Tech 21 Club

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Kro, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Tonight, as I sit here, sans-SansAmp with my VTDI being sent back to Tech 21 for a needed functional mod, I did a quick search across the whole of TalkBass (including the expansive effects forum) and couldn't find any signs of a Tech 21 club ever existing. Unless I'm mistaken, given the number of us here that rely on Tech 21 products, I figured maybe it was time for that to change.

    I did have a little bit of an internal debate as to whether amps or effects would be the better place for this thread, but given that I believe most of us rely on their products primarily as preamps and amp/cab emulators, I felt this was probably the best spot for it - not to mention, you know, the actual amps and cabs that Tech 21 offers.

    If others are game, I figured this might just be a fun spot to share our mutual appreciation for our Tech 21 products, whatever they may be.

    No numbers, just shared experiences, recommendations, assistance, and hopefully sound clips of what's worked well for you (or even what hasn't). Aaaand... GO!
  2. Sounds Good, I have a few tech 21 goodies, an RBI preamp thst was a main part of my sound for a long time, and a Gen 2 VT pedal.

    I'd like to get the Ged2112 pre some time in the future.
    BrentSimons and Kro like this.
  3. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    To start off, I figured it might be appropriate to share one of my favorite articles about the company. I know I've shared it in the past, but I think it's very informative and was a great read. It's an article from Sound on Sound from June 1996 titled: Andrew Barta: Tech 21's Solid State Superhero.

    You need to use the Internet Archive to access it, but I've also attached a PDF version as well for posterity.

    The article is great because it goes into the history of the company, but also provides some insights into the way that Mr. Barta designs his products.

    One of my favorite bits is below:


    One area where tube amps do seem to sound different to their solid-state counterparts is at the bottom end, where the speakers can really thump. Is this a result of a damping factor, or is there more to it?

    "There's more to it, and one thing I discovered recently -- which I built into the XXL overdrive pedal -- has to do with the even harmonics. They change with the level of the amp, creating an almost envelope filter-like effect. When a good tube amp decays, you can hear the harmonic content changing -- almost like an 'OW' sound. There is no single secret to making tube amp simulation work properly; it's a matter of combining the results of a lot of different observations, to give you the effect you're looking for."

    One thing that has always surprised me is how much difference it makes whether you put the EQ before or after the overdrive stages.

    "Oh yes, that was one of my very early discoveries, 15 or 20 years ago. I had an old Laney Klip amp, and though I liked the sound, there was something I didn't like about the attack -- so I made what went into the clipping circuit a bit brighter, and cut out some of the low end, which made it less of a fuzz type of effect. The combination of pre- and post-EQ gives you a tremendous amount of variation -- which is what we do in the SansAmp PSA1 preamp. In fact, the PSA1 doesn't entirely rely on preamp EQ, because some of the EQ, like the Crunch control, is in the feedback loop. If you look at a tube amp, the presence control is fed back from the power amp output. It's another small detail, but they all add up.

    "To develop the speaker simulator, I miked up cabinets and drove them at different volumes, and recorded the results. Again, I don't want to reveal what I came up with, but the bottom line is not to believe anything until you're tried it. People tell you that it's important how a loudspeaker breaks up when it's played loud: maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but you have to do experiments to get at the truth. I used to arrange double-blind tests for myself, so that I could compare recordings I'd made without knowing which was which until afterwards. The psychological effects are very strong.

    "There's also a myth about the soft clipping in tube amps, which is true in some ways, but false in others. If you look at an overdriven Marshall on an oscilloscope, you see a very strong clipping waveform. That's because you're overdriving the output tubes, which are biased in a way, in that they become non-linear very quickly at a certain level. If you do the same experiment with preamp tubes, you find that they'll clip softly -- but only on one side, because the circuitry is class A."

