Swell Bass Tube Overdrive

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by MSUsousaphone, Jan 25, 2012.


  1. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    About a month ago I was set in my tube/OD department and looking to expand my fuzz-verse and maybe pickup a phaser (while always scoping out Bongo's compressor reviews because one of those is always on my back burner). I put a pedal up in the classifieds and asked for trade offers. Someone offered me the Swell B-TOD V1. I haven't looked back....for this entire month. :ninja:

    I wouldn't consider myself a veteran of ODs. I've had a GT10-B, a Sansamp BDDI, and the only tube/OD I've had was my B3K. Others on this forum would look at someone with 20 of these guys under their belt and call them a noob. So I'm not pretending to be an expert. Just passing on my opinion.

    To give a brief overview, Swell is a small company based in Nashville that I have no affiliation with (and get no discounts from). The name is a bit unfortunate in that if I started a thread titled "Swell B-TOD", a lot of people would think I was trying to pimp some sort pansy swell pedal (nothing could be further from the truth) and quickly pass over it. Their vacuum tube pedals are the "union of classic tube technology coupled with innovative circuit designs". They have two footswitches on the pedals giving you the flexibility to switch between two different gain levels without having to bend over and mess with stuff. Bass-wise, they offer three types of tube/OD pedals; The B-TOD (high gain), B-PRO (mid gain), and the B-DRIVE (low gain). They also have a bass boost pedal. The newer versions have FAT and CUT switches to further help shape the tone but the one I have doesn't have them...so I can't attest to them.

    Anyways, getting to it, I got this thing in expecting to try to flip it for a profit and it's kicked all other ODs off my board and I'm now saving to get a new model. I use a custom Status Graphite bass and play through an Eden Nemesis head and a full on Eden stack with 115 and 410 cabs. So my clean tone is pristine crystal clear solid stateness. The B-TOD completely takes that sound and transforms it into a vintage tube amp. Other pedals compared to the Swell are like gold coating on a nickel ring. The B-TOD is like alchemy. Totally changes the sound with no trace of the solid state in there. And it has a ton of gain. To be honest, it's a bit too much gain for my taste, and when I buy a new one I'll be looking at the B-PRO. But for those looking to get so much gain it goes into fuzz territories, the B-TOD is the beast for you.

    It surprises me how quiet it is when not playing. I'm used to pedals with this much grit and dirt being noisier. I didn't notice a thing and with my rig, it's pretty easy to notice the slightest bit of buzzing. The thing I love is that it works great with active and passive basses. My pickups are active and very hot...so I've been having to deal a lot with pedals that aren't friendly with my guy.

    I know that's a lot of dough to throw on a pedal. And usually when it gets that high, I need a lot of reviews to get me to even start considering looking at something. Well here's one. I sent my B-TOD out on a little minitour. Those people will hopefully give some reviews and they're more experienced than me. Once it gets back, I'm flipping it to fund a new Swell B-PRO V3. PM me if you want to give the V1 a try before I flip it....I would love to send it to whomever wants to try it out....but I'm also anxious to get the tour done so I can buy a new one. :D

    But let me know and I'll see if I can get it out to you.

    Again, I'm not affiliated with Swell in any way. I'm just extremely grateful for everything this forum has done for my sound and want to give a little back. I also want to give a little hype to a company that hasn't gotten much but deserves to get a lot more....well...they won "Best of Show" at NAMM...so they DO get hype. Just not much in the forums I frequent.


    EDIT...here's a video of all three bass pedals in action that gets added on page 2.
     
  2. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Ooooooh man. I forgot about the fun part. Playing around with all the customization available when you "create" your own pedal. I've been playing around with the color combos for about two weeks, now. They're also pretty nice you e-mail them totally ignorant questions. :smug:
     
  3. insomniac2295

    insomniac2295

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    I don't think that the B3K isn't a tube overdrive. Good review though. I always like it when someone gives a full hearted review of something and even starts a separate thread on it versus just mentioning it in the middle of an already very long thread.
    I'd love to hear some clips of this!
     
  4. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    First stop on the B-TOD Swelling Across America Tour...my house, in Gainesville,Fl.
    Let me Qualify. I have had numerous ODs/Dist. My faves that I didn't keep being BAT Black Forest, IE QF2, Darkglass B3K. I currently have Dr Scientist The Elements, Creepy Fingers Doomidrive AND a DHA VT2-STD-EQ (much less all of the FUZZ). The DHA is a tube OD. It also has 2 channels. I use the DHA as an always on pre-amp, I use a tube head, an Eden 300T and an Avatar Neo 2-12 as my gig rig, and at the house a 1974 Univox 100 watt tube head into a GK neo 4-10. So I am coming from a different angle than Sousa. I pretty much use the DHA on a lower gain setting to get my clean tone close to the edge of break-up.
    My first impressions of the Swell are...WOW what a rad pedal. There is a lot of gain on tap here. I can get that low gain for my "clean" tone very easily. That is between 1-2 on this pedal (it is marked 1-10). On the first channel of the DHA it is definately further along the dial.
    The 2nd gain channel is BAWLSY! It is some serious dirt.
    I will do a side by side comparision. The one thing that concerns me about the pedal is that there is only 4 knobs. 2 gain, a tone, and volume. I am really into lots of EQing possibilities so...
    The head to head with the DHA is coming tomorrow night.:bassist:
     
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  6. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Yeah, I wish I was touring the V3 so that it could have that FAT and CUT controls. Would give it a little more control of the tone. Ain't no way it can have as much knobs as that DHA, though. That thing be loaded down. I guess it IS an EQ pedal, also, while the Swell doesn't try to be.
     
