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stewblack

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Now I'm making the move to an almost ampless set up in one of my bands, I have discovered a whole new avenue down which to fling my money.

 

Preamp.

 

Between bass and PA. 

 

So come on baby light my gas. 

 

Don't break my heart by telling me I don't need one, nor by reminding me I have several options already, just tell me what you use and why it's better than everyone else's.

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13 minutes ago, stewblack said:

Now I'm making the move to an almost ampless set up in one of my bands, I have discovered a whole new avenue down which to fling my money.

 

Preamp.

 

Between bass and PA. 

 

So come on baby light my gas. 

 

Don't break my heart by telling me I don't need one, nor by reminding me I have several options already, just tell me what you use and why it's better than everyone else's.

For a passive bass, my favourite preamp is still the Sadowsky.

For an active bass with a decent preamp, I'd rather just use a quality DI box.

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It begs yet more questions though...

 

What sort of budget have you got?

What do you want achieve with the pre-amp? (pre-amp only? effects? numerous different sounds? Etc.)

 

If it's "just" a preamp, there's plenty to choose from. Tech21 Sansamp or VT would be a good choice, tried and tested. There's a GK preamp in the For Sale section. The Two Notes Le Bass or the EBS Micro Bass II or III. Etc.

 

If you want to add effects, then you are in the realm of a modelling Multi-FX unit, OR, you could look at the Tech21 Bass Fly Rig, especially the V2, which looks great, and has the option of going between the BD and the VT channels.

 

Budget?

Aims?

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What is "almost" ampless? 🤔

 

How are you monitoring yourself?  One feature I like a lot on my EBS Stanley Clarke (and on my previous EBS MicroBass 3) is that its volume control affects the bass volume in my in-ears/active speaker, but not the DI.  So I can easily adjust for "more me" (or "less me") without affecting the FOH mix.

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I did this for a while and went through quite a few. The EBS Microbass always seemed to be the one that sounded most like having a rig behind me and was also the one that sound-men seemed to be most impressed with. If I went down this route again, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Microbass.

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I have the EBS Microbass 2 (third one I've owned now) and I have used these on tours without a rig. You have the ability to plug in and switch between two different basses. It has overdrive and the  fantastic HD350 pre amp ,A mute function and headphone amp.

As previously stated the DI is very high quality and I've always got good comments from sound engineers when using it. 

It also has a effects loop so you can plug in your toys. No aux in (there is on the MB3) but the FX return can be used as an aux in.

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I went through this too. Sansamp Bass DI, Tech 21 Fly Rig, GK Plex, Tech 21 VT Bass DI, Fender Downtown Express, Darkglass AO Ultra... Eventually settled (for now) on the Ashdown OriginAL.  I just love the sound that thing puts out. 

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I like the MXR M81. It's dead clean (if I want drive I'll use a separate pedal) and sounds great - with shiftable mids. Nice colour too, and takes batts, so a pretty ideal thing to have in your bag.

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I like preamp pedals (probably as I don't have a good amp!), they all seem to be quite different from each other as far as features/tones so there's potentially a lot to get through.

 

I've had Sansamp BBDI v2, EBS Microbass 2,  DHA VT1 EQ, Bass Simplifier, (and the smaller overdrive/preamp pedals like the Crimson Red and the Solid Gold FX Beta) and all were really good but quite different.

 

The issue I had with all of them if using at the end of the signal chain as a preamp was how they played with other pedals e.g. you can get a great tube type overdrive tone with the BBDI but if you  have something like a Fuzz or Envelope filter ahead of it lots of their tone gets muffled so you need to turn down the blend when using them and then turn it back when you want the sansamp overdrive. You can get around that knob twiddling a bit with the Bass Simplifier having 2x FX  loops and the Microbass A/B (or A+B) channels and FX loop but there were certain issues with doing those things and I found myself still having to either adjust the preamp pedals depending on what other pedals were being used with them or leave them in quite neutral settings to not keep needing to fiddle about.

 

I've just got a Sansamp VT Bass Deluxe that solves that issue for me: 6x presets all easily accessible on footswitches without menu diving, and a foot-switchable FX loop. So can do things like run an envelope filter ahead of the VT and then have a VT setting to reduce the highs and add a bit of overdrive to it,  or can put Fuzz in the FX loop and have a setting so the VT feeds it more mids, or settings where the VT is running a dubby EQ or an Overdrive (it has good overdrive tones).

 

....probably after a few months something else will catch my eye though!

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1 hour ago, SumOne said:

The issue I had with all of them if using at the end of the signal chain as a preamp was how they played with other pedals 

That's kind of my issue with most preamp pedals too. As most of them seem to have a DI out, it makes sense to have them at the end of your signal chain,but I like having my preamp/tone shaping at the start of the chain. So unless the pedal has an effects loop, I still generally use a seperate DI at the end.

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Good to hear that @SumOneis thoroughly enjoying the VT Bass Deluxe. A great pedal (just didn't "do it" for me unfortunately).

 

Kind of agree with @fretmeister, a Helix or a POD Go would meet the requirements nicely, but like I said earlier, what's the budget, and what do you want to achieve sound-wise? There again... Bass Fly Rig V2.

 

If the sounds required are varied, then a modelling multi-FX would be ideal. If you're just after a couple of solid sounds, then one of the pedal options would be a better choice (Bass Fly Rig V2).

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Loads of great suggestions. Thank you. Apologies for the vagueness of the opening post. 

I'm vague because I'm not sure precisely what my plan entails!

