Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #121073  by strangerones
 Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:29 am
Hi All,

I've begun delving into these forums recently and I love the wealth of knowledge and information present here.

I'm current running an Alembic Skylark > Alembic F-2B > Mesa Boogie 50/50 > ToneTubby 2x12 Alnico.

This setup has been pretty good, but I'm not entirely happy with it. I'm wondering if since the F-2B seems to predominately be used as a bass guitar preamp, would the overall sound be better served by an SMS Classic? How do the two compare?


 #121077  by NSP
 Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:52 am
Also, I know your question is pertaining to pre's and you can't go wrong with the SMS, but if Jerry tone is what you're after you may want to choose different speakers. I had the Tone Tubbies and they are great speakers, but they don't lend themselves to "the sound". I sold them and went with JBL's and couldn't be happier. Other forum members have also had great results with E120 clones like the Beyma Liberty's.
 #121081  by strangerones
 Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:15 pm
:lol: I was afraid someone would say something like that. Would there be any issue with switching out the Tone Tubby speakers with JBLs, and keeping the Tone Tubby cab? I'm not well versed on the speaker aspect of things.

A quick google search indicates the JBL E120s are no longer in production. Is it worth it to search ebay and other sources for them? Or just go with the Libertys?

Would the SMS really be significantly different than the F-2B? Or would the speakers be a better starting point for improving the sound of the rig?

Thanks for the input! :-)

 #121083  by tigerstrat
 Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:00 pm
I would not say the F2B is primarily for bass or guitar. It's Dual Showman preamp clone in a single rack space box. Guitarists that have been known for using the F2B (off the top of my head) include Bob Weir, David Gilmour and Andy Summers
 #121084  by mijknahs
 Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:25 pm
Never having personally tried an Alembic preamp, I'd guess that you can probably get a pretty good Jerry tone from an F2-B preamp (but what about the reverb?).

As mentioned above, your biggest issue is the speakers. You won't believe what a difference the speakers make in your search for "The Sound". You will be pretty close with a pair of used JBLs (E, K or D 120s). Yes, you should be able to use the Tone Tubby cabinet (or any other 2x12 cab.

Swapping out the speakers with JBLs (or JBL clones) will make much more of a difference than swapping out the preamp or power amp.
 #121191  by strangerones
 Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:13 am
I appreciate everyone's responses.

I'm not big on Floyd either. I actually had no idea David Gilmour used an F-2B until this thread.

After some research and consideration over the weekend, I believe I'm going to change both the speakers and preamp.

I think the preamp is going to be first. I don't have any great reverb options currently, and I think the SMS will serve that purpose in addition to what I hope is an improved overall sound.

Speakers...I'd like to go with JBL's, but I'm not sure I want to deal with the possibility of tracking them down on ebay only to later find out they'll need to be re-coned because they're either in bad shape or they've already been improperly re-coned by someone other than JBL. That said, I may just go with Beyma Libertys.
 #121197  by Smolder
 Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:20 am
I think Brad (Sarno SMS) has detailed on a thread somewhere that Gilmour's Alembic has been modded to add an additional 12AX7 gain stage, so it's not a stock unit that your hearing.

Also - some guys here have opted for a combination of Weber Neo and Jensen Neo speakers to lighten the load and claim to be getting stellar results. The Weber Neo is a bit more JBL like and the Jensen is more neutral like an EV would be. I have a weber Neo 10, and it's pretty great sounding until you put it in a small cab like a princeton and then it gets a bit nasely.
 #121204  by RiverRat
 Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:40 am
Smolder wrote:I think Brad (Sarno SMS) has detailed on a thread somewhere that Gilmour's Alembic has been modded to add an additional 12AX7 gain stage, so it's not a stock unit that your hearing.
Gimour's Alembic was modded with an extra gain stage. It was used as a preamp for his Leslie or Yamaha revolving speakers from 74-80... His main tone was still His Hiwatts live and the occasional use of a Fender Twin or Showman in the study for the albums from Dark Side thru The Wall. It didn't get used as his main preamp until the Division Bell tour in '94. has a ton of info on his gear setup... They are the Pink Floyd version of