Looking to go rack. Tube preamp recommendations?

doralin

Member
Messages
572
Hello everyone,

I'm tired of lugging multiple heads to gigs..

So now, the rack quest begins.

Am looking for tube preamp options and so far, the only ones I've found out about through a day of Google searching which are still in production are:

Mesa Triaxis
Voodoo Lab Preamp
Randall RM4
Egnater M4
Rocktron Voodu Valve
Engl Tube Preamp
CAE 3 Channel Preamp

Are there anymore out there?

The main reason I'm hunting for current production ones is because I'm located in Australia, where the world of 110v second hand goodness doesn't really fit in unless I lug a heavy step down transformer to gigs.

Could I have some recommendations?

Thanks guys!
 

blastastick

Senior Member
Messages
394
Bogner Fish

Soldano X-99

CAE 3 channel preamp

Engl is great, but I always have them modded to smooth out the high end, and get rid of some of the fizziness.
 

blastastick

Senior Member
Messages
394
Demeter are great too, but not as much for more modern tones. Great Marshall, and bassman tones though. The Power amp can make a huge difference as well. How many watts, and how loud are you going for?
 

doralin

Member
Messages
572
Demeter are great too, but not as much for more modern tones. Great Marshall, and bassman tones though. The Power amp can make a huge difference as well. How many watts, and how loud are you going for?
For the power amp section I am planning to use a VHT 2/50/2.

Really not sure how rack preamps work however.

Are there "signature tones" to be found in rack preamps?
 

rockon1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,643
Peavey, Rockmaster,

Mesa Boogie, studio.

Steve.
My Rockmaster recently won an A/B shootout with my JMP-1. unfortunately they are way out of production. I always loved the tone of my friends Mesa Triaxis though.Bob
 

blastastick

Senior Member
Messages
394
For the power amp section I am planning to use a VHT 2/50/2.

Really not sure how rack preamps work however.

Are there "signature tones" to be found in rack preamps?
VHT/Fryette is a good choice. I use the 2150 for bigger venues. A preamp can get any tone, depends on what you are wanting to play. A good preamp can be quite pricey. Most tend to be geared towards higher gain tone, but CAE can set one up for what you want, or a really good tech can mod one for you. I have an old Engl 520 that is heavily modded, and NAILS Stevie blues tones on the cleans, and will do AC/DC overdrive to modern day metal tones on the overdrive channel. One of my favorites for sure. Voodoo amps, and others offer a lot of mods as well. A Hafler Triple modded by Voodoo sounds pretty good. They were designed by Bogner.
 

doralin

Member
Messages
572
I've been listening to the Mesa Boogie Studio sounds and so far I'm really liking them.

The most gain I'd use would probably be somewhere close to the tones of Angus Youngs at maximum.

No metal sounds neccesary.

Are there any current production preamps out there that I've missed?

Judging by the looks of things, I'm probably going to buy a mesa boogie studio rack preamp and get it shipped half way around the world to me. If possible I wouldn't want to use a rack preamp which requires a step down transformer.

Thanks for the help so far guys!
 

stevieboi

Member
Messages
107
yeah man, the Rockmaster is sweet!
Loads of fx loop options too.

I used to have one of these too, a trace elliot GRP3.

That was a pretty cool pre-amp, as long as you had the foot switch.

This is the head version, but the pre amp is compleatly seperate.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/106263-who-knows-guitarhead-trace-elliot.html

I love Trace Elliot guitar stuff.

I'm constantly on the look out for there "speed twin" and "trident" stuff.

Never played through them, but they get great reveiws.

Steve
 

7StringJazz

Member
Messages
1,300
VHT GP3, Engl 570SE are killer preamps. GP3 is mono though.

Axe-FX should also be considered in this context as well. Probably the most versatile if not the best overall sounding in every situation.

Careful what you wish for since carrying a rack and cabs will even out a head and cabs. ;)
 

Jim S

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,021
Bogner Fish --contact Rob at Tone Merchants, 4 ch
Soldano X99 --my favorite, 128 ch
Soldano XR88--easily found on ebay, 3 ch
Soldano SP77 --a notch below the other two Soldano above, 2 ch
CAE
Bogner Triple Giant


Boogie Studio preamp: I had one...not for me. Tone controls really didn't do much.
Marshall not in the same league as above

This is not light:

 
Last edited:

rockon1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,643
Careful what you wish for since carrying a rack and cabs will even out a head and cabs. ;)
+1 Nothing heavier than a stereo power amp. Two OT's and a large PT. You are probably better off finding a mono power amp come to think of it or maybe a smaller power amp if you dont need a lot of power like the Mesa 20/20. Bob.
 

doralin

Member
Messages
572
VHT GP3, Engl 570SE are killer preamps. GP3 is mono though.

