MXR M80 vs Sadowky Outboard Pre

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by manchild, Jan 22, 2014.


  1. manchild

    manchild

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    Been reading a lot of threads about each of these but would like a more direct comparrison.

    Im looking to use either as a clean DI only.

    I know they have different EQ, however, how do they compare when both are flat?

    I have heard the the MXR can be a bit sterile and that the Sadowski is 'aggressive' sounding?

    I use a passive P bass.

    Cheers
     
  2. DagoMaino

    DagoMaino Supporting Member

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    Interested. I own a M80 and had the Sadowski on the build list coming up to try...
     
  3. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

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    The M80 isn't necessarily sterile, but it is clean. I think it actually has a bit of a modern rock voicing to it, especially compared to something like the VTBassDI. I've never played with the Sadowsky but it always seemed to me more geared to the modern jazz and active pup slap kind of sound.

    What's your use and what tone are you going after?
     
  4. manchild

    manchild

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    Im not sure what kind of sound im looking for really :/
    Just something bigger/fuller/fatter sounding before i go FOH i guess. Would you say M80 sounds modern rock in the sense that it is 'grindy' and rough sounding?
     
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  6. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

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    No, modern rock as in ever so slightly scooped. With the colour switch engaged it has a more scooped and more signature sounding MXR EQ curve. It's still very clean, just voiced more for modern rock as opposed to vintage tube type stuff. The only way to get any kind of grind or nastiness is to engage the Distortion side, which is a modern, harsh distortion more than any kind of dirt or grind.

    IMO the M80 is great at adding some life to a bass signal going into FOH without overtly coloring the tone by default. I used it as a DI box when I had it, using the parallel out to my amp so that my stage signal was unaffected. I only swapped it out for a VTBassDI because I play a little Ampeg head most of the time and wanted to get closer to that sound in the house mix.

    EDIT: Honestly, the only reason I bother with tone going to FOH is for the times I happen to get a board recording. Otherwise, I'm not convinced it matters much in most of the little places I play. The house mix will sound like what the soundguy wants it to be.
     
  7. manchild

    manchild

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    Yeah thats true. Athough you could ask them to leave the eq flat? With that in mind though - anyone got any opinions about how the Sadowsky sounds compared to the M 80?
     
  8. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

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  9. manchild

    manchild

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    Thanks but im the UK. Would look for it second hand here :)
     
  10. manchild

    manchild

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    Anyone else tried either of these as a DI?
     
  11. Eublet

    Eublet Supporting Member

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    Yes. The MXR is nice if you like it. The color button is useless tone suck however IMHO. Completely removes all mids to such a degree that it's worthless for me. The distortion in the MXR is also worthless to me since it's very much of the "Rat" variety and I can't stand that distortion. So basically it's a good as a clean DI with some EQ options that'll let you give some gentle push to your bass where you need it.

    On the MXR, I'd look elsewhere myself if you want that feature set. I'd recommend the Tone Hammer, because it does all that plus gives you a sweepable mid and a real overdrive option. I've been an enthusiastic TH user for years now and ALWAYS get the highest compliments when I use it as a DI to the house. No matter how I set the thing up (clean, dirty, modern, vintage, whatever) people tell me afterward that my bass sounded great in the house. Best investment I've ever made.

    The Sadowsky is totally different from the MXR or Tone Hamer in that it's hard to describe what it does to your tone. The two band EQ seems limiting but I'll be gosh darned if that thing just works every time you need it to. The lows will get bigger yet stay tight. The highs get crisper and cleaner the more you turn it up and never harsh. Sound engineers always rave over the Sadowsky sound when used as a DI to the board. Seriously it's just something special and thousands of players on TB and elsewhere can attest to that. Great DI and I've owned a couple then sold them. I sell them because I love my Tone Hammer so much that they don't get used as often, but the Sadowsky really does some things that honestly no other preamp on the market does quite as well.

    So in short, the MXR is good and some will love it, but IMHO there is nothing special or endearing about it. The Tone Hammer is more versatile and is where I'd look if you want mid control and something that can cut through the mix or lay back and fill things out. The Sadowsky is what you want if you are after a super clean, modern tone that is big and powerful with no fuss. The Tone Hammer will do 100 things the Sadowsky will never do, and do them all really well. The Sadowsky can do 1 think the Tone Hammer will never do and it'll totally kill at that one thing such that you might never want anything else afterward. That's the only way I know to describe it.
     
