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Best preamp for "clean" bass sounds?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Adrin, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Adrin


    Sep 10, 2020
    So I recently purchased a Microtubes X7 and I absolutely love the distorted sounds I can get out of it. It's a beast of a pedal. I can get some pretty decent clean sounds out of it too but I'd like to buy another preamp that can do better. I know the DG Harmonic Booster seems to be the obvious choice but I've heard people get some really good clean sounds out of the SansAmp also. Just curious, what preamp do you guys recommend for getting a good clean tone? I play mostly rock and some metal. I know it really depends on what sound I'm looking for. I play mostly modern rock (Tool, A Perfect Circle), classic rock (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin) and some metal. I'm mainly just looking for something versatile with really good sounding hi-mids and a tight lowend. I'm pretty much trying to decide between the Harmonic Booster and the SansAmp but I'd like to see what some other people suggest before I make up my mind and buy something...

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    MXR bass Pre is my choice.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    I wouldn't consider Sansamp a clean pre. I got the BDDI too.
    pedroims and lowendrachel like this.
  4. marchone

    marchone Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Sadowsky is an option that is well known for its mids.
    Bassist30, Road Hat and eadg98005 like this.
  5. 19509157_QStripII.jpg.f534bfdbf1fd217419091570ede9cab7.jpg
  6. Adrin


    Sep 10, 2020
    Oh damn. I haven't seen this yet.. I'm definitely gonna have to look into this.. thanks!
    Hypercaffium likes this.
  7. Adrin


    Sep 10, 2020
    Cool I'll check it out.. thanks!
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah the Sadowsky outboard pre jumped out at me when you said "clean" and "mids".
    Road Hat and eadg98005 like this.
  9. Adrin


    Sep 10, 2020
    Yea that's why I was a little unsure about it. I know it's a great pedal...but not necessarily popular for it's clean sounds. I'm gonna look into the MXR stuff more. They make alotta guitar pedals I like so it's definitely worth looking into... thanks for the advice!
    nuage420b and MYLOWFREQ like this.
  10. Adrin


    Sep 10, 2020
    Yea that's the main thing I think... good sounding hi-mids that'll cut through the mix without distortion. But I don't think I've heard of Sadowski, I'm definitely going to look into it. Thanks for the advice!
    two fingers likes this.
  11. +1 to the Qstrip. Clean and powerful, with a slight bit of warmth... but not nearly the amount of color that the BDDI or Darkglass preamps introduce.

    Also, for further rabbit holing... Check out The Great Preamp/DI Comparison thread. It was started with the Tone Hammer, and is now 241 pages. :)


  12. Why not focus onboard or perhaps your physical amp?
    Your standard "clean" tone should be the sound of your rig with no pedals.

    I never think of pedals when it comes to clean tone, but maybe I'm different.
    Good luck,
    Crispus, ccouch7, Thombas and 9 others like this.
  13. Cheap= eden wtdi
    $$$$$ = Qstrip
    DeepHz, Yonni, Mili and 1 other person like this.
  14. Fishman Pro Platinum :
    Sweepable mids, compressor, high pass filter, tuner and crisp sound
    amper, nbsipics, G Aichele and 2 others like this.
  15. Robbie J

    Robbie J

    Nov 24, 2018
    I love my Tone Hammer! It lets you dial in just a bit of hair for more organic clean sound, has sweepable mids, and a DI out for going direct to FoH.

    However, for enhancing your clean tone you might want to look into getting yourself a good compressor rather than a preamp, especially if you use an amp rather than going direct. I have a Cali76 CB, and I love it even more than my preamp. Some compressors are designed to be transparent while others go for adding some tone-enhancing magic; the Cali is definitely in the latter category.

    Darkglass' Hyper Luminal compressor is also a similar style compressor that I hear is worth a look.

    Attached Files:

    bassman10096 likes this.
  16. okabass


    Mar 19, 2005
    I think that if you want a "good clean tone" it is hard to surpass a traditional style simple tube preamp like Alembic F-2B, or like.
    I mean a classic high voltage "old style" tube circuit, not those IC loaded preamps with one low voltage tube. And I really don't mean that those are crap.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    amper, MVE, Mik Walker and 1 other person like this.
  17. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    For clean, the MXR M80 and M81 are fabulous. Sansamp introduces simulation, which sounds great but is not what I think most consider “clean”.
  18. Dragan


    Oct 5, 2009
    EBS Microbass, the cleanest you can get!
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  19. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    It's expensive and also a DI, but it's also excellent - Jule Monique.
    Valveman likes this.
  20. FishDub

    FishDub Stuck in the 80s and happy about it Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I just got the MXR Bass preamp and I like it very much. The knob-graphic eq thing I hated..
    geof_ likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Dec 3, 2020

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