Yes Pete Skjold (who makes some of the most playable and versatile basses I''ve ever played) is now in the preamp market. A while back there was a thread talking about all the things that players would want in a preamp. There were tons of ideas and since then Pete has been working on developing a killer preamp. I was able to play through the first prototype a few months ago at the Dallas area GTG. It was really nice. Very musical, but not anything that made me jump head over heels crazy about. However; we did talk about doing a smaller non-rackmount version of the pre once he got all the bugs worked out, and tweaked all the goodies. Well, this weekend I drove down to the Arlington Guitar Show to pick up my brand new Skjold Pro Sound "Session Pal" this one is the prototype.. but Pete finally got all the bugs worked out of it. It is tube preamp, with point ot point wiring, all handmande here in the USA. And it is a HUGE improvement over the rackmount prototype I played through a few months ago. This is the same preamp as the rackmount version.. only smaller. The rackmount version will be a 2U rackmount pre. This one is smaller than the Acoustic Image Focus SA it is sitting on. Anyway.. here's the scoop on the "Session Pal". Outputs: there is the standard 1/4 out to run to your Power Amp. There is Di out with ground lift. (The DI is pre EQ... as most soundmen prefer), and there is a headphone out.. so you can use this to practice with, and NOT need an amp. (really cool idea!) The two knobs on the front of the preamp (to the left of the input) are: gain, and then master volume. The four knobs on top from left to right are: bass, mid, midrange frequency selector, and treble. The midrange frequency selector has three options.. they are voiced around 100, 200 , and 300 hz. so you have a lot of options for boosting and cutting the mids. A lot!! The three toggle on the top are mute (a true mute.. not a tuner mute), an eq bypass, and a bright switch. And.. then there's the handle. Which at first seemed like a cheesy idea.. but it looks good, and I actually use it.. so I'm glad it's there. I can t remember what kind of tube Pete is using in his preamps... it's an oddball.. and if my memory is correct it's a 12SX7. Now.. as for actually using the cute little black box... I set everything flat... left the mid selector on the lowest of three freq ranges.. plugged in my Skjold bass... turned the volume on the "Session Pal" full up, and turned on the pre, and the power amp. I left the gain full off, and let everything come to life. (oh.. for all those fans of "blue"lights.. this pre has it's very own blue light.. and it's pretty bright.) O.K.. so I started plucking the E string, and turned the gain up... I was impressed from the beginning... I could actually crank the gain full up, and the volume full up.. with everything set flat... and get NO distortion. NONE!! It was stupid loud, and at volumes you would never need live.. but it was soooo musical.. and like I said.. NO Distortion. (oh.. I was running into a Schroeder mini12 and Schroeder 1210.. with the 1210 on top of the mini). So.. I turned the gain down.. leaving the volume full up.. Expecting the tone to lose some life... I was wrong. I started playing... just goofing off basically.. and decided to give the tone knobs some turning. I started with the mids... I am really surprised at how much vesatility there is in the mids.. for some reason I thought that with the selector being kind of shelved at 100,200, and 300.. there wouldn't be much difference.. but the difference is huge.. But alas, I had to quit goofing off, and get some work done. You'd think my clients would know by now to leave me alone, so I can just play bass all day.. but alas.. they do not!! (which I guess is good, so I can afford all this stuff). I'm going to give it a more in depth workout tonight.. in a full band setting. In the meantime.. I thought I should share what I do know about it.. and some pics. It came just in time for next weeks studio work. That's a lot of what I had in mind with this thing. I'll be using it a lot for studio work, for practice at home, and also for gigs where I don't need to bring a full rig. I can use the headphone out as my own monitor, use the Di out to the board.. and I'm done. all pic's are thumbnailed.. so you can click them to enlarge.