1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Sonic Farm 2di4

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mike Arnopol, May 19, 2014.


  1. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    OK--so I'm talking to Tom Bowlus a month ago and ask him if he knows some smaller high end designers that might be able to come up with a really cool bass amp. Not a commercial enterprise for me, just wanted to see if someone was into looking into designing what I would consider the ultimate amp for bass.

    Tom talked about these designers living in Vancouver that were doing some really cool stuff and that he was reviewing their bass direct box in the current issue of Bass Gear..Their company is called Sonic Farm.I read the glowing review and decided to give Boris (one of the designers) a call. Nicest guy you could meet--very humble and informative. He said that they were very busy right now but would be into pursuing the idea later this year. He also said that there was a top sound guy in Chicago that had their 2di4 direct box that I could try---to get an idea if the sound was in the ballpark of what I was looking for.

    I picked it up on Saturday and finally tried it today after making (well, Radbass made it) a cable to run out of the balanced out into the return on my Puma 900. I didn't realize that it had enough gain to function as a stand alone bass preamp. My Roscoe has been pretty tricked out by Radbass with Reed James neo's, a John East preamp and a Bart buffer to bring the level up a bit. The Reed James pup's are pretty low output (but sound phenomenal) and the East is pretty much unity gain so the Bart really didn't seem to color it, but just give a bit more level. The reason I'm saying this is that the 2di4 had plenty of gain as a pre but I'll try it with a passive bass to see if there's enough juice.

    I was talking with fellow TB'er Nomatic who is as knowledgeable as anyone I know as far as state-of-the-art studio gear. When I mentioned Sonic Farm he knew them right away. He hadn't tried their gear but wanted to. He said that top guys in recording described their stuff as " the love child of old Telefunken tube gear, Neve consoles, and Millenia preamps". From talking to Boris, they don't feel compelled to stick with one discipline--they will draw from all sources---tube and solid state.

    This is the best bass preamp I've ever heard. Period.Not to name any of the gear I was comparing it to because they are state of the art in their own rights, but Radbass and I had to get our jaws off of the floor. The harmonic complexity and richness of the best tube gear I've ever heard. The speed and detail of the best solid state gear I've ever heard. I used to have a Manley Labs custom tube pre that they made for me. Probably over $3k these days. This is better. The most beautiful tube detail and nuance I've ever heard. The fastest most visceral B string I've ever heard.

    You can change from triode to pentode tube mode which gives an entirely different tube character. There is very limited eq---this is designed to be a direct box---but the low and high boosts are subtle but very effective.

    I was playing through a couple of my cabs and this pre seemed to bring out the individual identities of each cab and really accentuate the strongest points.On my Roscoe we moved the bridge pickup to more of a MM position. So the neck and bridge pickups are pretty close together. The individual identities of each seemed more pronounced. We messed with the gain structure to get more saturation with stunning results. I'll have to mess with it some more to see if I can "dirty it up" as far as tube grit, but I've never played anything that absolutely nailed the best of the tube and solid state worlds.

    I'm "chompin' at the bit" to see what these guys can come up with as far as a full bass amp.
     
    svtb15 and tombowlus like this.
  2. tsheldon

    tsheldon

    Jun 20, 2005
    Western New York
    Okay, okay. Enough already, I bought one. :)

    Not shipping until July however so I'll just be here reading this review. Over...and....over....and.....
     
  3. mntngrown

    mntngrown Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    The lost Sierra
    Great time to be a bass player.
     
  4. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    From the writeup in BGM, it looks like a really cool unit! I bet they can come up with something cool - always dig the small companies that are thinking out of the box!
     
    tedsalt and tombowlus like this.
  5. radbass

    radbass supporting member Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 15, 2007
    south of chicago
    Owner RAD Repairs and RAD Engineering ,guitar, bass, and amp repair and limited custom instrument and amp building.
    Mike A. and I had the pre-amp shootout from hell yesterday. We tried the Sonic Farm, JGR's Box-O-Tone, and a Monique birdcage through JGR's stand alone 1200 watt ICE based amp through a MAS 6x6. The Monique sounded very lush and warm, a little too much for my taste. The Box-O-Tone sounded like the best tube amp I've heard turn up just before it got soft and slow. The Sonic Farm has just one of the best sounds ever. Sounds like to me like playing through real high dollar studio equipment, but with richer tube harmonics, like playing through an old Telefunken tube pre-amp into a Neve board. The best of both. I know this wasn't intended to be a bass pre-amp, but it sounds wonderful. I can't help thinking what this would be like with easier access to the eq, and possibly more range, or better yet, a compete bass amp!
     
