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Not happy with OD pedals - is a tube amp really better?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

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    In our blues/jazz/rock power trio I sometimes feel a need to find a bit dirtier sound for some songs. We do Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Scott Henderson, Ray Charles etc. I already have both the EBS MultiDrive and the VT Bass and none of them seem to work well at high volume.
    I have rather neutral sounding EBS 210 speakers or Ampeg SVT-410HLF with a darker, slightly grainier tone and use either LMII or SS pre + PA power amp. My basses good, a very nice Precision, an EMG loaded Jazz or a Longhorn.

    The tones I get work fine at home for modest SPL but during rehearsal all that remains is a "hardly audible" sputtering fuzz (OK, somewhat exaggerated...) Basically there is a mids/highs OD "riding" on top of the lows regardless how I set the controls. I have even run my rig in stereo, one clean, one dirty to enhance the effect to, no avail.

    I get none of that "raging" tone or growl I hear on all kinds of recordings. I have gigged on SVTs a couple of times and while they hardly are "raging SPL monsters" they get a certain, deep growl I would like to have available in a pedal. Is it a tube amp that I miss or is there any better pedals? Darkglass?
  2. mjmeche

    mjmeche Supporting Member

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  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A cranked SVT can induce nausea in me. I consider that a raging SPL monster ;)

    Clearly, power tube overdrive is better sounding than pedal overdrive, but pedals can sound really good as well. It's very tricky to do bass overdrive, though. Tweeters can flat out ruin the sound of it, and levels are very hard to set unless you set them in a band context. I've also found you need to increase the bass response in some of them. I always give the VT a bass boost when I use overdrive. And if yours has a speaker sim and you use the tweeter otherwise, turn it on.

    Picking a bass OD is a personal quest, too, and though I really like the VT, it's not for everyone.
  4. M0ses

    M0ses

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    A big guess, but if you like the sound you get a low volume, it might help to ask your guitarist to turn down the bass on his EQ. Also I find that, at gig volume, I can double the mid bump I practice at and end up sounding basically the same.
  5. HeavyJazz77

    HeavyJazz77 Supporting Member

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    I'm allergic to lentils, lima beans and Hip-Hop.
    It's only as matter of time before the inevitable recommendation... I was thoroughly impressed when I got mine. Overdrive is a slippery slope in the world of bass (in my experience).
  6. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks. Supporting Member

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    Give these a shot:
    Myco Three (actual tube OD)
    Darkglass Vintage Microtubes
    Hardwire Tube Overdrive (tubescreamer variant)
    DHA VT-1 (if you can find one)
    Creation Audio Holy Fire
  7. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

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    Jimmy's right about tweeters... try turning any and all tweeters off, then try your OD pedals. As far as pedals go, I think the Dark Glass VMT is an excellent overdriven tube amp kind of pedal.
  8. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Supporting Member

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    I use Tubes and Bass OD pedals. What does that say about me?
  9. tooley

    tooley

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    For me I never liked distortion untill I ran it infront of a tube amp. theres just something about overdriving those tubes that sounds right to me. So maybe try find someone with a tube amp. Thatll let you have a play & try some od pedals in front of to see if thats more to your liking.
  10. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it. Supporting Member

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    I run a Ibanez TS9DX Turbo Tube Screamer running through my effects loop (Ampeg PF-350 through a Eden EX410SC4), and I get a mean growl with lots of low end. Have you tried running some distortion through the effects loop?
  11. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Lots of the meaty goodness in valve overdrive for bass is in the power section, so stuff with preamp valves only doesn't really go there. Find some full valve amps of about 100w to try out.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    It says you don't want to get your band fired for playing too loud. An honorable pursuit ;)
  13. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm going to toss in a great OD suggestion from JohnK...Joya Ultimate Drive. For $31 (Amazon) you should give it a shot. I and many others are loving them. A cheap mans OCD and good at retaining low end.

    I use it on guitar in front of tube amps (that's all I have) and bass amps both tube and SS. It sounds great on everything and I have and have had a bunch of others in the past. I like this one quite a bit. It's NOT cranked SVT in a box but has it's own voice, a little vintage dirt. For the price I bought 3 just in case 2 take a powder one day.

    Good luck in your tonequest
  14. chaosMK

    chaosMK

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    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    How aggressively do you play? That is key to me in terms of getting a snarling OD tone. No pedal is going to make your light touch magically sound beastly.
  15. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    Stand your ebs cabs up tall. Ditch the hlf.

    Dial in more lower mids. Turn the VLE off, as in all the way counterclockwise.

    Dial out some bass in the guitar.

    Use more meaty finger strokes closer to the neck.

    Most loud blues bands could easily turn everyone down a notch and use far more dynamic contrast.
  16. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

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    If you are using the tube sim on the EBS then you have 3 amp sims in a row including your amp. Try feeding a distortin that doesn't do cab sim into your VTbass and then run your VTbass directly into a power amp or the effects return of your amp head.

    I run the following Wounded paw attack goat -> MXR bass Fuzz Deluxe -> Pork Loin -> VTbass -> powered monitor with sub. It takes some tweaking to get it dialed in, but I get like 7 different flavors of overdrive. The pork loin take a lot of dialing in as it has some pots inside. I got it dialed in and now I forget how to do it but it sounds good.

    VTbass always sounds best on the end for me. You could probably get what you are looking for with the Pork Loin into the VTbass. It sounds really good in the band mix. For me the key is to have a pedal with a blendable dry signal running into the VTbass. All of my pedals have this feature. I had really good luck with a bass muff into the VTbass too, but its definitely more of a fuzz sound.
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Don't just TalkBass - PlayBass! Supporting Member

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    I have been on that never ending quest for the perfect OD; recently, I bought a tc electronic MOJOMOJO that so far is close to that perfection, for me. :cool:
  18. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Don't just TalkBass - PlayBass! Supporting Member

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    Like this one?



    :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  19. dukeisdog

    dukeisdog Supporting Member

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    +1

    Heavy hands go a long way. I can make just about any bass growl with my picking technique. I find that my tube amps really respond to my OD pedals, but have a naturally fat aggressive tone to them too.
  20. IntrepidCellist

    IntrepidCellist Supporting Member

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    Tube amp overdrive, even if it's preamp tubes, generally sounds better to me than pedals.

    That said, I'd recommend the Aguilar Tone Hammer. Quite a beastly, thick raging overdrive sound from a little, affordable box.

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