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Atomic Amplifire Bass Box at NAMM

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jimfist, Jan 20, 2019.


  1. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    It's all good. I have one coming.
     
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  2. dr bonkers

    dr bonkers Commercial User

    Jul 4, 2016
    Paramus, NJ, USA
    Founder of Dr Bonkers Soundlab LLC, ir provider to audio modeler world
    I just licensed IR files and beta tested the unit as well as editor.

    If you need any help with those, just ping me about those things.

    I don't know anything else as far as shipping, availability, etc. Tom will need to answer that.
     
    jimfist likes this.
  3. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Awesome. Thanks for the free IR files you made available @dr bonkers. Appreciate that.
     
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  4. JmJ

    JmJ

    Jan 1, 2008
    NYC
    Got one. Tested through headphones first and found my first niggle, there is no volume adjustment for the headphone output. The "volume" knob has no effect on headphone volume. My second issue was not being able to remove the cabinet from one of the settings even though you can remove the amp from the chain. It can be done when you plug into a computer by routing the amp/cab settings away from the 1/4 out but I would like a method to do that without having to plug the unit into a computer. One of my rigs benefits from having amp and cab sims and the other does not. It would be nice to be able to do this on the fly. The distortion settings in the boost section are interesting but I don't think I can use them. Some amazing tones can be coaxed out using the distortion in conjunction with EQ but the same setting minus the distortion don't exactly create a bread and butter bass tone as the EQ is whacked to tame or accentuate some element of the distortion sound. Clean sounds are very nice, the box does have some kind of "warmth" to it. For some reason the stock "2x15" cabinet loses volume and the stock "1X15" sounds fuller in comparison. Haven't put it through my amp yet but plugged into my headphones and home stereo it sounded detailed and big. A fun little box that covers a lot of ground,
     
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  5. I signed up in Feb (or so) of last year. Also signed up with a different email once I saw the product was done.

    No email from atomic yet. Im wondering if I did it right, coz I really want one, but money doesnt stay in my pocket long when gear is concerned.
     
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  6. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The thing about this pedal is that I think it is designed to be used as a pedal in the traditional sense. For example, the SansAmp BDDI, which is a pedal I used extensively for years, is a fixed function pedal that you have to learn to adjust to your liking, and remember or mark down the settings if you want to make fundamental changes to the sound.

    I think we get spoiled because these small, multi-function pedals are so capable, and can do a whole lot more than the surface controls allow. This is why, upon first using the pedal, I only use the factory default setting on the unit without connecting to a computer. Once I'd gotten a feel for the unit and how I'd use it, then I'd make adjustments to the variable settings 'under the hood' via the editor, and then probably forget about them for a while. As a personal preference, I really DON'T want to spend too much time twiddling and tweaking via the editor. In fact I just logged in a few more hours on the Bass Box, losing track of time while (still) exploring the tonal options on the pedal itself.

    I do agree that it would be nice if the stock cabinet IRs could be balanced better in terms of output, one to the next. Having used many IRs in the past, this is nothing new for 3rd party IRs, but definitely prefer stock settings to be closer, volume-wise. Maybe @dr bonkers can provide some technical insight there.

    I also agree that setting the Boost distortion settings in conjunction with the EQ is a bit fiddly depending on what you want the boost to do. I can see some wanting the Boost as an 'always on' part of the tone, and further utilizing the editor's Blend for wet/dry balance. IMHO, that's what I'd do for really aggressive, modern metal tones. I'd like to see some editor options for the Blend location, either after the Boost, after Boost & Dynamics, or where it is currently: after Boost/Dynamics/EQ. I think that versatility would make the Boost function a lot easier to dial in.

    I have my input pad switch engaged, and it gives quite a bit more latitude with the Boost and Dynamics functions. I can see using the Boost switch with Mode 2 Tube set almost off, so that when engaged it brightens up the tone to make it pop out of the mix a bit more. I've found the Mode 3 FET to be generally more forgiving, and quite pleasing for fattening things up, though there's a point where it starts to overtake the punch of the low end. Mode 1 (Tube Screamer OD) is something that I'd either have to use 'always on' and EQ to it, or otherwise adjust the Blend amount to add back dry signal since it pretty much eliminates any low end you have to the non-Boost settings. (Works great for 6 string guitar, though!) I guess that for me, for standard types of rock bass sounds, a little goes a long way with the Boost. The real determining factor is while using it on stage...as always.

    IMO the star features of the Bass Box are the Dynamics and EQ sections. Other than dedicated compressors I've used, I can't say that I've ever been pleased by any of the 'add-on' compressors that appear on multi-function pedals or amplifier heads/preamps....until now with the Bass Box. Dynamics Mode 1 is just a very nice, transparent compressor. Mode 2 is more of a 'special sauce' type of limiter where you can get some additional shape envelope and tone by playing with the knob settings, and the results are really nice without destroying your tone. The EQ Mode 1 (API 4 band) is probably the most unique bass EQ I've ever encountered. It's just a really nice tone shaper for bass. Mode 2 is also excellent, in a more traditional way, and it is my go-to EQ for dialing in the midrange to match my preferred SVT preamp settings.
     
