B7K ultra drive strength (passive bass)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by staf Wouters, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. staf Wouters

    staf Wouters

    Jan 18, 2011
    Belgium
    Hello community,

    I received my B7K ultra recently and started to play around with it a little. I bought it because I wanted to improve the sound of my bass, especially on gigs were the sound guy doesn't mic my cab and just takes straight DI.

    I found that the EQ section was working fine, but I feel as if the drive is a bit weak. I have heard plenty of demo's and often good distorted tones could be achieved by just leaving the blend and drive at noon.

    So I decided to make a little recording. I played (horribly, while we're at it) on my mexican made classic 60's Jazz Bass (passive ofcourse) through the B7K ultra. The output was send directly to my presonus 22 VSL. It was played by finger picking (pretty hard):




    Start: bass clean, pedal inactive

    00:15 pedal active, everything at 12 o'clock
    00:28 drive section activated, everything at 12 o'clock, grunt & attack boosted
    00:41 blend fully open, drive 12 o'clock, grunt & attack boosted
    00:56 blend fully open, drive fully open, grunt & attack boosted
    01:12 blend fully open, drive fully open, grunt flat & attack boosted

    My question: is this normal? I have the feeling that I really have to push the drive section to its limits in order to get a more or less heavy distortion. Of course, it's a passive bass and that might have something to do with it. Also, playing with a pick could help. I also used 9V regulated adapters, as suggested.

    It also sounds as if something is loose on the inside of the pedal. Is that normal? I might seem very paranoid, but I just want to give you all the details ;) . I also have some important gigs in the near future, so I'm checking all my gear thoroughly.

    Finally, I have to say that I love how this pedal looks, and the EQ section is very powerfull. I hope this gets sorted out quickly. Maybe it isn't just the right pedal for me, or maybe my bass sucks on cosmic levels.


    I thank you for your time,
    Greetings,

    Staf
     
  2. dannybuoy

    dannybuoy

    Aug 3, 2005
    Earth
    I've not tried the ultra, but I do know the B3K has quite a bit more gain on tap then the B7K and your clip sounds about right. You might want to try stacking another pedal in front of it.
     
  3. Darkglass

    Darkglass Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Douglas Castro, Founder: darkglass.com
    Thanks for chiming in! Actually I will have to disagree here. The B7K has a bit more headroom compared to the B3K but not what I'd call "quite a bit more gain".

    Your gain levels seem perfectly normal for a passive bass. Please remember that there's no such thing as limits. If a knob sounds the way you like then it's ok.

    Also consider how hard do you hit the strings: many of the samples you hear on YouTube are recorded by guys who hit very hard and in my experience it's the best way to get the most out of a bass overdrive (most of the all-time-great overdrive tones are achieved by bassist hitting the strings ridiculously hard, Jon Stockman from Karnivool, Geddy Lee to name couple).
     
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  4. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    IME the drive knob has a TON of output. Once you get past noon/1 o'clock, LOOK OUT! Haha.

    I think with ultra, as well with the reg B7K, you simply have to play with it. See how it goes. They are not plug n play IME. That being said, the voicing switches can drastically change the output. And I do mean drastically. I can't remember which in one is the top left one, but that'll get some major output bump goin or take a lot away. Same With the right one. You just have to learn the pedal more. Play with it. It'll take time. But once you really dig into and start understanding how it works, you realize just how crazy versatile and open these pedals can be. That's how it was for me anyway.
     
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  5. millahh

    millahh

    Sep 20, 2005
    Jersey
    This is my experience with the B7K, but I think it applies: it sounds pretty good normally...but to really bring out the best, it needs to get hit hard. I do that by goosing the signal with the output knob on my compressor (Empress, which plays wonderfully with the B7K), plus playing hard (which I do anyway).
     
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  6. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    IME, sort of along the lines that others have said, on the regular B7K it responds a lot differently depending on the input. So it wouldn't surprise me that if you have a low-output bass you won't get much drive.

    I was wondering about this because I've never heard anyone say it (nor have I ever owned the B3K); good to hear Doug disagree though.
     
  7. Darkglass

    Darkglass Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Douglas Castro, Founder: darkglass.com
    Smart move. If you want more gain any sort of booster will do!
     
    FaithNoMan likes this.
  8. millahh

    millahh

    Sep 20, 2005
    Jersey
    Thing is, even running the B7K completely clean, the hotter signal just sounds better...seems to truly bring out the character or both the pedal and the bass.
     
  9. What kind of strings are you using? IME the gain is a lot more noticeable when using rounds, even more w/ steel strings.
     
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  10. Darkglass

    Darkglass Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Douglas Castro, Founder: darkglass.com
    Good point. Fresh strings are quite crucial as well.
     
  11. staf Wouters

    staf Wouters

    Jan 18, 2011
    Belgium
    Thank you for your fast replies! I'll play around with the settings a bit more ;). One more question: when I give it a little shake I can hear something moving. Is that normal (maybe some cables?). When it arrived it was delivered in a plain box, so maybe it hit a bumpy road in the wrong way (maybe I'm too concerned ^^).
     
    Crowd crusher likes this.
  12. opivy3056

    opivy3056 stardust in a light beam Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    San Diego
    Sounds pretty heavy to me! Maybe if it's really bugging you get a tc spark mini in front for some more gain.
     
    itsalljustaride likes this.
  13. Darkglass

    Darkglass Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Douglas Castro, Founder: darkglass.com
    Yeah the inner washers of the toggles might rattle a bit. Perfectly normal!
     
  14. staf Wouters

    staf Wouters

    Jan 18, 2011
    Belgium
    Thank you Doug! I boosted the hi mids, treble and bass a bit with the EQ and brought the lo mids a bit back. I've been able to get some nice gritty tones ;) . I was planning on buying a compressor anyways, so maybe I'll try using one in front of the pedal as signal boost without compromising dynamics.
     
  15. Bassique

    Bassique

    Feb 25, 2015
    Finland
    I must agree with the statement, that bass overdrives almost always sound better when you rather play hard with less drive than boosting drive and playing soft.
     
  16. millahh

    millahh

    Sep 20, 2005
    Jersey
    You'll pay for it, but I found a huge difference between a "standard" compressor (i.e. MXR) vs. one with a blend (e.g. Empress, Darkglass). The blend provides a great balance between evening things out a bit, but without throttling the attack and responsiveness of the B7K....it just breathes more this way.
     
    gregmon79 likes this.
  17. EMoneySC2

    EMoneySC2

    Aug 25, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    I think a component of what's going on here is the amount of bass in your signal...it seemed really muddy to me. That's not necessarily bad, I just think if you want to get a more grindy aggressive sound you might want to cut the low end and push the mids harder.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
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  18. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I run mine clean for the most part as well. I used to have the B7K's drive fully CCW. With the ultra though, I add just a little. I also keep the blend way up on the ultra where as on my old B7K, I usually kept it around 11 o'clock or a little lower. I think the ultra is really cool in that you can run both sides of it clean and you get two totally different sounds. Both very awesome. That's why I was having trouble choosing which side I liked more. But the drive side does wonders for my dirt. So I almost always run both sides. It's cool because if I ever want to change my tone up, all I have to do is run the clean side. Totally new and different yet awesome sound/tone.



    I LOVE THE ULTRA!!!! It's the best.
     
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  19. A detuned passive bass. I bet those strings are loose as heck. That will make it sound sloppy and have less energy to excite overdrive for sure.

    Thicker stings/more compression and/or boost.
     
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  20. My jazz with 60's pick-up spacing just doesn't like pedals. Could be your situation as well.