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Hartke VXL Bass Attack or Sans Amp Bass Driver DI

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ManongGuard, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. ManongGuard


    Jan 5, 2011
    Hi guys. Am purchasing a shaper to add to my bass pedal board and have narrowed iy down to either the Hartke Bass Attack or the Tech21 Bass Driver DI.

    On a pound-for-pound comparison, which is more worth the investment. I know the Sans is a lot more expensive and a lot of people swear by it but I'm not sure how much of it bandwagon hyping. I love the VXL harmonics and shape knobs and use a stereo mixed Big Muff anyway for my dirt.

    Thanks guys.
  2. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    If you're on a tight budget, I'd say go for the hartke vxl bass attack preamp pedal. it does have a sound similar to the tech 21 sansamp bass driver. and it has a shape button(which acts like an eq boost). I own one and it sounds pretty cool. especially when I use distortion with it. When I use my effects with the hartke bass attack pedal, I set up a warm tube-like sound on the hartke bass attack pedal and when I combine it with a distortion pedal(like the digitech bass driver), I get a smooth killer sound. in my opinion, the hartke bass attack pedal is an awesome preamp pedal to own.
  3. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I have tried both pedals and liked the Hartke a lot better.

    To my ears the Hartke tone shaping controls are a lot more powerful and refined than on the Tech 21. I also like the Hartke distortion a lot better than the Tech 21. Note however that distortion are VERY subjective to personal taste and also your equipment. The Hartke distortion is more like an overdrive, it's mild and subtle except when it's full on then it goes into distortion/fuzz territory. I was the shift between the two mode was a bit more progressive but other than that it's a great pedal.

    The Tech 21 tone shaping is not as refined as the Hartke and the distortion is very different. It's a more aggressive type distortion better suited for hard-rock or metal. It sounds like a pedal to my ears rather than trying to emulate the sound of a pushed tube amp. That being said, this is a very popular pedal mostly used in live situations.

    Larry Hartke is a very nice guy too who works harder than anybody I know and who will take time to chat with you. His knowledge of bass topics is impressive and his passion for the business is contagious! I had the pleasure of meeting him at Sam's on 48th Street in NYC; I was testing his pedal as he walked in!
  4. ManongGuard


    Jan 5, 2011
    Thanks guys. Makes me confident in my decision. Also, I have a number of dirt pedals that I put on my board anyway so I'm not in need of the SansAmp's Dist (I use a Big Muff Pi and a Holy Stain [clean] in my loop and a Digitech Bass Driver in the gain stage).

    Hartke VXL Bass Attack it is then.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i'm a sansamp fan (although i prefer the vt deluxe over the bddi), but i just got a bass attack and it's a killer pedal. seriously loaded with bang for the buck.
  6. Mad Tango

    Mad Tango

    Apr 18, 2006
    Pearland, Tx.
    I have/had Sadowsky, Blue tube, and Alleva~Coppolo and a number of other preamp pedals and the Hartke is my favorite. My fav settings are "harmonics" and "mix" on min to 9:00- Oclock, "Shape" on about max. =1k and "bass", "treble", and "brite" on 11:00 Oclock. (Big warning)- if your mixer has Phantom power, do not use AC adapter as the Hartke can be hit w/48volts backfed into the DI out and start to permanantly crakle afterwards. This is what happened to mine and now I have to use another external DI to FOH. Use battery power as the Hartke does not have protective coupled XLR to guard against the sound man accidently sending Phantom power to your channel. I also wish this pedal had easier to read knobs. However; this is a great pedal!!!!
    MattLou likes this.
  7. arsie


    Jan 19, 2011
    Thanks for the tips here.

    Just as a matter of curiosity, I would like to know how you guys use the Shape function. +20db is quite a bit for a boost switch of some sort.

    Does any of you use it always on, and hit the switch as a volume down instead? I quite like it at about 2 o'clock.

    I went to the shops and got some cheap plastic 50ct knobs with a yellow top, so the markings are visible. Chrome is cool and all but unreadable knobs is a big downer.

    Anyone popped open the lids of these things and done mods? I'm thinking that a master volume and a EQ bypass mod would be great on these things.
  8. Dumps


    May 5, 2010
    Lawrence, Kansas
    I had a Bass Attack Pedal... lots of bang for the buck.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i don't use the shape button at all. i find a distorted tone i like, mix in clean signal until i can hear my mids from the clean signal reappear, and that's about it. not especially fond of the shape circuit. but i do like the overdrive, and it's got a really good di.
  10. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    I like the Hartke Bass Attack better than the SansAmp. I have used both.

    I have the Bass Attack running strait into a Crown XLS 202 PA amp. I run
    amp bridged and it drives a Genz Benz GB 410T XB2.


    I am impressed with how good this simple setup sounds.

  11. Seems like a very well thought out rig, and I'd bet it sounds boutique!
  12. simplebassliner


    Apr 23, 2010
    In Hartke Vxl the Shape is mid Scoop. The shape knob control the mid frequency being cut, not boost. Plz correct me if Im wrong.
  13. Yeah, I love it. Quirkiness alone is worthless, but this is so quirky-good it's almost British, and rarely does that come this cheap. Anyway, you know how the mids on a Sadowsky are scooped by turning up the bass and treble knobs? Same deal. You adjust the AMOUNT of shape with the bass and treble knobs. Someone was complaining that the VXL has no memory. I can just see someone asking the box's designer "But what if someone wanted to change that for one tune, or maybe even in the middle of a tune?" And the designer asking "Why would anyone do such a thing?"
  14. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I am thinking of doing the same thing at some point, I really like the Hartke Bass attack pedal sound.