Sans Amp RBI, Versatile?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by michaelc, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. michaelc


    Apr 17, 2007
    C-ville Michigan
    I am looking for a pre amp and since I'm not in a band right now or have any plans to be in the future one of my main concerns is versitality. I really don't want a box full of modeled sounds or something uber complicated. I saw a good deal on a Sans Amp RBI on my local C's list. These seem to get great reviews, but every clip or demo I've seen of these in action is getting a grindy rock sound. Do these things do old school R n' B. How about modern and clean?
  2. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    I don't really know what old school RnB bass should sound like :ninja:

    I would not say it is THAT versatile. I can handle anything from pop and rock and goes all the way to metal. It does rather well at funk. I am really happy with mine (own an RBI and also the programmable floor model).
  3. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    I run mine pretty clean... gain and presence around 10 o'clock, blend all the way up, all eq flat. That goes into my Markbass SD800, where I cut the lows a little. Sometimes I'll bump up some low mids (250ish hz) but flat is where it's at! I use this in my original rock band, (two half stacks, loud drummer) and it keeps up fine.

    I would guess for what you're doing, you could boost some lows and mids, leave the presence all the way down, and cut some treble. Play with the blend to get more of your bass's sound, as the RBI definitely has it's own tone.
  4. it gets some good tones. . . if the deal is good I'd +1 to get it. nothing other than "modelers" will come close to it in that $$ range
  5. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    If its $200 or less and in good shape, you need it.
  6. andymcclure


    May 10, 2008
    Also, it's excellent to have going into the studio.
  7. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    IMHO, they only have a couple good tones. I'd rather have a BBE Bmax/BmaxT at that price point.
  8. bass4worship

    bass4worship Ready For Freddy, let rock Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sebring, Florida
    Couple it with a Tech21 VT bass pedal and you got tons of tones.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    RBI is great but I prefer the RPM w/ para EQ....I have two. Snag the RBI if <$200! If you ever decide to upgrade, keep the RBI as a backup, sole DI, whatever.

  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The SansAmp RBI is an outstanding piece of gear. I've tried many preamps including high-dollar ones, but the RBI has remained my #1 preamp. I use it in conjunction with the RPM, but if I could only use one, then I'd stick with the RBI.

    Okay, I do prefer grind with aggressive top end, but when I play classic rock, blues, and Motown it's not a problem for me to get a more mellow vintage sound. First thing you need to know: you don't have to keep the Blend control all the way up! Pretty much all of the example settings in the RBI manual have Blend at 100% (fully clockwise). That will give you more overdrive (when you are using Drive and/or Presence) and less midrange. I usually run Blend at 50%.

    If you want a completely clean tone, then turn Blend all the way off: this will disable the Drive and Presence controls, so the RBI will be completely clean. You can still use Treble, Midrange, and Bass to tweak your tone. However for vintage warmth you can boost Blend a bit (less than 50%), turn up Drive a bit, leave Presence all the way off, and turn down treble from your bass and/or the RBI. That'll give you a bit of overdrive, but it'll be mellow, not harsh.

    One thing that a lot of people overlook: the Presence control is boost only! So when I say turn it off, that means fully counterclockwise. Presence is also part of the tube emulation circuitry, so when you turn it way up you'll get some overdrive too.

    Overall: while the RBI isn't as tweakable as a modeling amp or one with a fancy parametric EQ, I still feel it's an amazingly versatile preamp. The knobs are powerful, so a small tweak will make a noticeable difference.
    JGbassman likes this.
  11. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    I second to that. Even one step (there are small white lines behind the knobs) can make an easily noticeable difference.
  12. mrkreuzschlitz


    Jun 30, 2008
    Dacula, GA
    I picked a Line 6 Bass Pod xt Pro over an RBI, but thats a significant price difference.
  13. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    I run a Line 6 BassPODXTLive in front of an RBI.
    The RBI alone can do a heck of a lot as far as decent sounds and getting FOH/sound folks to love you for sending them a feed from the XLR.

    I had the RBI before the Line 6 got here and was quite content. The Line 6 just allows one to be a tone chameleon and now the RBI is used for fine-tuning cabinet to room and it's DI to FOH. The tone controls on the RBI are WAY useful as very little cut or boost makes a large difference. The RBI is also a backup should the Line 6 crater at a gig(and the other way around).
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