An Amp Simulator or Something Like That

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Sean Jeremiah, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Sean Jeremiah

    Sean Jeremiah

    Feb 12, 2018
    Hello TBers,

    Please help me zero in on what I'm looking for as I myself am not quite sure what exactly I need. Here's my predicament:

    I'm looking for something to sit in between the bass guitar and the mixer. Right now, all that's being used is a Whirlwind Director DI box.

    The setup is in a 1000 sq-ft church which has a full band playing live weekly to a congregation of about 60 university students. The mixer is digital and a sub-woofer is installed. Musicians play with in-ears. The genre of music played is not unlike that of Hillsong and Bethel. The musicians themselves are university students, some who are experienced and some who have just picked up the bass. A fresh batch of musicians come in every year and leave after 4 years.

    Anyway, I initially thought I could get away with the Zoom B3 or the B3n but there are so many differing opinions on them. I then learnt of the Bass Fly Rig, then the SansAmp DI and the VT Bass and more recently of the GED2112. Now someone has suggested that I get the Hartke TX600.

    So between multi-effects, analogue pedals, rackmount effects and even amplifiers, I'm a little overwhelmed.

    I would really appreciate it if you guys could help me settle on something that would breathe some life into the tone of the bass, would integrate well into my current system and genre of music, could be used by budding and experienced bassists for years to come, and of course is value for money. I'm not looking to spend more than 300 or 400 bucks.

    I hope I'm not asking for too much. Really appreciate you guys taking the time to reply.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Sean J
  2. First off, welcome to TB. :)
    There are many easy solutions to your problem. The first to consider would be a simple pre-amp/D.I. These will include a gain stage, eq controls, maybe an overdrive circuit and a balanced xlr out. Radial (Tonebone series), Ampeg, Aguilar, Darkglass, MXR and many others make different versions depending on what tone you're after. If you search here using the manufacture's name and 'pre-amp' you'll be reading for days and 3-400 dollars will get you something nice.
    DirtDog and eriky4003 like this.

  3. Something doesn’t seem right here. It’s very common to plug a bass into a PA system using nothing more than a direct box, and with the powerful EQ capabilities of modern digital consoles it should be fine. What exactly is wrong with the tone? What kind of bass are we talking about?

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
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    Mushroo likes this.
  4. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I use a B3 and have no issues, the amp/cab sims are actually pretty decent.

    However, if you don't need/want all the effects etc. then one of the Preamp mentioned above would be a great choice.
    Dominic DeCosa and musicman7722 like this.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    The SansAmp BDDI is a known entity (...but not everybody's favorite) and is pretty much what you've described: an amp simulator. Specifically, it's supposed to sound like a mic'd up SVT rig although this will be disputed by those who own / use the real thing. You can pick one up used for ~$100. If you live near me, you can borrow mine for a test drive. I can also vouch for the Ampeg SCR-DI which is a sideways version of the BDDI. There are countless others which I have never trialed.

  6. The Hartke TX600 is an amplifier which likely has a DI coming out the back like most modern (small) amplifiers. I'd skip that suggestion unless you want it to do double-duty along with a cabinet you own or want to own. Again, most modern amplifiers have a pre & post eq switch which allows you to send an un-eq'd (using the amp's bass, treble, etc. knobs) signal via the DI to a mixer or the eq'd signal through the DI.
  7. DangYankee


    Jul 11, 2017
    East Texas
    Hey man, I play in a very similar worship band, sounds like we may even play the same songs. We play through through a pretty generous sound system, so i never have the need to bring my amp or cabinet. I just walk in with my bass and pedalboard and plug into the little DI box they have laying on the floor.

    It sounds like you are in the same situation I was in. There is a DI already available for you, so you dont need to get a specialized DI box like a sansamp or anything because you already have that with the Whirlwind Director DI. What you need is a pedal that will be able to give you a little hint of grit without getting into distortion. If I were you, I would look at buying one of the many "vintage overdrive" pedals that are available on the market. (Soul food, OCD, barbershop, microtubes) This will add a little warmth to your sound and will add a little bite to help you stand out in the mix.

