Suggestions for a rack preamp needed...

Hey all, I'm taking a serious plunge into a stereo rack. I currently have a Syn-2 with the SLO module. It's...okay. Only really able to mess with it at low volumes at the moment, but there is something "fake" or "forced" about it. It almost sounds like a little bit of neck pickup is trying to sneak into the bridge. It's the best way I can describe it. All the gain in the world, but it's just completely uncontrolled and bordering on mush when pushed too far.

The best luck I've had getting my sound so far has been with a Ceriatone King Kong 50 (with a Verbrator in the loop, with long cabling, this is critical), a 68 Plexi clone Hopkins Pandora (awesome amp, but only a single channel), and believe it or not, a particularly good sounding 6505+ in the backline at a venue I play often.

I'd like to get my sound with a tube preamp. And I'd like to have gorgeous cleans on tap, as well.

I've watched I don't know how many videos of pretty much all the preamps I could think of. It's not easy finding something I like. They tend to sound much better when the video was shot on a potato in the room, hilariously enough. I've checked out lots of videos by some of the more prominent YouTubers, and I find that these tend to be miked and dialed in a way that really brings out a great deal of harshness. And a lot of other guys dial everything in to do the BROOTz, which isn't my thing at all. I'm looking for smooooooth, creamy high gain, lots of sustain, and have it hold together on the low end, with clarity. Picture the most perfect 80s rock and pop guitar sound, wonderfully produced, on a record. I'm trying to get that, in the room, at both low volumes and stage volumes.

I've seen a couple of maaaaybe promising videos of that Black Widow preamp. And I know there are many other Synergy modules...maybe I'm just never going to like the Soldano thing? Are the BE or HBE modules any good? Are they significantly different from the Soldano?

So, hit me with everything I should be checking out. Let's not worry about price point, but I would like to ask that we avoid any suggestions for stuff like the CAE 3+, X88r, X99, Bogner Fish, etc. Not only have I not actually found any clips of those that blow me away, but they are basically unobtainium at this point for all intents and purposes. I really don't feel like it should cost thousands and thousands of dollars just to get a preamp that sounds good.

I've been looking at videos of so many....A/DA, Rocktron, Soldano, Myasnokov (LA Sound Design has a video where they get good sounds out of his X88 clone, even though his own videos sound harsh and dry and scratchy), ART, etc., etc.

I have a Fryette 2502, btw, and two 4x12s.
 

Jack Luminous

Active member
" I would like to ask that we avoid any suggestions for stuff like the CAE 3+, X88r, X99, Bogner Fish, etc. Not only have I not actually found any clips of those that blow me away..."

Wow ! Seriously ? LOL
 
" I would like to ask that we avoid any suggestions for stuff like the CAE 3+, X88r, X99, Bogner Fish, etc. Not only have I not actually found any clips of those that blow me away..."

Wow ! Seriously ? LOL
I know, I know, feel free to rip me a new one. I know I'm stepping in it with that.

But, on the real, if you know of any clips that are accurate of those, and sound killer, send 'em my way, I'm all ears!

The problem is, you really just can't get them. I mean, you can, if you want to wait a while and hope one comes up, and pay through the nose for it, but there seriously has to be a better way. And it's madness to spend the kind of money one of those would command just to see if I like it
 
Anyone? I hope I didn't rub anyone the wrong way with my comment about the CAE 3+, X88r, X99, and Bogner Fish preamps. It's just that you can't get them. They aren't currently being made, and the people that have them don't seem to be interested in selling. So, they really aren't an option. Also, the comment about how I haven't found any clips that blow me away is, I think, perfectly fair. We all know YouTube videos are a tricky beast. But, it's what we have to work with, for the most part. But any of those holy grail preamps command a premium, and if someone is going to pay a princely sum for a preamp, I think it's fair to want to have some confidence in the decision. I am not aware of anyone in my circle here in NYC that has one I can try out in person. If I did, I absolutely would.

I say this with no disrespect intended, because I am absolutely guilty of doing this, too...I frequently see people posting on forums looking for gear advice, and people will respond with suggestions for gear that is basically unobtainable. I remember once asking a pretty knowledgable guy on another forum for advise on amps with no "hair" with lots of gain saturation, etc. His advise? A Cameron. See, that's not helpful, lol.

Anyone have any suggestions for rack preamps that I can realistically purchase? I'm looking for something that can give me that smooth high gain thing with lots of low mid growl, great sustain, and also a nice, pretty clean channel. I don't care for fizz, fuzz, excessive "hair" or sizzle. I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks!
 
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