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NPD: MXR M81 pre

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Texan, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I'm very impressed. Using with an MIA jazz, Empress Compressor, Sonic Stomp, Genzler Magellan 800 and Bergantino AE410. I love the tone before, but the M81 is incredibly clear, dare say budget Sadowsky. Warm, bold and smooth. I love the mids scooped on this pedal. Reminds me of the heyday of the higher end SWR/Eden/Trace Elliot sounds. I get to try it on stage Friday night. Don't overlook this pedal, definitely worth a try.
    Bo0tsy, CPplaysBASS and veryvery like this.
  2. odrive


    Jan 30, 2017
    Have you compared it with the clean side of the MXR M80? I've been curious about the M81, but I think I would miss the Color switch that the M80 has. I always have it active.
  3. CPplaysBASS


    Mar 17, 2007
    I just got mine today too! To be honest, I bought simply as an active DI that could conveniently run off a 9V adaptor or phantom power as a backup to my amp's DI. I never thought I'd use a pedal to shape my tone ... that's the job of my bass strings, pickup and amp. That changed today!

    I play passive Fender P-Basses. I have three different Traynor amps, but tonight I was using my Traynor SB115 combo. Love the tone from that combo, and as always, sounded great before I activated the pedal.

    Quick observations:
    • I didn't find there was a huge range in any of the dials, which I think is a huge positive. There is a large range of tones, but nothing wild, and all good. You can't dial in a poor sound.
    • The bass gets so deep with absolute no mud. Stays crystal clear even when turned full.
    • The sweepable midrange is the key. What a beautiful feature to match the tone to your specific bass and rig. Below are my settings (yeah, I got the Bass Overdrive today too ... equally awesome). Even at low playing-at-home volume, there's a frequency setting where the tone hits the middle of your chest.
    Like I said, I loved the sound I got before, but the M81 is now coming with me every time I leave the house with my bass.

    Side note: I am a huge MXR fan. I added the M81 and Bass Overdrive, and already had the Phase 90, Analog Chorus and Carbon Copy Bright. With that said, I generally have not been a fan of the "bass" line. I had the Bass Compressor - it was OK, but I found all the dials a bit finicky and I'm much happier with the Diamond Bass Compressor. The Bass Chorus - again OK, but I far prefer the Analog Chorus. Briefly owned the Bass Octave and Bass Envelope Filter. Meh.

    The Bass Preamp and Bass Overdrive, however, absolutely floor me! Soooooo impressed!

    The Preamp will mostly live off the board, but I can squeeze it onto the first row if I want.

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    Ba55Man1ac likes this.
  4. chumbo73


    Nov 8, 2012
    Love it, amazing pedal
  5. filler83

    filler83 Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    I'd be interested to know as well. Been looking to get one of these pedals and. Not sure which one for clean full sounds
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  6. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Two different beasts. M81 is a transparent, studio-style preamp, which means to me flexible control while maintaining the essence of your bass's tone. The M80 has a modern voicing baked in, most especially with the scooped Color switch. You can approximate that sound in the M81 Preamp, but it would take a bit of knob turning to find it. If you like that tone, I would just stick with the M80. There's a lot to be said for an Easy button.
    odrive and CPplaysBASS like this.
  7. odrive


    Jan 30, 2017
    Thanks, jumblemind. Very helpful. The Easy button is my tone. Ditto the tube emulation on the BDDI, as I always run direct to the PA.
  8. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    So what's the live verdict? How did it work out at the show?
  9. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    It was awesome. It added to the lowend girth that the Genzler amp already had amd made the hi's just a tad crispier.

    If you took the best parts of SWR, Eden, Trace, Sadowsky pre, and the Genzler amps, thats the vibe that I get from it. I've got the mids scooped a bit and its exactly what I want.

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