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Midi Tube Preamps - Recommendations?


erikbojerik
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OK, I am seriously considering upgrading to a new-generation rackmount tube preamp & effects unit. I'm not really looking for a specific kind of tone, but rather a very flexible and versatile unit that provides a wide range of tones, has all the tweeks, and will allow me to save a boatload of my own presets. For live gigging and studio work, with every kind of guitar imaginable driving it. I will send it out through my Yamaha 100W-210 jazz amp (miked), which I use basically as just a nice clean power amp driving the twin 10s which I am quite happy with.

I'm looking for good or bad reviews from people who've actually tried one out for a period of time.....save the word of mouth "I heard this one's good...", I've already spent about a day on Harmony Central.

Must-have requirements:

Good cleans

Good vintage & modern distortions

Good EQ tweeks

programmable delay timing

the usual chorus/flange, tremolo and reverb

floor foot unit that works well in live situation

Price is no object. :D

Edited by erikbojerik
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I'd get a separate preamp and effects unit. Gives you more choice.

Mesa Boogie Triaxis is very good and veeery programmable to the point where it can be a pain. Marshall's JMP-1 is also pretty good if you like marshalls and may be more up your street if you want 'vintage' sounds.

Any unit by TC electronic is good for the effects part. The G-Major is probably the best value for money.

If you want an all in one, look at line 6, Rocktron etc.

Other makes to look at are things like Engl (hard to get hold of)& ADA (only 2nd hand though now - The MP-1 is the choice).

Hope that's of help

S

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Yeah, I liked the range of distortions available in the Triaxis but I also find myself in live situations where I need to change multi-effect patches pretty seriously between songs, or sometimes even within a song.

I think if I had to navigate two programmable floor units separately on the fly and play at the same time, I'd blow a head gasket.

I don't really feel like I need amp modelling, although I know most units will come with it.

Edited by erikbojerik
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Yeah, I liked the range of distortions available in the Triaxis but I also find myself in live situations where I need to change multi-effect patches pretty seriously between songs, or sometimes even within a song.

I think if I had to navigate two programmable floor units separately on the fly and play at the same time, I'd blow a head gasket.

I don't really feel like I need amp modelling, although I know most units will come with it.

surely if they're both running midi control though you'll be able to use one foot controller for both units?

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Must-have requirements:

Good cleans

Good vintage & modern distortions

Good EQ tweeks

programmable delay timing

the usual chorus/flange, tremolo and reverb

floor foot unit that works well in live situation

Price is no object. :D

Price is no object?

Preamps: the previously mentioned Mesa Triaxis

Pros: Wide range of MESA tones, infinite tweakability, and full MIDI controllability.

Cons: infinite tweakability. High cost, even on the secondary market.

Rocktron Voodoo Valve

Pros: 12ax7 tube for real tube sounds. Rock solid build quality. Lots of different tones. Full MIDI support. Half the cost of the Triaxis.

Cons: Can be difficult to configure without spending some time (like all preamps, really). Lots of effort to change out the tube;

Rocktron Piranha

Pros: Made in the USA with old school Rocktron build quality. Controls are laid out like an amp control panel with knobs, switches, and buttons. Three tone categories: Clean, Crunch, and Modern Gain. All sound good. Relatively inexpensive for a good preamp. Pairs well with MESA power amps (I ran mine through a Mesa 2:50).

Cons: Harder to find (one in the For Sale forum here right now), end of lifed by manufacturer. Lots of effort to change out the 12ax7.

I've tried a handful of preamps and I sold them all because my POD XT Pro is so versatile and sounds perfect to me (and I've spent a lot of time on my own patches).

For effects, I'd go with the TC Electronics G-Force ($1499) before looking at anything else. They also have a floor unit/MIDI controller called the G-System ($1499), which Steve Vai is curently using.

If you don't go with the G-System and need a MIDI controller, then I suggest the Behringer FCB 1010 (~$130)

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Must-have requirements:

Good cleans

Good vintage & modern distortions

Good EQ tweeks

programmable delay timing

the usual chorus/flange, tremolo and reverb

floor foot unit that works well in live situation

Price is no object. :D

If you get separate effects, then the Rocktron Piranha is what you want, too the T. see below.

