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PatrickJ

What's your favourite Preamp/DI?

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I have a Tech21 Bass Fly Rig and it's great for what it is but, as Tech21 say it's not designed to replace your ideal rig.  And that's what I'm looking to build over the coming weeks.

I don't use a lot of effects, the BFR actually covers everything I need but I'd like some more control on certain functions and to get some better sounding effects from the OCTA section.

So I'm going to focus on a handful of high quality pedals.  Along with an Anadime Bass Chorus, a pre-amp / DI pedal is on my must have list and I want to try something different to the Sansamp VTs.   The Mesa Subway DI is top of my GAS list at the moment, but I'm Interested to hear what other BCers say their favourite pre-amp / DI pedal is

Edited by PJ-Bassist

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What kind of sound do you go for? I wouldn't necessarily recommend the same unit for playing blues with a P and flats as I would for playing metal with a Jazz and rounds (although the VT is an exception that suits either!).

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26 minutes ago, dannybuoy said:

What kind of sound do you go for? I wouldn't necessarily recommend the same unit for playing blues with a P and flats as I would for playing metal with a Jazz and rounds (although the VT is an exception that suits either!).

Primarily classic rock / blues.

Though recently I've been getting into so old school R&B, soul and funk.  Chuck Rainey, Duck Dunn, Bobby Vega etc.

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Tonehammer or VT Bass then! Although the Mesa looks a fine choice also, I've only had a brief play through the head but it sounded great.

Edited by dannybuoy
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check out EBS MicroBass II, had mine for years, rugged, super functional, drive knob for grit, EQ to dial in what you want, excellent input/output options

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I've owned the Two Notes Le Bass, Hartke Bass Attack, Behringer BDI21, MXR M80, Darkglass Vintage Ultra, Darkglass B7k. 

I think for value for money the Behringer cannot be beaten. Yes it has a mid-range hole as deep as the Marianas Trench, but only if you set the blend to full.

Honorable mention for the Hartke. Fantastic pedal. Almost out-Sansamps a sansamp! 

Fav of the lot was the Two Notes Le Bass. Most flexible of the lot. 

I enjoyed the Vintage Ultra, but it's massively overpriced. 

MXR didn't leave much of an impression - I still have it somewhere but the DI out is broken. I'll fix it one of these days and give it another run.

Hated the B7k, but no doubt a Darkglass fan boy will be along shortly to tell me I must have been using it wrong... 

I'd like to try the Aguilar Tone Hammer. Maybe some day. 

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I'm mainly going for a clean sound from a SC P-bass with flats. For easy sakes I use the Fishman Platinum pro. I think the Hartke is a good preamp and again follow @Bigwan in liking the Behringer. Others I've used are the Harley Benton Bass Expander (great for a headphone practice amp), Moen Buffalo and Dr J Sparrow. Plenty drive with the Moen but it's only had home use, intermittent fault ruled the Sparrow out.

Eden WTDI is a nice compact preamp to consider.

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Two Notes Le Bass, beats (in my opinion) all of the competition with that real tube edge and as @Bigwan already mentioned extreme flexibility.

Edited by blablas
typo
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I used to use a sansamp model on my zoom multifx, which I liked for the added mids controls. I now use a DHA VT1-PRO. Such a great preamp. It's joined my ChaseBliss Warped Vinyl as pedals that will never leave my board.

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On the topic of DHA... I'm following the old "if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all..." mantra... 

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I have a Le Bass, but it's not well suited for old school funk / RnB IMHO. Channel A is too clean, channel B too grindy and aggressive.

I was never a Darkglass fan either until I tried my Yamaha BB with both pickups on into a B7K mixed with heavy guitars, then it all clicked into place. Made it fit into the mix like a key into a lock. But it sounds crap with a P bass, especially one with flats, so probably the last pedal I would consider here!

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My fave is the Tech21 Para Driver. It`s similar to the Bass Driver aside from the mids are sweepable, which brings in a great deal of flexibility.

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I am with @Bigwan on the Two Notes and Hartke VXL, so much so that I layer them together, and I would not part with either one.

Personally I would disagree with @dannybuoy for what genre you can use the LeBass for, it is entirely possible using all its dials new settings to get something that may fit for your needs cross a wide range of music, depends on your other stuff etc.

IMHO the best value pedal is the first generation Hartke VXL, second hand you can get for around £40 sometimes less, it’s a bombproof chassis, and you can get a bass funk sound, to break up on the signal, you just need to understand the Hartke EQ and it’s shape circuit. In a lot of ways it’s better than the second generation model, they tried some refinements, but it made it too refined for my tastes, and lost its edge, I also like the older more basic look.

Edited by Cuzzie
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There's a LOT of choice out there. Here's a list a few of us previously pulled together of some of our favourties, updated for recent releases; with links where I'm aware of dedicated threads. (Tech 21 seem to be all over this! :))

Coming soon:

Tech 21 dUg Pinnick (First batch of buyers about to part with ready cash for a BC discounted price of £240 a piece)

TC Spectradrive (toneprint enabled compressor gives this a USP alongside dirt and a reasonable EQ)

Recent releases:

Darkglass AO Ultra (6 band EQ 2 voices and the ability to blend. At £390 this tops out the price list of the preamps listed)

DHA VT1-Pro (One in the FS section as we speak and it kinda does everything (including making the tea))

Been around a little longer:

Tech 21 Q\Strip (Has a parametric EQ; not cheap at £315)

Two Notes Le Bass (Excellent dirt / drive and decent clean EQ but with limited mids tone shaping - need to dial back the bass and treble on the clean Channel A to effectively boost the mids. Only other complaint from folk seems to be a lack of aux in). 

