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Which preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jacob Bartfield, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Aguilar

    30 vote(s)
  2. Demeter

    22 vote(s)
  3. Kern

    8 vote(s)
  4. Alembic

    18 vote(s)
  1. I've searched the threads on this subject, but I still thought it would be beneficial to possibly get a little more information. I'm looking for a sound that's warm, yet clean.
  2. Uh, Eden Navigator
  3. Hey, I did't see Trace Elliot V-Type preamp on the list! -Wes
  4. I can only speak for the Alembic and I can tell you that it is very tubey and clean. If it has a short coming it would have to be the EQ. It is fine for tone shaping but falls short of making corrections for room resonance and peaks. For that reason, I’ve used a separate EQ from time to time when needed. It does have a 1st class DI and x-over which the others may or may not have. What I think the F1-X does best is tame a hard sounding AX. My SR5 has a maple neck and it can get real hard sounding at times. The F1-X smooths out a bit of the grind and gives it a warmer sound.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    RBI :D .
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i'm happy with my ampeg svp-pro, but if i had the money, i would go with an aggie
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Jacob - I just ended my own preamp hunt.

    "Warm and clean" is what I wanted, too, with "fat" added.

    After reading about all I could find on the web, I felt Aguilar would fill the bill best for me since I play rock and funk.

    Eden Nav's are a good choice, too.
  8. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I guess I'm just an Alembic guy at heart.

  9. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    It don't get no better. If it does, it ain't legal!!
  10. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    You want warm and clean... Demeter.
  11. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Can you even buy a Kern anymore? I let two get through my hands, but I'd love to try one again.
  12. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Yea you can still buy Kern's, give me a call :D

    # 1 The Epifani Quest is the MONSTER of all.

    # 2 The Kern is super

    # 3 Old 70's Alembic F2B


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Hey Brian Barret,

    Which Epifani pre is the Quest, The SS or tube version? I went to Nicks recently & he had none there to demo, I'm dying to try 'em. How do they sound compared to a Navigator or Kern?

  14. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Ashdown RPM1
  15. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    The Quest Tube is the only one I have played. I’ve tortured it a few times. Its amazing, there is not a really anything to compare it to on the market. The Quest Tube is ready for shipping right after NAMM. I already have them on the way!!!
    They will be at NAMM, so you might ask JT to review it up in his posting for NAMM. Also Epifani will have their New Ultra Light cab’s.

    On another Note Jim Bergantino is suppose to be introducing his new solid state preamp and Vintage series cabs.
  16. I was comparing the Ampeg SVP (the one I bought) to the Alembic FX-1 in the store, chose the Ampeg because the Alembic was really bright, and kinda harsh.

    Everything else was out of my price range :)
  17. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I voted Demeter 'cause I just love my old 1.5 space 201. But I also love my F-1X, too....and of course there is the Navigator which is very sweet and has alot of bells and whistles that I actually use.

    But I can't wait to give Nick's new preamp a spin.
  18. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I'm totally happy with my Kern.
  19. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Just curious, and this is probably going off topic, but did you know at the time that the tone controls on the Alembic F-1X are really just that rather than a traditional EQ? It's based on the fender baxandall / bassman circuit. So, instead of flat being 5,5,5 on bass,middle, treble it's 3,10,3. I'm sure the manual explains this - I bought mine used without manual so had to figure it out the hard way!

    I can totally understand if you approached it like a normal eq you would get some bright/harsh sounds out of the Alembic. That's what happened to me at first. But once you get used to operating it you'll find it's a very very warm preamp. I've been A/B'ing it against an SVP-PRO and Demeter HBP-1, courtesy of Musicians Friend and Demeter return periods. I love the 'ampeg sound' from the SVP, but I think the Alembic is warmer - very deep bass without being boomy.
    The Demeter is very very good also, definitely warm and clean. It's more 'clinical' than the Alembic. But the parametric gives you more ability to deal with room characteristics than the Alembic. At the moment, I'm torn between getting an extra EQ rack module to complement the Alembic or to keep the Demeter instead. The first option is cheaper, but then I'd need a 4 space rack kit and weight/size are important to me.

    'warm','clean','clinical','ampeg sound' - dontcha just love these qualitative terms we use! :)
  20. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I've tried a lot of preamps (admitted preamp junkie) and my take on them is:

    Demeter VTBP-201 (older 1 1/2 rack space)-my hands down favorite bass preamp. Warm tone and yet it has more detail and clarity than any other preamp I've tried. Great for all styles and works wonderful with upright bass.

    Alembic F-1X-very fat and warm sounding preamp. Great for old school thump. EQ kind of strange as 2 for bass and treble and 10 for mids is closest to flat. Lacks clarity in the lows and lower mids.

    SWR Grand Prix-very clean tone. Have to EQ carefully to avoid getting a nasty edge to the tone. Tone improvement with installation of a USA made RCA 7025 or Telefunken ECC83 is dramatic. A great preamp for slap.

    Aguilar DB659-Excellent preamp and my second favorite after the Demeter. Nearly matches the clarity of the Demeter. An excellent preamp.

    Trace Elliot V-Type-Very fat and warm sounding preamp. Has the least detailed tone of any tube preamp I've tried. Would be great for dub or maybe salsa.

    Yamaha BP1-A lifeless sounding SS preamp. Has a lot of nice tone shaping options and is very quiet. Very heavy preamp.

    Sans Amp RBI-The best sounding SS preamp I've tried. Very lively tone with great detail and excellent EQ. Sounds like a better tube preamp than some real tube preamps. A bargain and very light weight.


    For what it is worth, I own a pair of Demeters, a Grand Prix, an RBI and a DB659.

    None of them are for sale!