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My version of Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver is lacking drive

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DMTragedy, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    I purchased a used Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver pedal from Guitar Center a while ago. The price was at $120, and was wondering why that was the lowest I've seen around. After the purchase, I went to my friend's place, and compared mine to his, which he bought brand new earlier in the year. I noticed that his has 2 more switches. I assume I have an older model.
    Playing through both of them, the one major thing I noticed is that the newer one is capable of a considerably larger amount of drive. This is compared when I put the drive at 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, and max on both pedals.

    My question is...
    Is my the newer version suppose to have more drive than my older version? Or is there a problem with mine?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    Dumb question number 1: Did you put a fresh battery in it?
  3. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013

    I didn't. I used a one spot for both pedals.
  4. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    When you say drive do you mean distortion?

    The newer ones have far more output. Those switches allow you to pick how hot the output is so you can drive a power amp and such. The old ones did not.
  5. Are you using passive pickups?
    Maybe a slight boost into the sansamp will push it harder.
    Just a little boost will do it.

    As to why his pedal had more drive I don't know, I thought the extra switches only effected the output, not the gain structure.
    But a boost in front will drive the input to react hotter.

    Another thought;
    While testing, did you run one pedal into the other? They have buffered outputs so the first peadal will drive the second one in the chain( I think). Try one pedal, then take it out of the chain then try the other.
  6. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    I did mean distortion. I referred to it as "drive" because that was the knob I was talking about.

    I'm running active pick-ups and had just put in a new battery at the time.

    Each pedal was ran by itself. Just bass > pedal w/ one spot > clean amp.

    I also tried plugging my bass into a BBE Maxcom with the gate, compressor, and maximizer off, and turned the output up to boost the signal (I believe it was a +20db max output). That helped, but not very much, and didn't sound or meet the level of distortion like the newer pedal.

    Does anybody have/have used both versions and could confirm the difference? Or should I assume it's just a faulty in the one I have?
  7. I don't know the facts, just trying to help.

    +20 is too much for the input of the sansamp, I was thinking only a slight boost. But if that didnt work anyway then scrach that idea.

    Maybe it was designed different, but not faulty.
    I would assume the 2 pedals would work the same. Especialy if you keep the extra switch at the same output level as the older model. But even the higher output shouldn't effect the input gain structure just over all output going into your amp. But that in turn may cause the clean amp to get dirty giving noticably more distortion. Especialy if your pluged into the clean amps preamp.

    Its possible :meh:
  8. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    I was thinking it's just designed differently. Either way, for what I'm playing, I want to be able to get the extra distortion, so I'll probably just sell it, put down some more money, and buy a new one. Or maybe just save up for an RBI instead.
  9. stingraysvt


    Jun 20, 2011
    My old sansamp would only overdrive when blended to the "tube" side. I've also used a variable power supply and you can run the sansamp on as little as 7.2 volts. It really lets the drive smooth out with the power sag.
  10. Don't GC let you return stuff after playing it home?
  11. Interesting.
    What do you mean by 'smooth out'?
    What happens when you give it more than 9.6 volts?
  12. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    Hmm, I don't really have any other power supplies to test the lower voltage, but my current settings had blend all the way up and drive all the way up

    I'm sure GC does but I've had the pedal for about 2 months now. I'm sure I could sell it on craigslist for more, if not, the same as what I bought it for.

    I'm just gonna stick this out for a while until I've saved up for an RBI.

    In the mean time, would anybody consider putting an Ibanez TS9DX, or the Behringer BDI 21, before or after the SansAmp just to give it an extra kick in overdrive? I know it's subjective as to how "good" it sounds, but anybody have any suggestions and settings they'd like to share? (I have both pedals)

    *PS, I appreciate everybody's thoughts and responses on this thread!*
  13. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    Extra note: I guess I should mention I play mostly (give or take) metal, and looking for that punchy, metallic sound.
  14. Thats what I like about the RBI. It has that punchy, metallic sound. But so does the Bass Driver.
    But the RBI / Bass Driver have more of a dirty overdrive opposed to heavy distortion.

    I did have the older model 10 years ago. I sold it for no good reason. Years later I got the newer one, but I cant say that it was any different.

    Try a new Bass Driver before you spring for the RBI.

    BTW. Your active pickups should have plenty of boost available. Just a slight push is all if you choose to try it.
  15. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Do you have the blend control maxed on both units?
  16. It's broken.
  17. When you compared the 2 units, you say the drive was different at the same settings.
    But what about the other settings, where they the same?

    Its a balancing act, and its powerfull eq and can overwhelm the drive.
    IOW, keep the treble/bass low relative to the presence/drive/blend.
    It may seem counterintuitive, but from there if you need more bass cut the treble, likewise cut the bass for more treble.
  18. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    Yea, every setting I did, it was with the exact same settings on both every time. I made sure to keep as many variables as I could matched every time, and flipped the extra switches on the newer pedal every time.

    I did have the blend up all the way on both pedals, trying to ensure I could hear the differences in the distortion and not be distracted by the clean bass blended in.

    I'm thinking I'm agreeing with Bassbubble11 and assume mine is faulty.
  19. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    These two pedals are slightly different as the V2 is a different circuit layout. You can't compare two V1's or V2's by the control knob settings as all pots vary which is why we test them on a scope. You have to use your ear.

    The V1's XLR output is always padded down and the V2's 1/4" output has a boost in line mode and can deliver more output than V1. There might be a slight bit more gain with the V2 pedal at the extreme range.

    The Drive control is part of the SansAmp circuit and only comes into play when the blend is turned clockwise. With the blend turned off (counterclockwise) the pedal functions as an active DI and can be set flat or you can use the treble and bass to change the tone. The presence and drive controls don't function when the blend is off.

    If the pedal doesn't have enough drive when maxed you may want the newer version or you might want to consider the Para Driver DI or VT Bass DI which are capable of more gain.
  20. DMTragedy


    Sep 13, 2013
    So my pedal may not be faulty then. Sounds like either way, I'mma end up selling the one I have to upgrade to a newer pedal. Thanks for confirming!

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