Preamp DI - what have you tried?

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BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
For my live rig I have a small board with wireless receiver, tuner, and an Ampeg SCR-DI on. 

I either run that into the front of the head, or the FX return depending on the room.

Broadly I am happy. It's a good setup and I like it. 

However, I'd like to try some other Preamp/DIs to see what they are like. What have you tried and how did you like it?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    As a for instance, I've been having a mooch on the Dave Hall Amps page and his range of valve-driven preamps look pretty interesting:

    http://www.davehallamps.co.uk/page53aa.html


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  • I couldn't recommend the Sadowsky more... it's their built in Preamp in a stomp with a DI and tuner out. One or two on Basschat at the moment. Hate working without it!
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 449
    Interested in this, as I'm planning on checking out preamps soon – I need a multi-purpose pedal that'll work as a light OD, as added EQ, and as an extra or emergency DI. 

    The Dr J Sparrow is on my list, it's reputed to be a sort of SansAmp clone, it's very small and at £60 sounds like a real low-budget bargain – maybe the bass equivalent to the Joyo American Sound. 
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  • Alphabetically quick stream of consciousness on the preamps I've had, I'll include preamp pedals without DI.

    Aguilar Tone Hammer - Excellent clean section.  Sweepable mid very handy, bass can get really deep and subby, treble gets bright but isn't harsh in the way a Stingray 3EQ pre can be for example.  Drive section sounds good but very vintage warm kind of sounding when pushed unless you drop the mids a lot.  No separate volume for drive section can mean it's not that useful as a 2 channel pedal, and you'd possibly want a totally different EQ for the drive section anyway as the EQ is pre drive IIRC. 

    Boss BB1X - Sounded ok but lack of mid control and gain not going clean enough (for my liking) meant it wasn't that much use to me.  Kind of like an idealised Sansamp kind of sound, gets a bit fuzzy IIRC when gain is higher but not in a way I personally liked.  Sparkly blue paint is cool though!

    Boss ODB3 - I like this pedal but I can see why a lot of people don't.  It gets very bright up top and feels like it should have a LPF on the drive section, though my guess is it's designed to be used with an amp and speaker cab that will shave off those highs at this stage.  A bit noisy, and way too much gain available meaning the useful (to me) range on the gain knob is very small.  It kind of does a tone that is somewhere between a fuzz and a distortion, possibly not what most people would use as a primary sound but I like it.

    Darkglass Alpha Omega - Excellent pedal.  Probably my favourite general Darkglass one, sounds bigger and meatier than the Vintage/BxK pedals.  Not the tightest sound at higher gain levels but this is probably why it sounds better at lower and more medium settings.  Lots of sounds in it from the blendable drive circuits.  Only 2 positions on the switches (vs 3 on the BxK/Vintage) but they give extra sounds that are quite usable - if a bit too loose at times with the low end.

    Darkglass B3K - Great pedal, very versatile despite so few controls.  Can add a little hair or an outright distorted sound.  Feels good to play an works well with any bass I've tried it with.  Since updated to V2 which I have not tried.  Would be happy to have this as my only pedal if space was tight tbh.

    Darkglass B7K - Mine sounded the same as my B3K but added DI and mid controls.  In hindsight I shouldn't have got rid of this but I wanted the Ultra.  Since updated to V2 which I have not tried.

    Darkglass B7K Ultra - Sounds different (less aggressive) than my B3K, still same family of sound but I sometimes still prefer the B3K I still have.  Separation of clean EQ and drive very handy, selectable mid frequencies less handy than you'd expect due to agressive EQ curve of drive circuit (IMHO they picked the right ones on the B7K already).

    Darkglass Vintage Ultra - This sounds fatter than the BxK but is noticeably tighter than the Alpha Omega.  I actually use this more often than the BxK pedals, it's still capable of getting pretty high gain but it wants to eat up less attention in the higher mids (where the BxK likes to poke right through).  Just with how the distortion circuit sounds I find the switchable mid points more useful on this than the B7KU.

    EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff DI - I mean it has DI but I don't find DI'ing a Muff sound that useful.  YMMV, it does what it says on the tin!  I found the filters a bit resonant for my liking, if they were less resonant then I'd probably have kept the pedal as it sounded cool and on paper the filters were a good option.

    Hartke VXL Bass Attack - Cheap, sounds similar to Sansamp Bass Driver/RBI but has a few drawfbacks.  Firstly the bass and treble controls are always active even when the pedal is off.  Secondly the Shape control can drastically change the sound (and low end) but doesn't have it's own volume setting... so not necessarily that useful to have on it's own footswitch.  It's also really big.

    MXR M80 - Really like the clean section of this pedal.  IIRC the bass is voiced at 60hz which I found could work nicely (Aguilar TH voiced lower at 40hz and Sansamp/Darkglass generally 80-100hz).  Colour section kind of sounds like a less scooped clean version of a Sansamp type EQ curve.  Drive section I didn't get on with as well, sounds ok but less dynamic than the Darkglass and Sansamp type pedals.  Colour is automatically on (and not able to be switched off) in the drive circuit, meaning your dry tone significantly changes from the clean side of the pedal if you weren't running the colour on in clean... this means it's not always that useful as a 2 channel pedal. 

    Sansamp RBI - Rack version of the Bass Driver pedal.  It excels at adding in a little bit of grit to your signal but higher gain sounds are quite loose and a bit harsh.  Quite a noticeable scoop on the drive sound which you can balance with blend and the mids control.  Works especially well with stock Fender type sounds, less well with bright and deep active type basses IME.  For my tastes it only really does a few shades of one sound, but it's a sound I like.

    Tech 21 VT Bass DI - Ok this pedal probably has the most sounds out of it from all the pedals I've tried, but it's also potentially the clankiest/harshest, and also potentially the most fiddly to dial in.  It'll do everything from warm deep and soft-ish cleans to harsh tight drives but the character control has a big effect on the mid and gain voicing so you find yourself turning multiple controls to compensate for the change in character... it is a good pedal though maybe not one if you don't like tweaking.

    I can't think of any others right now, but the ones I'd recommend as Preamp DIs are the DG AO, Darkglass VU, and Tone Hammer if you only want 1 sound (either a clean pre with EQ, or a warmish amp kind of sound).  The T21/Sansamp stuff is great if you don't want to spend Darkglass money and want some drive options, but personally I do think the DG stuff is easier to get a good sound from (assuming you pick the appropriate one). 
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  • I couldn't recommend the Sadowsky more... it's their built in Preamp in a stomp with a DI and tuner out. One or two on Basschat at the moment. Hate working without it!
    I'd love to try this but have heard the Aguilar Tone Hammer's bass and treble controls are supposedly similar, and the TH does more, and I can't really justify both.  Have stuck a few in my eBay watch list as and when they've come up but never pulled the trigger.
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  • @guitarfishbay I've had them both, and kept the Sadowsky... magic!
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6032
    edited November 14
    @guitarfishbay I've had them both, and kept the Sadowsky... magic!
    Ah damn. Now I want one again!
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    Wow. Great response there guys! Loads of options to try out! 

    How do some one of the cheaper options stack up, I wonder?
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  • Behringer do a BDI21 which is supposed to be in the Sansamp Bass Driver kind of ballpark but I haven’t tried it.


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    Behringer do a BDI21 which is supposed to be in the Sansamp Bass Driver kind of ballpark but I haven’t tried it.


    I shall have a look at that. I see Thomann do a Harley doo dah one as well. I bet that's a rebadged Behringer.

    I might take a look at the ElectroHarmonix one as well

    Also keen to try one with a valve Preamp stage too
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  • What sound are you going for specifically? I’m guessing this is for use with a P bass?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    What sound are you going for specifically? I’m guessing this is for use with a P bass?
    Yeah. Almost exclusively with P basses ;)

    Specifically:

    64 P (warm, lots of overtones, plenty of punch but refined)
    74P (more punch and thump, less refined, less overtones)
    51 style P partscaster with a SD quarter pounder in it
    PJ Partscaster with dimarzios in it 
    (a new semi-hollow P probably with a split coil when it gets built)

    I would post a sound clip of the band so you can hear the context but we are still mixing, so it's not finished and ready for general release yet (shame!) but if you think rock/Americana/counting crows then you aren't too far off.

