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Outboard preamp question.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Mike M., Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I play a Fender AM STD 5 string Jazz bass fingerstyle thru my GK MB115 combo amp. Sounds pretty darned good and I have no complaints.

    But lately I've been getting back into playing some songs with a pick and would like to get something like an outboard preamp that will help me to shape the tone more to my liking when I do use a pick.

    I've never used an outboard preamp before and while I've been reading up on a few differant ones (Sadowsky, Aguilar) I'm open to suggestions as to what works for you folks. All I know is that I'd like something that has good cut or boost capabilites on the bass, mid and treble.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    I like my eden WTDI. Very clean, has a compressor and great EQ.

    Not for everyone, but it's pretty awesome and not at all expensive.
  3. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestion! I'll read up on it.
  4. simenandreas


    Jan 23, 2011
    I have the sadowsky outboard preamp :) Sounds very good, but it is only volum, treble and bass boost. No mid control
  5. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    It depends on what you are looking for... The Sadowsky is a boost only on both treble and bass. The Aguilar tone hammer is boost/cut on all frequencies. Both are very clean sounding pedals without grind. The Sadowsky is very hifi and the Aguilar is darker for lack of a better term. Some others to consider depending on what you are looking for:

    Xotic BB- Nice overdrive tone, can add a little thickness- more effect than preamp
    Xotic Triologic- Really nice... clean and natural sounding. Doesn't add alot of artifacts to the tone
    Tech21 BDDI- Love it or hate it. Has a definite grindy quality about it. Very tubey sounding to some
    Tech21 ParaDriver- Nice clean sound, not overly hifi. Right in the middle, can go either way clean or dirty
    Tech21 VT Bass- SVT in a box. Good for adding that tone if it is what you are looking for.
    EBS Microbass- probably more of a DI box. Very clean sounding, but has a decent overdrive/distortion setting
    MXR M80- Really underrated box. The distortion channel is nice to some, others don't like it because it has its own tone.
    Radial tonebone- More of a DI with tone controls for 2 basses. Very clean and even sounding.

    Based on what I think you are looking for, I would recommend you check out the VT Bass, MXR and possibly the Xotic BB preamp. I'm assuming you want some type of edge using the pick.
    I have owned or still own all of these and either could be a great choice.
  6. I like my DHA VT2 a lot, 2 channels both clean but both can do some tube drive.

    Bass/mid/high EQ on each, shared input but separated gain. And a DI.

    Kind of a swiss knife tube outboard preamp !
  7. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Quite a list there! Offhand I would want something where the tone shaping is cut/boost as opposed to something that's just boost. Don't want to get a pedal and, let's say I need to cut the bass and it already has too much bass to begin with. So it would have to be something when the tone controls are at a 12:00 position there would be no differance in tone. Kind of like an EQ pedal when the sliders are all in thier nuetral position and you can then cut or boost from there. As far as having that "edge" to the pick sound...I don't have a specific sound in mind, but offhand I wouldn't want to get more "glassey" sounding than Greg Lakes tones. Think of "Knives Edge" from the first ELP album.

    As far as an overdriven tone....that's something I really haven't thought about. I'm pretty much just going for a clean tone right now. I know a lot of these units have overdrive on them, so I'd just have to try them to see which sounds best to me.

    Now that I think about it...and this is something that I don't HAVE to have....but the only overdriven bass tone's that I've ever liked have those that I've heard on some of the Doors albums. The tone on "Five to One" and on "Love Her Madly" are the two that quickest come to mind. But again, this is something where if it's there then fine. And if not then that's okay too.

    Thanks again for the list!
  8. I swear by my VT Bass Deluxe, and 3 of the 6 tones that I have on it are clean.

    The "Knife Edge" tone was accomplished with J-bass-through-Ampeg, so you should be in the ballpark.
  9. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    if you want cut /boost just use a EQ pedal
    like a boss GEB-7 or mxr 6 band M109 or 10 band M108. has much more narrow bands to control problem areas, not just a general curve or shelving filters found on pretty much every amp, and most so called pre amps

    using a pre amp, in front of the preamp included with the amp seems redundant. more likely the speaker being used is keeping you from your tone.

    why you would add a 3 band EQ in front of a 4 band EQ dont know. unless distortion comes into play, you just simply want to be able to EQ the distortion, without using the amp tone control.
    so going clean to dirty is not effected by amp settings.
    since distortion EQ will vary from normal amp settings.and distortion eq could be less ideal, for clean

    im sure over eq is impressive for some, but in the end over eq might sound good to you, in a band mix...not really.
    and if the bass or amp/speaker is limited in freq response the preamp is just a crutch
  10. On the DHA VT2 the EQ knobs are cut/boost aswell and it's about +/- 16 db if I remember well.

    You should put an ear over it. I use mine for 3 weeks now and both channels are set with clear sound. It's true bypass but I must admit that I almost never switched it off since I got it. Channel 1 is my normal sound, channel 2 is kind of a clean boost with an EQ boost on meds and little cut on bass, plus the bright switch enganged.

    The tube drive/dist I can get is awesome but it hasn't find it's place in my actual band so I keep as a home fun !
  11. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    One thing I forgot to mention is that I do have a Boss GE-7 EQ that I have been trying to use for the pick tones. It could very well be that all I need to do is to just work with it more, but so far the results have been....okay. I mean I can get close to the desired effect, but it's not quite right. The "flavor" of the tone isn't right. That's why I was thinking that maybe an onboard preamp might work for the pick tones. For example, I was reading some reviews of the Eden pedal and one guy said that it captured the Eden "flavor" very well. I have no idea what Eden is all about but for all I know that could be the flavor I'm after.

    But then maybe I just don't know what the hell I'm doing!

    Gotta go, I'm starting work right now.

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