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When your £250 preamp pedal sees off your high end rack pre!!

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I've owned and used over the years a lot of bass amps and preamps... Hartke, Ampeg, Ashdown, Orange, EBS, Eden, Warwick, Trickfish, Aguilar, Euphonic Audio, Tech 21, Darkglass, Fender,Trace Elliot etc...

I currently own a Trickfish rig and own a complete Warwick Hellborg rig which when it was released was probably the most unattainable rig ever and mainly thanks to Thomann, I somehow now own it.

All these amps sounded great, all had their own tone and this post is more about what I have surprisingly found as a great tone that I just really love and enhances my enjoyment playing live, and that is...

 

The Tech 21 VT Bass deluxe!

 

I bought it on a bit of a whim as a birthday present to myself as it's always intrigued me. Last two gigs I had been running it Infront of the Hellborg and it sounded great and didn't have the scooped sound of the old BDDI, so last night I just thought "I'll run it straight into the Hellborg power amp" and it sounded even better, the drive was clearer somehow and more audibly responsive to my playing. I then pushed in the speaker sim button and it sounded better again, tightening up the sound and adding a little more presence!

It's the fullest, fattest sound I have ever had from a set up (apart from a raging SVT VR rig I had on a tour in Australia once). It was a driven tone and as it was a wedding gig I checked with our soundguy/guitarist if I was over doing it and the response from him and the brass section was that it sounded great and really helped to fill out the sound. Just a very satisfying tone and dynamic to my playing and it would clear up when I went to a slap passage or higher register part.

Of course the Hellborg power amp and club cab is probably helping too but I think it's probably the solution of having my tone/sound on stage being represented through the PA. I'm not sure why it sounded better not going through the Hellborg pre, I think the Hellborg has its own little bit of compression going on which is why people compare it to using a tube pre and maybe it's just too much with Hellborg and VT together.

I'm sure it's in part, a case of being conditioned to unknowingly loving the Ampeg sound and when I think back, even though I've gone for solid state amps over recent years I always have a tendency to try and add some sort of slight overdrive to them. I'm sure against an actual SVT that I would choose the SVT, but I have lifted or should I say tried to lift those and they are ridiculous!! 

Question is do I hang on to the Hellborg pre for when I need a clean tone or for studio use... The DI hasincredible high fidelity! 

It's been a funny year, I've discovered using flats on modern basses really works for me and that more vintage 'driven' tones really help fit in the mix for more music than just rock etc. 

I have to hand it to Tech 21, I love the VT Deluxe.

 

Anyone else ever gone through this?  

 

 

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Tech21 rule

Not surprised you have a great sound and like you, I love a pre amp

My advice, if you don’t need to sell, keep all you can and enjoy when you wish!

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Tech 21 stuff is great. Tried a VT bass deluxe and loved it, although I currently use a standard BDDI just for DI purposes.

I’ve always thought that if you need to put an expensive preamp pedal in front of your expensive amp to get a decent sound then you’re using the wrong amp! If the VT pedal is giving you a great sound , then why not just run it into a power amp for onstage use?

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The indispensable bit of kit in my set up is the Tech21 Para Driver v2. I can get the sound I want from my amps but given that I often use shared/provided rigs it’s easier to always use the trusty PDv2 irrespective of what rig I’m using.

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I finally dialed in my sansamp exactly how I wanted this morning and then used it for 8 hours at band practice. I will take it to my grave. 

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On 05/08/2019 at 00:22, Jonse said:

I finally dialed in my sansamp exactly how I wanted this morning and then used it for 8 hours at band practice. I will take it to my grave. 

Quality :)

 

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On 04/08/2019 at 22:38, attackbass said:

I then pushed in the speaker sim button and it sounded better again, tightening up the sound and adding a little more presence. 

I have to hand it to Tech 21, I love the VT Deluxe.

Is there a newer version of the VT Deluxe? I've only seen the speaker sim button on the VT Bass v2 and the DI versions?

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i believe so... not sure how long it has been around for. the speaker sim stays active on the di regardless with the button only changing the 1/4 inch out jack to the amp.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, attackbass said:

i believe so... not sure how long it has been around for. the speaker sim stays active on the di regardless with the button only changing the 1/4 inch out jack to the amp.

I've read the user manual several times and it seems to imply that speaker sim is permanently on. Do you have a button specifically marked Speaker Sim?