  12. enricogaletta

    enricogaletta

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    Between these two I will definitely took the Sadowsky outboard.
    It's the perfect match with the type of your bass tone. I will definitely take it.
    Anyway, because as I read in some previous post, they are really different between each other, if you have a chance, try both of them.
    Cheers.

    www.enricogaletta.com
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  13. Kosko

    Kosko

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    Howabout the Sadowsky inboard? I was thinking of replacing my controls with the fancy Sadowsky onboard pre. I've got a Lakland DJ5 btw, it's awesome, but it can feel a bit lifeless at times.
     
  14. manchild

    manchild

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    Thanks for the advice guys. Out of interest - would you still use a preamp like the Sad/TH/M80 if you use an active bass or would you just use a assive DI?

    I always think that it leaves your sound little naked if you run DI/FOH without any tone 'enhancement' - what are your thoughts?
     
  15. manchild

    manchild

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    Hi Kosko - Yeah I know the onboard is prob better than outboard from what I read on here, however I have a passive Yammah BB and it would take a bit of work to do and I need a DI anyway.
     
  16. DagoMaino

    DagoMaino Supporting Member

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    Thanks for this comparison. I'm planning on buying the TH (the youtube demos sold me) but you also convinced me to move forward with building the Sadowski to drive my new preamp/power amp rig.
     
  17. manchild

    manchild

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    Out of interest, in terms of describing their sound/tone. Which one would you say colours the tone the most and which is most transparent?
     
  18. Eublet

    Eublet Supporting Member

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    Calling the DJ lifeless is some kind of punishable sin I'm sure. :D

    The Sadowsky pre won't go in a DJ without serious modifications to the bass and the preamp. You have to route a side jack on the bass, and then you have to mod the preamp to fit the Dj's curved plate. Not worth it IMHO. Just use the outboard Sadowsky if you want that sound.
     
  19. Eublet

    Eublet Supporting Member

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    You can use them with any bass you want. The pairing might be better with some basses rather than others, but that would seldom have anything to do with them being active or passive.

    I disagree personally. Nothing "naked" about it to me, just different. For example, a good sounding passive jazz bass with zero preamp enhancements will work every time, in any situation. No fancy preamp required. I like preamps because of what I want to hear myself sound like when I play. So in a sense, for me, using any preamp is me being a little selfish, but thinking that the FOH or audience needs such things in order for a the bass to sound great is fooling yourself IMHO.
     
  20. Eublet

    Eublet Supporting Member

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    I disagree here also. Same preamp. The only reason the onboard might be better is because it's less gear to carry around. There are also cons to having an onboard versus an outboard. I love passive basses, so an outboard pre wins every time simply because I can use one preamp one time, and then another one the next time. They still sound great and work fantastic, but I'm not stuck using one preamp in my bass all the time. Win, win.
     
  21. Eublet

    Eublet Supporting Member

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    It's hard to say because of the different ways you can run each DI.

    Set flat, without the color or distortion turned on, I'd say the MXR is the least colored of the three. The Sadowsky, with the EQ at minimum is probably 2nd, and the TH set flat without the AGS is a very close 3rd. All of those threes won't really change your tone that much right out of the gate. The TH will sound a little warmer, while the Sadowsky will sound a little crisper.

    From there, the Sadowsky only gets bigger, fatter, crisper, and never warmer. The TH can go crisp, fat, lean, thin, agressive, modern, whatever. Very versatile preamp. Then you can turn on the AGS and go for all kinds of vintage glass, grind, etc.

    The MXR has a lot of tones in it also, but I personally feel that most of them aren't very useful. The EQ is a fixed 3 band, so it is really only good for adding some thickness, highs, and controlling the amount of mid presence at a fixed frequency. The color button is a preset that instantly removes all mids completely. Heavily colored, but not in a useful way. Then that distortion circuit is very cheesy sounding to me. It's not like an overdrive sound at all, but more like a cheap effect. I suppose folks who like Rat-style distortions will like it, but to me it sounds like crap no matter what you do.

    If you can only have one preamp/DI, I think the Tone Hammer is what folks should have. That's just me. It does so many things exceptionally well that it's a must have for me. The only exception is the Sadowsky, which only does one thing well. Very much a one trick pony, but that pony is so freakin awesome that you might never want another one.
     

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