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MXR M80 or Tech 21 VT pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by lowendblues, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Im looking for a distortion pedal to go with my Rickenbacker basses and GK 700 RBII amp.

    I'm wanting some easily dialed in distortion. I've had the Sansamp BDDI,,the RBI, and the RPM, the later being the best of the bunch. I want to try the VT pedal due to all of the positive feedback the TB members have posted, but I have had problems with the "mid scoop" that all the other Sansamp products seem to have. Is this a problem with the VT?

    Also I've been looking at the MXR M80, it also has its loyal fan base, and doubles as a pretty good DI I've heard.

    So what is the general consesus of these two products? Is one better than the other? Or is it apples and oranges? :meh:
  2. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    You can dial in the VT to be pretty flat with zero mid scoop (I made a thread showing some frequency response plots) but it's more suited to light grit than high gain distortion. It does have a lot of gain on tap but I'm not a fan of it's high gain sounds. Unfortunately I've not tried the M80 to offer a comparison. Got any specific tones you're aiming for?
  3. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Geddy Lee, Chris Squire type distortion. Not the grunge in your face thing.
  4. Bought an M80, returned it promptly. If you want balls-to-the-wall, wailing, feedback-inducing distortion, it's great. Otherwise, not so much. YMMV. Never tried the VT pedal.
  5. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    The VT would be a good choice then, or maybe the Paradriver if you want the RPM sound in a pedal. I also recommend the DHA VT1 or Barber LTD SR for some subtle overdrive.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hmmm...the VT is decidedly Ampeg in nature while the Geddy/Squire sound is more about Marshall or Sunn tones. I don't know...can't say it won't do it, but I've yet to be able to get mine to sound like that.
  7. bassman03


    May 19, 2008
    Sully, Iowa
    I've heard people say that w/ an M80 the distortion can sound like Geddy live. Hoping so, cuz i've got one on the way (i think)
  8. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    I have both just not on the same board.

    Actually the M80 kinda takes the place of the VTB on the board it's on the distortion if used sparingly is not bad on the MXR and the color button when used clean gives a tube like glass to the sound ... The VTB is better at getting that SVT like vibe though.

    ;) ... Picking one it would be the M80 for the DI and versatility
  9. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Western NY
    VT Bass at higher gain and character settings gives a decent Rush in Rio sound.
  10. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I have a M-80, but I'm selling it cause I got an RBI.

    I liek the RBI better. It has a better tube like sound. If it's like the VT, then get the VT.
  11. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    It does. I liked the distortion on it a lot. It still had the bass's natural tone, but had that overdrive on top of it. It was great.
  12. funny i use both the RBI and the RPM and have no trouble achieving the old Geddy tone (read 74 to 77)

    have used both pedals....my choice of the two would be the VT Bass
  13. KevtheRev


    Feb 3, 2008
    The VT Bass just knocked the M80 off my pedal board. Really came down to the sound of the M80 that had me looking elsewhere.

    Don't get me wrong, I have used the M80 for 5 years now and up until a month ago I thought I was going to the grave w/ it on my pedalboard. Super versatile swiss army knife kinda box.

    But for me something was just missing - just not Ampeggy enough for one. The color circuit of the M80 is something you don't want to turn off (and you actually can't turn it off on the dirty channel). But it's a Low freq EQ hump that can very easily become boomy. And your first thought is to turn down the low EQ knob, but it just doesn't seem to work that way. Different center frequency most likely. Also seems to compress the signal a bit, which would be fine with a control for it.
    The VT Bass has its own EQ character, accentuating the klank, but it sits nice in the mix if you tame it a bit.

    The distortion on the M80 is also not my cup of tea. Buzzsaw type. I used just enough of it to give me some edge, but that's all it was worth to me. The VT Bass to me on the other hand is not really a traditional distortion box - its an Ampeg emulator. Gives great tube-like break up, balls, and grit. I prefer it on all the time. Character and drive knobs never past 12 o'clock though.

    I was hoping running the VT Bass and M80 together would give me good results, but not so. Ended up with the VT Bass driving a Bass Big Muff - really nice!! Other way around had negative impact on the Muff.

    Like the Ampeg sound, get the VT Bass. If not, the M80 is hard to beat.
    When I first fired up the VT Bass w/o any knob tweaking, Geddy Rio tone immediately came to mind - but w/ some tweaking can get all the way to Motown.

    Hope all this blabber helps you a bit.

  14. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    The VT accentuates the clank because there is a treble boost with all the eq knobs at noon. I got a flat response from mine by setting bass, mid and character to just a hair past 12, and the treble to about 10.30. It sounds a lot more natural that way and is a good point to start tweaking from!
  15. Id say go with the VT, although ive never used the M80. When I had my BDDI (and another one is on the way as we speak) the geddy/squire-type tone was all it seemed good at to me anyway, but the scoop made it dissappear in a band (i know you can remove the scoop, but its at the sacrifice of the tone i like). The VT has a mid control and a character control (i think it sweeps the contour - past noon it becomes really clanky and aggressive)

    The BDDI seemed easier to me at dialing in that klanky-geddy tone, but its not what ive been looking for at the moment, so not really tried it with the VT - but im pretty sure its there.
  16. KevtheRev


    Feb 3, 2008
    Yep, those settings are about where mine ended up - except Character at about 10.
  17. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I don't know if I would buy the MXR M80 as a dedicated distortion but as part of the package of a DI and preamp it's OK. It will do a light grind to full on fuzz.
  18. I used to own an M-80 (still regret selling it) and I currently own a Bass VT. I wouldn't recommend either as a stand-alone dirt box. The M-80 is a fantastic clean preamp/DI, but the distortion circuit sucks. It's just really harsh, unmusical (IMO), cheap guitar amp distortion. The Bass VT is also an AMAZING preamp, and it will do very mild drive very well, but its forte is doing very good impressions of slightly to moderately overdriven tube bass amps. For full-on, medium to high-gain sounds, the VT is also very harsh and not terribly musical.

    I would highly suggest checking out the Home Brew Electronics Hematoma. I have one, and it is easily the most versitile, right sounding bass dirt box I've ever come across.
  19. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Personally I consider the VT much more of a Character/Tone Shaping tool than I do an overdrive/distortion box.

    Loads of different tones in there if you search for them.
  20. Lord Trau

    Lord Trau

    Oct 21, 2007
    Copywriter, Dunlop Manufacturing
    I've not tried the VT pedal, but I do have the M80. If you're looking for demonic all out metal distortion, this is not the pedal for you.

    I use it for a nice, gravelly growl. Here's a band whose bassist uses the M80 (his tone in this song is about what I like to dial in): The bass comes in at about 15 seconds.

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