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jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2175
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 6:07 am:   Edit Post

Just wondering if anyone here was using or had used Fender's TBP-1 pre-amp and had any words of wisdom about it. looking at the specs, it seems to have every feature I'm looking for in a pre-amp without all the unused bells and whistles my navigator has. (i'd have loved an ampeg svp-pro but since they've stopped making them they're as rare as hens teeth and I'm not sure I want to buy second hand).
If anyone cares to come up wityh alternatives, I'm open to suggestion. However, it must have...
. Tuner out.
. Mute - footswitch controlled
. Effects Loop
. 'simple' EQ section
. Tube 'drive'

graeme
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2165
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 6:37 am:   Edit Post

Try typing this in Google:

Fender TBP 1 site:alembic.com

Couple of hits:

Favorite rack mount preamp
(http://www.alembic.com/club/messages/449/59058.html?1229781588)

Bag End vs. Eden
(http://www.alembic.com/club/messages/393/45154.html?1194021627)

What Amps Do You Use?
(http://www.alembic.com/club/messages/393/32867.html?1159026045)

SF-2 Superfilter, any alternative?
(http://alembic.com/club/messages/393/30542.html?1156332266)
2400wattman
Senior Member
Username: 2400wattman

Post Number: 696
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 6:55 am:   Edit Post

Graeme, I'd stay away from the "F" brand stuff. I would think that it's just SWR guts inside a different box(Fender bought SWR some time ago). It probably sounds pretty good(I've never heard one) but I have found once I moved away from mass marketed equipment I've had less problems.

Same goes for the SVP-PRO, this is one I still own but don't use. It has nice features but an unusable D.I. Soundmen evrywhere hate those things and ended up handing me a d.i. box to use. It's too bad because it is a really great sounding pre amp.
Check out the Demeter preamps www.demeteramps.com as they have two great pre's with the features you're looking for except for a foot controlled mute switch. I got to check out the VTB-201S when I was shopping for a new pre amp (purchased Aguilar DB680) and it's got a great sound-almost SVT like but more refined. I chose the Aguilar over the Demeter since it had two bands of fully parametric e.q.. Demeter also has a model -HBP-1H that has two bands of semi-parametric e.q. which is defeatable. Oh and they both have an efx loop with controls on the front to blend the wet and dry signals! All this in a one space unit, Get Down!! Adam
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2176
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 8:14 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the replies guys. From adriaan's links It looks like Bob is the only one on here that uses the thing so it'll be interesting to see if he chips in.
Adam, the Demeter amps look great but I really do like the functionality that a footswitch adds, especially being able to switch in or out the eq sections mid song. The Aguilar looks excellent but it also looks way to pricey for me. In addition, it has a similar level of complexity to the Eden and that's what I'm trying to move away from. If only Ron had made the F1-X more 'stage-friendly' ;-(

Graeme
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2166
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 8:53 am:   Edit Post

Graeme - ever considered the F2-B?
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3702
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 9:29 am:   Edit Post

Graeme:

Here's a consumer review from harmony-central.com.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2281
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 9:58 am:   Edit Post

I don't believe the TBP-1 is in any way SWR product. It is nothing like the typical SWR preamp nor does it have a similar tone. In terms of features, the TBP-1 is an almost-F-1X combined with half of an almost-SF-2 and a couple foot switchable features. If this thing were built by Alembic, it would be the perfect preamp, and I have asked Mica to consider an upgrade to the F-1X to modernize it with some of these useful features. I don't believe Alembic has any plans to do so, though.

I believe your search turned up my previous comments. In short, the TBP-1 is a useful preamp for live work with more convenience at a lower price than any of the premium boutique preamps. I can get it to sound like a flat F-1X by boosting the treble just a bit, and that's good enough for my gigging.

There are a handful of preamps that get great reviews, but some have different colors (colours for you, Graeme) that have people swapping between them as they search for tonal Nirvana. The important things are how you plan to use it and what tone you are looking for. In tone, the F-1X is pure. There are a handful of other boutique models that are reported to be about equal to it. There are other boutique models that inject tube warmth if that's more to your liking. The TBP-1 aspires to be like the F-1X, but sounds just a bit muted on the top end without really sounding "warm".

