Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #100737  by redeyedjim
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:17 pm
I know Waldo's TPC1 onboard preamps are a popular choice on this board and get a lot of love, but I was wondering if anyone had any opinions or experience with the CAE Sounds onboard preamps? They seem to trace their lineage directly (or somewhat directly) to John Cutler.

General descriptions of their preamps:

More specific info on each model:

I'm specifically interested in their CB2 onboard preamp, but their CB1 model seems to be modeled very closely/exactly after Jerry's onboard preamp. They are also ridiculously local to me -- their shop is literally 15 minutes away from my house.

I did a search on the forum and didn't turn up anything, which (given the above lineage) strikes me as...weird. Anyone here heard of them or used their products?
 #100740  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:25 pm
Waldo's is the only truly exact replica of Jerry's Tiger buffer. The CAE is not all that close. I'm sure it's a fine buffer, but if you want the real deal, bug Waldo.

 #100741  by playingdead
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:37 pm
I've had both the CB1 and Waldo's buffer in my Tiger guitar. I prefer Waldo's. It is a subtle difference, but a notable one.

The CB2 is known to reverse the phase of the guitar's output, so people generally stay away from that one.
 #100742  by redeyedjim
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:10 pm
Thanks, I really appreciate your answers. I'm new to the board and only recently began acquiring the gear to properly emulate/approximate Jerry's tone. If there were a newbie board for Jerry tone emulation I'd ask my my questions there, but since there isn't, I'm trying to not to ask questions that are TOO basic.

At the risk of invalidating that last point: What is the argument for choosing non-unity output over unit output in an onboard preamp, or vice versa? I notice that in its default form the output of Waldo's preamp is less than unity, but unity output is available as an option. Is there an advantage to less than unity output? In my case I don't have an OBEL and I am not using any true vintage effects, but rather modern takes on vintage effects (e.g., the Proton pedal in place of Mutron III, modeling other effects via a Line6 M13). Why would I want less than unity output?

Thanks again -- these discussions are very helpful to me! The more I read up on the benefits of an onboard preamp, the more I understand why my envelope follower isn't really giving me the full tone I'm expecting (among other things, and leaving my earnest-but-amateur playing out of it for the moment :roll: ).
 #100743  by playingdead
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:40 pm
Garcia's original was known to be slightly below unity gain, so Waldo's is that way, too. If I recall correctly, it had something to do with picking up noise or interference in his setup. There's no benefit that I'm aware of.
 #100749  by waldo041
 Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:00 pm
the "less then unity" factor of JG's original preamp could have been a mistake. regardless of why, it really is not all that dramatic of a difference in volume. it very well could just be a mistake, OR they weren't being or looking for exact in unity when they first built this preamp. the preamp he first used, the stratoblaster, is 2 or 3 Db ABOVE unity with the trim on zero. so he definately was looking for cleaner, and uncolored.

as for the mutron used with guitar, the preamp will not be your solution. the jerry devised OBEL(onboard effects loop) is the answer to your problem. they are 2 seperate entities, and can be used with or without the other. they are actually both used for seperate reasons however have mutual benefits when used together.

Last edited by waldo041 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.