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Problem with SansAmp Bass Driver DI.....can you help?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ThePez, Mar 16, 2001.

  1. I copied and pasted this letter that I just e-mailed to Tech-21 so I wouldn't have to type this problem twice ;). (work smarter, not harder).
    I was wondering if any of you guys have any ideas what the deal is.

    I'm having a problem with my SansAmp Bass Driver DI. This unit is only 1 month old and I bought it brand new on 2-17-01 and still have the recipt. It worked fine with my Peavey Milestone II bass, which is a passive P-type bass. I just got a G&L L-2000 passive/active bass and now when the bass driver is active through my SWR Redhead....it distorts, even at low volumes and in passive mode or active. I've tried switching cords, adjustings levels....and it just distorts when ever its on. Even with the Drive knob all the way down, it almost sounds like the speakers in my amp are blown, but when off....everything sounds fine. Right now its running on battery, but I just replaced it last week and haven't used it since. When I play live I use the phantom power from the P.A. I'm also gonna check with some other bass players at www.talkbass.com to see if they've ever ran across this problem with this product.

    Any help or suggestions will be greatly appriciated.

  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    A problem with a SansAmp Bass Driver DI? What an absurd notion.
  3. Yea, right?!

    I don't know what the deal is. I've been loving this thing up until now. I'm stumped.
  4. metalloid


    Feb 2, 2001
    It always goes bad on the 31st day of the 30 day warranty

    (at least in my cases!)
  5. Does it still distort when you use your Peavey? How new is the battery in your G&L? I know that these questions may seem stupid but unless you've dropped your Sansamp recently, either you have a dead battery or something might be wrong with your G&L. A Sansamp just going bad without withstanding some sort of abuse doesn't make sense.
  6. I checked all that Saturday night. I replaced the battery in the SansAmp and the G&L, but I still had the same problem. Then I pulled out the Peavey and it sounded fine through the SansAmp. And I still have the same problem with the G&L in passive mode. I'm wondering if the output on the G&L is too hot for the SansAmp, but it seams to me that it should be able to handle it. The G&L sounds great without the SansAmp, but I would like to be able to use them together. It bothered me so much yesterday during soundcheck, that I ran my bass amp off the parallel out so I wouldn't hear the distortion, then I sent the SansAmp signal to the PA. I figured it wouldn't be that noticeable in the mix.

    If it comes down to a choice between the G&L or the SansAmp, the SansAmp will get the boot! Although it still sounds great with the Peavey.
  7. It sounds like it MAY be the G&L. I remember reading that G&L's were made to naturally distort at full output (volume knobs turned all the way up), so turning up to maybe 3/4 volume might do the trick. Battery might be low or pickups could be too close to the strings. Maybe it could also be the output jack (I'm not really sure on this one). Lastly, does it make a difference if the Sansamp is in the effects loop or run in the front end? Other than those ideas, I dunno. I've never had a problem with mine when I had one and never heard of a problem with somebody elses.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Have you adjusted the "Presence" knob?
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The G&L does have a very hot output even in passive mode.

    Did you try just turning the volume knob down on the G&L (I mean, those knobs are there to be used :))?
  10. OK. Hear we go.

    No I've never tried the SansAmp through the effects chain. I've always used the SansAmp like a preamp and leave my levels on my amp flat.

    When you turn the volume down on the G&L it seems to me that you kind of lose some of the tone. I've never read anywhere that G&L's were supposed to distort when the volume is all the way up. And mine doesn't, unless it's going through the SansAmp. If you turn off the SansAmp, the distortion is gone...regardless of the volume on the bass. It's a distorted sound on the attack. When you pluck a note the first millisecond of the note is distorted. Almost like a distorted ring on the front end of the note. It's kinda hard to describe.

    And yes, I have adjusted the presence and the drive....and with both knobs turned all the way down...I still get that sound on the front end of the note.

    And as I said in my last post, I've replaced both batteries in both the G&L and the SansAmp. And on Sunday, I ran the SansAmp off phantom power from the PA and had the same result. So then I used the parallel out to my amp so I wouldn't hear it.

    It still seams to me that the SansAmp should be able to handle a "hot" output from an active bass.