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  7. adamaarts

    adamaarts

    Apr 19, 2001
    Corona, CA
    Beta tester Source Audio, demos/reviews of many others
    I got the Virtual Bass amp. Had a few at home projects that I got to mix so I tried it instead of a separate preamp/di. It was nice to be able to adjust things after recording, and get the sound just right in the mix.

    I think it hits all the right spots for a simple amp/can sim in a light and cheap package
     
    JmJ likes this.
  8. adamaarts

    adamaarts

    Apr 19, 2001
    Corona, CA
    Beta tester Source Audio, demos/reviews of many others
    While not an extensive review of the Virtual Bass Amp, here’s a quick look at my plug in setup.

    If you guys are interested in a more in depth look at the VBA specifically I’d be happy to dedicate another video solely for that.

     
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  9. JmJ

    JmJ

    Jan 1, 2008
    NYC
    Totally agree about the pedals strong points, the EQ and compressors sound very nice with lots of usable control parameters. I'm willing to bet that my quibbles can be addressed in a software update. I had to peek under the hood right away to poke around see how things are routed and see what it's capabilities are, they don't even talk about it's full feature set on the products web page. I will definitely find uses for this box in both recording and live contexts. Who's gonna make the Atomic Bass Club Page??

     
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  10. Go for it!
     
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  11. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    My Bass Box should arrive tomorrow.
     
  12. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    And here it is.

    2B778F82-31A3-4211-8526-880F41F88C06.jpeg
     
  13. crguti

    crguti

    Feb 14, 2011
    Scandinavia
    It looks very similar to the Darkglass B7K. I would love to hear a side by side comparison.
     
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  14. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'd say the Bass Box is in the same general family as Darkglass B7k, but is really a different animal due to the various mode choices, added dynamics section (comp/lim), and amp modeling. Bass Box is designed to accommodate a very broad range of tastes. Darkglass and Tech 21 offer a lot more choices for individual products, so you'd select based on preferences and needs. Bass Box is more Swiss Army knife IMO. All great choices for bassists.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  15. Agosix

    Agosix Supporting Member

    May 7, 2013
    Woodhaven NY
    Having it for one week it is more of a modeler than a straight preamp/di with an eq. With an active bass and the pad down the boost switch and it’s knob do a nice low gain drive. Still need more time with it thought.
     
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  16. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    How are you guys setting your boost dial in the editor software? I'd like to set it to have a bit more clean gain before breakup which seems to occur almost instantaneously.
     
  17. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Initially I found it a tricky balancing act. Without the pad engaged, I found the Boost function to be unusable for a simple gain increase with a little hair. And in the editor, if you set the Boost dial too low, you can actually lose volume with the Boost button engaged and Boost knob set low.

    I'm not a moderate touch player and thus would regularly distort the input, so engaging the input pad also helped make the Boost features more workable.

    With Boost button engaged and Boost knob setting all the way counter-clockwise, I set the Boost knob in the Editor so as to get a noticeable bump in level (using Mode 2 & Mode 3). So this worked as a traditional Boost to pop out in the mix. Tube for bright/attack, FET for dark/body.

    As for Mode 1 (tube screamer) IMO it almost requires a fundamentally different set up since it destroys all the low end in the tone. It does have some good uses, but for me not in the standard sense of a simple boost bump with light hair, but in the context of dialing in the wet/dry Blend on the editor in order to retain low end. Mode 1 is great on 6 string guitar.

    I've inquired at Atomic for them to consider a more gradual scaling of the amount of Boost gain (on the pedal) since it gets pretty aggressive pretty quick, especially without the input pad.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  18. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    @jimfist Perfect. Thanks. I sent a message to Tom as well about the gradual scaling. :)
     
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  19. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Have you gotten to the editor BLEND setting yet?
    This was another suggestion for Atomic: to have the location of the Blend be selectable either PRE or POST in relation to the EQ section. As it stands (Blend POST EQ), the Blend includes the EQ (along with Boost & Dyn). Thus if using EQ to really enhance the tone, backing the Blend towards Dry means you start losing whatever positive impact the EQ & Dynamics have imparted on the tone.

    If Blend could be PRE EQ, then you can start to play with more aggressive Comp settings (if desired) and parallel wet/dry Blend without the overall EQ being impacted. Adds versatility.

    The same could be said for a third Blend tap location, between Boost and Comp, so that you could have more flexibility in setting the amount of drive (wet/dry mix), thus the comp/lim and EQ settings remain intact.
     
    dr bonkers likes this.
  20. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Yes. The software is fantastic. I like the idea of having the option to place blend in different places and shared the idea with Tom. So many opportunities with this thing!
     
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