So I finally had time to sit down today and ring out my new Aguilar Tone Hammer. A wonderful piece it is. I plugged in the Pink Cadillac and ran the Tone Hammer into my WT-800B with D-210XLT and D-210XST. The WT-800 was set dead flat with no enhance. I put the bass's East J-Retro electronics in passive mode. The Tone Hammer is extremely versatile, yielding nice aggressive J growl to mellow, thick bottomy tones. I messed a little with the AGS, and got everything from thin, scratchy distortion to full, rich tubey warmth, much like Channel 2 on my AG500. It's not something I'll use often because I don't play much music that requires that vintage kind of tone. So anyway, I got to wondering how it compares to some of my other preamps, so I broke out my ToneBone, SansAmp Para Driver DI, EBS ValveDrive, MXR M-80 and Aguilar DB 924. You know what? They all do pretty much the same thing and do it equally well. Of course, some have mid controls where others don't, and there are subtle differences in the tones with the preamps set flat but, for the most part, you can draw the same thing out of each and every one of them. So my opinion is that it doesn't really matter which brand you buy with a given feature set, they'll all do what you want them to do. Keep in mind that the units I tried are all high-quality product, and I don't know or care how the low-didge stuff compares. Now, if that hasn't bothered you, I'll go one further. If your bass has a high quality active preamp in it, you don't need any of these preamps. One thing I like about the J-Retro is the same versatility that most of these outboard units provide. There are Aguilar and Glockenklang preamps in some of my other basses, and they perform equally well. So anyway, I've missed the last two Sadowsky preamps that have gone through the ads here, but I'll end up with one of those and probably a Fodera Model 2006 just to compare, but at this point I doubt there's a Holy Grail out there in preamp world. And no, none of my others are for sale. I didn't compare the SABDDI or Acoustic DI or the Yamaha NE-1 today, but I don't think my conclusions would be any different if I did.