    Attached Files:

  4. Morrighan

    Morrighan la Contessa Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    Isle of Everywhere
    All manner of VT here
    Tech21 VT Settings Database
    and some more here
    VT Bass Deluxe questions
    that never got stickied.
    There's a thread somewhere back there with plots that show the "magic" in the Character knob, but seem to have lost the bookmark.

    My VTBD sees a lot of use.
  5. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Personally, I only purchased my first SansAmp a couple years ago in early 2016 - the same VTDI that I currently have in transit back to Tech 21. I'm not sure what took me so long, as I have recordings done with them as house studio gear going back at least a decade.

    My memory gets a little fuzzy, but one of my earliest memories of using one is when I was recording the track below in... I think late 2008. The engineer was super excited about a new toy that he had just acquired. I vividly remember him showing it off to me, and I'm 100% sure it was a SansAmp pedal, but I can't quite remember which it was. It's very likely that it was actually a VT Bass character pedal.

    Let's just say that I have certain feelings on how elements of the track have held up listening back to it (it was still relatively early in my bass career... and the now Grammy nominated engineer's), but I'm still a fan of the bass tone (note the bass break-down at 2:25). :laugh:

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  6. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Ah yes, one of my favorite threads on TB. Thanks again @OldogNewTrick - I learned a lot from that thread, and it's what started me down my own path of tinkering with TrueRTA. :thumbsup:

    Tech21 VT-Bass - where's the magic ?
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  7. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Tech 21 bass Amp/combo club ?

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  8. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Here's the latest shot of my VTDI in its usual place of honor strapped to my power strip in my rack!

    2018 Sept VTDI.jpg

    As I noted earlier, currently it's on its way to Tech 21 to be modded. Given that I don't ever turn it off, or ever have a need to mess with it mid-set, I saw no reason not to strap it to some gear in the back of my rack and call it a day. This plan works fine 99% of the time, except for the handful of times that I noticed on startup that upon powering-up the pedal was not engaged as I had left it.

    When the pedal in question is strapped to the inside of your rack and can't easily be turned on, that's an issue! Given, I use quick release screws on the power strip, and can pop the pedal out, switch it on, and close things back up in under two minutes, but it's still a hassle - especially when your guitar player steps on the switch of the power strip you're using on-stage. He quickly realized his mistake and kicked it back on - with all of my gear coming back to life EXCEPT the functioning but now disengaged, trapped VTDI. :rollno:

    I've had this issue happen to me in rehearsals a few times since I've owned it, and have gotten in the habit of checking that the VTDI's little red light is on as part of a preflight check (you can see it through the back of the rack), but after that little show malfunction I decided to do some testing and realized that it appears to be tied to how long the pedal is powered off before being turned back on. Quickly switching it off and on again (from a power source) seems to be the culprit, at least for my goofy pedal.

    Knowing that Tech 21 is the professional company that they are, I shot them an email explaining my situation and asked if there's anything that they could do to help me out. They got back to me the next day saying that if I sent them my VTDI, they could disable bypass mode for me so that no matter what the pedal will always turn on when power is applied to it.

    Thankfully, I don't have another show at this point until the 10th, so yesterday off it went to be fixed! Here's hoping that the procedure works as planned, because after it's completed, if the pedal still somehow disengages itself for whatever reason, I won't then have any way of turning it back on! :nailbiting:
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  9. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yeah buddy! Hopefully that and more! :thumbsup:

    Nice shot from the un-boxing/wrapping, how long have you had your VT 200 now? How are you liking it?
  10. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Only have it in just more than a month, I could easily dial out the tone I prefer on it .The 12in driver can handle low B nicely even less output than Hartke KB15.

    Here is my review.

    NCD Tech21 VT Bass 200 Combo
    Kro likes this.
  11. My favorite Tech21 goody...
    DP-3X 10-30-2018 0004.JPG
  12. I've had a dead RBI sitting in storage for the last 3 years and have owned (but no longer have) THREE GT-2s over the last 15 years.

    Does that count?

    Can I get a number?
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  13. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    It counts if you want it to! Why not get the RBI repaired?

