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Bass BB Preamp

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So I went into Guitar Guitar in Glasgow where I'd tried the Ibanez Bass Tubescreamer a couple of months ago, intending to double check I liked it and buy it. when I got in the shop I had a quick browse of the pedals and saw the BB Preamp, which, strangely enough, I'd been thinking about on the bus there. I heard it first in Janek Gwizdala's interview with Bryan Beller thought it sounded pretty good but hadn't given it much thought since, I'd read the review of the tubescreamer in BGM and they'd given it 5*s so was pretty set on that. But then i played through it. even my drummer friend said how much better it sounded and how quickly I got a good sound from it.

Its a very small pedal, roughly 63x110mm, which is perfect for my diminuitive board. Very straight forward layout, gain and volume on the left and treble and bass on the right. there's a small red LED to show that the pedal is engaged, true bypass footswitch and a 9vdc input (centre negative).

feels pretty solid, not quite the weighty tank that is the bass Tubescreamer but I reckon I can stand on it for a few years and it won't break (I also trust the Xotic Effects brand to make something roadworthy). The knobs have enough resistance that you won't lose your setting if your foot brushes past it on the way to another pedal, unusually they're a kind of chicken-head shape, not quite T-Rex style but a very useful "beak" that shows how much of whatever you're dialling in.

Before I make any sweeping and potentially misleading statements I'll say that I was after a vintage sounding overdrive, kind of like the bass on 'Uptight' or 'Do I Do' (Stevie Wonder does the best bass everything!) but here goes: this is easily the best sounding distortion I've ever heard. Bar none. Ever. This pedal could function very well without the EQ as it seems to hold on to your tone very well and just drives it, which is what other distortion pedals should be doing but somehow never do. On the other hand I feel its better to have too much control rather than not enough, and have found myself adding a touch of bass boost.
The gain knob is the real point of interest and where the most fun is had. It kicks in at around 8/9 o' clock (something lacking from the Tubescreamer which needed to be over halfway to get any drive), at this setting its a really subtle and creamy overdrive, adding a touch of grit around the edges of the note. turning up to 12 o'clock and it gets a bit more aggressive but still in the same region of creaminess, while from 2 o' clock onwards its getting to full on distortion, something like Hysteria (which isn't as massively overdriven as the kids on youtube think it is). The pedal is incredibly responsive, reating very organically to the dynamics of your playing.

I think this pedal is brilliant. It gives me the exact sound I want with the option to expand and go further if I so wish, and is small enough to snuggle onto my tiny board with the Moogerfooger, which takes up about a third of it. If your after a fuzz then this is not the pedal for you, get the MXR El Grande Bass Fuzz or Blowtorch (i didn't know that amount of compression was legal!), or the Aguilar Agro. But if you want old-school, organic and reponsive overdrive, I couldn't recommend this pedal enough (anyone from xotic reading this? :) ).

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