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Always-on pedal to colour the signal before DI

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Cat-o-matic, May 17, 2019.

  1. Cat-o-matic


    Oct 1, 2015
    Hi folks!

    Recently the situation called for going ampless, so I got myself an MXR M81 preamp to use DI out. I like it a lot, works very well and I love mid frequency control.

    However, I find my general tone to be a little sterile now, so to speak. I was thinking to add an always-on pedal to the chain to add a little bit of magic to the tone, maybe a touch of grit, but not really an overdrive. According to reviews, pedals that might help me include Phat Phuk B, EP Booster and Hudson electronics Broadcast. What do you think of those or what can you recommend (better if it's reasonably priced).

    Thanks in advance!
    joker820 likes this.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You should have bought the M80 instead of the M81 then.
  3. Cat-o-matic


    Oct 1, 2015
    Well, the enclosure was noticeably bigger (back then I didn't know I would need another pedal), had no parametric mids and I didn't like the drive channel on it tbh
  4. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    BOSS BB-1x.
    CyberSnyder likes this.
  5. I’d personally look at replacing the M81 with something like a Tech 21 VT or an Aguilar Tonehammer.
  6. I have a Mosky Xp that is a clone of the Ep that does add a nice bit of warmth. If I want more tube sound then EHX Hot Tubes does a nice job plus it has a nice tone stack for a tone change or it can be bypassed.
  7. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’d suggest a Doc Lloyd Death Ray or an Ovinfx Smoothie compressor. Both can add a certain something to an overly clean sounding DI.

    Another alternative (and something I’ve been using a lot for a little extra thickening and warmth lately) is the Supro 1310 Harmonic Tremolo. And although the tremolo effect is one of the nicest I’ve heard, most times when I’m using it with bass I’ll leave the intensity set to zero which effectively removes the tremolo effect from the signal path. But what it does not remove is the special sauce this pedal brings to the table. Because this pedal basically has the sound of a Supro tube amp’s preamp and power amp stages.

    From the company website:

    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  8. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    Diamond Bass compressor or Markbass Compressore.
    NOVAX, eadg98005, Al Kraft and 5 others like this.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Anyway, the M81 is praised for its clarity. If you want grit it isn't the right unit for you.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  10. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    IMO, go for the MXR Bass distortion/DI. Can't remember the nomenclature right now. There is this single "color" button adjacent to the upper left volume knob...KaPow! It tightens, punctuates, and is "always on" on my board. Tank tough chasis, excellent tones, and if distortion side engaged, just enough grit/grind to taste. The DI can be used as a complete by-pass or, obviously, used in conjunction with the FX of the pedal.
    About $150 or so (USD).
    Good luck.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    NOVAX and MynameisMe like this.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Seeing you already have the MXR preamp and are somewhat satisfied, I'd go with the Fairfields Barbershop Modele B. it will make your pedal rig sound like a tube pre / power amp. I run mine in front of a Tone Hammer but I bet it would shine with just about any pedal pre. They're not expensive, either.

    Modèle B

    Spend a few more bucks, ditch the MXR, and add a SansAmp Fly Rig. It's got everything I would consider essential including tube emulation / drive, tuner, chorus, EQ, and DI in a single package.

    Bass Fly Rig – Tech 21 NYC

    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  12. Blaargh


    Apr 4, 2016
    I always liked the Catalinbread SFT for this kinda thing- It's supposed to replicate an SVT (I don't really think it manages it, but it gets that vibe). If you have the gain down it's not that aggressive overdrivey, and you can run it at 18V for more headroom.
    NOVAX and NKBassman like this.
  13. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    I am using Eden GlowPlug tube warmer for this very purpose...
  14. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Tech 21 - either BDDI or VT Bass. Tones of tonal options, and easily found used in the classies here.
    Al Kraft, TrevorR, _godspeed_ and 3 others like this.
  15. This is the answer I would give and you can get the deluxe or programmable model of either so you can save and instantly recall a variety of settings.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    burgerdj and sevenyearsdown like this.
  16. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I recently had a similar experience. We’re going to be recording at the end of the month, so we started practicing with headphones and no amps. I originally used a JDI from my pedal board and hated the sound. I had a GK Plex and when I used that instead of the JDI it sounded so much better. In the end I went with a Tech21 Q/Strip, mainly because it has a parametric EQ, and an MXR Studio Compressor, and it sounds amazing. We’re recording each rehearsal off of the board and the bass is prominent with the best tone I’ve ever gotten out of it. I’m a big fan of the MXR M80 and use it in my home studio, but the flexibility of the Q/Strip makes it a winner for me.
    Low Down Brown and Zbysek like this.
  17. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Al Kraft likes this.
  18. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    +1 more for a compressor of some kind...a nice optical or tube comp like the ones mentioned already should really make that MXR M81 thicken up and add some warmth. Eden glowplug is a good idea too. I used to use a Black Finger comp. for the same purpose, but the Eden is much smaller and still has a pretty decent tube tone.
    Spent and Zbysek like this.
  19. Jebberz

    Jebberz Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Quebec city
    Way Huge Green Rhino. With low drive setting, it does color the nound nicely, you have control over the bass, and responds very well to dynamics.
    burgerdj likes this.
  20. Jenra


    Feb 18, 2011
    Aalborg - Denmark
    Throw in a DarkGlass Hyperluminal, and use it as a comp/limiter/gritgiver - It's quite good at that ^_^
    Real Soon and Low Down Brown like this.

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