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No Luck Searching: Overdrive Pedal With the RBI?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jufros, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    I love my Sansamp RBI but I'm looking to increase my overdrive versatility. Has anyone tried the BBDI before the RBI as an overdrive? ODB-3? I really want something with a blend knob as I'm not too huge a fan 100% OD and I'm about to inherit a Big Muff for my fuzz needs.
  2. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    Tubescreamer type OD into a Sansamp = Instant Glory

    Tubescreamer + Blend = Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive

    By studying the above equations it's easy to see that the Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive will bring you much happiness. I use a modded Bad Monkey which will give similar results but without the blend. The boosted mids a TS style OD provides are a good counter to the typical Sansamp mid-scoop too.
  3. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    The Sparkle Drive sounds like a really good option to me. Any other recommendations? I do like the ODB-3 sound and flexibility at the price point but the lack of true bypass is almost definitely a deal breaker for me.
  4. The sansamp rackmounts (RBI/RPM) sound amazing with the drive cranked to get overdrive/distortion, IMO and IME. I'm thinking of picking up another RPM, I sold mine a while back and I miss it.

    Anyways, I'd suggest trying different gain stages with your equipment right now and see if that works for you.
  5. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    Yeah I'm in love with my RBI and consider it one of the best purchases I ever made but I can't justify spending ~300 on an overdrive unit and picking up an RPM. I can get a great overdrive if I crank the RBI but I really need something switchable. I tried using a Rocktron Gainiac in the RBI effects loop with some fantastic results but it colored my clean tone more than I was comfortable with when I had the overdrive channel switched off so I sold it and am looking to put the money towards a pedal. I have my drive set to about noon and the presence at about 10:00 and am loving the "clean" tone that I'm getting with my current band and EMG setup, but once again, I'm looking to overdrive the RBI a little more and I'd rather not have to walk over to it and crank the drive every time I need an OD sound.
  6. Gotchya. Have you thought about a boost pedal in front of the RBI, after your bass/other effects? That might work, although I have no personal experience with using one.
  7. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    Hmm that's an interesting idea. I feel like it would definitely work with an actual tube pre but I'm kind of sceptical about how effective overdriving a solid state emulator would produce a convincing OD.
  8. Yeah, like I said I dont have any experience with boosts and ss pres, or tube for that matter. But I do remember that my RPM was very responsive to my playing dynamics and volume control on my bass, so I have the feeling that it would work to a degree. I dont know how much boost would be needed, or how much would be to much, but if you got one with a lot of variability you could try it out and then go from there.
  9. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    I checked out some Sparkle Drive clips it sounds pretty amazing to my ears. I'm curious to know how it sounds with a P or P/J. Anyone have some clips? Unfortunately, I can't seem to find one used ANYWHERE but at 130 it's not terrible. I'm itching to try running the Bass Muff into it too.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just get the dang thing! You know you want it! Me, I prefer my VT for that kind of thing, but I'm a huge Ampeg tube nut so I would ;)
  11. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    The VT caught my eye as well but I'm wondering a) how "flat" you can get it to sound and b) how you actually go about achieving that. I experimented with the Bass Driver before I picked up the RBI and getting it to sound "flat" was borderline impossible.

    I don't want my overdrive to affect my EQ at all unless it's just adding a hint of treble, and in my experience, while Tech 21 products do a lot of different things extremely well, they definitely affect your EQ in a very serious way that will either be a rig life-saver or completely screw up your tone. For example, my buddy has a Bass Driver that he runs in front of a 1001rb and I'm begging him to sell it because it really negatively affects the low mids that are otherwise glorious with his deluxe American Jazz on that head. But if the VT doesn't interact with your EQ the same way that a Bass Driver does, I'm probably game for the VT over the Sparkle Drive.

    What head are you running with the VT and do you have any comments on the EQ interaction or clips?

    My other reservations about the VT was that the mids are set at 500 hz, a frequency that I cut, and that it, like the RBI, emulates the SVT sound, which I love and hate at the same time for mid frequency related reasons. I want my clean tone to sound like an SVT that was recorded with some careful EQing to combat its scooped nature, not like an SVT through an 8x10.

    I cut at 50, 4k, 10k (and above) and boost at 400, 800, and 1k on my Rane equalizer while I leave the RBI flat. I absolutely love the RBI drive circuit, and I find the presence control really useful, but with the mids set to the decidedly non-punchy 1k and not being much of a scooper myself, I pretty much found it necessary to get a Rane in order to get the focus that I wanted out of the RBI. I feel like I've largely succeeded and I don't want to muck it up when I engage my overdrive, thus my desire to have a clean blend and why I am not considering the EBS MultiDrive, XXL Bass, or similar distortion/OD units that probably sound great but are not what I'm looking for to compliment the RBI.

    I will grant that the VT seems much more flexible and is probably of better quality. I'm just not sure if it will do what I need it to do but I would really like to find out before I buy anything.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    BDDI is a joke compared to the VT. Sorry but it is. The only thing it has going for it over the VT is a DI.

