Need advice on F-1X vs. F-2b Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2006 » Archive through June 16, 2006 » Need advice on F-1X vs. F-2b « Previous Next »

Author Message
Username: brianm

Post Number: 21
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post

I'm thinking of purchasing an Alembic pre-amp for my 70's Series l bass. My problem is the closest Alembic dealer is over 1,000 miles away from where I live so previewing a pre amp is out of the question.

The F-1x: It looks like there may be a bit more tonal adjustment than the F-2b. In looking at pics of the units I noticed that the F-1x has a "deep" switch, "HF level" (I assume that's High Frequency?), plus a "Frequency" selector that the F-2b doesn't have. Would I get more tonal variations using 2 F-1x's than I would from an F-2b?
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1317
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post


Sorry, I can't help you on the F-1X vs. F-2B question, but I suspect if maximum tone control in a stereo rig is what you're seeking, the ultimate set up would be an F-2B and an SF-2. The SF-2 is just amazing. Whatever tone you want is in that box! My bass player and I have both have had one for about a year, and neither of us can imagine playing without it!

Bill, the guitar one
Advanced Member
Username: crgaston

Post Number: 214
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 2:18 pm:   Edit Post


The main difference is that the F-1X has an effects loop, built-in direct out, and a crossover. The HF level and Frequency knob are for the crossover, so unless you're bi-amping, they don't get used. If it's for live playing, you'd probably want to just run the bass mono into the F-1X.

On the other hand, you could use the F-2B to eq each pickup individually, then combine those channels into an amp and just mic the speaker instead of using a DI.

A third option would be to use the F-2B to eq each pickup and use 2 DI's (one for each channel), either in between the bass and preamp or between the preamp and power amp.

2 F-1X's would work very well, but then you're talking double the money and space. If your power supply doesn't have a mono switch, (I don't remember if they ever made them that way or not), then one F-1X would still work because it has 2 inputs. The hi-gain input (1) switches to lo-gain whenever something is plugged into the lo-gain input(2), so you wouldn't have any gain problems with that setup.

Oh, and have to disagree with Bill. The "ultimate" stereo setup would be an F-1X with a SF-2 in the effects loop for EACH pickup. It'd only set you back about 3400.00USD or so.

Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1902
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 6:28 am:   Edit Post


Just my $0.02:

I asked the same question last year and got a multitude of responses. You can do a search here to find the thread if you'd like.

I'd ditto what everyone said above (I bought the F-2B and an SF-2 for my Series I and EMW-equipped Custom Orion), except that while the circuit architecture is similar, and the F-1X is a little more flexible (i.e., feature-packed), they both sound different. Several of the people that have/have had both units all remarked on how the F-2B has a more "hi-fi" sound ("hi-fi" as in more of a "tube" sound, not as in higher fidelity). Some prefer the sound of one over another. Ultimately it's a matter of choice (i.e., yours) based on the control flexibility and sound you're after.

FWIW, either units are regularly available used. You can always sell 'em for around the going rate, so what's the worst that could happen? If you're unsure as to which is right, and have a few extra bucks lying around, personally I'd pick 'em both up used on EBAY and sell the one you like least.

Don't forget the SF-2 and a good, quick, hi-current power amp (as well as some decent cabs) for the ultimate rig! I use my Alembic electronics with a QSC PLX-series amp and two Eden D-210XST's with excellent results.

Good luck in your quest and enjoy!


Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3875
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 11:02 am:   Edit Post

As Kevin said, they sound different. The F-1X has a single tube stage and the F-2B has two tube stages in the circuit. Thus the F-1X sounds "cleaner" and the F-2B "warmer". I like 'em both. Personally, I don't think there is a significant difference in "tonal variation". The F-1X has nice features like the crossover, effects loop and direct out; and F-2B has the advantage of two channels. But the difference in tone might be the most significant difference.
Username: brianm

Post Number: 22
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post

Thank you everyone for your input, I appreciate it!

I do like the idea of running a SF-2 for each pick up. I may pick up used F-2B and a used F-1X and sell the one I like least (good idea Kevin!).

I'm becoming an Alembic junkie. After getting my Series l, I was blown away by the quality of the craftsmanship and the electronics. I also own a Warwick 5 string Dauphin, I haven't picked it up since I got my Series l. I'm thinking of selling it along with my fretless 5 string Epic and putting the funds towards a second Series bass.

I also need to get my rack gear together which is why I posted the question about the F-1X vs. F-2b. Plus I need to get a good amp/speaker set up. I can see my credit cards melting :-)

The reason I am gear deficient is I had to quit playing about 15 years ago due to severe Carpel Tunnel syndrome. I had 4 hand surgeries, my coordination, dexterity, and flexibility were gone. I thought I'd never be able to play again so I sold all of my gear. It totally broke my heart. I'd been playing bass all my life, it was my entire life. The playing bug never went away no matter how much I tried to suppress it. About a year ago I purchased a $150.00 Jazz bass copy just to see if I could play again. I was amazed and thrilled that I could play with no pain. I was surprised that most of my chops came back to me after such a long time away from it. Granted my dexterity, endurance, flexibility and speed needed a lot of work. Since then I have been wood shedding and slowly building up my gear. I feel I need about a year of wood shedding before I'm ready to start giging again so there is no rush on the amp/speaker set up.

I'm glad I found this club, where else in the world can you get great advice and opinions from so many different bass players!!
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 445
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 1:11 pm:   Edit Post

" get great advice and opinions from so many different bass players!!"

Don't forget the guitar players. All are welcome here. :-)

Your welcome Bill. LMAO.

Senior Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 651
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 7:13 pm:   Edit Post

Great to hear about your recovery, Brian (I think about my hands quite a bit...). Welcome back.

Though I'm a huge fan of the SF-2, I think you could safely (perhaps wisely) start with just one. At least with your Series I, you've already got a reasonably flexible low pass filter per pickup, and I suspect you'll find it fairly rare that you really need - or can even figure out how to use - three filters per pickup. As long as you can split the pickups and run one through each filter channel, you would quite likely be satisfied.

Also, don't just think of associating an SF-2 channel with a pickup. Another interesting approach is to feed a single signal into an SF-2, and then run the output of the two channels to different amps/cabinets.
Username: brianm

Post Number: 23
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 28, 2006 - 11:51 am:   Edit Post

Sorry Keith, I didn't mean to exclude anyone. Guitar players views and opinions are always welcome. Now if you guys would only share some of the babes you guys always get with us bass players *grin

Bob, thank you. I can't tell you how great it is to be able to play again after believing that I'd never be able to play again. It's a good thing that your concerned about your hands.

The main thing I learned (the hard way) is to keep your wrists straight (as much as possible) and NEVER EVER let your hands tense up no matter how difficult the part(s) your playing. I'm constantly checking my self out when I'm playing to make sure my hands and wrists are relaxed. I see so many bass players using there bass as an arm rest and bending their wrist at a 45 degree angle to pluck the strings. This will definitely cause damage over the long run.

I've learned to listen to my body, if there is pain it's time to stop. Never try to tough it out and play through the pain. I did that and four hand surgeries later............ Playing shouldn't hurt! I find that several short breaks in my practicing routine helps, I come back stronger and faster. I also do individual finger stretches to loosen my hands up, I learned to do that in occupational therapy after the surgeries. After all athletes do stretches before they compete. When playing a musicians hands are worked as hard or harder than an athlete works their body, so the muscles and tendons should be treated the same way an athlete would treat their instrument.

I hope this helps at least one person avoid loosing their gift, and circumvent going through what went through.

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration