Best bass preamp?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by David Lakin, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. David Lakin

    David Lakin

    Aug 13, 2011
    Currently I’m using a MXR M81 Bass Preamp (and I love it). I’m using it on my pedalboard. But, I’m looking at picking up either another M81 to carry in my gig bag (when I’m not using my pedalboard) or maybe trying a different preamp/di. Any suggestions?
    pbass64, zon6c-f and Ellery like this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Do you have any specific tone goals? Is there a style/sound/player's tone you like you can share with us?

    That might help us narrow it down for you.
  3. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph Supporting Member

  4. Depending on what your musical style is, if you need a DI out or not, need to be able to run on phantom power, etc... any of the following are tried and true favorites..

    Aguilar Tonehammer
    Mesa Subway
    Broughton Messenger
    Sansamp Bassdriver
    Ampeg Scr-DI

    Of those, I currently own the Messenger and use it in the same way.. as a backup in my bag for house rigs. I have owned and really liked the Aguilar and the Mesa as well.
    Stumbo likes this.
  5. David Lakin

    David Lakin

    Aug 13, 2011
    Not necessarily. Just a good versatile all around sound and tone.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I own an M81. I find it to be subtle. In other words, it doesn't do sweeping changes to the extreme. It's just a good, solid, basic EQ. Every other preamp I have ever owned goes much further in sculpting tone. (That's not to say the M81 is worse or those are better.... it all depends on your needs).

    the other things is that the M81 doesn't color your tone much. That (again) could be a good thing if you prefer the tone of your bass. I'm thinking another M81 might do it for you. Most other preamps color your tone a lot.
    Stumbo, Rickter and cosmicevan like this.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    at the risk of stating the obvious, it's all very subjective! one man's trash etc, and vice versa.

    we're in a bit of a golden age for bass preamps (IMO) so there's never been a better time to go shopping for one. check out the thread linked above and listen to as many Youtube demos as you can, i'd say.

    my personal fave is the Fuzzrocious BDPG, but it's a pretty unusual beast. i also like the good old Sansamp sound.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i have/use an ampeg classic bass pre-amp. i'm happy with it. it's cheap (around $100 when on sale). i can't compare it to other pedal pre-amps.

    Ampeg Classic Analog Bass Preamp Pedal
    Kestrel, Stumbo and Rickter like this.
  9. jblock


    Mar 20, 2004
    I have the M81 and have tried it against some of the others mentioned here. It is a good, clean solid preamp, so unless you want to dirty up your sound I'm not sure you can do better. I liked the Mesa Subway preamp until their recent 50% price increase.
  10. bench

    bench Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Then i suggest the EBS Microbass II (there is a version III now, but i don´t know that one). I would describe it as exactly what you wrote. And it has two channels for different Basses or the option to use both in series.
    Zbysek likes this.
  11. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Best is the one that does what you need it to do for YOU!
    I have used a Tech21 Bass Fly Rig and highly recommend it, the Sansamp part is based on the VT and its just full of useful stuff and it fits in your gigbag. The GK PLEX is also another awesome option.
    Rock on.
    JCooper, Rickter and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  12. I also have a Bass Fly Rig and love it... All kinds of tonez capabilities in one unit....
  13. Malafaia


    Jan 30, 2018
    It is very personal, each preamp has its own tricks and every answer will tell a personal experience. I think MXR M81 is the best bang for the buck, reliable, well built and an OKish equalizer. MXR M80 is the smallest preamp I ever saw is a good option too. But If you want to try a new thing with no regrets on spending money, try behringer bdi21 (which is an incredible good sansamp copy), it is cheap, light and produces a good tone too.
    b-b-b-bass and kodiakblair like this.
  14. I am a big fan of the Tech 21 Sansamp and VT Character pedals. The VT is the more versatile of the 2, and the programmable ones make it easy to save and switch between tones.
    gumtown likes this.
  15. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I recommend...

    Henretta Emerald Prince = easy one button for on/off... internal controls for additional settings. This simply makes the tone you already have sound better. I love it.

    DSM OmniCabSim Deluxe = it's a preamp, direct box and cabinet simulator all in one box. Tweaking options for DAYS! Tons of variety and capability with this one.

    Run both of those with your current MXR and you'll be unstoppable. :smug:

    TonyP- and Rickter like this.
  16. Agosix

    Agosix Supporting Member

    May 7, 2013
    Woodhaven NY
    Arkham or Shiftline Olympic mkll and I’m sure there are more.
  17. B-Lo

    B-Lo Bassist, Drummer, Sound Tech, part time Ninja...

    Jun 16, 2017
    Northern Alabama
    If you read the reviews about the SansAmp Bass Driver DI v2, I can attest that they are true.
    JC Nelson, Darkshine and groovaholic like this.
  18. bassfootballguy

    bassfootballguy Spectacularly Average Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    A small, small town
    The Sadowsky Preamp/DI never lets me down.

    Mojo34, foal30, Bassist30 and 2 others like this.
  19. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    MXR M81 is a great pick, I'm a big fan! :)

    Maybe for the sake of versatility, if you are looking to round out your DI collection, you might consider a dead-simple "pure" DI? Something like a Radial Pro DI (for example) is bullet-proof and fool-proof.
  20. David Lakin

    David Lakin

    Aug 13, 2011
    I’ve been thinking about a GK PLEX. I’ve got a GK MB112-II and I love it. I really like the EQ on the GK. I’ve heard there was some noise issues with the PLEX’s DI when they first came out. Hopefully they corrected this issue.
    Rickter likes this.