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Hartke VXL Bass Attack - sooo underrated pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by inmate13, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. inmate13


    Nov 4, 2010
    Hey fellow TB'ers!!!

    Yesterday i got VXL pedal cause i sold my Sansamp RBI and i must say that this pedal ROCKS!!!! It may have some minor design flaws but that can't beat 100+€ difference in price!!!

    I sold RBI cause i want to have everything on the floor and i already owned BDDI so i wanted to try something different. And i was amazed by this lil thingy, now all we need to see how it handles the stage :)

  2. Had this pedal for about a year now. Still find a new setting every once in awhile that makes me fall in love all over again. Highly recommend it to anyone looking for a DI/tone shaper
  3. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    It is quite a powerful device. I've had one for a month or so now. I quite like the rig somebody posted on here which was a VXL running into a power amp.

    I've found it is great for polishing up my bass tone. It adds a lot of sparkle and a lot of solid fundamental. It does seem to generally scoop the mids. I found the presets in the booklet to be a bit useless however....

    My only concern really is that the power adaptor input is on the 'wrong' side for me. If I daisychain my pedals and power them with my Godlyke adaptor and daisy I find I have to 'waste' one of the other connections on the daisy as I have to stretch it out behind the pedal to run it into the power input. I probably need a more solid power supply in the long term anyway.

    However I have no qualms about turning up at a gig with just the VXL and a bass and plugging in!
  4. inmate13


    Nov 4, 2010
    I have the same setup as you mentioned, power amp + VXL and limiter + compressor. I would go to a gig with just these, because its the same as it was with RBI, the output was from RBI and thats it. I mainly use the rig just for good " monitor " on stage.
  5. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Indeed it is an under-rated pedal. I once own one and it was a pretty cool preamp pedal. it is like the sansamp bass driver, only it's a little different and it's affordable. the one noticeable difference is that it has hartke's famous shape control which acts more like an eq boost. it can go from a bright and throaty sound to a smooth and warm sound. it's a great preamp pedal to own and I would recommend this pedal to anyone looking for a good affordable and durable tube-emulation pedal.
  6. +1 for a great pedal.

    I never gave it much thought until I won one direct from Larry Hartke on his Facebook page. I was surprised at how good it sounds, and it's what I plug into for my home rig. Super handy too with everything it does.

  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I don't own one, but I also have been impressed by the features and the sounds of the demos I've heard. The only reason I'm not getting one is that I'm getting the MXR M-80. For an additional Jackson you get MXR build quality, plus it's smaller. Either way, they're both truly viable options for those looking for a preamp/EQ/overdrive/DI unit such as a SansAmp Bass Driver.
  8. Had it for about 3 months, really love how it works polishing my sound without majorly altering it. Replaced it with AMT BC-1 just because it doesn't fit in the pedalboard anymore, big sized pedals made me frown :( if only Hartke build it smaller...
  9. 4Banger4


    Mar 21, 2011
    Indianapolis IN
    FWIW, I was doing some recording this weekend and I recorded first on my Hartke pedal... Just looked at the manual and used some of the default configurations, had some really good sounds/tones. I later in the weekend went to a friends house who happened to have a MXR M-80 and asked to try it out. I tired engaging the effects, distortion switches and every dial setting I could try.. I don't know if his MXR was on the fritz or what but I couldn't get the same output level as I could with the Hartke. I couldn't find my power supply and was running it on a brand new Duracell 9V where as I was using a 9V wall wart with the Hartke. Not sure if this could have been part of the problem or what. Also, the distortion really didn't sound like much even with the gain maxed. I have a few other MXR pedals and dig them a lot. As far as construction goes the VXL is very close to the MXR M80. The knob caps on the VLX do suck though... I have only 2 out of 8 still attached, but that doesn't matter much to me. If you have a chance to compare the two I'd be curious to learn if it was just a junk battery and the MXR works better with a power supply. I think both manufacturers have solid products IMO.
  10. inmate13


