Digitech Bass Synth Wah review...mixed feelings

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JimmyM, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    OK, I know it's an older pedal that's been out for a while, but it's new to me ;)

    Bought one because I thought it might be able to do double duty for me. Was hoping it could make me not miss my beloved OC-2 but be relatively easy to switch over to an envelope as well since I didn't want to have to go to a bigger pedalboard just to add my SYB-3 back onto it (yes I know it's a synth pedal, but it does have a pretty cool auto wah).

    So I got it tonight and have been playing with it, and my thoughts are mixed. Found a cool enough envelope filter sound on it, but was supremely disappointed to find that you can't use the Octasub setting with only the lower octave. Tonally, I think the octave below is right up there with the OC-2, but it sure is a bummer that you can't dial out the normal bass note.

    I downloaded the manual to see if I was doing something wrong (I wasn't), and discovered the feature that may be its saving grace...if you depress the pedal while you plug the power supply in, it turns on a cab simulator that's pretty excellent. And the cab sim has also made me feel like I can overlook its inability to dial out the main note from the sub octave, since I realized I never use the lower octave on the OC-2 by itself anyway unless I'm jamming "Sledgehammer" at soundcheck ;) Now why they didn't just put the cab sim on a switch, I'll never know, but since I'm not a big fan of tweeter highs whatsoever, I think I can live with it. But they really should have put it on a switch.

    As for the synth sounds, they're kind of cool, but it doesn't have the range of the SYB-3. It has those "synth talk" sounds the SYB-3 doesn't have, but I've got no use for them. Really, I've got no use for synth sounds at all currently, but if I did, I would stick with the SYB-3.

    Unfortunately I don't have a gig until Monday, but I'll give it a shot. Till then, I'm giving it a mixed review. Good envelope and octave sounds and a killer cab sim, but the octave sound needs to be able to work by itself, and the cab sim should be on a switch. At least that's how I'd do it if I designed it.
  2. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    I lost interest in most of the sounds.
    I've ended up using mine just as an octave pedal:
    Sens 10, Ctl 5 (12 o'clock), Range 0, Type 7

    It actually sounds as good as any other octave pedal to me. (I don't need the lower "sub" octave.)

    I wish
    a) it didn't gobble batteries so fast, and
    b) its hum was a little quieter.
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I used this pedal for years when I played in a reggae/funk/rock/blues band. I only used it for a couple of tunes, but it made a big impact and many musicians and fans commented on the sound. The biggest problem I had was the increase in volume with the setting I used. I started using a Boss LS-2 so that I could bring the volume down. The octave was effective, but I started using a OC-2, which I like much better. I liked it for the one or two songs that I used it on. I found the tracking to be good, but I was disappointed by the envelope filter settings.

    I owned am Akai Deep Impact for awhile, which everyone seems to swoon over, but it didn't do much for me. I sold the Deep Impact years ago (I should have kept it and sold it for a fortune now), but still have my old reliable BSW. I don't use it much, but people notice it when I do. My fellow musicians in the band used to say, "Use the monster!".
  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    I actually like my BSW. think that it's a good sounding pedal and would never use it without the clean signal anyway.
    I didn't know about the cab sim (thanks for the tip) but it doesn't bother me that it doesn't have a separate switch for it, as long as it has it.
  5. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I love this pedal, especially the Type 5 setting. It sounds really good combined with an Boss ODB-3. Like Monkey, I get comments from band members and others when I use it in songs. Monkey called it "the monster", guys in our band call it "the beast".

    I didn't know about the cab sim function, either. Now I have something to do tonight. Thanks for the tip.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll tell you John, that cab sim is almost making it worth the price of admission for it alone. It's much less dark than rolling my Tonestyler down on the Precision to where I usually had it but it's dark enough to where distortion and fuzz sound really good. But while I'm getting a good sound with the octave (using pbasswil's settings or pretty close to it), I can't seem to get the envelope where I want it. I only got to try it through an amp for a few minutes and have been using it in the REDDI with headphones. Maybe through an amp it'll sound better.
  7. I've had this pedal for 2 years or so and this is the first I've heard of the cab sim, interesting!

    I have a Behringer BSY-600 synth pedal which is pretty cool, but it doesn't get the same synth sound the BSW does, so I use each for different things. Can't speak for the SYB-5, though.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sheesh, does nobody read the manuals?

  9. chris merrill

    chris merrill Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Endorsing Artist for: GHS Strings, Lakland Basses
    Don't have a BSW anymore, but I did use it for some time on the octave setting, but I never heard of the speaker sim trick. I'd love to hear that!
    I'm back to the dirtiness of the OC2 and love it.
  10. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    I love my BSW. I dial in a synth fuzz tone then throw different modulations after it. Slides with BSW>Trem>ADA make for awesome Transformer noises. I just wish you could save multiple settings.
  11. droo46


    Jun 16, 2011
    So, color me ignorant, what exactly does the cab sim setting do?
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    A cab sim is mainly an EQ curve that rolls off the top end (and sometimes the low end as well) to simulate the frequency response of a physical speaker. I don't know exactly what this pedal's cab sim does, but likely something along those lines.
  13. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 GAS resistance is utterly futile... Supporting Member

    I had a BSW for 3-4 years (sold it last summer) and it took me a while to get to like it. When I started liking it, I used for fuzz, filter, octave & filter, octave and even had a mock sequencer thing going on with it (although that required 3 more pedals). One of the most interesting pedals I've had for sure, but it took me a few months to warm up to it.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this exactly what the Control knob is for with Type 7?
  15. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    Had the same pedal for years, and no, I don't read manuals and didnt know about the cab simulator. Too bad, as I've already gotten rid of it and would have liked to try the sim. I really only used it for the filter and the octave, both of which I thought were decent enough. I had some fun messing around with the other synth sounds, but ultimately never used them for anything but noodling.
  16. Floridabwoy

    Floridabwoy Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Funny.... I was playing with mine last night and I think the only useful sounds are 1, 3, and 4.

    But it does do those very well.
  17. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    Maybe I just had a string of bad luck but when I had one of these pedals it was just too unreliable to take seriously. I got the first one, and within a day it stopped. The batteries died, and then it simply wouldn't turn on whatsoever anymore. I tried every AC adapter I had to no avail (including a Digitech one).

    Musiciansfriend sent me a new one, and this one worked for about a week. Then it too broke. I didn't used batteries in it, but when plugging it in it just stopped working like the other.

    Cool sounds though, and if you guys had better luck than me all the power to you. I bit the bullet and got an EHX Microsynth on sale afterwards. I've been using it for about two years problem free.

    I really could not bring myself to get anything else by Digitech after the BSW.
  18. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    I've been using this for my main effect for a bit now, and after using an OC-2 and an old Ibanez UE-303b for years, I am finding that this is doing the job well for octave and envelope filter sounds. I found that the key with the filter is to keep the range almost all the way down, and keep the sensitivity down. I have had many filters, and this actually sounds a LOT like my old Mutron III at the right settings. The batteries die so fast that I thought it was broken.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I thought so too, but all it does is dial in how much low octave you get and doesn't mix out the higher.

    As for the batteries dying so fast, I run my effects on a 1-spot, so not a problem ;)
  20. I gave mine away. I had a cool setting. I believe it was mode 6. Then the 2 middle controls were full up. And the first control was at about 9 o'clock. Its hard to remember without it right in front of me.