    Right?! :confused:

  11. Maybe there is some info in the recent "G&L's fart" thread out there. A very good friend of mine picked up a nice used G&L recently that had this problem. He kept it for about a week before getting rid of it.
  12. Yea, I read about that, but this problem ONLY happens through the SansAmp. It doesn't occure naturally from this bass. With out the SansAmp the bass sounds great.
  13. It's not your bass. It's the input on the SansAmp. I have the same problems with it. If you feed a signal that's too hot to it, it distorts at the input. You can't run it with a line level signal either. Both of these problems make me dislike this otherwise useful piece of gear. I still have mine but I've found myself using it only as a direct box. When I plug my Zon into it, I get the same problems you are having. Distortion. I wish they would design the thing with an input pad.
  14. This is the response I got from Tech 21 today.
    (Note: all names have been changed to protect the innocent)

    Dear Marc,
    Thank you for your Bass Driver purchase. The distortion is most likely coming from the input stage being overloaded by the active electronics in the G&L. I changed the pickups and electronics in my Music Man to Bartolini, and found that there is so much output that I have to turn the volume knob down on the bass to get a clean sound. It is nice to have that much fire power onboard, but it ends up being a nuisance, because if you change basses, everything has to be tweaked radically to match levels. Check to see if the G&L has an internal trimpot to match the output level to your other basses.

    Best regards,
    ********, Technical Supervisor


    :confused: So what is this "trimpot" that he's talking about?

    Kudos to all those who correctly diagnosed this problem. May the shwartz be with you.
  15. There may be an internal trim pot inside the control cavity which adjusts the peak output level of the active electronics when your volume pot is all the way up. You could bring it down so that the bass' output isn't so hot.

    But to me that's a lame solution. Their answer is that your bass has too hot a signal. In my eyes the problem is that the SansAmp's input circuit isn't designed to handle a hot signal. I think a major improvement for the BassDI would be to have an input pad switch which could be set to accept a passive instrument signal, an active instrument signal, or a line level signal. I sure hope they did something like that on the new rackmount version.

    This problem with the SansAmp pisses me off. I was having problems when playing live because the output from my rig was always too hot for the board unless they had an input pad on the console. So I grabbed a BassDI hoping I could use it to control the DI level I send to the board. But I just had the same problem only I'd be clipping at the SansAmp instead of the board. Lame!

    Good luck,

  16. It pisses me off too!

    I got a XLR direct line out on my amp, so I don't need the SansAmp as a DI....and I definatly won't be using it in the studio with the distortion thing happening. ***?!

    Anybody want to buy a SansAmp?
  17. This problem with the SansAmp pisses me off. I was having problems when playing live because the output from my rig was always too hot for the board unless they had an input pad on the console. So I grabbed a BassDI hoping I could use it to control the DI level I send to the board. But I just had the same problem only I'd be clipping at the SansAmp instead of the board. Lame!

    With all due respect Brian, if your rig was too hot for the console, why would you add another preamp to make it hotter still? I would think it would be to turn down the bass guitar and use the sans amp to control the level and tone.
    But what do I know... I am a drummer turned bass.
    I had to go to a lot of stores before I found one that sold basses.... ha ha.
  18. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I just picked up a SABDDI this week. I also have noticed this problem when running my L-2000's through it.

    The volume on my L-2000's has to be cranked for the best sound out of them IMO. For this reason, my G&L's are the only instance where I am not liking the Sans Amp in the chain.

    Reducing the level on the Sans Amp might work, but it sounds best to me when the boxe's level matches the gain on my head.

    Most likely, I'll be taking the Sans Amp out of the chain when using my L-2000's. Other than that, I like the unit. I still think it should handle the output though.
  19. SlapDaddy


    Mar 28, 2000
    Pez, YES! SlapDaddy
  20. I got a solution. I went back to the music store yesterday and was discussing this "problem" with the guitar tech.

    He was telling me that adjusting the trimpot will only affect the output of the G&L's preamp...and this problem happens in passive mode as well, so the "turning down the heat" isn't really possible. Like everyone else, he's never seen a problem with the SABDDI. So then another tech suggested lowering the pickups. So we did that and it helped alot. That coupled with the fact that I need to play with a softer touch. With those two changes, the SansAmp isn't distorting anymore...unless I really dig in. And that's cool because that can add some cool dynamics to a song. So I can choose where I want to overdrive the SansAmp.


    Well...problem solved. This may not work for everybody, but it works for me.

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