The tube drive is the weakness as far as I can tell. Maybe someone with more tube savvy could figure out what to put in there, or what settings to make, to get a tone I would find more useful out of it, but I haven't been able to. If anyone has success, let me know how you did it! I haven't been able to get a buttery tube tone out of it, it just breaks up harshly. I admit not putting in too much serious time in trying to figure this out, though. It may be the hot output of the bass is just coming through too strong right from the start.

If you're really looking at mid-song tone changes for live use, I will stand by the Line 6 products. With a little bit of setup work, you can find a handful of of useful base tones. Set these to be the "A" channels of individual banks and then modify the settings for EQ or effects and save these in the "B", "C" and "D" positions. Can't get any quicker and more repeatable tone changes than that. It has a built-in tuner and mute, though you can't check your tuning without muting. The XT model lets you send a separate clean signal out as well as the modeled/effected signal and can be had for a song on the used market. The newer X3 model will let you put out two separate modeled/effected tones at the same time if you want to send that drive tone to a guitar amp separately from your core bass signal.

-bob
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2282
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 10:26 am:   Edit Post

Bill, that seems a fair review from my experience. I would take a point or two off for the drive circuit not doing what I want it to, but, again, that could be my inability to dial it in well.

I also wouldn't question the reliability of a Fender product based on the low price. I have no reason to question the reliability and mine has traveled to several dozen gig, including very hot and very cold outdoor jobs, without issue.
robinc
Intermediate Member
Username: robinc

Post Number: 141
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post

hah, by the title of this thread I thought you were going to post this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCcCzj_yRtk

*warning* explicit language ;)
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2181
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 5:08 am:   Edit Post

Thanks again guys. Looks like I need to have a listening session. The only problem appears to be getting a retailer to stock the thing in the UK.

Graeme
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2182
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 8:27 am:   Edit Post

another fairly positive review here. From the sounds of things, the tube overdrive is 'mild' but I don't find the tube on the navigator that aggressive either.

graeme
lmiwa
Intermediate Member
Username: lmiwa

Post Number: 167
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Friday, April 17, 2009 - 9:34 am:   Edit Post

Fender TBP-1 available on eBay right now - closing 4/21 8:30pm

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320360877043
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2188
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, April 17, 2009 - 12:22 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks fro the heads up Loch. Unfortunately I'm in the Uk and he doesn't appear to ship over here, plus it'll be 120 volts.

I've been talking to Fender UK and they're going to ship the only one in the country up to my local retailer for me to try out at my leisure. Even if it turns out to be rubbish (which I seriously doiubt) I'm impressed by the quality of the customer service. Perhaps they've been reading about Alembic ;-)

Graeme

P.S. I love the Wenge rogue in your profile.
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2200
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 4:48 am:   Edit Post

With apologies to Adam, I tried out the preamp yesterday afternoon and loved it. Straightaway I was able to get a nice fat, buttery tone, something that I've struggled to find with the eden. The overdrive is just enough for me (if not more than I need) and the Q section helps provide a nice kick at whatever frequency I want - most likely in the upper registers, this amp certainly isn't lacking in bottom. What I liked most was the simplicity of the controls - it's really easy to tweak a nob to get whatever tone I need. Anyway, I liked it so much I bought it on the spot and ended up using it at rehearsal last night where, if anything, it just got better, especially at volumes that would send the eden into clanking mode. I've often commented on the thump that can be found in Eden's D210XST cabinets based on my experiences of using Mike Pisanek's F1x based rig. I can now state that the Fender preamp was giving me that thump through the EBS cabinets with the bonus of handling the top end really well too. All in all, 500 well spent IMO. All I need to do now is spend some time tweaking my effects to get them sounding right - not a hardship ;-)

graeme
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2308
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 6:05 am:   Edit Post

Graeme, great that it works for you! I'm jealous that you can get a usable overdrive tone from it. Can you post back what your various dial positions were? I just go from clean to completely broken up when I bring the overdrive section in.

-bob
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2202
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 6:09 am:   Edit Post

I'll get back to you tomorrow Bob. I can't remember what I had it set to but it shouldn't have moved since we finished last night. IIRC i had the volume and Blend at around 2pm but I need to make sure. As I said, it wasn't overly overdriven but it was enough for me.

