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Aguilar tonehammer vs vt bass di

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bellrach, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. bellrach


    Aug 26, 2012
    I've been thinking to get an aguilar tonehammer pedal as a DI and to make the bass sound better. I like how it sounds (from youtube demos) but have never tried the pedal myself. But I don't think the AGS would be useful.

    I havent bought the pedal and now this VT bass DI comes out. I think it'd be nice because it can be an overdrive.

    I play mostly at church, and I like a round fatty bass sound. But I do need a overdriven kinda bass sound because at youth church we play mostly rock..

    Thanks for your advice :)
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The "AGS" is overdrive.
  3. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    ^ This.
    If you are looking for an overdriven tone, you will not be able to achieve it without the AGS engaged.
    And also of note, the AGS circuitry is not designed to be a kick on and off function. You set your tone either with the AGS engaged or not and you leave it. If you are looking for that option, you'd be better served elsewhere.

    If you haven't seen it yet - here is a video on the AGS functionality:

    Both are great tone shaping tools, the Tone Hammer will color your tone slightly less, the VT slightly more. Depends on which sound you like more. They're two very different pedals.
    If you are looking for an EQ option for regular play, but the ability to have an extra gain stage (OD you can turn on/off at will), you would probably be better off going with either pedal plus an actual OD pedal. In which case, I personally prefer the EQ of the Tone Hammer over the VT.

    If you are looking for that functionality all in one pedal, you'd be better off looking at the VT Deluxe.

    My two cents...
  4. The Tone Hammer has outstanding tone, both clean and driven. I liked my TH pedal so much I sold it to buy a TH amp. I don't think you can go wrong with it.
  5. bellrach


    Aug 26, 2012
    I actually have an overdrive pedal, so I guess I should go for the ToneHammer? :)
  6. bassjam

    bassjam Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    Lakland Basses, G&L Basses, Genzler Amplification
    Ive had good luck with both- With my IEM rig I use the TH for my clean tone and a VT pedal for a slightly dirty tone. I love the TH but dont care for the AGS. The VT gives me that Ampeg like tone that I love ,but dont want all the time. Just a thought.
  7. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    Some good info here in this thread already, along with some misinformation. I have lots of experience with both, and can really break these two pedals down for you later. On my phone right now.
  8. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    Eublet wrote this great guide to using the Tone Hammer which literally transformed the pedal for me. It's much more versitile than I once believed.

    It will definitely depend on what sound you're looking for. I assume you're going direct into a PA? I've been using a Tone Hammer direct to PA for church for a few years now, and it sounds as good as my settings for it. If you use it smartly (see above link) it will give you either clean EQ, or very smooth drive with a bit of grit (or none if that's what you prefer).
  9. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    Thanks for linking that as that info is still relevant. I've learned to love the VT Bass since then also, but it is a different animal from the Tone Hammer.

    It seems people who love the VT Bass don't really jive with the Tone Hammer at first, for a lot of the reasons I posted in that older thread. The TH is flatter sounding and doesn't have an instant coloration scoop to it. I'm going to try and keep this post shorter but I can answer follow up questions in more detail if desired.

    First, the TH can do the VT thing pretty well. To get there, you have to set the AGS on, set the mid frequency to about 1:30, and the mid level to 9 or 9:30. Set highs to 1:30, and bass to 1 o'clock. That's going to get you in the Ampeg/VT Bass territory. It's not quite the same, but it'll convince in a mix for sure. Use the Treble for "presence" and then adjust the mid level up or down to get the amount of scoop you want. The AGS is not an overdrive per se, but a gain circuit. At the lowest setting, it is clean. Use the Level knob to add more gain and overdrive.

    The TH will do things the VT will never do, like cut/boost mids at any frequency you want. That is often very nice to have. It's also a great clean DI with EQ, which the VT will never be.

    The VT will do things that the TH can't really pull of though. First, it's more aggressive. That upper mid peak is sharper when viewing it on a graph. It can really cut into a mix, but it's also harder to remove from the VT. The Treble control on the VT can boost a nice peak with the AGS on, but it's wider and gives a slightly different thing. The overdrive on the VT is more low-mid grunt with a clanky top end, whereas the TH is more mid grind, even if you scoop the mids a good bit to compensate. Both sound great, but different.

    The big thing about the VT that is very cool is the way it affects transients and the attack on the notes. Simply said, the VT smooths out things in a way I can't get the TH to do. This is more noticeable through a good pair of earphones or on a recording. It's hard to express in a post. The TH, even as you add gain and overdrive, doesn't really do a great job of emulating a tube feel. The VT however does this quiet well. I really notice it when playing funk or motown'ish type stuff. I'll go for the VT every time now when I want this. It's just a fatter, thicker sound that I can't seem to quite get with the TH no matter how much twisting I do.

    That said, if I had to choose one pedal today to use forever, it would be tough. The TH can do a 1000 things the VT Bass can't it seems, but the VT Bass does a handful of things the TH can't with amazing results. It just so happens that I tend to go for those things the VT does well more often, so I have been using it more lately. Still, every time I use the TH instead I'm very happy. It's more versatile in every regard.

    If you want a "do everything" type pedal, I recommend the TH. If you are a vintage guy who wants lots of great vintage tones, then get the VT.

    BTW, I also am intrested in the new VT Bass DI. I'm thinking that "Bite" control might remove some of that aggressiveness and open the pedal up to some new tones. Also, the Blend control and EQ will allow you to do some EQ'ing on your dry signal. It still won't have the flexibility of the TH since it lacks a parametric mid, but it could make it versatile enough that it'll be my "desert island" pedal. :D
    RiZzBot likes this.
  10. bassjam

    bassjam Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    Lakland Basses, G&L Basses, Genzler Amplification

    Pretty much sums up why I have both!:D I need both tones on any given night-I can get the dirty tone with the TH,but its a pain trying to go between the two and adjusting the volume.I experimented with that,but the clean tone I like didnt translate well with just engaging the AGS. I like the clean TH tone,but am always open to try something else-the Enabler perhaps! For dirty-I wasnt looking for heavy OD,I just wanted slight breakup and personally love the Ampeg tone-I just dont want that all night long. IMO-the VT is great for this and I can go between the two on the fly.
  11. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Our Para Driver DI would be a product that is more like the Tone Hammer. The main difference is that the Tone Hammer has a distortion circuit that can be switched on and off. With our Para Driver DI you have the blend control to mix in our SansAmp circuitry. Our distortion circuitry is designed to emulate vintage tube amps including speaker emualtion for direct use. I can't comment on the Tone Hammer's distortion.

    Both the Para Driver DI and the VT Bass DI can be used without distortion but if you want more EQ flexibility with no amp emulation the Para Driver is the better choice as it has the sweepable midrange control. The VT Bass can be used clean as well so don't let the amp emulation make you think it's only a distortion pedal.
  12. maartendew


    Jan 30, 2013
    To cope with the output level drop of the AGS on/off of the TH, I bought an mxr line boost to push my clean sound to match the AGS level. Still experimenting with this...

    Not ideal as it is two button to push, but still 2 tones available pretty quickly. just not as convenient when useing both tones in one song...
  13. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    That is one way to do it. Instead of buying a line boost, I'd probably spend a little more money on a 2nd Tone Hammer. that would give you a backup, plus you'd have the ability to have two EQ's, one for your clean and one for your dirty, and it would still be a two button ordeal to switch. Or you could spend a little more money on top of that for an A/B switch and it would be a one button ordeal.

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