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Ibanez Phat Hed vs Digitech Bassdriver

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Fretless FX, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Fretless FX

    Fretless FX

    Feb 2, 2004
    I've been thinking about getting a relatively cheap OD/Dist pedal and these two seem come out on top after some research. How do they compare to eachother?
  2. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    The PD-7 works very well for bass distortion. The Clean mode and Attack switch aren't very useful, but its OD and DIST settings sound good. The OD isn't really overdrive, its just a lighter distortion setting than DIST. Overall, I'd recommend it so long as you aren't looking to get a tube overdrive sound.

    I've never played the Digitech, so I can't compare the two...
  3. Fretless FX

    Fretless FX

    Feb 2, 2004
    I'm not into tubey-sound, I like my OD/dist to sound cold but full, I'm not after the seventies sound. Essential: must sound good with chords played on the bassguitar (2/3-notes at once max.).
  4. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I'll be able to give a detailed review by the end of the weekend.

    I bought the Digitech last week and I'm picking up the Ibanez on Friday.
  5. I listened a sample sound of the digitech bassdriver at musicianfriend.com,and it sounded very nice to me, but I still don't know if I should buy it. Can I trust this samples?
  6. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    They are accurate though I'd say that they used the cabinet modeling output as opposed to the regular output.
  7. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    Well, here's my impressions thus far... I'm much more 'on the fence' than I thought I would be when choosing between the two. They both have their individual strengths and those strengths became even more apparent in an A/B comparison.

    First impression of the Digitech: I initially was turned off by the high gain settings on the 'Morph' knob - anything past 2 o'clockish. It struck me as very guitar-like... I'm not trying to infer that's inherently a bad thing, but it reminded me of a guitar sound that I don't particularly like when used by actual guitarists.

    I'm going to be blunt...my bass sounded like the guitar player from Godsmack. I read a review of this pedal here where the high gain setting was described as 'goofy.' I agree. It's like a caricature of modern, metal, guitar tone.

    I was impressed by the clean boost. I was also very impressed with the amp modeling output. It took awazy some sizzle and add some 'oomph' in the headphones. I think that the modeling output could be very useful for getting a great sound with a tweeter equipped cab. Mind you, the modeling output is always on if you're plugged into that jack... even if the distortion pedal isn't engaged you'll have a clean modeled sound (It's modeled after a 4x10 and sounds similiar to an Eden XLT to my ears.) I'd probably put the pedal in a seperate selectable loop if I used that output. The modeling output is output level is lower than the regular 'Amp Out' but the volume knob takes care of that, no problem.

    First impression of The Phat Hed: I tried the PD-7 in a store the next day through an inexpensive practice amp and immediately ordered one. The unit initially struck me as more bass-like than guitar-like. I was really knocked out by the 'Low' EQ, and the OD and DIST switch settings. I was pretty sure that the Digitech would be returned to the store right after the PD-7 came in.

    Well...I've spent some time with both of them and here's my take:

    2nd impressions

    The Phat Hed:

    Most everything you've heard about it is true. The attack switch could possibly yield some interesting results but for the most part sounds better switched off...to my ears at least.

    The OD setting is more of a light distortion than a tube sounding overdrive. Both the OD and Distortion switch positions sound good.

    The Eq is pretty powerful - You can get a lot more bass out if than what you put into it...like ridiculous amounts. You can get a very thick, synth-like low end distortion.

    The clean boost is colored. You might like that color but I prefer the clean boost of the Digitech. One advantage of the PD-7 is that you can use the EQ knobs in clean mode.

    I read a review where a disenchanted reviewer described it as sounding 'rubbery.' I agree and I can see/hear where he's coming from. The heavy synth-like lows of the bass knob are like a double edged sword. You can get that thick, artificial, synthesized sound but it's at the expense of touch sensitivity - the finger/string connection.

    The Phat Hed strikes me much more as a temporary 'effect' as opposed to something that I'd play through for any extended period of time. That said... I think it's great for distortion (heavy and light) and some unique and extreme modern bass tones. There's also some possibilities for using the clean EQ to spruce up another effect pedal.

    The Digtech

    After playing the Phat Hed, I appreciate the Digitech much more for it's clean boost, overdrive and light distortion sounds (pretty much anything before 2-3 O' clock on the Morph knob.) I also appreciate the blend knob a lot more than I had initially... it helps to retain a high degree of control and touch sensitivity. The Digitech is awesome if you want some quality OD/Distortion sounds but don't want your chops to get bogged down by the effect. The clean boost is slammin' and there's some very good OD/Distortion variations along the range of the Morph knob. You're much more likely to get an SVT or tube overdrive tone that you could use all night from this pedal than the PD-7. I wouldn't hesitate to use this for recording.

    The Wrap Up

    As of now I'm probably keeping both because they're so different from each other. They both do very distinct things that the other can't.

    One thing I've walked away with is that neither of them sound great all around the dial, at all settings. That said, I gravitated towards the settings that worked for me. I could defiinitely see someone digging the high gain settings on the Digitech or the pick attack switch or clean sounds of the PD-7. It's all about what you're looking for and for what situation you need them for.

    Both pedals have a lot of options with room for individual expression - neither of them strike me as a 'one trick pony' and I consider both to be excellent values.

    As I mess around with both pedals I'll update if I discover anything new or my impressions change. I got called for a last minute sub gig last night but I hardly had time to learn the tunes -nevermind trying to incorporate these two pedals into my board at the last minute. They stayed on the sidelines last night, but I'll be putting them through their paces over the next few weeks.
  8. Mattski


    Jan 6, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Outstanding perspective, marc40a.

  9. Fretless FX

    Fretless FX

    Feb 2, 2004
    Great reviews! Sounds like the Phat Hed is the one I'm looking for, especially if it can recreate low synth-like distortion. Though I might be picking up the digitech as well in the future. :D ;)
  10. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    How much is the DigiTech pedal?


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