Rocktron Piranha

Pros: Made in the USA with old school Rocktron build quality. Controls are laid out like an amp control panel with knobs, switches, and buttons. Three tone categories: Clean, Crunch, and Modern Gain. All sound good. Relatively inexpensive for a good preamp. Pairs well with MESA power amps (I ran mine through a Mesa 2:50).

Cons: Harder to find (one in the For Sale forum here right now), end of lifed by manufacturer. Lots of effort to change out the 12ax7.

Great preamp. Single space with 2 12AX7's. 70 DBL of gain and cleans to match any fender. I am acctually selling one because I am doing away with my rack. (in case you are wondering I have a bad back and I couldn't carry it any more) $450 with Rockton Midi Xchange footswitch style midi controller. And that price is shipped with the power cord and a 20 ft midi cable.

Hell at that price you can go find a good rack effects unit.

(I have other rack stuff in any one is interested)

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Hmmm....

So...MIDI footswitch controllers. Are y'all saying I could conceivably control two units (like a Triaxis and a G-major) with one MIDI foot switch array by ganging them together? Makes sense...

I had a look at a Rocktron Prophesy II which appears very nice....but it is all the eggs in one basket, so to speak.

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Its quite simple, you just have the controller set up so it sends the right commands to change presets on all your gear. The amount you can control if pretty much infinate if you know what you're doing with it.

As far as controllers go, they tend to be quite expensive. The only cheap one with a decent feature set is the behringer FCB1010. Otherwise the price kind of jumps quite quickly. Rocktron stuff, as always is very good. They have a nice little up/down controller for about $80 if that floats your boat, otherwise their all access controller is well used by the pros. Also check out axess electronics and skrydstrup (i think i spelt that right). Although i'd only bother with these two if you are seriously minted :D

Or if you're a DIY'er check out www.midibox.org

S

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  • 3 months later...

I was going to start a new topic for my question but looks like it fits in here... You guys have talked about some nice pre-amp units in here so please don't laugh at what i'm using but I have this Digitech Valve FX that I do really like and have set just so, but I also picked up this Digitech 2112 from a friend and like the end result of my programing efforts on it but I can't seem to get the control 1 to work worth a crap on the 2112 and the book has been no help at all. Am I loosing it or just missing something really simple here? I've never learned how to use MIDI worth a crap and have not seen any information that explains how it works. You guys know of any information that may get me out of the dark ages here?

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Hmmm....

So...MIDI footswitch controllers. Are y'all saying I could conceivably control two units (like a Triaxis and a G-major) with one MIDI foot switch array by ganging them together? Makes sense...

I had a look at a Rocktron Prophesy II which appears very nice....but it is all the eggs in one basket, so to speak.

you can control 10 midi devices with one foot controller, if you wanated to and could figure out how to program it all.

i own the Rocktron Prophesy II, it is very nice. i personally liked it more than the Mesa Triaxis and VHT Valvulator that i compared it to. im running it through a VHT 2:90: power amp (KT88 tubes) and it sounds really good and versitle. its also easy to program, but, as far as the midi goes i have no idea as i have not received the all access foot controler yet.

the big thing is that most pre's and effects are stereo and it your power amp isnt stereo your effects wont be as full. also you cant get ping pong delays.

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Thanks Rob! I was hoping to find someone who had owned or tried out the Prophesy.

So 2 questions:

(1) Does it have a programmable tremolo?

(2) Have you checked out this "pluck detection" dynamics thing, how's it sound? I could imagine working a wah with it..

(1A) yes it has programmable tremolo. it has a depth, rate, shape, and then a setting to put it before or after the reverb.

(2A) when you say "pluck detection" im assuming you want to know about the ADSR. the wha is pretty good and you can also add it to any other effect. for example since you like tremolo, you can set up the ADSR with tremolo so as the note decays the rate, depth, and shape will decrease (if that makes any sense) or it will slow down. if your really dying to know i could record you some sound samples. also the ducker delay is so cool. when your playing theres no dealy, but the second you stop theres dealy. cool.

if you have any other quest id be happy to answer.

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