  7. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    I know, I know. I like the voicing of the pedal, I just want to compare it to the how I already have the DHA set for cutting through in my band. Bonus, the Swell is going to band practice with me on Friday.
     
  8. ricknote

    ricknote Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville
  9. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Ok. I didn't think about it from that angle. I'm used to just setting my main EQ on my amp and then any small tweaking I need done between pedals I'll do on my bass. Cool to hear.

    Man, Rick. You shoulda set me straight two years ago. Haha. :D
     
  10. cybersnyder

    cybersnyder Always groove.... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbia, Md
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist: Xsonics cabinets
    Interested in a B-Drive, but at $350 without being able to try it's unlikely that I'll pull the trigger.
     
  11. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    They do have dealers. Check their website out.
     
  12. cybersnyder

    cybersnyder Always groove.... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbia, Md
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist: Xsonics cabinets
    I checked a lot of dealers listed, just go to BassClubChicago as the rest either didn't list the pedal or had old versions listed.

    Is the record out an XLR?
     
  13. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    The V1 I had was not...it was...whatever normal instrument cables are....to be highly technical.
     
  14. behndy

    behndy

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    California
    innnnnnntereeeeeeeesssssssssssssssstinnnnnnnnnnng.
     
  15. MSUsousaphone

    MSUsousaphone

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lake Charles, La
    Disclosures:
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Hey CySny, you want in on the minitour? Since you're looking to go low gain and what I have is the V1 high gain...it won't be exactly what you're looking at but it will be....something.
     
  16. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    A little update. I did some comparision with my DHA. The charater of the gain the Swell has is more extreme on the first channel at 1 (this pedal has 1-10 marked on it) than my DHA 1st channel at 1 o'clock! The Swell B-TOD just screams and roars. It sounds so good :bassist:. There really is no way to compare the Swell B-TOD with my DHA VT-STD-EQ. Just because they both have tubes and 2 channels. The B-TOD is more comparable to my DR Scientist The Elements which I use for real high gain. So the rest of my time with the pedal will spent using it in that spot on my board. I had the B-TOD rigged into my pedalboard right before the DHA so I could compare at the same spot in my signal chain. I ended up having a blast slamming the DHA with the B-TOD. That was an amazingly hot, aggresive sound. I really really liked that. It was going into my Univox 100 watt tube head into the GK neo 4-10. TOOBZ SLAMMING TOOBZ SLAMMING TOOBZ!!!!!!
    Afterwards I was like damn the price of those 2 tube pedals new (approx $750) is the price of a decent used tube head.

    My band ended up staying in a recording studio mixing and mastering several songs for a longer time than anticipated, so we didn't practice yesterday. Tomorrow we are practicing. I will report on how it sits in the mix with 2 guitars, drums and singer.
     
  17. SWELL Pedal Co

    SWELL Pedal Co

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Disclosures:
    MikeO - Owner/Builder:swellpedals.com
    All SWELL pedals come stock with a 12AX7 vacuum tube. The 12AX7 produces the highest (most) amount of available gain.

    You can lower the amount of available gain in the TOD by simply changing the tube.

    The following (from highest to lowest) is the order of pre-amp tubes - 12AX7, 12AT7, 12AY7 and 12AU7.

    If you want to do a comparison between the B-TOD and your DHA pedal just work your way down (AT, AY, AU) from the TOD's stock 12AX7 until they are more compatible.

    *Just remove the bottom lid to access the tube.
     
  18. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    Thanks for the info. I will only have this particular unit for another day before it is sent to Eric to check out. I love the gain on the pedal, it just would serve a different function for me in my set-up. I am seriously considering buying this pedal off of Sousa after it completes it's trip. I would have it at the start of my dirt (2nd pedal in my chain, not counting tuner). It would be wild to have tubes at both ends of my signal chain:bassist:
     
  19. cybersnyder

    cybersnyder Always groove.... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbia, Md
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist: Xsonics cabinets
    What would the difference be between the B-TOD with a 12AU7 versus a B-DRIVE with a 12AX7. Hope I got that right. What I'm wondering is if you put the lowest gain tube in the highest gain pedal do you end up pretty close to the lowest gain pedal?

    For me the clean sound ends up being more important than the overdriven sound.
     
  20. DHA

    DHA Dave Hall Amps

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Nice to chat to a fellow pedal maker and great to see other tube designs.

    I also use 12AX7 as my stock tubes but I run a lower gain design on the blue channel. Saying that swapping tubes is great fun and not only reduces gain but makes changes to tone as well. If you can get hold of New Old Stock (NOS) tubes such as Mullards, Siemens, RCA, etc. then the tone is out of this World.

    The Red channel on the DHA-VT2-Twin provides very high gain by overdriving one tube with the other.

    Dave
     
  21. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville,FL
    Okay my last report. I used it on several songs that have driving heavy OD during practice today. Wow. I was really impressed. It cuts through the mix nicely. We also had a keyboard sitting in so there was more to compete with. Bottom line...the B-TOD is a face ripping OD. This is a B3K Killah!
     

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