yet, unfortunately.

    I'm still very interested in more responses though! I thank all of you for your help so far.