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preamp pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Muskie59, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Muskie59


    Jan 19, 2021
    As i've stated ad nauseam, i'm new to the wonderful world of bass pedals. I hear that having a preamp pedal can be advantages to shape your tone. I record with some friends and i plug directly into the board and he tweaks and adds certain things to my sound the likes of which i have no clue about. My question (at last) is would it be redundant to have a preamp if he does all that tweaking anyway or is having one a good thing to have anyway? Thanks for any advice you fine gentlemen might have.
  2. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    I'd want to know what kind of signal I'm sending to the board, before any tweaking. Since I'm well familiar w/ Ampeg tone stack, I use an SCR-DI [and a couple pedals] as a good foundation before the board.
    Bass4Brkfast, Dubious Aa and Muskie59 like this.
  3. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    the occasions I didn't regret I got a preamp is when sound man refuses to cooperate. like when you try to convince him 'give me more high end, it's essential for our sound' and he ignores it again and again. then I just make the EQ adjustments on my preamp and hope the soundman is too lazy to undo them.

    if you're okay with your soundman and like the resulting sound, you have no need for these knobs on your side.
    Muskie59 likes this.
  4. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    With a pre-amp pedal, you have the opportunity to get a sound you like before going into the board, and it should minimise the amount of tweaking that needs to be done.

    Things to remember though...

    What sounds good to you when you play on your own, may not necessarily sound good in a band mix. Mids are you're friend, and will help the bass cut through in the mix. Don't use too much gain.

    It might be an idea to have a pre-amp pedal, then going to the studio and have your friend help setting your sound up.
    Gearhead17 and Muskie59 like this.
  5. Is you separate scrambler pedal better than the built in one in your SCR-Di?
    I have the Scr too... I really don’t care for the scrambler sound by itself but mixed with my big muff pedal... its pretty cool!
  6. If you get the right preamp, you just sound better going into whatever you're plugging it into. The rough part is finding the 'right' one. Lots of people love the sansamp stuff, but the sansamps I've used never were quite what I wanted (1001 sounds that don't excite me), so finding the right thing for you can be difficult.

    That said, there's lots of good ones available. I'm currently using a Dha vt1 (out of production) and/or a Catalinbread 5f6 for recording, but that's me and your needs may be different.

    Edit: also, I'm very bad at recording, so I don't have the bells and whistles a pro-engineer might. When I record with someone good I usually do what they tell me unless a sound has some envelope effect I need to hear to play right.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    Muskie59 likes this.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If your bass sits in the mix and sounds good in the recording to you and the band, probably a waste of money. In my Soundcraft boards each channel has compression, gate, 4 band parametric, HPF/LPF from Studer. In my DAW I have several plug ins to choose from ... It's going to be very difficult for a 'generally available at guitar center' kinda stomp box to add value ... and add value without adding noise...

    If you are visiting a regular studio or even using a mobile service, they generally have better DI's on hand than most of us use. Always good to have a quality DI in your kit as a backup, just in case. Radial, Countryman.

    Unless we are mic'ing an amp, generally we want the bass pre-eq. That way the engineer can slot the bass in with the kick, keys, bari sax, whatever other low end stuff there is without having to fix it first...
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    jerry and Muskie59 like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Generally speaking, studio grade units are better quality than your avarage fx pedals. Unless you're have a certain unit that you like the sound of, I'd use the studio equipment.
    MVE likes this.
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    @MYLOWFREQ ditto that... last real tracking in a studio experience for me I had the luxury of time. Took a well maintained Eden Navigator. With all the features switch out - basically a gain stage - it was almost as quiet as the Great River pre the studio used for tracking bass direct and acoustic guitars. I left with just a bit of Great River envy...

    I have not yet started tracking with my HX. It may be an exception. It does sound very good through phones with a minimal number of blocks in the chain. I could see recording using an IR host but mostly on the acoustic side.

    Where I record now, or will when things open up again - we mic an isolated small amp. It goes to tape... then off to DAW land and eventually it's mastered on tape. The song writer is the guitarist/vocalist. A pretty much I get to write the part and perform it and he's got the rest of it in hand. Hopefully some of that will see a summertime release.
    Muskie59 likes this.
  10. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    I have a board full of pedalboard with no noise issues.

    You can go several routes, it eventually boils down to what sounds good to you and in a mix... the latter being predominant if you gig with a band.

    TC Electronics Spark Plug is an affordable, good sounding preamp that can be extremely clean or pretty gritty.

    The Two Notes Le Bass is a really nice tube preamp that I don't utilize to its full potential. There's a Le Bass club on here where you can get a ton of info. They are a little pricey around the $300 range, but not that bad when compared to others in its class that run up around $1000.

    The Tech 21 Q Strip can be a preamp, but it's more of a tone shaper/DI. It's the same company a that makes the Sansamp, which seems to be the go to preamp for many.

