Tubes

We’re talking about tube preamps, other pedals, and tubes in general in like three topics now. So I made a new one.

Latest round, we’re discussing things like the Eden Glowplug:

a cute little simple inline tube preamp to add tube color to a pedalboard.

This started from looking at tube preamp pedals, like the Le Bass:

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Here’s a list with several tube preamp demos:

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Another contender, the EBS Valve Drive:

https://ebssweden.com/content2/effects/ebs-valvedrive-di/

Simple, sounds great.

Sounds like it is using the same kind of EQ circuit @DaveT found on a different one, apparently commonly just called the Fender tonestack. Huge scoop with everything set at noon.

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Another big question about each of these is how much character the tube actually adds.

For the Le Bass, for example, I think the tube presence on the clean channel seems very low. I kind of just don’t hear it. It’s there, warm and subtle, but doesn’t seem to have the presence and harmonics I was expecting. The dirty channel seems to have a lot more presence to me. It’s possible this is also a youtube vs. reality thing and it would be different on the board.

The Glowplug is all about presence and seems a neat little device, but it’s certainly not a full preamp with EQ, etc. In some ways that’s a good thing. The question with it is if it adds the tone you want.

The EBS has a ton of presence but when looking at it you need to separate how much the tube is adding, versus the colossal mid scoop just sounding super scooped. It still sounds very tubey to me.

And so on.

Also, in the end you need to weigh these against the solid state options that add a lot of tonal character and there are many amazing choices. For this kind of sound there’s probably hundreds of pedals and preamps. Lots of excellent tube-like tonal qualities to things like the Darkglass VMT/VMT Ultra, SansAmp VT Bass DI, EBS Microbass, etc.

It’s most likely I will stick with solid state but the tube thing fascinates me.

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@terb I think you mentioned a couple friends that love the Le Bass? I would love to hear their take on it :slight_smile:

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Was trying to remember what these little tube boxes made for your stereo were called, tube buffers. And it appears they make them for guitar.

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Is the FMC retrobass unobtanium by now? I couldn’t find it on the FMC website or for sale.

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Here’s one that’s supposed to be B15 like …

I posted this in one of the other threads, but it belongs here so I’ll say again.

This supposedly bass modified Blue Tube cuts the low end. It would be necessary to run clean tone or low passed tone around it in parallel for it to be useful for my taste.

The Blackbird is from the same company as the Glass-A above, Effectrode. I really like the sound of it, but notice the funny EQ knob settings to get a flat EQ section. When set to noon, the tone stack behaves like a Fender Blackface guitar amp and has a big dip at 700 Hz. So kinda goofy that way for bass. I’d much rather have a crossover control to set the threshold of what gets sent to the overdrive channel and a mix control for use with bass. Otherwise I really like the options for the variety of odd and even harmonics on the settings and think the tone is terrific.

I have high hopes that the Eden Glowplug is going to be the silver bullet here for me. I have a solid state power amp with tone control and DI that I like, so just the tube overdrive is all I’m looking for here.

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Same, think it’s gone and probably very expensive used.

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Ok. I just found very good used prices on an EBS Valve Drive and a Tech21 VT Bass DI.

So I snagged them both and plan to see whether a real tube or solid state gives a more satisfying effect for me here.

This wasn’t a random choice - I went for two really highly regarded ones, after going deep researching them. The VT Bass DI in particular compares really well to a Darkglass VMT Ultra, except for the distortion, which isn’t what I am looking for here.

It won’t be exactly a fair comparison (the VT Bass DI is way, way more versatile) but should be fun.

Should be here later this week if I am lucky. I got them at prices I am comfortable reselling, will probably turn a profit actually. I anticipate I’ll keep one.

I totally didn’t need another preamp but it is going to be fun to explore this tone.

Both sound excellent to me in reviews :slight_smile:

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Depending on what you are looking for out of a pre-amp, Used to use an Art Mic Pre-amp just to add a bit of roundness to a modeling amp I was using in church. Given the venue I’m confident that no one but me noticed any difference at all but if you’re happy with your tone but wish it had just a touch of warmth that tubes add back then they were 30-40 dollars but just did a check at sweetwater and they come in at $75. Makes a nice DI box as well…I’m gonna try using this weekend if I get a chance to record a little.

