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SansAmp RBI Rackmount Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bass for Beef, May 11, 2006.

  1. Bass for Beef

    Bass for Beef

    Aug 11, 2005
    Hey all I just ordered a SansAmp RBI Rackmount and was wondering what you al lthought of it. I've wanted a SansAmp for awile so I went for it. What been your experiences with it?

    Furman PL-8 II
    Trace Elliot GP12 Series 6
    (Soon to be) SANSAMP RBI
    Crest Audio vs45
    TE 2X10


    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    I purchased one of those RBI rackmount units about 3 years ago. Probably used it less than 5 hours. I never liked the tone of it, seeing that it's supposed to sound like different tube amps and stuff. Kind of felt like I got burn't on all this hype, even though alot of people swear by them. Sad, thing is that I tried to resell this unit for half of what I paid for it, but got no takers(anyone?).

    Hope you enjoy your new unit.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I have one and love it- it's extremely versatile. It's set up with my power amp to run through a 4x10, and while I mainly use my Epifani combo, the RBI is still more versatile and a really great unit.

    WOOFMAN, RBIs sell new for about $295- you tried to sell your for $150 and no one would buy it? They sell regularly on the used market for $200 and up.
  4. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    If you feel you'd tasted the upper levels of quality preamplification or tube amps, you might not like it. if you find yourself moving up from entry level quality equipment you might like how the RBI can give a good variety of sound.

    Tube sound it is not, improvement on crappy gear, yes...

    I've been spoiled by my EDEN experiences (in a good way) and will eventually sell my RBI, maybe for a navigator...:smug:
  5. I have used one live and in the studio with great results, but I tend to like it a little more for recording.
  6. I am still using mine with great results live (Haven't recorded with it), but I also run the signal from it through a tube preamp / eq before it gets to the power amp and that gives it a much warmer sound. In the past I have played in different styled bands at the same time and it was much easier to use the RBI to find a sound for all of them. I have even thought of getting another one because you can use a footswitch to swap between them.

  7. That would be cool a 4 channel rack mount RBI with the footswitch included!!! I know they have the PSA but it’s a little different and you have to get a midi controller involved.
  8. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I've tried them a few times - they are so inexpensive it seemed like it might be nice to have one around just for fun. But I am a clean tone guy and I always feel that I would be running away from that pre's natural inclination to play dirty. Once I thought I had dialed in a nice clean tone, began to play a little slap, and there was the dirt again.

    All this said, depending on your tastes, you might find you like it a lot. I hope you do.
  9. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's great for "Dirty" tones. Most of the amps I use have some "grit" to them, but not as much "Dirt". If that makes sense. I used a friends BD DI pedal and it was phenominal. It fills out the sound a lot of time. I recently special ordered one through an artist deal i just got, so i'll let you know how it compares to the floor version.
  10. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    Woofman: PM sent.:)

  11. You basically use two SansAmp RBI's and the SansAmp footswitch model #FSPL which is an alternating on/off footswitch. It is quite a simple setup (which is a + for me) that just uses the inputs and outputs on the back of the RBI's.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've owned one for awhile. I like it a lot. I also own some high-dollar tube preamps. I like them a lot, too. Vive la difference.

    Here's the thing: the RBI has the SansAmp tube emulation, which is not flat. Those who do not like the SansAmp tone will not like either the SABDDI or the RBI. The "Flat Is Where It's At" club will not like the SansAmp devices. OTOH, I have room in my tent for clean and dirty, flat and curvy.

    The SansAmp RBI sounds especially good with my Bergantino NV610 cabinet: I call that my "faux SVT rig". I'm not saying it duplicates the SVT tone, but it gets reasonably close. I do happen to think that the SansAmp RBI sounds tubey when set up correctly.

    Tip #1: experiment with the Blend control! All the sample settings have Blend maxed. IMO, many who don't like the RBI leave the Blend up. Try reducing Blend to 50%... makes a big difference.

    Tip #2: if your cabinet has a tweeter, roll it back or turn it off if you decide to use grit or overdrive. Too much high end sounds buzzy with overdrive.

    Tip #3: don't crank up too much distortion. The RBI and SABDDI are best used for subtle overdrive... to my ears it sounds like a big tube amp run just in the red. For heavy fuzz, get another device.

    Tip #4: Keep in mind that a small turn of a knob can make a fairly large difference. And most people just boost EQ. Try cutting as well as boosting: f'r instance, if you need more mids, try cutting bass and treble. You get a different result than leaving treble and bass flat and boosting mids.

    These tips are just guidelines. I encourage you to crank the knobs any way you want. There are no rules: whatever works, works. Most importantly: have fun! :)
  13. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    Another happy RBI user.I've had mine about 4 years and love it.I haven't tried the high end tube preamps but I don't have the urge either,the RBI sounds real good to me.Fuzzbass nailed it with his description of how to use it,the blend control is the key.It also has two XLR outputs ,one dry and one with the Sansamp effect that I've used as the output to the PA with real good results.I think they are a great sounding easy to use preamp,good pick.
  14. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA


    With the blend all the way counter clockwise you get the sound of just your bass and as you turn the knob clockwise you get more and more of the processed sound.

    I prefer to have my blend all the way counter clockwise but sometimes turn it up as far as 10:00 depending on the 'mid' character I am looking for.


  15. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I got my RBI a few months ago. So far, in the studio, at practices and in a live setting, it's been great. In my opinion, it's more of a "Rock" sounding preamp. It does the SVT kinda sounda pretty well. I don't know if it does a jazzy sound very well seeing as I don't play that style. I have the drive up just enough to make it start getting growly, but not so it's full blown distortion bass. My only complaint is that the "Presence" knob is WAY too hot. I have mine turned almost all the way down. The Presence knob is like a very high frequency (higher than the Treble knob). This makes my basses always way too clanky and bright. I had to switch to using nickle strings (instead of the stainless ones I used to use) just to try to get the harsh bright tone outta there. That all being said, I still love the tone. Especially with my G&L SB-2 bass. It's got a sweet P-bass sound that is really powerful with the RBI.
  16. hey joe, ive never seen quarter inch inputs on one of those furman conditioners. could you explain that?
  17. It is a built in tuner......very handy..........but adds a little noise to the signal if you go through it before the preamp!!!
  18. Dan T.

    Dan T.

    May 9, 2005
    I use mine with my svt4 and a gk800rb. I love it, I actually want another one to put in another rack with the gk. One thing I've found is that if you run it directly into your amps input it sounds much better and works noticeably more well than if you run it through your effects loop. Get read for grit, cause it's got plenty....
  19. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I found the RBI (with a s/s power amp) got me very close to the sound I was seeking,
    but eventually ended up only being a gatway drug to my current tubeamp addiction.
  20. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Uh...what he said.


    The RBI has a tuner out. That means that there is no return signal to the preamp (hence the unused 1/4" jack).

    Very, very handy.

    And did y'all notice the really super cool blue light??

    A mod courtesy of Remo. I'm sure he can still hook you up if you are interested.



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