Tech 21 Paradriver V2 (Lozz has two of these and, as he mentions above, it has sweepable mids giving it an edge over the Tech21 BDDI and then there is also the Tech21 VTBassDI) 

Mesa Subway DI (why haven't they released a Mesa Carbine M DI? Now that would be a pedal...)

Aguilar Tonehammer (the fabled Aggie sound in a pedal).

Ampeg SCR DI (you own - really nice EQ, but IMHO the dirt doesn't come anywhere close to something like the Two Notes and for that reason I would personally avoid)

Hartke VXL (as Cuzzie rightly points out this is going to be pretty hard to beat this in terms of value for money!)

Several of these (e.g. VT1-Pro, Ampeg SCR and the TC Spectradrive) also have aux in and headphones out so can double up as a quality portable headphone practice amp, which is a nice additional feature. If I had to choose one (having really quite liked my Two Notes Le Bass which only got shifted following getting a DG M900 head which covered a lot of the same ground for me) it would probably be the Tech 21 Q\Strip as I'd be purely interested in the tone shaping as I've got dirt and compression sorted out with other pedals.

Second hand dUG and TC Spectradrive units should be available to buy in FS in about 3 months... :D

 

UPDATE (AUG 2020) - just read @Lozz196's 15,000th post at the end of this thread and seen that he, like me, has re-discovered the outstanding quality of the Tech 21 VTBassDI. It really does continue to be an all time favourite on both sides of the "Pond" for very good reason. I'm really happy with both my bass rigs (Mesa M6 + Fearless F112 and DG AO900 + BF BB2) but I'm often left feeling that the Tech 21 VTBassDI's Bite, which is on all the sample settings and is such a key ingredient, manages to remove a 'blanket' from even such really good rigs! It provides a ‘presence’ boost by boosting the upper mids and treble so that the tone becomes more pronounced and "present" especially in a mix. It also has a subsonic filter (i.e. HPF) to tighten up the sound.

Edited by Al Krow
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Thanks for all the information - some alternatives to the Mesa to look into. 

I've had a Two Notes Le Bass in the past and had to return it as it was faulty, this has some what put me off two notes pedals.

I tried the Tonehammer 500 amp a few years ago and didn't like it, that being said my taste has changed and perhaps it's more of the sound I want now. 

Dark Glass DIs too expensive for me, but I do have a B3K overdrive which I got second hand that I will be my dirt pedal.

With look into the Tonehammer, Paradriver v2 and Hartke.

Thanks again

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No way will my dUg unit be going anywhere!

I deliberately stayed away from Tech21 from the OP as they are already using a fly rig, and there can be a similarity across Tech21 formats.

There are loads out there mate, doesn’t really matter what we say, something will tick the box for the sound in your head and may not be on this list

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35 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

 

There are loads out there mate, doesn’t really matter what we say, something will tick the box for the sound in your head and may not be on this list

Indeed, there seems to have been a flood of pre-amp / DI pedals in past few years.

Edited by PJ-Bassist

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It’s an absolute dream for us, and things coming out all the time.

If you want to keep it simple, i’d Avoid me!

I suppose the only thing I would say is how important is a DI on a pedal for you?

You May see an awesome pedal but no Di

Is a dedicated DI better or an option?

Will an amp have the EQ/Tone altering/drove section you want and eliminate pedals?

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I suppose I could make a Le Bass or dUg or Darkglass work for old school funk...

I could also eat soup with a fork, but there are better options out there!

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For you maybe, not for everyone  and it’s entirely unfair and unhelpful to pigeonhole them as it depends completely on the context of other kit used and other instruments played with.

Its like me declaring I am the most handsome man in the world, when even my mother thought I have a face for radio.

A good thick Scotch Broth could be eaten with a fork and the rest mopped up with a nice crusty roll, and that is a very heart warming meal

If you are after a thin, insipid watery soup just like England’s 6 nations campaign, then yes, a fork is the wrong tool for the job

 

Edited by Cuzzie
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1 hour ago, Cuzzie said:

If you want to keep it simple, i’d Avoid me!

NOW he tells me! :D

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Pre Cuzzie: No pedal boards, no PSUs, 3 pedals (hardly ever used)

Post Cuzzie: 2 pedal boards, 3 PSUs (one spare), 10 pedals (and a bunch bought and sold in between)

Folk - be warned about associating with this guy. He's not good for your wallet... :D 

(Fortunately second hand pedals can be moved on with minimal loss = free rental, and a fair bit of fun in the meantime trying them out).

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Just to balance @Al Krow out.

As he expanded, I shrunk (Not waisteline unfortunately, but he isn’t feeding me)

I passed all Pedal Karma onto him

Edited by Cuzzie
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I used an AO pedal last night on my gig (and the gig last weekend too (irish/pop/rock covers) and I swear the tightness of the bass and low end (with a CAli 76CB in the signal chain too to be fair) when playing "Should I Stay or Should I Go" really jumped out for me. It had great bottom end retention, nice and crispy in the highs without harshness - I know what I mean - I saw one guy mouth to his mate "That rhythm section is tight as f*ck" and this was at 8pm in an Irish bar on St. Patrick's day after the spectacle of the 6 Nations. I'd say 'the sound' contributed to that as much as the playing.

The AO is quite a versatile unit and I'm not a massive DarkGlass fanboi in terms of how I've heard a lot of folk use their gear. It sounded great in other tunes too as did my Bass Soul Food. I guess knowing the strengths of a piece of gear and maximizing it to work for your rig/band is the key. All those pre-amps bring something to the table. It's nice to have the choice really!

It's not gonna be as dead on old school as an Aggie TH head for example but I can make it work in my covers band to roll off treble and add a bit of gain here and there or go balls out for 7 Nation Army etc.

You may disagree, I'm not that bothered :)

Edited by krispn
Sass and attitude
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