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Guitar preamp to pair with tube power amp
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Guitar preamp to pair with tube power amp
BailyDread
Hi all,

I know this subforum doesn't get a whole lot of activity, but for those of us who both patch and play guitar I have a bit of an obscure query:

Does anyone have any suggestions for a guitar preamp to use in conjunction with a Marshall 9005 power amp? I just scored one of these on Reverb for $350, which I'm thrilled about, as it's built in the UK in the late 80's out of the exact same stock of components that was used on the late 70's leads and super basses (Drake transformers!). It's essentially a power section from a JCM 800, doubled for stereo operation, and put into a rack case. I am building this rig so that I can have two separate 1x12" cabs and a separate rack containing the preamp and power amp; this would allow me to be mobile with a 100 watt rig using my little sedan! I like to play really, really loud with delicious tubey tone razz

So my question is, what preamp would you suggest? I've looked into the following:

Rocktron Valvesonic: I actually ordered this from a seller on Reverb but he's dragging his feet for a full week on shipping; still somewhat interested
Intersound IVP: I know Steve A. from Big Black etc uses one of these, and I've always thought his tone was very unique and interesting. I'm not sure if they're one-trick-ponies though
Hilbish Design Beta: Buzz O from The Melvins uses one of these and his tone is cool, but I think I'm looking for something less "sludgy" and more flexible
Marshall 9001: This was the preamp that was originally supposed to be paired with this power amp. Looks completely uninspiring so pretty much looking elsewhere.
Mesa pres: I've heard they're based on Blackface circuits, which is certainly appealing, but I've heard Mesas are prone to have bad service records due to the way they're made

I'm not a high-gain, nu-metal guy in the sense that I generally don't like straightforward distortion tones much beyond Marshall JCM 800... no scooped mids BS. I like the feeling of playing saggy, tube-rectified amps best, but they're just not loud enough unless you haul around a bassman or something. Looking for something with a "spongey" feel. Distortion isn't the most important tone; if it has a great clean tone I'm still very interested. NOT looking for bells and whistles whatsoever. 1 channel with no EQ would be fine, even. Just looking for a great preamp gain stage.

Thanks nanners It's peanut butter jelly time!
sduck
If I were you I'd search high and low until I found a Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp -



They're basically the same circuits that are in the Mark IIc+, which is considered the holy grail of mesa amps. As far as reliability they're about the same as other amps - it really depends on how it's been treated. Live at home Mesa's like mine (a Mark IV) never have problems - but if you gig with them a lot of course there may be issues. The good news is that you can still get them serviced at the original factory, most likely by the people that designed them in the first place, and that service department has a reputation that's second to none.
Kent
Go with matching gold: JMP-1. This used to be my favorite pre-amp. It is now exclusively on synth duties.

No. 1: Fractal Audio Axe-FX.





Technologear?
I'm saving up for the Hilbish Design pre.
I love that sound, I can pick it in heaps of the recordings of heavy bands I follow.
Not sure it's "spongey" but not mid scooped.
Importantly for me, it has 1 into 2 seperate parallel channels (not just switchable channels). For many pres '2 channel' means 'switchable but not stereo'. Plus it's got send return on each channel. I don't know any other pre that gets it this right.

Alternatively, you could use an ABY pedal (like a radial) and run two seperate parallel pedal chains, then finish those chains through a stereo JDI into your power amp. That particular DI just got noted in the Bass DI topic. If considering pedals, check out the Hudson Broadcast, inspired by console preamps. That's on my savings list too.

Good luck
Revok
BailyDread wrote:
Marshall 9005 power amp? I just scored one of these on Reverb for $350


Nice score! Those amps are really underrated. I generally hate working with Mesa amps but I gotta agree with sduck's suggestion here. The stand alone preamps are really nice and pair really well with the stereo Marshall power amp.

Edit: Also worth noting that these are not as crammed as Mesa combo amps are are actually a breeze to work on.
hex
ada mp-1
BailyDread
Technologear? wrote:
I'm saving up for the Hilbish Design pre.
I love that sound, I can pick it in heaps of the recordings of heavy bands I follow.
Not sure it's "spongey" but not mid scooped.
Importantly for me, it has 1 into 2 seperate parallel channels (not just switchable channels). For many pres '2 channel' means 'switchable but not stereo'. Plus it's got send return on each channel. I don't know any other pre that gets it this right.

Alternatively, you could use an ABY pedal (like a radial) and run two seperate parallel pedal chains, then finish those chains through a stereo JDI into your power amp. That particular DI just got noted in the Bass DI topic. If considering pedals, check out the Hudson Broadcast, inspired by console preamps. That's on my savings list too.

Good luck


I ended up getting a refund from the seller who was dragging his feed and pulled the trigger on the Hilbish design pre! Totally agree regarding the parallel channels, each with FX loop(!). I've built up plans for using two of those waza chorus/vibrato pedals (CE-2W) set to different rates within each FX loop... UNISON GUITAR!!!!

The signal flow will be in CE-2W :vibrato" mode, using the wet output into the signal return. This will hopefully give a different effect than dry + vibrato creating the chorus... it will be vibrato + vibrato in parallel, with no dry. I have other plans for the dry outputs thumbs up
Technologear?
BailyDread wrote:
Technologear? wrote:
I'm saving up for the Hilbish Design pre.
I love that sound, I can pick it in heaps of the recordings of heavy bands I follow.
Not sure it's "spongey" but not mid scooped.
Importantly for me, it has 1 into 2 seperate parallel channels (not just switchable channels). For many pres '2 channel' means 'switchable but not stereo'. Plus it's got send return on each channel. I don't know any other pre that gets it this right.

Alternatively, you could use an ABY pedal (like a radial) and run two seperate parallel pedal chains, then finish those chains through a stereo JDI into your power amp. That particular DI just got noted in the Bass DI topic. If considering pedals, check out the Hudson Broadcast, inspired by console preamps. That's on my savings list too.

Good luck


I ended up getting a refund from the seller who was dragging his feed and pulled the trigger on the Hilbish design pre! Totally agree regarding the parallel channels, each with FX loop(!). I've built up plans for using two of those waza chorus/vibrato pedals (CE-2W) set to different rates within each FX loop... UNISON GUITAR!!!!

The signal flow will be in CE-2W :vibrato" mode, using the wet output into the signal return. This will hopefully give a different effect than dry + vibrato creating the chorus... it will be vibrato + vibrato in parallel, with no dry. I have other plans for the dry outputs thumbs up


That will be a totally unreal setup!

Post an update once you've settled in to it. I'm particularly interested in your feedback on the hilbish fx sends and it's non-overdriven tones
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