    The Ampeg SCR-DI warms up the P tone nicely and it fits in the mix well, but it is a bit of a one trick pony, and I'd like to try some others (even if they are a pony with a different trick)
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  • I use the Hartke and the Behringer. Both are ok
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    I use the Hartke and the Behringer. Both are ok
    Is the Hartke distinctive in tone or a bit "samey"?
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  • @Bridgehouse  ;What do you mean by "samey"? Y
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    @Bridgehouse  ;What do you mean by "samey"? Y
    Is it a fairly stock sound - sort of tube/SVT like or does it do something a bit different?
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  • @Bridgehouse  What do you mean by "samey"? Y
    Is it a fairly stock sound - sort of tube/SVT like or does it do something a bit different?
    I'm not massively familiar with the genre you've listed.

    However if you want something really contrasting to the SVT kind of sound the Darkglass Alpha Omega would be my top pic (budget permitting).  It can do a lot more than just the high gain sound that it typically gets demoed with, plus with the blend and drive low you can get variations on a nice meaty lightly driven sound too.

    Bear with this demo, there's a playthrough of settings on a P bass, it covers a lot of ground some of which I assume is too extreme for your uses but hopefully there are useful sounds in there too.



    For a longer P bass playthrough with lots of talking.


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    @guitarfishbay - thanks for that, useful and I shall watch later.

    I am not necessarily looking for just one, as I use my DI so much I may well build up a collection so I can mix and match
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    Oh, and once the albums mixed I'll post some tracks so you can see the sort of band context 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1473
    edited November 14
    Seymour Duncan SFX-06 Paranormal pedal.



    Essentially, their STC-3A bass guitar active EQ circuitry, transplanted into a metal box and paired with an XLR balanced output socket. Footswitches govern the bypass and preset Slap Contour function. There is no pre-amp/gain stage to speak of. 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    Seymour Duncan SFX-06 Paranormal pedal.

    Essentially, their STC-3A bass guitar active EQ circuitry, transplanted into a metal box and paired with an XLR balanced output socket. Footswitches govern the bypass and preset Slap Contour function. There is no pre-amp/gain stage to speak of. 
    That's another one for the list then ;)

    I'm going to be skint real quick at this rate!
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1473
    Are you looking to acquire gear or just canvassing opinions? 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8621
    Are you looking to acquire gear or just canvassing opinions? 
    I think I'm canvassing opinions, but I may then acquire.  Mrs B asked the far-too-early "whaddaya want for Christmas?" Question earlier (she likes shopping early) - so I thought a list of potential DI pedals might be a good thing..
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  • @Bridgehouse I use the Hartke very straightforwardly just to get run of the mill sounds. Generally I have everything flat but increase the knob that adds the valve like warmth to suit my mood or the room.
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  • Another option... a Way Huge Pork Loin and a £25 Orchid Electronics Micro DI box. The Pork Loin does the dark SVT thing well, and has a great clean blend to keep things tidy. The Orchid won in a shootout of plain DI boxes we did, is only bested my my Khan Tube DI! 
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  • Yeah I rate the Orchid DI too, I have the bigger version, great value for money.

    Some guitar pedals do work quite nicely, especially if you have a clean blend pedal.

    I quite like the Boss BD2 for a little bit of hair.  The MD2 makes for a surprisingly good high gain bass sound but again needs a clean blend to bring the lows back in.


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  • I got one of these just for the hell of it
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-MIC200-Ultragain-Vacuum-Preamplifier/dp/B0002E51PI
    I haven't used it a lot but it's worked OK with everything I've tried plugging into it (mics, guitars, maybe bass but can't rightly remember)

    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs.
    Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!
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