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here is a translation of the answer I got from my friend Mathieu about the “Le Bass” preamp :

I use it all the time, as soon as I play with my amp the preamp is always ON. I love the clean tone I got with it, the tone of the bass is really gorgeous ! I have no opinion about the overdrive or the fusion mode, because I don’t use them, as this does not matches the tone I’m searching for, but I did some tests and those modes are very good too.

(my friend plays mostly jazz and a bit of fusion, with a high end modern bass with two soapbars, I never remember the brand)

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Thank you very much for asking! I really appreciate it.

Looks like a very nice preamp. I am thinking a lot the character in its clean channel may not translate well to youtube.

I could see myself getting one of these if a decent used one turns up. it looks like a fantastically versatile preamp to put at the end of my chain and use as kind of a physical tube amp model for studio stuff, which is what I am after.

Only problem is it’s too expensive for me to just buy and experiment with. It’s a high end preamp and one I would want to be sure I wanted even used. Though they do seem to resell fast.

We’ll see how things go with the EBS vs Tech21 comparison to see how I feel about how much an actual tube adds in person. I also really have a strong affinity for G-K strong, attackey kind of sounds as well so a versatile solid state preamp might serve me better anyway. Or maybe make that schalltechnik basic kit for when I want that because that sounds super fun anyway :slight_smile:

(That’s actually probably the best option for me because I love the gluggy, round ampeg-like sound and the aggressive G-K-like sound more or less equally for different things.)

I think the EBS might arrive today.

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my friend who uses the Le Bass is not at all a tone or a gear nerd, so I think at some point that his vocabulary is limited. what I understand (knowing him) is that he has a good but neutral bass, with kinda impersonnal soapbars, and he is searching for a clear open clean tone but not necessarily something warm. I think he likes the dynamics and scooped tone of a Alembic-like preamp but, in my opinion, it has little to do with the tube.

if I were searching for this kind of “expanded” clear tone, I would probably give a chance to the current Eden preamps (WTDI and Module Terra Nova , both quite cheap) but none of them has a tube.

I’ll let you know about the schalltechnik GK. mine is the Deluxe, with the switchable loop and boost. again, no tube here, obviously.

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Sweet. Looking forward to it, sounds great on Youtube.

No tube is fine, of course. I’ll most likely end up all solid state in the end regardless :slight_smile:

I’m kind of liking the idea of a separate preamp for both the types of sound I like, to be honest.

I’ll be selling the Battalion I think. I love a lot about the pedal, especially its various EQ modes. And for a neutral preamp it’s fantastic. But over time I have come to realize I don’t really want a neutral, transparent preamp; I want some color there.

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yeah I’m with the same thoughts. for now I don’t imagine myself playing with another preamp than my primitive low-fi Line 6 modeling thing, which doesn’t sound neutral at all. (I can see myself playing with a more modern IR cab sim but it’s really a detail)

I agree with you that a tube preamp would work well in this role. tube preamp + Mooer Radar (IR cab sim in a hardware format) + pedalboard for all the effects. hum.

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The Radar is a super cute little pedal. It’s very tempting. The only thing that stops me is I have an IR loader I like in my DAW and can’t justify the $100 there.

The Darkglass Element is even more tempting - DI out plus a better headphone amp than I have now. But it’s very expensive and would fit in weird in my setup because I kind of need the headphone out to be coming off my DAI.

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yeah. same, I can’t justify the $100 considering that I already have a cab sim that works well. I still have to experiment with IR. anyway in the case of an analog tube preamp, and a full hardware setup, it seems interesting.

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Yeah. Another thing I was thinking is that with a G-K style preamp, with lots of high end attackey harmonics, I would actually probably want a light cab sim on more or less all the time.

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EBS arrived. It’s a super solid, heavy, huge pedal. Sounds good so far. It’s going to take a lot of fiddling to find the exact tone I want but it’s definitely there with a lot of tubeyness.

Clean bass:

EQ flat (mids maxed, bass/treble min):

EQ noon (huge mid scoop):

Gain was noon for those. here’s a little more gain and in vintage mode:

Really saturated and starting to overdrive in that last one. Lots of tube compression too.

Will take some playing around to find settings I like but in general they all sounded reasonable.

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