• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

Bass preamp pedals

fishman919

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
378
I've been playing electric guitar for a while but recently have started playing some bass to fill a spot in our worship team. The rig consists of a DI box going straight to the house with the thru going to a small bass amp on stage. The tone from the amp is ok but not so much in the house. It seems like a preamp with a DI would be better solution to provide more direct control.

Which preamp+DI pedals does everyone recommend? I would prefer to stay under $200 if possible. I don't need any drive or distortion. I think having an unaffected thru signal for the amp feed would be ideal.
These are the ones I've researched so far:
MXR M81
Tech 21 VTBassDI
TC SpectraDrive

Any other suggestions? Thanks,
 

Khromo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957
I've used the M81 and the SpectraDrive. The M81 is okay, but I don't need the distortion feature. The SpectraDrive sounds at least as good, has a little better tone control, and the compression is very good and much more useful to me than the distortion in the M81.

The "through" signal is usually as it comes from the instrument.

Most folks aren't going to notice a big difference in decent DI's, assuming they are set up right. If I were you, I would suspect some EQ or processing going on after the DI. The fact that the thru signal is okay would suggest to me that the problem is somewhere downstream from the DI.

A careless sound guy can screw up the finest signal you feed him.
 

fishman919

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
378
Thanks for the reply. Our sound people are volunteers so their knowledge and experience is somewhat limited. No doubt the EQ and other settings could be adjusted at the board but my thought is to make it simpler and do it myself.

How are the Toneprints on the SpectraDrive? I read some early comments they were hit or miss.
 

Khromo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957
...How are the Toneprints on the SpectraDrive? I read some early comments they were hit or miss.
I'll agree they are hit and miss, but that should be expected. There are metal guys, bluegrass guys, jazz guys, all kinds of folks contributing patches, so no one is going to like all the options in there.

You can find good toneprints in there, but you can also dial up your own and it will be perfect for you and your instrument. Or start with a print you like, and tweak it. The element I like the most about the Spectra (and I have some higher end comps, like an Empress and a Keeley Pro) is the bottom end doesn't get strangled with the TC. It stays full, with a nice bloom if you want it. It has a musical effect, to my ears.
 
Last edited:

fishman919

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
378
Following up on my thread, I decided to spend a little extra and get the Tech21 Qstrip. While it's not exactly a preamp I it will allow me to adjust my EQ going to the house which is my primary goal. The added benefit is I can use it on my electric board as well.
 

Khromo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957


As an unabashed boutique gear snob, I can hardly believe this myself, and I fully expect a tsunami of mockery and abuse. (I didn't even have the guts to post this on Talkbass!) But I believe my ears, and I believe other musicians when they comment on the tone and flexibility.

This is my No-Amp-Casino rig, and it sounds fantastic. The cost for the Zoom B1 FOUR ($80!!!), Radial Pro DI ($100), and a 1Spot ($20) was $200 even, new, shipped. It fits in a gig bag, and it only weighs 3 pounds 5 ounces (most of that is in the DI). The Zoom has a tuner and it can operate on batteries in a pinch, so we are talking a one-hand load-in/out! Not one trip, one hand. You can carry your lunch in the other hand, or just swing it alongside yourself, in a jaunty manner. That's what I do! I'm jaunty! Jaunty-Boy!

I initially tried another Zoom product when I was assembling a dangerous-duty board to haul out to the Gun'N'Knife Bars, where getting out with no fresh stitches (sp?) and your wallet is an accomplishment. I was impressed enough that I decided to see if they wouldn't help solve a piezo quack attack (more about this later), before I started stacking Empress Paras and all order of other much more expensive and less convenient devices.

The Zoom handled the EQ problem adequately (although I'm certain there are better-sounding alternatives at a much higher cost and lower convenience factor). There are a ton of EQ options, including HPF, LPF, shelving bass and treble, graphics, and (almost) parametrics (the freq is not continuously variable, and but you can usually get close).

Compressors, delays, a whole load of stuff I don't need like dirt, looper, rhythm tracks, and reverb, and the capability to tweak patches and import new effects and features online. All of which leads us to the best part!

The synth and filter voices were a wonderful surprise, like finding money in the street! The filters and synth voices are outstanding, period. I've been nuts for those type of voices forever, or at least since my fusion days, but the available options have been expensive, limited in their range, sometimes shy in the lower register, and they track inconsistently. The Zoom seems to have knocked those problems into the cheap seats. Great synth voices and totally legit filters, with a wide, fat bottom. I've been using Rob Allen or Rick Turner fretless basses, equipped with a piezo transducer in an acoustic style bridge, strung with nylon-core strings, and this pedal tracks as well as anything I've ever used.

