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Suggestions for a pre-amp, lets discuss

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by SGS, Apr 9, 2010.


  1. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Until I can afford to move up to a head/cabinet setup, I need something to supplement and customize my sound.

    I want

    - compression
    - ability to mimic the tone of other bass players when I'm screwing around playing along to music
    - to tweak my own sound more
    - footswitch would be nice
    - something that I won't "outgrow," if that makes sense

    I don't need distortion since I barely use it and when I do I have a pedal I can throw in line.


    My current equipment

    - Dean 5 string (passive EMG soapbar pickups)
    - Squier Jazz 4 string (passive)
    - Dean Markley K-300B combo amp which houses a single 15", has a 9 band EQ, and a mid-shift
    - 2x10 extension cabinet that I run from time to time


    I play a lot of metal, if that means anything in terms of recommendations. I love a warm, clean, clear sound. I am open to tube and solid state pre-amps, but I would also like to keep cost a bit on the lower side if possible so that may eliminate tubes.

    Okay guys and gals, brag away about your equipment, how much it cost, and what it does for you which, while you're doing all that, should help me find something to buy and brag about :D
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    What is your actual budget?
     
  3. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Actual budget is a really good question that I haven't figured out exactly yet. Free would be great :D

    I'm thinking $150-ish. There's also the possibility of finding something used.

    If there's something good to start with that further down the road I can add another pedal/rack unit to get even more and fully "complete" my effects then I can go that route as well. Follow me? I would prefer to not have a huge array of pedals and what not. I would like to keep the number of effects units to a minimum.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Sounds like a call for the Line6 Bass Floor POD, Korg AX3000B, Boss ME-50B, and the like.
     
  5. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Did something weird happen to the harmony central website? It doesn't look like it did a few days ago for looking up equipment reviews.
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, looks like they're beta-testing a new appearance.
     
  7. If you would consider a simple solution check out a Submarine preamp pedal, it does almost exactly what you are looking for.
     
  8. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Well their beta testing is messing up my review searching!

    bassbrad I'll look that one up too.

    Is there any advantage, besides maybe cost, that makes a floor unit like the ones suggested better than a rack type unit?
     
  9. I like the Submarine because it is a simple solution that gets really great results, I use mine for recording and also playing live. Initially I got it to use with my fretless bass for some boost and tone control but it has proven way more versatile than that.
     
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Generally, a floor unit will have a lot more knobs and switches than a rack unit, and while that might seem like a pain in the butt at first glance, the reality is that for many people it's a lot more fun and intuitive to tweak their sound using multiple dedicated knobs and switches, as opposed to the menu-scrolling and increment-decrement buttons of a typical rack unit.
     
  11. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Thanks for the input on pedal vs. rack. In all the years I played guitar the only 3 things I ever ran were a distortion pedal, eq pedal, and a wah from time to time. I kept it very simple and got what I wanted.

    That's actually what scares me about a multi-effect pedal - too much to play with. I did some searching here and found great advice, which was to buy a multi-pedal, find what effects you like, and replace with individual pedals.

    The idea of "amp modeling" through a pedal just still seems odd to me, even after years of it being around and knowing about it. I have to convince myself that its just different EQ settings basically because, well, in some ways it is.

    I'm liking the reviews on the Boss ME-50b, just not the price. I saw the 20b is cheaper, but reviews on the forum are saying to go with the 50b. One specific thing I saw is that compression has to be run with other effects on the 20b. I don't have experience with compression so running it alone on the 50b would show me if I really do like/need/want it or not.

    I have to find some good reviews on the Korg still and some better ones on the Line 6. Any other specific multi-effects pedals to look at?
     
  12. As far as multi efx go it's all about which one makes the most sense to you, they all have a different architecture/interface and none are perfect. Personally I use a Digitech BP-8 and a Zoom B2.1u. Digitech/DOD has it's moments. The BP8 is the grand daddy of all multi efx but it still does some things better than any other multi out there (compression, tube pre, EQ, reverbs, delays & Whammy) but you really only have one bank of "effect" sounds and the delay times are short by contemporary standards. The Zoom just works for me and I like they way things are set up. Roland/Boss makes great stuff but always sounds a bit generic to my ear. Line 6 makes some great stuff as well but not my cup of tea.
     
  13. Are you looking for an actual preamp or a multi-effects unit? The ME-50B is a great multi-effects pedal (I had one for a long time and loved it; I regret selling it now) but it's not going to go very far in letting you cop different amp tones. In other words, unless the bassists whose sounds you are looking to copy use chorus/auto-wah/certain distortions, the ME-50B is only going to get you so far.

    As far as an actual preamp goes, the Tech21 Bass VT is awesome, and it's right in your price range. It can replicate the tones of a number of different tube bass amps, and it sounds excellent.
     
  14. newbold

    newbold

    Sep 21, 2008
    Toronto
    I haven't played a VTBass but it's probably going to get you a lot of tone...but it has no compressor.

    If you're looking to spend $150 on a pre and a compressor that you're not going to 'outgrow' then you're putting a real challenge out there.