    But after the BDDI, I can see why you'd ask those questions. Dannybuoy scoped out his VT, and came up with what he measured as flat response, and I tried it and I agree. Bass and mid slightly past 12:00, treble at 10:00, character at noon, so it does do flat, no doubt about it. It's also got a 5k rolloff built in, which I don't think the Sparkle Drive does. That keeps it from being annoying. And the bass control is at a really good frequency for adding as much low end punch as you need without making mud (125 hz). The character knob is your upper mid control, BTW. They only call it the character knob because lower positions give you SVT, higher positions give you B-15.

    Having said that, they're very different pedals. They can both do the same thing, but two very different flavors of it. If you like the TS, I don't think you could go wrong with the Sparkle Drive.

    Amps I'm using with the VT are a 69 SVT, a 64 B-15N, and a 77 B-15N ;) I only use it as an OD with them, though. I also use it as a clean Ampeg simulator when I'm forced to use some crappy backline amp on the road. Great for calming down soundmen who like to hear the bass clank!
  13. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    Yeah all of this "mid humping" with the Sparkle Drive that I've read about sounds excruciatingly vague but definitely in the realm of what I would want out of an overdrive. I have the Bass Muff and while it does what I want it to do (fuzz without an utter loss of attack), it's definitely not the type of thing that I can use too frequently with my band and is more of a novelty piece that I'm not really using more than two or three times in a 30-40 minute set.

    I'm going to try to give an accurate depiction of my musical and gear situation at the moment and maybe that would better enable some recommendations for an OD.

    For reference, this is what my rig is going to look like as soon as the mail arrives:

    Older Japanese SR800 w/ EMG P/J's and BQC (main bass for this band)
    Peavey Dynabass
    Modified MIM P Bass with a 2nd P pickup in the bridge and a jazz neck.

    EXH Micro POG -> EXH Micro Q-Tron -> (in the mail) -> EXH Bass Muff (recently acquired) -> GEB-7. Simple. I use the GEB-7 as a treble killer and 120/400 boost for a tone switch that that is totally different from my normal tone.

    Rack (too complicated I know):
    Sansamp RBI -> FX Send -> DBX 166A -> Rane ME30b -> Aphex C2 w/ big bottom (used with VERY subtle settings but I love it) -> FX Return -> QSC RMX1450.
    There's a Furman in there too but who cares.

    My settings on the RBI are:
    Drive: 12:00. Presence: 9:30. Blend: Maxed. All EQ Flat.

    I'm using the Rane as described in my previous post. I don't like to EQ radically, but I have the C2 set up to accentuate the mid range and I don't have my Big Bottom girth set past 10:00 for any reason ever. It's usually at about 9:00 and I'm not really using it as a low boost so much as to accentuate my low and high mids in a way that doesn't cause as much phasing as more extensive EQ on the Rane would cause.

    With the Ibanez and my amp/comp/eq settings, I'm loving my sound right now and it's sitting very well in our mix. I bust out the P/P for particularly pissed off aggressive material because it just does the huge fat P Bass thing way too well despite the fact that I think I should throw a pair of Dimarzio Model P pickups in it (next project and not at all pressing).

    The best way that I could describe our sound is a mixture of atmospheric guitars, psuedo-radiohead melodic and harmonic ideas, three part vocal harmonies, but then a decidedly unabashed funk element thrown into the mix with a lot of rhythmic sophistication, ghosting, and subtle experimentation with polyrhythms and time signatures in a way that we hope does not call attention to itself. The Micro POG is extremely useful for passages like this.

    Even when the guitars are busy doing the atmospheric thing, the drummer and I are focused on rhythmic patterns and making our fills locked but unpredictable. I also get to play out a LOT in this band as there is usually minimal melodic motion going on the guitars. The singer and I play with contrary motion all the time.

    I apologize for this post's having been a short novel but I figured the more info about what I was doing, the better fellow TBers could recommend and OD to suit my needs.

    Someone convince not to impulsively buy a Sparkle Drive at retail right now. I just heard about this thing yesterday but it just sounds like the perfect compliment to the RBI and seems very natural sounding from sound clips. I think I'm just going to give in, get the Sparkle Drive and an ODB-3, both of which I like, both of which sound completely different. Sparkle Drive for milder OD, ODB-3 for distortion, and Bass Muff for fuzz? Sounds like a lot of different ways to make a lot of noise.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nobody's tried to convince you in the last few hours. I guess you're stuck ;)

    Well, nobody can really do anything else but suggest pedals at this point. You'll either like it or not. Either way you'll be fine.
  15. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    Already capitulated under the pressure.. or lack thereof. I ordered a Sparkle Drive and picked up a used ODB-3 that fiddled around with for a while. I'm joining the ODB-3 cult now but I think it really had more to do with the RBI overdriving the ODB-3 than anything else. Can't wait for the Sparkle Drive. VT is next on the purchase list though without a doubt.
  16. Nope I'm going to add fuel to the fire...lol

    I use a Voodood Lab Sparkle drive in front of an RBI and an RPM it sounds absolutely freaking fantastic....I also push in an EH BBM from time to time coupled with a Boomstick Bottom Feeder.....and can you say rattle your teeth?...lol

    The Sparkle Drive is your friend......buy it now....lol
  17. jufros


    Nov 24, 2008
    Dude already purchased. Paid retail on gear for the first time in years because I just couldn't wait for one to pop up used. I'm excited.

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