Graeme
2400wattman
Senior Member
Username: 2400wattman

Post Number: 704
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 6:37 am:   Edit Post

Graeme, No apologies necessary friend. My experience with most mass marketed equipment has'nt been the greatest. So, I just steer away from it and.......oh...spend more money. I'm sure the pre sounds very good especially with your rig. Best of luck with it and Cheers!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2205
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 5:04 am:   Edit Post

Bob.
I have the main tone controls set as follows..

Bass at 11 O'clock
Mid at 2 O'clock
Treble at 12 O'clock

This is giving me a really nice round tone across the whole fingerboard.

I have the Overdrive set as follows..

Gain at 2 O'Clock
Volume at 12 O'clock
Blend at 3 O'clock

This gives me just enough boost for solos / emphasis and gives me just the right amount of tube bite for my needs.

I have an EBS multidrive and a bass Muff Pi for when I want to get dirty. I spent a couple of hours last night faffing with my pedals to get some pretty good sounds. I'm also running the pre full range into the QSC which I have set to parallel mode to run full range into both cabs. I tried playing with the Bi-amp settings but just seemed to lose volume (I had the same issue using the eden).

Now that I've replaced the 2 unit eden with the 1 unit fender, I have a spare rack position. Might look into the Sf2 ;-)

Graeme

(Message edited by jacko on April 24, 2009)
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2309
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 7:11 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Graeme. That would be running slightly scooped mids and I prefer the tone controls at more like bass @ 9 O'Clock, mids pegged, and treble @ 11 O'Clock or so, which should be close to flat with just a little treble boost. I wonder if my signal is too hot entering the drive section and just explodes into crap with the least bit of extra gain. I'll play with it again and see what I get.

As far as the extra space goes, maybe it would be better to use a rack tuner or leave it open for air flow. A little extra cooling could prolong the life of our mass-market gear. :-)

-bob
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2209
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 7:15 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the advice Bob. However, I already have a rack tuner (korg DTR2000) and have always left a single space between the power and preamps. I'm now thinking of looking into rack mount compressors although I guess it wouldn't hurt to leave another space above the fender instead. (my wallet wouldn't complain either).

Graeme
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2311
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 7:29 am:   Edit Post

I have thought about adding the relatively inexpensive BBE dual compressor to my setup, but never got around to it. I guess you use a rack with more spaces than I do, though I've considered putting my power amp alone in a two and then using the four space for preamp and tuner. I could then add wireless and compressor there without either box getting particularly heavy.

The good news, Graeme, is that just about anything you buy to try out can be sold again. If you buy used, you can usually just about break even if it doesn't work for you. Either way, none of the things we're discussing are likely to do irreparable harm to our wallets.

If you're thinking about it and have an opportunity to try it, do it. It will resolve the issue one way or the other and leave you free to ponder other things. Better a little regret now for wasting a few dollars on a failure than a lot of regret ten years down the road when you finally try the SF-2 and find it does wonders for your tone and you could have been using it all along.

-bob
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2243
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 4:41 am:   Edit Post

Well, I've had the amp for a month now and I have to say it just sems to be getting better and better as I find my way round the controls. It's very easy to dial in a rich, warm bottom end and still keep the top end sounding bright. With the eden it was one or the other but rarely both. The Vari-Q feature is excellent when I want to boost the upper register slightly if I'm playing up there and the overdrive circuit works just the way I want it to, i.e. a bit of volume boost with not too much added distortion. The only thing I can't get to work nicely is the Big Muff I have in the effects loop. No matter what I try it always seems to be muddy. I'm going to try out a couple of the guitarists' distortion pedals to see if it's just the pedal or something intrinsic in the way the amp works.
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2244
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 4:42 am:   Edit Post

oops - forgot to post a picture...

new amp.jpg

Graeme
georgie_boy
Senior Member
Username: georgie_boy

Post Number: 766
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 5:06 am:   Edit Post

Where's the EDEN..???
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2245
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 8:08 am:   Edit Post

Sold it on George. Next gathering you can have a tweak of the fender ;-)

Graeme
georgie_boy
Senior Member
Username: georgie_boy

Post Number: 771
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 4:17 am:   Edit Post

Look forward to that Graeme!
If it's better than the Eden, then it must be some box of tricks.
I'll just stick with my Navigator at the moment..it seems to do everything I want...at the moment.

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