I'll probably be going straight into the X-air (and actually I discovered some pretty exciting options in the 'effects' list) I plan to use a Backbeat and put some of the higher frequencies of my bass into my monitor.

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Or if you have £1k burning a hole in your pocket there's the Noble or REDDI. I think I'd expect more from them than a DI/Preamp could ever do if I spent that amount though. 

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50 minutes ago, SumOne said:

Or if you have £1k burning a hole in your pocket there's the Noble or REDDI. I think I'd expect more from them than a DI/Preamp could ever do if I spent that amount though. 

Beyond my means I'm afraid. The idea is to use what I have. I just thought a preamp pedal might be fun. One with an effects loop would be super.

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1 hour ago, stewblack said:

Beyond my means I'm afraid. The idea is to use what I have. I just thought a preamp pedal might be fun. One with an effects loop would be super.

Yeah, I don't expect they will ever be within my means...and even if they were I'm not sure I could justify spending that. 

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2 hours ago, stewblack said:

Loads of great suggestions. Thank you. Apologies for the vagueness of the opening post. 

I'm vague because I'm not sure precisely what my plan entails!

I'll probably be going straight into the X-air (and actually I discovered some pretty exciting options in the 'effects' list) I plan to use a Backbeat and put some of the higher frequencies of my bass into my monitor.


Maybe ask the question a different way....
How is a HX stomp not the right answer? 

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I like the Fishman Platinum Pro.

 

Some folk think it's just for upright but it handles electric bass for me 🙂

 

Light and compact, great range of frequencies covered by the 5 band EQ. Comes with a tuner and compressor.  

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To sound like an amp? Sansamp Paradriver

Clean? Fishman or maybe the MXR (love the 80, haven't tried the 81)

Cheap? Studiospares 458190

Currently though I'm on my second Helix... 

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I moved my Helix Stomp on, swapped it for an HX FX which suited me better. I never saw the day coming when I might go down this route.

And to be fair this is just an idea right now. It might not work, but if it does it could save a lot time setting up.

One potential problem is how the rest of the band hear me. But really, they are responsible for their own monitor needs.

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I use a FIshman Platinum Pro, this one:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/fishman_platinum_pro_eq.htm

 

The reason I like it so much is that is has everything I may need and nothing I don't, every function has a dedicated knob so quick adjustments are as easy as they would be on an amp or pedal with no screens. Here's the features I use the most on it:

 

- Accurate tuner (with mute function!), switchable with bright screen.

- One knob compression which sounds great.

- Switchable boost

- Sweepable mid control

- HPF (not the best but handy on boomy stages)

- Brilliance control, handy for rolling off excess treble/click while retaining your core sound

- Notch filter

- Phase inversion

 

Obviously the actual preamp in there is quality and the DI is super clean, this replaced a small pedalboard (Korg tuner, MXR M80 and an EBS Multicomp) with a single pedal and actually gave me more usable functionality while also fitting into the top pocket of my Gator ProGo Deluxe! If you like clean sounds then it would have to be on your list, especially if you double on acoustic guitar or upright bass as all the eq points are switchable (one switch for guitar/bass mode) and the filters are handy for acoustic instruments.

 

If it failed or was stolen I would order another one straight away.

Edited by lemmywinks
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I’m a “one sound for the band” kind of guy, once it’s set it stays on that for the whole gig/rehearsal, so I don’t need changes for songs or solos. As such I’ve two, depending on sound needed:

 

For my old punk sound I have the Sansamp Para Driver

 

For my classic rock sound I have the Ashdown OriginAL

 

I’d say for a more generic bass sound the Ashdown wins it. The Para Driver more screams “look at me, here I am” but the Ashdown is perfect for a supporting bass role. 

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On 30/07/2021 at 14:27, SumOne said:

I like preamp pedals (probably as I don't have a good amp!), they all seem to be quite different from each other as far as features/tones so there's potentially a lot to get through.

 

I've had Sansamp BBDI v2, EBS Microbass 2,  DHA VT1 EQ, Bass Simplifier, (and the smaller overdrive/preamp pedals like the Crimson Red and the Solid Gold FX Beta) and all were really good but quite different.

 

The issue I had with all of them if using at the end of the signal chain as a preamp was how they played with other pedals e.g. you can get a great tube type overdrive tone with the BBDI but if you  have something like a Fuzz or Envelope filter ahead of it lots of their tone gets muffled so you need to turn down the blend when using them and then turn it back when you want the sansamp overdrive. You can get around that knob twiddling a bit with the Bass Simplifier having 2x FX  loops and the Microbass A/B (or A+B) channels and FX loop but there were certain issues with doing those things and I found myself still having to either adjust the preamp pedals depending on what other pedals were being used with them or leave them in quite neutral settings to not keep needing to fiddle about.

 

I've just got a Sansamp VT Bass Deluxe that solves that issue for me: 6x presets all easily accessible on footswitches without menu diving, and a foot-switchable FX loop. So can do things like run an envelope filter ahead of the VT and then have a VT setting to reduce the highs and add a bit of overdrive to it,  or can put Fuzz in the FX loop and have a setting so the VT feeds it more mids, or settings where the VT is running a dubby EQ or an Overdrive (it has good overdrive tones).

 

....probably after a few months something else will catch my eye though!

+1

The Tech21 VT Bass DI Deluxe is a versatile pre that offers Analogue flexibility. No fancy displays just use your ears to assign 6 tones to each of the preset footswitches. DI out for FOH and 2nd output jack for backline or powered monitor. Simples.

Edited by JohnDaBass
Grammar
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