    Nov 4, 2010
    I haven't done any recording with it yet but I was again totally impressed on rehearsals with my band. Sound fit's sooooo damn good in the mix and with the compressor before it the tones are really even and good sounding, call me a looser but I couldn't get that from RBI :)

    Now all i need to get is some solid pedalboard and i got my '' amp '' on da floo' :)
  11. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I must say, you get a fine pedal for less than a hundred bucks with the VXL. (Hats off to Larry Hartke for this). Im not much of a effect nut, but I'm always looking for something to spice up my sound, and the bass attack is doing a great job of doing this. The only con I can find is the EQ knobs remain active even when the switches are in the off position, I found this kind of odd,, anyone else?

    Other than that, Its a good pedal, thanks Larry!
  12. LumberjackTBird


    Aug 5, 2012
    My 2 cents-
    Picked up a Hartke Bass Attack DI for my church. I have my own stuff I usually use, but a couple of the kids just have really cheap basses and no pedals. As a sound guy, I couldn't do anything to make it sound decent. Picked the Hartke because, well, it was cheap.

    I will say I think just about any eq would greatly help in this situation. I was hoping it would get a bit more grit, part of why I chose it over the Eden.

    The "harmonics" or tube emulator or whatever thing is, does add some "life?" to the sound. Not supersaturated like the BDDI, and if I cranked it, there was just fart. Noon to 3 o'clock and you dug in, it had a decent OD.

    The shape part is almost more of a boost, depending on where I dialed it. To the right, it added TONS of low end and some highs. Much past 2, I don't think you would want to kick it on mid-song, unless your doing a bass drop. The other way, more of a mid boost, but it was much more mild.

    But, the most important part, it made the cheapest bass I have ever played sound pretty decent! The guitar player even commented on how good it sounded. I'll steal it back when I have some time to do a good sound/video demo. Just wanted to toss some thoughts out there for anyone thinking about a DI.
  13. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    The Hartke definitely isn't bad and considering the price it's a fair option for cheap EQ'ed DI. I got one used and was fairly happy with it for demos at home until it magically just decided not to work on me.
  14. I've had one for several months now and I really like it. I tend to set eq flat and just a little of the "harmonics" because it gives a really nice grit. The shape filter side I use less but its nice to have. What I like most about it tho is putting a distortion pedal before it in my signal chain. cleans up the sound and makes it very focused.
  15. Saw one of these in the bassist from Nickelback's rig... was surprised to find it there to be honest :) but he got a great sound so who can argue...
  16. Three words that I did not expect to see together: Nickelback and great sound.
  17. 'Scuse me digging up the dead,but I figure it's better than starting another thread.

    My dilemna:
    I'm going the pedal pre - power amp - cabinet,route.
    I've looked at the usual
    Sansamp BDDI pedal / ToneHammer and am considering the Hartke VXL.
    My only problem is which one of these will be able to sufficiently drive my power amp which has an input sensitivity of 1.17v
    Can anyone who has used these pedals(specifically the VXL) tell me which one would best drive my poweramp?
    Thanx in advance.

    * btw,what a great community you have here. Thanx for having me♠️
  18. Honestly I would just buy all three and sell whichever two you like least. They're all cheap enough on the used market you won't be out much.
  19. Ahhh…no.
    If I had the $ to pony up for all 3,I'd score an LH500 instead and be done with it.
    All I'm asking is whether I will have enough power with any of those pedals to drive my power amp.

    Thanx anyway.
  20. Never tried the bddi, but I've had the TH and still have the Hartke. The tone hammer is a great pedal and will drive pretty much any power amp. The Hartke, I have not had any trouble driving a power amp, but I can't say for sure what the output level is.

    For what its worth I still have the Hartke and not the TH. Partly because the tonehammer is double the cost and then some. Both are good pedal pre/di's.
    WyreAndWood likes this.