 

Edited by Sparky Mark
photo removed

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I've owned both a V1 VT and now own a VTDI. I much prefer the latter with the blend and the two buttons to enable/disable Bite and Speaker. I always carry it as backup ( using a HX Stomp now but the Tech21 was the main pedal) as it's such a great preamp. 

I wish they'd make a deluxe version of the VTDI to save presets. I'd buy that!

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Sansamps are great! I have the VT Rack and RPM, which is a rack Paradriver. Neither are made anymore, which is a shame, along with most of the Character Series pedals.

I certainly have plans for at least one more Paradriver to put on a planned pedal board- Tech 21 do some great work, and have been extremely helpful in emails answering questions and with product support, even for discontinued products. Hats off to 'em!

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Out of interest how vintagey can the dUG sound? I just love its small flyrig esq footprint with the tuner etc but can't imagine I'd get on with the tone of it (basically I want a VT bass or BDDI in that same small format with comp and tuner)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, tayste_2000 said:

Out of interest how vintagey can the dUG sound? I just love its small flyrig esq footprint with the tuner etc but can't imagine I'd get on with the tone of it (basically I want a VT bass or BDDI in that same small format with comp and tuner)

You can get the dUg to sound vintage if that’s what you want, even with roundwounds, roll your time off and adjust dials to taste and you get get there.

If you have flats, you will get there as well, it is that versatile

 

Its like most the demo’s or sig stuff out there, you get the artists sound, and people often demo it in its extremes but look through all that and really try to see what is under the hood and imagine.

This is not a dial in your sound in 20seconds pedal. Small adjustments can make big differences, and you have to spend time with it. It took me a whole week to find the sweet spot of being able to flick between clean and dirty and not have to dial change.

If you haven’t checked them already Dan Veall at guitar interactive magazine broke his rule on the first video by making it too long, because if it’s versatility, and then made a second video on it.

Must day something about the pedal

Edited by Cuzzie

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7 hours ago, tayste_2000 said:

Out of interest how vintagey can the dUG sound? I just love its small flyrig esq footprint with the tuner etc but can't imagine I'd get on with the tone of it (basically I want a VT bass or BDDI in that same small format with comp and tuner)

Not seen you round these parts for some time!

With mix mode off, it's basically a clean preamp and compressor. No Sansamp style voicing whatsoever, but you do get some mild cab-like treble rolloff on the XLR output.

You'd be better off with the Bass Fly Rig if you want vintage sounds, it has a tweaked VT Bass circuit in it. However it does not have the bite/speaker sim/blend controls, and the other effects are pants including the compressor!

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Re the speaker sim on the VT, IMHO Tech21 dropped the ball when they first implemented it on the VT Bass and Deluxe v2 and almost fixed it with the VTDI!

Why would you want a defeatable speaker sim? For me, it's because I already have vintage tweeterless cabs rolling off the top end. If the pedal has a speaker sim rolling off treble as well, I'm getting twice as much treble reduction, which might make me boost the treble and send an overly bright sound to the desk.

So disabling the cab sim in theory should result in a brighter sound. But when you disable the cab sim on the VT/Deluxe v2, you get a darker sound because they added an extra treble filter. Their reasoning for this being that if you're feeding an amp instead of a desk, amps have a big treble boost that needed to be compensated for.

The VTDI went some way to redress this by separating that additional treble filter into the bite switch (which is great for making it more vintage, Ste!). So if you disable the cab sim on that it opens up the top end instead of sounding darker. However there's still no way to have the cab sim apply to the XLR only, which is why I say it's only partially fixed!

Still a great pedal regardless. Tech21 rule, I shall be hanging onto my VTDI, YYZ and DP3X for the foreseeable future!

 

 

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1 hour ago, dannybuoy said:

Not seen you round these parts for some time!

With mix mode off, it's basically a clean preamp and compressor. No Sansamp style voicing whatsoever, but you do get some mild cab-like treble rolloff on the XLR output.

You'd be better off with the Bass Fly Rig if you want vintage sounds, it has a tweaked VT Bass circuit in it. However it does not have the bite/speaker sim/blend controls, and the other effects are pants including the compressor!

Yeah 🤷‍♂️ Been playing.

flyrig is too big and I don't need/want the other fx

can probably just continue managing without but I do like the form factor the DP3X

cheers for the advice

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Posted (edited)

Get the DP3X - admittedly you have a 1 opinion vs another so you can take either opinion you want, there is also a massive thread on Talkbass about it or do the research and see if you think it will work for you.

