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MXR M81 vs Mesa Subway DI vs ??? as standalone pre

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Mushroo, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Greetings, my first post in Effects so go easy on me. :) I'm looking for a preamp/DI pedal to complete my "mini rig of doooooom!" My signal chain will be: passive basses -> ??? -> Acoustic Image SA power amp -> two Carvin 115 MBE cabinets. My criteria are:
    • Under $250
    • Stands alone as a preamp to drive a power amp
    • Provides basic tone shaping options
    • Great quality DI to front of house
    • Doesn't need to have distortion/overdrive/tubes/etc.
    So far I like the reputation, looks, and features of the MXR M81 and Mesa Subway DI Pedal. Any comments/opinions on those two? Any other units that should be on my short list?
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  2. TheSlenderman


    Aug 24, 2012
    DeLand, FL
    Especially if you don't want or need any built in overdrive circuits, I would go with the Subway DI. Can't beat Mesa build quality and I've heard nothing but great things about the signal quality of the DI itself. Plus all the other signal routing options it provides are nice. I have one in the mail right now actually.
    Mushroo likes this.
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I have both. While the M81 is fantastic, the Subway pedal just outclasses it. The only reason I'd choose the M81 would be the size if there were absolutely no options to make room for the Mesa.
    deepwave, TheSlenderman and Mushroo like this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you both for the recommendation. In the process of researching the Mesa, I realized that the Subway D-800 is pretty much my dream amp. So, rather than buy the Subway DI Pedal at this point, I'm going to start saving toward a D-800 or D-800+. :)

    To meet my immediate needs, I found a good price on a used M81. It's an adorable little "swiss army knife" pedal that I'm sure will always be handy to have in my gig bag. I'm loving the punchy sound of cutting the bass control and boosting the mids at 250hz.
    b-b-b-bass likes this.
  5. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I'd get one of the last Broughton Studio Ones that Josh maybe has in stock (@Azure Skies).

    Neve Console strip with HPF, LPF, DI, 3 band EQ and mids frequency dial. Unreal preamp.
    Embra and Mushroo like this.

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