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MI Audio Tube Zone

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by UnDoNe, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Hello friends. Has anyone tried this with a bass? I've heard rave reviews, but all for guitar. It apparently retains low-end well though and is a tweakers paradise! any help is welcome!

  2. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Please don't let this pedal be good on bass. I really, really can't allow myself GAS for it.
  3. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    I can! Bring it on! :)
  4. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    I'm bumping this because I'm currently a/b-ing it with a Blue Boy Deluxe. I'm trying to pick one or the other...very hard!

    I'll update this later with my final thoughts on the Tube Zone. But so far it is damn nice with no loss of low end and it seems to have higher gain than the BB deluxe. Hmm...maybe I NEED both and will ditch my fulltone bassdrive.
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Eric, care to share your thoughts on comparing the two MI Audio pedals? I've been tweaking my BB Deluxe to compare it further to my Analogman TS9DX. I love the Analogman and am having a hard time letting it go. It has a certain character that is wonderful. The BB Deluxe can get so close though that I can't justify keeping it around.

    I'd love to hear more about the Tube Zone though. I'm looking forward to checking that one out, as well as the soon to be Electronix Geminidrive.
  6. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I'm interested too!
    I loved my TS9DX, and am either gonna get another one or the MI Audio. :)
  7. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    ...and it looks like she's comin' home! ;)
  8. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes indeed. :bassist:
  9. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for reminding me, I've been busy with a bunch of stuff lately. I was comparing a keeley modded TS (the one with ALL the options), the blue boy and the tube zone. What I wanted was something with a basss-ier eq and less compressed sounding than my current fulltone bassdrive mosfet. The Keeley modded TS was ok, but didn't really stand out to me, it sounded a lot like the bassdrive (which makes TS clone sense). I was able to coax a good sound out of it, but it was a bit "cloudy".

    I was really keen on the blue boy and was all set to keep it. I was able to get AN extremely bassy sound out of it, (if so desired - very tweakable, you can cut the mids, add extra mids, adjust the tone control accordingly, cut or add highs; there's A LOT you can do with this pedal; the character control adds bass as you turn it up, but also adds a compressed feeling at the same time). This pedal is clear sounding (moreso than the Keeley TS9 or the bassdrive) and you can adjust the compression. Sounds like exactly what I was looking for.

    Then I went back to the store and also picked up the Tube Zone. The guy at the store described the tube zone as a higher gain blue boy and also Mi Audio's pride and joy. It is higher gain the the BB, but not rediculously so. At first, it was like plugging into any other OD pedal that cut all the bass, even when the Char. knob was maxed. Very dissapointing. I went back and read the directions. The tube zone has an internal trim pot that controls the "prescence" of the pedal. I went in and turned the "prescence" control all the way down. Then the bass was there.

    After this point I spent A LOT of time A/B-ing the BB and tube zone. I ended up going with the Tube Zone due to the Charachter knob control. With the BB, it was almost as if in order to coax a tone that was bassy enough, I had to turn up the character knob. But that also added more compression. With the Tube Zone, I'm able to get enough bass out of it w/out the extra compression. I'm able to find more of a suitable balance between bass and compression with the TZ than the BB. As a result, the TZ also sounds even a little clearer then the BB as well.

    But I am curious to try out a BB again Andy. I'd like to try and turn down the Char. knob to about 25-35%, but also turn down the Tone knob and then adjust the mids and highs accordingly. I think that might help with finding a more suitable balance. As I type this, and some more tweaking with a BB, I could still see a board with the BB (for low OD) and a TZ (for more OD). Please don't get me wrong, the BB is a damned fine OD pedal, def. one of the better ones.

    Hope that was helpul and made some sense.
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    This is what I'm thinking of doing as well....
  11. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ha! Someone has finally discovered my secret recipe! I found out about the Blueboy from another TB'er a couple years ago, and then bought a Tube Zone about a year later. Either of these pedals seriously crush the Tubescreamer-clone bass-specific OD pedals out there that I've tried. They definitely take some tweaking, but there is so much to tweak that you will eventually find some amazing sounds! They definitely have different characters from each other as well- the Tube Zone has less inherent compression, as was mentioned- but is a little more difficult to find the sweet spot between too muddy and loss of low end in my experience. I personally couldn't hang with the presence below about 50%, but I use these pedals to drive all-tube amps already, so I don't need a super high gain drive that retains bass so much as a really nice low gain OD, high-headroom boost that adds a little oomph... both of these pedals do that, with the TZ being my current favorite (a little more unique sounding!). And they work really well driving each other too- though I prefer to drive the Blueboy with the Tube Zone vs. the other way around.

  12. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Just wanted to chime in as Arbitrary and I hung out for a bit today. I got to try his Tube Zone.....and it certainly secured my need for one. It is indeed outstanding. It's everything that he mentioned....higher gain than the BB Deluxe as well as having a great deal less compression. I did show A my setting on the BB Deluxe to get a great sound without the compression...and I think he'll be getting one again. Also, it buried his Bass Drive no questions asked. I will say that as soon as there's a cash flow again that I'll be getting a Tube Zone on my own board.

    As an aside, I plugged in the Analogman modded TS9DX and I thought it still sounded great next to the other overdrive pedals. It has such a wonderful character to it that really appeals to me. I look forward to owning one again in the future...but with the addition of the silver mod. I really want to hear that. Reagan, be sure to let me know how that one turns out!
  13. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    that was awhile back...since then I ended up w/a blue boy and a tube zone on my board...it's stupid big.
  14. Hey arbitrary - nice review for the BBD - and I agree with most of what you've pointed out. ;)

    The BBD is a tricky pedal to get THAT tone, and it took me a lot of fiddling to get the tone I wanted.
    I found that the strength of the signal you feed it has a HUGE difference in the way the pedal responds.
    Especially with actives - back down the volume, and the tone is a fair bit easier to work with, as the lows don't over-saturate (and make it munted!) the circuit. Some hot passives may get a benefit from this also.
    I found this decreases your reliance on the Character knob too.
    But personally I like the farty sound with the Character knob maxed through a tube amp.:D

    Hoenstly - after an OD search that's cost me too much - I'll be sticking with my (small footprint) BBD.

    Has anyone seen the new '09 ones? They're the same size as the Tubezone!
  15. I'm bumping this thread because my Tube Zone sounds great at home through my Markbass LMII -> GK NEO 115 cab. But at our first gig last week, I really felt like all of my low end left when I turned on the pedal. Anyone who may actually still be using the TZ have suggestions for settings?
    loopee likes this.
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i made an exact clone of one, only in a smaller enclosure, and it's a great sounding OD/distortion pedal with no low end loss.
    it can take a while to dial one of these in since the controls are very interactive.


    dinoadventures likes this.
  17. niix


    Jan 25, 2015
    I love my tube zone v3 coupled with my pbass and any amp I played with these.

    I bought it in a belgian pawn shop for 70€ (at that time it used to cost more than 200€ new, so I bought it) without knowing how it would sound on a bass guitar.

    And it turned to be my favorite bass overdrive. It is very responsive, and has a lot of low end. I bought/sold a dozen overdrives (from cheap to expensive), but no other pedal did a better job for me.

    I'd just love to find a smaller one, does anybody know if the v4 is identical ?
  18. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Yes, I've had the same results......just read up about a trimpot inside the pedal for "presence" so will try that and see it if makes a difference. But it's still my favorite OD pedal so far, and I've tried quite a few in the last 2 years.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

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