We all play differently and even if me and @dannybuoy had exactly the same settings on the pedal and the same bass and amp, we would get 2 different sounds due to the different ways we play.

s’up to you

Edited by Cuzzie

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1 hour ago, tayste_2000 said:

Yeah 🤷‍♂️ Been playing.

flyrig is too big and I don't need/want the other fx

can probably just continue managing without but I do like the form factor the DP3X

cheers for the advice

The fly rig is only about an inch longer! And my wife assures me that shouldn't make much difference.

Thing about the DP3X is at first you think "holy plop, where's my mids, everybody says I need mids to be heard". But then it make sense when you play it alongside a full mix. You still have mids, but they are high mids, above most guitars and vocals (I find boosting the mids and pressing in the shift works best in a busy mix, but prefer the shift off when you have more room sonically - I'd love that on a foot switch). So you're not battling other instruments over the same frequency range, you're wrapping above and below them, giving the overall wall of sound more depth and presence. And the compressor is pretty aggressive and gives the low end a big pop with each note, even if you're playing up high. Play softly and you're all like James Jamerson, with bugger all above 250Hz, but dig in a bit and it's like Billy Sheehan just popped in to play a few notes before promptly buggering off again.

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4 minutes ago, dannybuoy said:

The fly rig is only about an inch longer! And my wife assures me that shouldn't make much difference.

Interesting, they look hugely different but as you say the comp and other effects aren't great and the comp is important to what I'm going for.

anyway enough of my thread hi jack

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I had the dug for a year. 

What I found was it sounded great for playing un-dynamic, hard hitting music where you want that grind with a big sonic low end. 

 

Unfortunately for me I couldn't get it to work for me as band I need "rock" tones for  is very dynamic and when I would play softer, or thumb muted parts it sounded like the hi part of the pedal wouldn't quite engage enough and I would have this huge, sustained bass sound.... Which was actually kinda cool but you could almost see the sound guy scramble to deal with it! Ha

 

What really did it was just wanting that slight overdrive and more unified tone rather than the clean low end and driven hi end, I just couldn't get the balance right for me.

 

But it was awesome, and if I was rich I'd have kept it! 

And so I went for the VT bass deluxe! Almost tempted to get a new BDDI at some point. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, attackbass said:

I had the dug for a year. 

What I found was it sounded great for playing un-dynamic, hard hitting music where you want that grind with a big sonic low end. 

 

Unfortunately for me I couldn't get it to work for me as band I need "rock" tones for  is very dynamic and when I would play softer, or thumb muted parts it sounded like the hi part of the pedal wouldn't quite engage enough and I would have this huge, sustained bass sound.... Which was actually kinda cool but you could almost see the sound guy scramble to deal with it! Ha

 

What really did it was just wanting that slight overdrive and more unified tone rather than the clean low end and driven hi end, I just couldn't get the balance right for me.

 

But it was awesome, and if I was rich I'd have kept it! 

And so I went for the VT bass deluxe! Almost tempted to get a new BDDI at some point. 

I am a massive dUg fan, but this is an example of how it can and cannot work for people. Personally, I haven’t found the same thing happen as @attackbass I have been able to get enough dynamics out of it, but we all play differently (not saying I am better btw!), different basses etc. It can stack really nicely with another pedal as well to combine tones, or give versatility at just a click to have the 2 tones described above, as inherently, as described it is a pedal producing a clean low end and a distorted high end, although you can clean it up, so it is possible this can happen.

I have to say with any pedal, but especially the DP3X, the tone knob on your bass is your friend, it doesn’t just have to be wide open or closed, there will be a sweet spot to help the pedal.

Edited by Cuzzie

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Posted (edited)

Tech 21 are brilliant. Like Lozz, I favour the para driver for its sweepable mids. I use the Dug pedal in one of my bands and it just kills. I quite like the GT2 as well. That's great. The Red Ripper is really good too. Plus, for my insane rack setup I use the PSA 1.1, which I consider to be the best preamp ever made due to its flexibility through midi control. Pity they've discontinued it. If the Dug amp had mid presets I'd have that, but it doesn't sadly. Bummer.

I love their stuff and quite frankly they have very few "so-so" products, if any. Just ones that don't work for what I want (cough - give me an endorsement, cough).

Edited by Wolverinebass
  • Haha 1

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