Best preamp/pedal for going ampless

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bklee, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. bklee

    bklee Supporting Member

    Our band is trying to go to an ampless setup (as much as possible, anyway). A major step in this direction was the lead guitarist finding a way to go direct with an elaborate system of gizmos that sounds great. Since I do the sound when we are in venues where there is no FOH, I'm looking to lighten the load for me. If I don't have to lug my current rig (Barefaced 6x10 cab with Carvin B1500 and dbx 266 compressor in a 4U rack case) it would save my back and room in the truck. Our PA setup is 2 Evolve 50 column array units plus a Presonus Air15 sub fed by a Carvin Concert 16-channel analog mixer. I submix the drums and the 4 instruments played by one of the players from a Soundcraft 12 channel mixer going into the Carvin. We will be using EIMs instead of wedges.

    So, my question is: what product is best for me to go ampless? I have checked out a lot of the video reviews of Sansamp and Darkglass products and they seem to emphasize a distorted, raspy, mid-heavy sound that I find horrible. We play a variety of material that includes classic rock, blues, pop, soul, country, etc. depending on the venue. We are not super loud and I am looking for a regular, non-distorted bass sound.
  2. grimjim


    Jan 26, 2014
    Chicago, Illinois
    Endorsing artist;DNA Amplification, GHS strings
    You'll get hundreds of different opinions on this one. For clean tone I prefer the Ampeg scrdi. A/B'd it against the sansamp and tonehammer and it just had a more natural tone to me. For distorted tones, I use a darkglass Alpha/Omega, the blendable tones just gave me what I wanted.
  3. bklee

    bklee Supporting Member

    Thank you. I listened to the Sweetwater demo of this unit and it sounds more like what I'm looking for; and it less expensive than the Mesa Subway+ unit I was considering. I have a Mesa Walkabout Scout 12 with a Subway 15 extension speaker that I use for small venues that I would imagine that Subway pedal might sound like.
  4. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Lots of great choices IMO. Despite the demos, I can assure you that the BDDI V2, PDDI, VTDI and TH are excellent options and do not have to come across with a raspy edge, buzzsaw distortion or screaming mids. I've played some of my biggest gigs (classic rock and country) with just a BDDI. The MXR M-80 is also a good budget play and you can use the distortion channel in ways other than just distortion, or for a few dollars more the M-81 is very clean.
    johnpaulbass and Kro like this.
  5. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    You’ll probably get a lot more advice if you post this same question in the Effects or live sound sections. Those two sections seem to have a lot more information about going ampless
    Al Kraft and The Diaper Geni like this.
  6. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it.

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio

    I'll plug the humble Aguilar THDI. Small and pretty cheap on the used market. Can be powered by an 18v power supply, batteries or phantom power. Sits well in a mix.

    But there are soooooooooo many choices and it's such a biiiiiiiiiiiig rabbit hole. Enjoy the journey!!
    Al Kraft likes this.
  7. bklee

    bklee Supporting Member

    Thank you, all.
    Al Kraft likes this.