    tedsalt and tombowlus like this.
  6. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Just played my first gig with the Sonic Farm/ Icepower 1200 watter (thanks again JGR)
    Wow.
    I got compliments from everyone in the band. Everyone said it was the best sound they'd heard. Even with the limited eq on the SF I was able to dial in a perfect sound for me. (the onboard John East preamp didn't hurt). I was getting the impact and note thickness I was getting from the Demeter (still stoked about getting my VTBP 201-800) but with the craziest studio-like fidelity I've ever heard. Boy is there a difference with the Icepower 1000. (actually 1200 watts). I was running a 6 ohm load and crankin'. It didn't even get warm. The headroom is crazy.

    But that Sonic Farm---whoa! Thanks again, Tom Bowlus!

    Again---I have no professional relationship with these guys. I'm just begging them to come up with a full-on bass amp!
     
    tombowlus likes this.
  7. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I can see a lot of guys loving a setup like this, especially when you have a bass with on-board EQ. There is a beautiful, immediate pureness to the tone.
     
  8. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    That sounds like something I would like, at a power level that I find to be just right.

    Sweet. I hope they do something.
     
  9. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Yeah---and it's the same with your Box 0 Tone. I'm so paranoid and superstitious that I worry that adding anything might diminish the magic--but you have me excited about your inductor-based eq.

    Yeah--I was so stoked that I talked with Boris in Vancouver for about a half hour today. We were talking about eq points, etc. They've got a cool little eq thing happening with the 2di4. A wide, gentle bass boost selectible to start at either 300 or 500 hz. You have to use a screwdriver to set the trim pot from 0 to 6db boost. It is amazingly transparent and gives that nice subtle shaping. Then on the treble it has the same thing starting at 2k or 4k. I set it at 4k and boost up from there about 2 or 3db. I never boost the treble, but this is so musical and transparent that it just gives a nice small amount of definition. Really addicting. It's like your bass doesn't change character but just seems a bit more "alive". I know---a stupid and vague description.

    The 2di4 is intended as a studio di box so the trimpots aren't a big deal for that function. On the bass amp they would obviously be regular pots on the front.

    I told him that these were really usefull and should be included on the amp along with a more comprehensive eq section. They are very busy with a kick-butt compressor for studio use to be shown at the AES convention in October. After that they said they'll be working on the bass amp!
     
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Glad you dig it! I'm still incredibly impressed. :thumbsup:
     
  11. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Thanks, Tom

    Ya gotta hear it through the 1200 watt Ice. No comparison to the 800/900 watt Ice's. With the tone shaping tools of the SF---if you have an active bass---no more needed. Best thing I've ever heard.
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    If that's the same power module that Jim used in the IP Bergs, then I don't doubt for a minute that it's a big leap forward.
     
  13. Wild Rice Chris

    Wild Rice Chris Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Palatine, IL
    Rice Custom Guitars, Inc
    That was quite the beast, I'm looking forward to hearing it as a stand-alone amp!
     
  14. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    same one
     
    tombowlus likes this.
  15. Bassflute

    Bassflute

    Jun 24, 2006
    Vancouver
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    My thread on the Sonic Farm stuff. Just for the record, I set Tom Bowlus up with them; trying to help these guys out.

    http://www.talkbass.com/threads/sonic-farm-je-di-pentode-tube-direct-box.894003/

    And I've used it as a preamp on my IP112HT. The sound is, of course, astonishing. I actually like it better than my Summit stuff. All of the Sonic Farm stuff is marvellous; if you can afford it, buy it. You won't be disappointed.

    Cheers,
    Cameron
     
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes, you did, Cameron! You are the man! Thanks! :hyper: :thumbsup:
     
    LM Bass likes this.
  17. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Anyone else have experiences to report with this preamp/DI?
     
  18. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I got to check out the unit Mike had at Reading it was a great sounding piece! - felt right at home based on what I am used to.
     
    tombowlus likes this.
  19. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Any differences to note between the SF's Cinemag transformer and the Jensen you are using in your forthcoming amp? I hear they are about the same but have no first hand experience.
     
  20. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    My amp uses two different Jensen's, one of which is for the DI. My BoT uses yet another Jensen which is probably a more apt comparison. Jensen's are top of the line and priced accordingly, especially the one in the BoT. Cinemag is good stuff as well, I have a few pieces from them. Overall circuit design is more of a differentiator than transformer brand as they are both quality.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.