    Anyways, no official numbers to be given here, but if you want you can use your first post spot as your unofficial number... #12. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
    basscapes likes this.
  14. Hot damn! 12 is my favorite number (Mrs. basscapes' too!)!

    Now where'd I put those stupid lotto tickets??? LOL

    Since the RBI is in storage, and I've been pretty much devoted to the Ampeg SCR-DI and Quilter 800/SVT810 combo, I currently have no need to drop any coin on it. I might even sell it for a dirt cheap price and let whoever do the deed (maybe that's a plug or round about way of saying something...). Some day. not really in a hurry (especially if you SAW the storage space at the moment!)...
    Kro likes this.
  15. Oh, wow! A Tech21 club!

    I've been meaning to ask this for so long, and I guess this is the opportunity.

    I have a first edition SABDDI, which I would use on the bar scene when I was living in Ankara many years ago - bars tended to have a house bass amp, and I used the bass driver to bypass the preamp straight into the FX in. It worked fine. I knew that whatever the amp I would be able to find a usable sound.

    But the SABDDI was a bit woolly down low, so I would tighten it up with a Sadowsky. So, Sadowsky pre-amp into SABDDI. Now I have taken up fretless, and I need to boost the mids - the SABDDI is a bit scooped - and so I now run it Sadowsky ->BOSS GE7-> Sansamp. GE7 rather than GEB7 because I happen to have one rather than for preference.

    That's three 9v batteries. OK, I only change the Sadowsky battery every time Halley's comet is sighted, so that's not a problem, but the Boss pedal is a battery eater. If I was to upgrade to the V2 Bass Driver, would it render the Boss unnecessary?
  16. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I have never owned anything made by Tech 21, but always were interested about it's products. Currently i am interested in VT Bass500 amp. What is your experience with it ?
  17. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Chicago Illinois
    I bought my first BDDI in 1997. Loved it and played it all the way up until I got my LM300 in 2005. I bought a matching B410 cabinet for the LM300 and gigged that rig for about 5 years.

    I owned a Power Wedge 60, and I still own a VT Bass Deluxe and a Paradriver DI that reside on my pedal board.

    I still use all my Tech 21 gear, the LM300 rig is in our rehearsal space, and when I take out my pedal board to gigs I use the VT deluxe and Paradrive as well.

    I own some really good gear and the Tech 21 stuff is top notch and reliable like the best of them. Never had a failure with any Tech 21 / Sansamp gear.

    The LM300 Head is the most tube feeling SS head I’ve ever owned. Love em.

    52C79091-52D3-4F1B-9D61-F05BAE75C8B8.jpeg 02F24286-E930-42E6-B125-B221EAE7EE6D.jpeg
  18. VTDI for me! Not only does it sound great but it's plan b in case my amp or it's DI goes down.
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  19. I have a Sansamp BDDI that I've had for about ten or more years. I love that pedal. I had first used one at church when I started playing bass there. I loved what it did to the sound. I finally bought one for myself to use in my other playing situations. It is my main way of dialing in my sound. My chain is bass --> BDDI --> GK MB500 --> cab, with the signal I send to the board being the DI out from my head. My MB 500 stays set pretty much the same, maybe a little level increase, but not much. I use the BDDI to dial in what I want for my sound. It usually stays set the same as well. I usually boost the level, and maybe the drive, to fit the situation, but most everything else stays the same. I've made little tick marks next to each knob so I can start back at the initial settings.

    My best experience with my Tech 21 item was early on in my experience with it. I had it, and was getting ready to play a gig. Literally, right before the down note, the amp died. We didnt have a spare head on the truck. I said, "OK, I'll just use the sansamp through the wedges." The fella running sound for us had been on the road with the band Exile for years, and said it was one of the best bass tones he had ever heard. That cemented the brand in my mind. I'll always have one in my rig.

    I'd love to try out the GED 2112...

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  20. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Very nice song and playing; bass sounds great.
    Big hair band?
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