Typically, with the piezo basses, I stack a high-pass filter, followed by a low-pass filter, followed by a para at 1K, followed by another para at 2K, followed by an effect (delay, chorus, filter, or synth if I want it) and a compressor, or by just a compressor. You can stack up to six functions, and store up to 50 or so patches. I keep four banks of ten patches each loaded in mine: Utility for general use, Brite, Round, and Piezo. Then within each bank I keep the general use patch (flat/utility, brite, round, or piezo), surrounded by a boost patch, and a subtle and a not so subtle patch for each of delay, chorus, filter/wah, and synth. If I can't get through a gig with ten patches, I'm doing something radically wrong! And probably driving everyone crazy!

It requires some toe-tapping to maneuver through your patches, but you can set it up so it is usable in a live setting. It doesn't seem to be able to send different patches to the through-out and the DI, but someone more tech savvy might be able to figure that out. Or you could just spend another $80 on a second pedal.

Requires a little tech familiarity and patience/determination, but if I can do it, anybody can do it.
 
Last edited:

marmalade cream

Supporting Member
Messages
1,355
I only have experience with the Sansamp VT Bass DI (I have the rackmount version) and the Bass Driver. Of the two I much prefer the VT Bass DI for a straight ahead rock tone.

The Darkglass stuff looks very interesting, I'd like to try one sometime.
 

StratoCraig

Member
Messages
3,218
I have a SansAmp VT Bass, and it's good, but I prefer the Ampeg SCR-DI despite its larger size. Somehow the Ampeg just gives me exactly the tone I want. I've been getting a lot of compliments on my bass tone since I started using it.
 
Messages
136
agree on the SCR-DI-makes my 1968 Ampeg flip top portaflex (with a JBL D-130) and 1965 Pre bass sound like I'musing an SVT
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,603
Which preamp+DI pedals does everyone recommend? I would prefer to stay under $200 if possible. I don't need any drive or distortion. I think having an unaffected thru signal for the amp feed would be ideal.
The only thing I’ll toss in here is that drive on bass adds thickness in the mix. Motown being a good example of old school tone with a lot of breakup.

The additional harmonics help fill up space without being so overbearing that they hinder the vocals or guitars. It may seem counterintuitive-intuitive, but IME dirty bass is more forgiving than clean bass.

Conversely, a clean bass tone will slice through everything and requires more careful EQ to get it to sit right and not overpower the other instruments.
 
Messages
11,368
I'm torn on this subject. I haven't needed one to this point, but I'm looking into it. My main rig is a Markbass LMII -> GK NEO 115, and I dig the aggressive, middy sound that can be dialed back for a more vintage tone. I think my best bet is the Tech 21 Q-Strip. No baked in tone, no preconceived notions, and flexible for electric and acoustic guitars as well. But I'm all ears on ideas.
 

AltecGreen

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,225
This is class, for more varied tones no.2



Darkglass would be my first recommendation. Unfortunate;y, they are a bit outside the OP's desired price range. Both of the units above are old. Unless you were hard core metal, the new Microtubes X Ultra would be the one to get.
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,603
I'm torn on this subject. I haven't needed one to this point, but I'm looking into it. My main rig is a Markbass LMII -> GK NEO 115, and I dig the aggressive, middy sound that can be dialed back for a more vintage tone. I think my best bet is the Tech 21 Q-Strip. No baked in tone, no preconceived notions, and flexible for electric and acoustic guitars as well. But I'm all ears on ideas.
If you’re looking for aggressive, middy sound that can be dialled back for a vintage tone then why aren’t you looking for something with that sound already baked in?

My take on the Q-Strip is that it’s basically a console EQ, but the soundman already has a console with an EQ. If he has a digital board I ask him to make me sound like an Ampeg and dial in some grind, then I don’t even bother plugging in my SansAmp and feed him a clean DI so he has more control of the mix.
 
Messages
11,368
If you’re looking for aggressive, middy sound that can be dialled back for a vintage tone then why aren’t you looking for something with that sound already baked in?
Regarding the amp, I didn't buy that combo with sound in mind. I bought it because I needed a bass rig and stumbled onto 2 great pieces at good prices. I'm just now starting to figure out what it really sounds like.

My take on the Q-Strip is that it’s basically a console EQ, but the soundman already has a console with an EQ. If he has a digital board I ask him to make me sound like an Ampeg and dial in some grind, then I don’t even bother plugging in my SansAmp and feed him a clean DI so he has more control of the mix.
Soundguy? We're lucky we have vocals through a PA. LOL.
 




Trending Topics

Top