Axe-FX should also be considered in this context as well. Probably the most versatile if not the best overall sounding in every situation.

Careful what you wish for since carrying a rack and cabs will even out a head and cabs. ;)
I was thinking of getting an Axe-Fx but I really don't feel like gambling on a non-tube amp for my first rack setup haha. Will definitely try the Axe-Fx one day but not til I manage to sell off my stuff.

Currently I lug like 3 combo amps and 2 heads to a gig. So I figured a rack setup would be best for me :RoCkIn

Bogner Fish --contact Rob at Tone Merchants, 4 ch
Soldano X99 --my favorite, 128 ch
Soldano XR88--easily found on ebay, 3 ch
Soldano SP77 --a notch below the other two Soldano above, 2 ch
CAE
Bogner Triple Giant


Boogie Studio preamp: I had one...not for me. Tone controls really didn't do much.
Marsall not in the same league as above
I would love to grab some of the Soldanos or the Bogner Fish. However, currently I'm hoping to get a good sounding preamp that will work without using a step down transformer as we run on 240v down here.
If in the end there isn't a suitable preamp I'll definitely grab the Fish. Been GAS-ing for one since the reissue was announced :dude
 
Messages
552
Hello everyone,

I'm tired of lugging multiple heads to gigs..

So now, the rack quest begins.

Am looking for tube preamp options and so far, the only ones I've found out about through a day of Google searching which are still in production are:

Mesa Triaxis
Voodoo Lab Preamp
Randall RM4
Egnater M4
Rocktron Voodu Valve
Engl Tube Preamp
CAE 3 Channel Preamp

Are there anymore out there?

The main reason I'm hunting for current production ones is because I'm located in Australia, where the world of 110v second hand goodness doesn't really fit in unless I lug a heavy step down transformer to gigs.

Could I have some recommendations?

Thanks guys!
I´ve had a few racks, and have owned Soldano X99 (still own that one), Soldano X88R, CAE / CAA 3 + SE and Mesa Triaxis have also tested (live and recording) Mesa studio preamp, Grove Tubes Trio, Marshall JMP1 and VHT GP3.
Of all the above the 2 Soldano´s and the CAA 3+ are the only ones I´d consider using now and the X99 (IMHO) is in a league of it´s own tonewise. Couple that with the motorized knops which lets you keep the signal all analog but lets you have realtime midi control of all the settings, 128 programs and claen, crunch and od channels all of them with a bright switch, and you have a preamp that´ll let you do anything. I have mine setup with about 10 patches sounds that I use a lot, but I have basically the same sounds i 4 banks each of them fine tuned for different guitars (tele, strat, 335 and LP) - a big bonus when gigging that you have patches/sounds specific for each guitar, but your lead i allwas on the same switch on the midi board (15 strat, 25 tele and so on)
Hope this helps
RB
 

Stike

Member
Messages
14,059
My Rockmaster recently won an A/B shootout with my JMP-1. unfortunately they are way out of production. I always loved the tone of my friends Mesa Triaxis though.Bob
yeah man, the Rockmaster is sweet!
Another RM vote and they can be had for so cheap that maybe after a mod. to work on AU power it might still be cheaper than new.
 

rosssurf

Member
Messages
136
I personally use an Egnater ie4 4 channel preamp/ intellifex/VHT 2-50-2/Bogner 4x12.

I love this set up. I am not too familiar with many of the other preamps you mentioned, however I kind of have my eye on a the newer Egnater/Randall preamps that have 2 channels per preamp module. I do not recall if both Eganter and Randall have the ability to set two different tones from each module or not.
 

swimrunner

Member
Messages
575
Egnater M4 all the way! I have a Mod 50 head and it's the bee's knees. Modular design is going to work excellently for you, especially since you're looking for low gain tones. Most of the the other pre-amps here are like 3 channels, clean/crunch/heavy. The modular stuff is far more versatile, especially with 2 channels per modules. You could run four different clean/semi-dirt modules in the M4 (8 channels total), or make half of them higher gain, or have them all high gain. Up to you.

For example, you could pick the Twin/Deluxe, Vox, Bassman, and SL (Plexi) modules. Great range of blues/rock sounds there.
 




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