    I went the economical route and use a DOD250 set at 9:00. This pedal can give you anything from a faintly noticeable drive, to a very convincing SVT style overdrive. It is a very transparent pedal when kept below noon and sounds very good with Bass. These can be found for about $40 and will do everything you are wanting to do. This pedal is always on when im playing and just acts as an amp simulator of sorts.

    Other pedals I occasionally use in my modern worship band:

    Octave: Pitchfork: This adds some life to the bass and can go from a subtle touch of flavor to a full blown synthy wall of sound. I use this in songs like "Holy Ground -

    Fuzz: Russian Muff: I usually have this set very mild when playing in worship bands, but often use it in the "heavier" sections of songs like Lion and the Lamb -

    Delay: Keeley Caverns: I occasionally use the delay to add a little echo to quieter sections of songs, For example i use it for some ambiance on the intro of Love so Great -

    I also use the delay to emulate 8th notes when im really only playing 1/4 notes because I cant play very fast without getting sloppy yet, and i cant play with a pick. I do this on your love awakens me and on This is amazing grace - .

    Reverb: Keeley Caverns: I dont use this on any songs, but kick it on during etherial prayer moments and whenever we play as background while the preacher speaks. I usually pair this with a volume pedal to get some huge echoing ethereal landscapes going. Example of this here-

    Compressor: Keeley Bassist: This pedal is always on at a fairly mild setting. It helps to even out my sloppy playing and make me sound better than i am. This is a real world easy button that you should absolutely be taking advantage of.

    Tuner: Polytune: This is necessary obviously to tune, but it also acts as a mute button for your bass. This will keep it from picking up feedback during the service and help the sound guy out.

    This is probably far more than you were looking for...
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND

    There is a thread called Worship Bass Pedalboards that may be of help.

    Worship Bass Pedalboards

    I also play at church, DI/IEM with big FOH system. Guitar, keys, drums, singers. I am waiting to receive a friends Omnicab Simulator pedal. I have tried effects and drives and lots of things to get a little "life" like you said into my very direct tone. I'm hoping maybe this will be it.

    I didn't use any effects last Sunday at church or last weekend with my cover band and my bass sounded amazing. I am dumping (for now) everything except my tuner, DI and this cab sim pedal. I think they are between$300 and $400 so not cheap, but if it gives my direct/in ear sound some "life" then it would be worth it.
  9. Get a bass preamp/di pedal the type is going to be subjective. You will be hard pressed to choose one that every bassist will like and that has the routing and features you need as us bassist are picky lol. My personal favorite affordable pre/di is the mesa subway di I got mine brand new for $230 they may be more affordable now tho. I upgraded to a much more expensive Verellen meatsmoke Tube pre but if I didn't have that kind of coin the Mesa subway di still would be on my pedal board it is the best solid state preamp I've played or heard so far. It has very usable 4 band eq multiple outs so you can use with in ears while still di to the front with a ground lift on the di for noise and pre/post eq switch. The subway di can get a slight bit of overdriven tone too so it is very versatile.
  10. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    A compressor/limiter to help round out the dynamics
    A Low Pass Filter
  11. I have been using a B3 for 4 or so years. I use one setup, A SABDDI with mids up and a Hartke 3500 amp sim. My particular favorite. Cuts through well. DI is quiet.
  12. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    There are multitudes of options available and it all boils down to a matter of personal taste.

    But I always recommend starting out with Tech21 boxes as a starting point.

    They make several versions of the traditional "SansAmp BDDI" plus their "character series" boxes. The "VT bass" simulates the Ampeg SVT tone while the "Leeds" unit simulates a passable Entwistle sound.

    I have all of these and they are very versatile. I have no qualms about using any of these units plugged directly into the PA and getting great results.

    If I had to recommend just one, I'd go with the "VT bass"
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I never liked the sansamp sound. But the OmniCabSim really did it for me.
  14. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    The BDDI is the simplest choice and has been the standard for years. The Bass Fly Rig is a step up as it has a compressor, tuner, and chorus - the compressor is key to getting a fatter low end if that desirable.
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