    My favorite is Zoom MS60B, which is a swiss army knife multi effects pedal that can do a great deal for around $120.
    It can do as much or as little as you want. If you want a good preamp/compressor/eq, whatever, you can find one in there that can compete pretty well with most stand alone pedals. If I could have only one pedal, that'd be it.
    There's no DI so if you need that you would either need to get one or look into the discontinued Zoom B3. The newer B3n did away with the DI for some reason. Note a B3 can only combine 3 effects at a time.
  11. I use the Fender Downtown. Great compressor, really good EQ and drive. Super quiet tru the PA and the output to the amp is not that high to clip your amps input.
  12. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Because I more often plug into a board or sound card, I like to have a preamp/DI so I can adjust my sound in between my effects and the final output. It is also useful when you are asked to plug into a PA system and either don't have a sound man, or have one you don't trust, as mentioned already. Then when I play into an amp, I tend to leave it as flat as possible and continue tweaking my sound with the preamp. Basically, it's always on in my case.

    I could live without the preamp pedal and probably replace it with an EQ unit. But the real added bonus for me is in the DI part: Having both an XLR and a 1/4 will allow you to plug into anything anywhere with max quality.

    I've had a couple preamp/DI units over the years. Only negative thing, I find I'm always dissatisfied with their OD. Since I already have dedicated units for that, I'm now looking for a clean preamp, such as the MXR M81.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    Muskie59 likes this.
  13. Muskie59


    Jan 19, 2021
    I'm the same way. The guys i record with know more than i do so i just do what they tell me.
  14. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    FWIW, and unless otherwise agreed, the recordist should only be tweaking your tone.

    How you get your tone is up to you.

    An XLR out is useful for live where you are going into the PA board, and can be for recording DI, also.

    But DI in recording can be improved in the box with gates and EQ (including pass-filter) and noise reduction - the presence of noise is really usually not a problem when mixing, as long as the actual playing signal level is well above it.

    Live is a somewhat different story, and gates can be a PITA and EQ is often minimal and only relatively basic; altho' I think digital boards can generally solve those issues, you are certainly relying on the sound-person to be able to/wanna.

    Nearly any pedal with gain, and ideally having EQ, can function as a DI pre, I suppose, but some cheap ones with XLR that sound pretty good are the Eden WTDI and even the EHX Bass Metaphors can be tweaked to serve. They should interface more easily, be a bit quieter, and shut up a live mixer-person.

    FWIW and for where I'm coming from, I have both the above and various Tech 21 character pedals; I frequently post that I use a The Brick and a Meek VC3Q in parallel. The other poopie is for variation, giggles and or late-night recording; I prefer mic'd amps.

    When mic'ing an amp in a studio, it is more traditional to use a clean-type DI in parallel, as opposed to a voiced type.

    But every thing I posted above is YMMV - look at the UA610, for example (which is why I prefer the UA110, which is a whole other tangent), or even a dbx163X, etc., which are often used for recording as both compressor and pre - I've used an 1176 (clone), also.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    Muskie59 likes this.
  15. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Yes, there are more adjustments to dial in exactly what you want on the pedal. I've added an always on Edison to work w/ my always on Opto Comp. Then I add the Scrambler when I want some nice OD in the signal.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    Low8 and Dubious Aa like this.
  16. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Johnson City, TN
    Not sure if your goal is just to have a pre bc you read that it's a good idea, or if you'd like to get an understanding of what the perceived "good tone" is, OR if you want to duplicate the recorded sound live as close as possible or under other circumstances away from that recording environment. If the latter, or if YOU like the sound your friend is getting with their on-board tools, ask them to clearly explain what they're doing to your signal to make it fit into the recording mix. Then research pres that enable that.
    Muskie59 likes this.
  17. There are some very knowledgeable women on the board, too; a couple of which I know have extensive experience with preamps and much wisdom to impart.

    IMO it wouldn't hurt to make the engineer's job easier. Use high quality gear and find "your" sound and the engineer doesn't have to waste your studio-dollar-time to dial in something that already "works".
    arepa_funk, Muskie59 and N4860 like this.
  18. mikeGJ

    mikeGJ Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Grand Junction, CO
    I'd get ready to spend some time exploring these threads:

    The Great Bass Preamp/DI Comparison

    Tube Preamp/DI Sound Samples — Noble, Oracle, P-15, Super Stack, REDDI, Tonecraft, Jule...

    There's lots of wisdom in the Broughton Audio thread, and the SushiboxFX thread, lots of wisecracks, too.

    Muskie59, FunWithBass and gh0st42 like this.
  19. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    +1 on the Night Owl Edison being super-fantastic.

    Another great preamp-style pedal to add to your signal chain -- Henretta Engineering's Emerald Prince. It's based on the old Echoplex EP3. This thing is SWEET!!! It simply makes everything you like about your signal chain sound even better. I leave it on all the time. It's fairly inexpensive and Kevin Henretta is a cool dude.
  20. misterCRUSH

    misterCRUSH It's all jazz...it's ALL jazz... Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2015
    I am a walking jazz guy, and I use the Darkglass B7K microtubes v2 utlra preamp. Don't let their distortion reputation fool you, this thing has a killer clean side. It also comes with 3 way adjustable low and high mids. Also included are cab sims for the DI and headphone out. It is a little pricey, but in my opinion definitely worth the investment.
    DrMole likes this.
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    May 18, 2021

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