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Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive through March 03, 2010 » Tube power amp vs Alembic pre and Hartke ha4000 « Previous Next »

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Username: electronicstud

Post Number: 5
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 5:35 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for reading. I play for fun or small venue. I have a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket and I want an even better sound from my beloved Epic 4 string. My Hartke ha4000 amp and ampeg 4-10 cab have served me very well as far as being very loud and I want the Tube crackle. I could buy an Alembic pre-amp and run it through my garage sale bargin Hartke or I could buy a tube power amp for a few extra bones, no biggie. If I bought a tube poweramp I could possibly bi-amp it with my solid state? I went to the local guitar center today in hopes of sampeling some tube amplification options and was very disapointed. The best amp they had was an ampeg svt 4 and with the crappy bass I played through sounded worse than my Epic-Hartke combo. Has anyone put an Alembic preamp with a (good working) Hartke? Does anyone run a tube poweramp with an Epic? Is that "ORANGE" all tube power amp worth the money? What is the best tube power amp? I have tried a few cheap pedals and it just doesnt work. I listened to a bunch of preamp samples at and the Alembic F-1X had the sound I did the $2000.00 Aguilar. Help me out Alembic patrons...Will the preamp cut it or should I buy a tube pwr head? If so which one? Thanks a million!
Senior Member
Username: elwoodblue

Post Number: 1003
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 6:15 pm:   Edit Post

I can partially answer one of your questions regarding the F-1x. They have a fantastic clean sound but I have never really found it suitable for a good dirty sound. I hear the F2B preamp has a much more 'Tuby' character, and having two channels allows you to drive the second channel with the first which might get you closer to the sound you are looking for than the F-1x.
Username: jon_jackson

Post Number: 18
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 6:22 pm:   Edit Post

I'm currently using an F1-X into the power section of an Ampeg SVT-CL and 4-10 plus 1-15 cabinets. If we play outside or a larger venue, I use the crossover feature of the F-1X to also drive the power section of an Ampeg V4BH and add additional 4-10 and 1-15 cabs on the high and low frequency sides, respectively. Also run an SF-2 through the effects out/in on the F-1X.
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 497
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 11:40 pm:   Edit Post

While I've never tried it with a Hartke, I have used an Alembic pre with other power amps with good results. You could just run the F1X into the power amp in of the Hartke and bypass all of the Hartke preamp electronics. I guarantee it would clean things up.

But as has been stated, Alembic pres are very clean. There's lots of discussions in the forum about tube amps, etc. so look around and see what people have said. For a grungier, more classic tube sound, maybe try Ampeg, although personally I find that tone to be annoyingly wooly. the other thing to remember is that if you go through the PA most of the time, the DI on the F1X is excellent and all of that good tone will be going out to the PA system, so the audience will hear the good tone.
Senior Member
Username: crobbins

Post Number: 544
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 7:48 am:   Edit Post

For my tube amp I use a 1971 Ampeg SVT. Sounds great.
Senior Member
Username: crgaston

Post Number: 573
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 4:57 pm:   Edit Post

Brian, if you want some extra crackle, try a SansAmp Bass Driver DI. Those things sound fantastic, and since it's got a footswitch you can choose between your loud, clean sound and one with a bit more bite to it. Not to dissuade you from an F1-X, they are great, but really clean.
Intermediate Member
Username: bigbass

Post Number: 138
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 5:41 pm:   Edit Post

One of the beautiful things about using tubes is that you can change the character of the sound just by changing to a different tube. I have both the FX-1 and F2B. I have some old stock Sylvainia 7025, beat up RCA's 12AX7, NOS RCA 12AX7A and NOS GE 5058 tubes. They are compatible and all sound different. I running them through a Marshall 100/100 dual mono block. If I don't get distortion I can always turn down the master on the Marshall and overdrive the preamp. You will find that Russian and Chinese tubes have a shorter usage live and get "soft" or "puffy"quickly. They never sound the same out of the box as the do two months down the road. For the most part those tubes are garbage.
Username: electronicstud

Post Number: 6
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 - 1:37 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks all. that 71 ampeg is most likely worth more than my 71 amx javelin. Ok I think I will get a vintage tube head, f1-x and the f-2b, the SansAmp Di.....some day. thx
Username: garth4664

Post Number: 100
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Saturday, February 20, 2010 - 3:52 am:   Edit Post

Hello Brian, I share your thirst for a bit of drive on the bass, and I agree with Charles on the Sansamp. But for an amp, have to recommend the Mesa Boogie Bass 400, this is the old model (the newer one is the 400+) and has only half the number of tubes so it is easier to overdrive the pre amp and power amp a bit, sounds great as you "just" start to overdrive it - I was playing this through two 15" cabs. Should be able to track one down on the 2nd hand market for a reasonable price given the age...
Advanced Member
Username: benson_murrensun

Post Number: 227
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post

I had an Ampeg SVT-CL and the 8 x 10 cab; it sounded great but was too heavy for me to move. Plus, it couldn't get both very loud and very clean at the same time. So I moved to solid state equipment, and I use the SansAmp Bass Driver when I need dirt.
Username: electronicstud

Post Number: 7
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 7:18 pm:   Edit Post

Ok Sansamp...well if 3 of you alembicers recomend this for grit I feel more comfortable dumping a couple hundred bucks. Heck.. i spent that much on a digitec bass pedal that I didnt care for, now the lead uses it when he comes to practice. I guess solid state has surpassed tube in sound and practicality? Thanks guys.
Username: honninscrave

Post Number: 15
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post

Possible (mild) dissenting opinion on the Sansamp Bass Driver. I have one and while it really does wonders for my Precision, I've never been able to obtain a satisfactory tone from it with my Alembic ('85 Exploiter). No matter how I twaddle the knobs, it always ends up sounding too thin or too brittle (it's hard to explain).
On the Fender side, you'd have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers; on the Alembic side, not so much...
Username: electronicstud

Post Number: 8
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 3:33 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks gord.. My brother(very dissenting opinion on sound modeling electronics in general) just told me that my Hartke is above par and that I should look into a line 6 pod if anything other than the alembic pre. I wish I could try all these things out first hand. Anyone near Kansas city with an Alembic guitar and setup?
Username: honninscrave

Post Number: 16
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 10:31 pm:   Edit Post

+1 on the POD. I picked up the POD X3 at the end of 2008 and have gotten a lot of mileage out of it since. I especially love the Dual Tone feature.
The one caveat: go for either the Bean unit or the rack-mountable Pro unit and skip the Live altogether. There have been numerous problems with USB audio dropouts on the Live...
Advanced Member
Username: peoplechipper

Post Number: 212
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post

Bass DI! the only pedal I've ever used that is on ALL THE TIME. sounds amazing with my Distillate into an Acoustic 370; I get bass players raving about my sound every day they'll compliment my playing...Tony.

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