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MXR M81 Bass Preamp + Xotic X Blender vs Radial Bassbone V2

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Albino RyNo, Jan 20, 2016.


  1. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    Kind of a complicated question but here goes. What I'm trying to achieve is a pedalboard situation where I can switch between my active and passive basses, match their output volumes, use a little bit of eq on the passive basses, and have a blend-able effects loop. At first glance the Radial Bassbone V2 seemed to have everything I needed plus some in one pedal. Then I read the bassplayer.com review which states:

    "The system worked beautifully, but I had one beef: The standard input impedance for both inputs is 220kΩ, which will reduce the high-frequency response of a passive instrument."

    Other caveats are that it uses a specific 15v power supply and there's no phase inversion switch on the effects loop. I didn't immediately write the bassbone off but I did start looking into other options which brought me to the idea of combining the MXR M81 Bass Preamp with an Xotic X Blender.

    The MXR has an input impedance of 2.2MΩ which shouldn't reduce the high-frequency response of my passives, it's a very clean and transparent preamp which is good because I don't want to color my sound, and it has an input and output control which theoretically I could use to match my active and passive basses volumes by leaving the "output" on the MXR the same and adjusting the "input" based on what was plugged in.

    For the effects loop if I combine the MXR with an Xotic X Blender I will not only get an effects loop with a phase inversion switch but also the ability to add gain and eq to the effected signal if needed and switch between a blended signal and a fully effected signal via the second footswitch.

    Buying these two pedals costs a bit more than just going with a Bassbone so my questions are:

    Has anyone tried using the MXR M81 Bass Preamp with both active and passives? Any issues with trying to match output volumes?

    Is the phase inversion switch that big of a deal? Do many modern pedals still have phase issues when blended? Can anyone with an Xotic X Blender comment on it's quality?

    Can anyone that uses a Bassbone V2 comment on it's performance with passive basses, not having a phase inversion switch on it's FX blend, etc, etc?
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    The M81 can do what you want, but I think you have to think about it differently.

    Your active bass has a preamp built in, your passive bass does not (you already know that!). So, think of the M81 as an add-on preamp for your passive bass. Set up your levels and EQ, and kick it on when you switch to your passive bass.
     
  3. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    That's a good point. The one reason I would want to control the level of my actives and bring them down to the volume of my passives however is that the hotter signal of my actives doesn't always play well with some of my effects. my thoughts were to do this at the input stage of the MXR or Bassbone so that the signal feeding into the effects loop is the same volume.
     
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    You can do that with the M81 as well. But if you don't need the DI, you can do the same thing with a TC Spark Booster and save quite a few bucks. I had both pedals for a long time and both are fantastic. You won't overload the Spark, it takes up to line level so it does not need the input gain adjustment.
     
  5. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    Nice. Didn't think of the spark booster. Since it's mostly a boost pedal does it let you tame down the volume pretty good as well?
     
  6. pbass6811

    pbass6811

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    I could be off, so forgive me if I am, but the Source Audio Programmable EQ seems like it would also do what you want? If you put it first or second(after a tuner), You'd have the ability to set up 4 different gain/EQ settings to match your basses. I've heard of several guys who just use it to match bass outputs, they don't even use the EQ.

    That might work if you don't need the DI...
     
  7. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    Not sure if I'd use the DI or not. I don't really have the need for an on the go DI at the moment but it might come in handy down the road. The source audio programmable eq also looks promising. Forgive my ignorance when it comes to Source Audio effects but do they have an overly digital sound to them? I only ask because I've had bad experiences with BOSS and DigiTech multi-effects pedals, which I admit are a whole other animal.
     
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Yes, the volume knob goes all the way down to zero. Don't think of it as a boost only pedal.
     
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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