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Sovtec Bassballs

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BruceBass3901, May 12, 2010.

  1. BruceBass3901


    Oct 17, 2009
    Wickham, UK
    I have the oppurtunity to get hold of a Black Russian Bassballs, and am really considering it. I really want a Bassballs to have a bit of fun with and I know that I want to get one, but I have a few questions regarding the different issues.

    1) Does the Black Russian have a 9V DC in socket the same as a 'Boss style' Input?

    2) Is there any difference between this and the newer Nano version other than size?

    3) Is there any tone suck on the Russian? I ask as I know it isn't True Bypass.

    Any help would be appreciated
  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    I'll be glad to help, based on my four years of Bassball-ery:

    1. No. However, if you buy the accessory kit for the Visual Sound 1-Spot, or the fully-loaded 1-Spot set, you will get a converter (actually, you get two). This is also important if you have a black, Russian Small Stone, which I also have.

    2. Some say there is a difference in sound, but I haven't enough experience with the Nano to make that claim.

    3. Mine does not.

    For what it's worth, I find the Bassballs to be a bit of a limited-use pedal. It has a unique sound, but it isn't very versatile.
  3. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008

    re: limited use pedal - depends on how you use it. If you just use it as a standalone 'effect' then totally one trick pony. If you get a feel for how to set it to use as a tool then YOUR WET SIGNAL becomes more versatile. It will sit you differently in the mix.

    I just put it in front of everything in my signal path and It drives my BOSS OC-2 a little harder, making the synthesized -1 octave growl a bit and its dry signal (especially at around 1 o'clock (where the clean buffer starts to boost the dry signal) gets richer down the line...which happens to be into my Pigtronix OFO...

    ...so when I have my Octava Channel kicked in, I can roll my pickups off just under where they would normally be gated out so i can have that dark tone out of the bass pushing my line...

    And it being where it is also gives my Pigtronix EP-1's sidechain trigger a bit more juice so not only will the signal be hotter and richer, but the wow is more wOw or more wOW or more Wow...and as i said before, it sits you in the mix differently because the filters sweep a bit out of phase and tidy/trim off tone (depending on your approach).

    I find it cuts a lot of my tweeter hiss out of the line, but that *could* be something other than proper operating.

    Certainly a 'limited use' effect, but only as a standalone tone.

    If you can find a use for a bit of drive and repositioning then you'll use it for a lot...

    ...like if you want to help your rhythm guitar player stand out without him having to change his tone or pedal tapdance during a bridge (or something...I'm really just making an example here) then you can play 'balls out'. You get a little bit of breeze and nobody notices that you're playing affected because that funky guitar sounds so awesome and the effect is subtle.

    I look forward to getting a blender/looper because my bassballs pedal will surely make a huge difference when I do...but nobody will notice but me and anybody that picks apart my tone...which will probably be nobody.
  4. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    And all this talk about bassballs got me looking around...

    ...and I found the 'bassballs mod' info...and tonight I adjusted the internal trimpots.


    I now have it second in my chain because I am now able to get really useful tone with the sensitivity up higher, which glitches out my OC-2.

    So if you intend to use your bassballs to drive active unfriendly pedals make sure to set your trimpots accordingly.

    The filters sweep a lot more like an envelope filter for me now and the distortion channel isn't too over the top at higher settings.

    I also was able to keep most of the lower 1/3 of the control settings usable...what a great pedal.

    I can tame snarly treble or add a bit of midrange bark, keep my lines bubbling, or push my overdrive a bit harder.

    I almost miss the OC-2 drive but now my bassballs actually sounds awesome and I *could* live with just bringing that with me sometime.

    Not a useless standalone anymore and not just useful with other pedals.
  5. BruceBass3901


    Oct 17, 2009
    Wickham, UK
    Cheers for that everyone :)

    I've decided to wait for a bit as a lusting for a new 5-string bass has come up :p

    I've also decided that the Nano Bassballs would be better for me, mainly due to the size of it and the ease of using a 9V supply with it. I also intend to mod i so that the internal trimpots are external.
  6. +1 to everyone re BassBalls
    It is a truly great pedal IMO, i do use it to funk up other effects in the chain; but I actually use it a lot on its own in either clean or dirty mode. It is great as a subtle filter alternative to more far out filters. Whichever full-on filter is in the chain, the Bass Balls is always there for me as the subtle alternative that also offers other options with other pedals.

    I have a question tho....mine is the old US Bass Balls. Can anyone tell me the difference in sound and performance of the Russian BB compared to the US one?

  7. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Well, I hope that it actually works right off the bat, because when I bought my black Russian box, it very much did not work. EHX fixed it, but they shouldn't have gotten to that point in the first place.
  8. MohawkHarry

    MohawkHarry Supporting Member

    May 21, 2000
    I owned both the vintage pedal that I bought in 1977 and the black Sovtek pedal. To me the Sovtek sounded a bit watered down and my vintage pedal fell apart from years of use. The nano looks like a tuffer pedal so it will be my next Bassballs.

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