    These are the 3 things that you're probably going to use to tweak your tone.

    EQ
    Preamp
    Compressor

    Your Amp has an EQ but if you were to get your hands on an EQ - even a really simple one like a Yamaha NE-1 parametric or a Boss GEB-7, you could see a marked improvement in your tone.

    Take out all the signal that's getting your tone to compete with itself, then amplify your entire signal, then shape that with compression. You'd then have your Amp's EQ freed up to equalize for your jamspace, stage, or practice area and you could use that more effectively as a tool to work with acoustics instead of using it to get 'your tone'.

    'your tone' should come from the signal path before your amp.

    Of course, that's only one approach but it's one that works and ensures that you have every tool you need for the job.
     
  15. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    Okay, lemme try to reply to everything here...

    First - throw price out. I'm not going to drop $500+ something here, but we can toss $150 limit. After seeing some prices on some suggestions, $300 is more realistic.

    Second - I'm going on some advice I found posted in another thread that I mentioned here - buy a multi-effect pedal to determine what effects I want to use, then buy the individual pedals. Or who knows, I might pick up a multi-effect and just keep it. I'm using 2 basses right now and I could see having different pre-sets for each bass due to their different sounds.

    Third - newbold, you're right on the EQ before the amp, not in the amp (and for now I might throw my DOD guitar EQ in, even though its lowest band is 100hz). Since I'm going to look for a multi-effect for now, however, should I scrap the idea of getting an individual EQ pedal since I'll already be dealing with EQ settings in a multi-pedal?

    Fourth - bassman1185 I could go for the Tech21 Bass VT but as newbold pointed out it doesn't have a compressor so I'd be adding one right away. However, what would an actual pre-amp do vs running a multi-effect pedal? I think I'm a bit confused here...

    bassbrad - I looked up the Submarine and I'll pass on that. Thank you for the suggestion though!


    The Boss Me-50b is looking like a strong contender right now. I don't want to drop $300 on it through so I'm going to look for a used one. I should be able to turn around and sell a used one for a minimal loss when I decide to move to individual pedals for specific effects that I determine to be essential to my sound.


    I'm still taking input on this though. I'm probably going to buy something within the next week or two.
     
  16. It's not foot-switchable, but the TFPro P3 is great. You'll have to find a used one though.
     
  17. Just by a quick read of the thread and your price range. The Korg AX3000b might be right up your alley. Check it out.

    I was going to get one before I found a used (3 month old mint condition) Boss GT10B.
     
  18. newbold

    newbold

    Sep 21, 2008
    Toronto
    Well...you could buy a used multi-fx and try a bunch of things, but you were onto a preamp and compressor. Since you already have an EQ that's fine for now (100hz isn't all that high...you'll be able to shape your mids a lot and save for something later on) then you could probably get a lot done with $300.

    A VTBass and a studio style compressor can probably be had used for $300.

    You could get into effects, but if you already have distortion and are looking for a warm, clear, clean sound then you'll be looking for new effects to get around any limitations your future budgetary constraints could impose.

    I think you might get everything you want from a great sounding studio style compressor (not a squashy comp) and some kind of pre pedal (like the VTBass) - hell, you might even really dig the MXR M-80 Bass DI or a clean boost with some limited EQ function.

    If you're starting to look at this as a great excuse to get a multi effects unit toy instead of just trying to get a great bunch of tone tools to get a clean, clear, warm tone, then I recommend you take a week or 3 to think about it. Once you start down this path you could easily spend thousands of dollars on gear that could easily be spent in a better instrument, great gig bag and cables and DI, better amp, better cabs, etc.

    If the EBS Microbass II had a compressor I would say get THAT, but a good comp ans something like the VTBass will probably get you everywhere you need to go.
     
  19. SGS

    SGS

    Mar 21, 2010
    I'm new to all these "multi-effect" pedals and what not, so I was under the impression they were basically a pre-amp from discussions I've looked at. I used 2 effects all the time when I played guitar - an EQ pedal and a distortion pedal. I was very happy with both of those, I didn't need anything else. I have an old digitech digital delay rack unit that is probably rusting from the inside out due to lack of use.

    I want to have tonal versatility. Turn some knobs, change from a biting sound to a warm mellow sound. Turn some more knobs, have a rich bright sound. Turn some more knobs, have my head explode because I can't believe how good it sounds.

    And now I'm looking at the VT Bass again. The review I read before made it sound like something I didn't want. Now I've re-read, and I'm reading more, and I'm seeing that this has tons of sound capabilities. That's what I want.

    No, I don't want a million and one effects. I don't even use distortion when I play. I like my bass to be clean and pure.


    Now to pick out a compression pedal. Damn store by me doesn't have any individual ones to try out.

    And I'll have to order a VT Bass in a few days...
     
  20. newbold

    newbold

    Sep 21, 2008
    Toronto
    'multi effect' units often have preamp-like options and EQ and compression, but read through Bongo's compressor reviews at ovnilabs.com and get a good idea about what you're looking for with a compressor.
     

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