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Sansamp Paradriver vs. Hartke VXL as pre-amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by swspiers, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. I love the Paradriver. I use it as the pre-amp going into a Crown XLS1000. If I want a grindy, tube-like tone it's awesome.

    If I want a clean, modern sound- then not so much. It really does not have enough gain clean to be effective in a live setting.

    On a whim, I ordered the Hartke VXL to replace or supplement the Paradriver.

    My question- will the VXL have more clean output? Or should I go in a different direction altogether. I do prefer the idea of a pedal as a pre, BTW.

  2. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Are you running the level controls on the Crown up full. This sets the input sensitivity to 1.4Vrms. The Para Driver should be able to do that clean. How are you using the Para Driver DI exactly? With the blend up full or part way. The Hartke VXL is a similar product and also runs at 9 volts so I doubt it will have much more output.
  3. Yeah- I run the Crown full-throttle. with the Blend above 12:00 on the PDI, there's no problem. But if I want a totally clean tone, with no emulation, it's kinda weak.

    One thing I can try is boosting the high, mid and bass to compensate, but the mid is pretty sensitive, and can add distortion.

    to be clear- I'm not getting rid of the PDDI. It's the best of it's kind I've ever used, with the sole exception of a totally clean signal. Otherwise, it's exactly the tone I want when I need a little dirt.
  4. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Do you have the blend off for a clean tone? I'm assuming you have the pedal set for line output level and have the level control close to max? The midrange is before the SansAmp circuitry. This means that if you are using the SansAmp circuitry the midrange when cranked will effect the overdrive characteristics of the pedal.

    Tough to say without being in the same room and hearing it through your rig. I just plugged one of our passive bass guitars into the PDDI and with the blend full up, the drive at about 11 o'clock and the tone controls centered I got a good clean tone with plenty of output.

    I guess I would say that if you can get the clean tone you desire with the pedal and have the level maxed and you still feel you need more output you could run an intermediary unit between the PDDI and your power amp. If you don't "like" the clean tone of the PDDI you should try a different device.
  5. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I used both a BDDI and a VXL in the same chain for a while. Some controls on the VXL are not bypassed (I forget which, possible the Shape function) even when off.

    I ultimately sold off the VXL but it's a nice low cost Sansamp IMO. I found them to be very similar. VXL is a little cleaner.
  6. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    Team up the PARA with an MXR M80 when u need clean. They play very well together.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    For a clean and punchy tone, I leave the blend and the drive off of the Para, using the highs and lows as needed. Depending on the box or room, I either add a touch of low mids at 170, or dip a little at around 1500. Kinda clean old school.

    I use my pre with an Acoustic Image Focus I as a power amp. It absolutely has more "oomph" than my Genz 9.0 or Markbass heads, or the Focus without the Sansamp.

    From my experiences, I like the Para Driver much more than the MXR pre/di and the Aguilar "Hammer". It truly is my "Swiss Army Knife" of tone.

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