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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by johnsonabq, Feb 25, 2018.
Your thoughts on the Tech 21 GED 2112 vs. Darkglass Alpha-Omega Ultra.
The first thing i would be thinking about is the fact that one is a rackmount preamp and one is a pedal. That would be a big deciding factor to me in itself. That aside, the tones are pretty different. I have always been a sansamp fan, they make great sounding stuff. I haven’t been able to get on the Darkglass wagon like everybody else yet. I want to like them but I’ve struggled with the ones I’ve had. I have yet to try the AO though and I do think it’ll be my next pedal purchase, I like the demos I hear. If you’re using it as an effect and kicking it on and off then the preamp is not the best choice, if you’re running it as “always on” then save the pedalboard space and get the sansamp. My guess is you’ll be able to find very useable tones out of either and it’s a matter of whatever your personal tastes are.
I'll elaborate on my needs here. I'm looking for ways to get three distinctly different tones with two different basses. I have one bass that's my go to bass for fingerstyle playing (one unit for that), then I'll use another bass for pick style playing, and with that bass I want to be able to get a good clean (piano string) tone (a second unit for that), but then also get a gritty driven tone for when my cover band plays AIC, Rush, Tool, Kings X, etc. (a third unit for that) Whatever I use will be something I turn on for the whole song (no on and off during the song). I will be running all of these in the effects loop of my Subway D800+. It's for the third tone that I was looking at the GED/AO Ultra.
I've never tried the A/O but I can tell you that the drive section on the GED gets to "sizzling" very quickly, but at the same time works amazingly well at giving a soft tone, or a scooped tone, or etc. It's probably a result of their emulation of tube amps, because it sounds thicker than what I can remember from the two Darkglass products I owned at one point (Vintage and B3K Ultras) which were more or less EQ preamps + a distortion section. Then again, I don't have the A/O, which seems more versatile than either Vintage or B3K. In either case, both are pretty good and you probably won't go wrong with either.
I also found out that if you want the Drive and Deep sections (of the GED) to come out of the unit together, you have to jump the Deep output into the effects return of the Drive section (set to 50/50). That's kinda funky. Also, Tech 21 discontinued the RPM so if you want that, you have to find it in the Drive section of the GED.
Yeah it is a bit funky but it works fine; I'd say more but I need more headroom with my amplifiers to have a good say (I only have 45w right now, I could go around and try a 100w but it's not mine). Individually speaking, they are amazing; the drive, if anything, reminds me of a vintage ultra it is cranked up (never tried out real tubes for too long to know what exactly they sound like in person, just that they are good and that this thing can approximate it well).
So your “clean” setting on your amp will cover tones 2 out of 3 of your sounds you are desiring and you’re looking for something to give you the tone to cover your tool, AIC, rush songs etc. given this description, I would say get the preamp honestly. It doesn’t sound like you’re looking for much gain but more so a crunchy tone shaping tool. You have your settings on your amp and basses and when you your band covers those songs, you flip the switch on the preamp and it shapes your sound how you want it. I used a sansamp RBI for years to get tones to cover the realm of tool, AIC, and rush.
Actually the tone settings on the amp will only be used to eq for the room. My eq settings are different for fingerstyle playing (mid forward) and for clean pick playing (more of a scooped tone). I'm thinking the GED would be best for the dirty tone. I already have a used RPM coming tomorrow from Ebay, combined with an RBI I guess (unless I can find another RPM) for the other two tones. The thing is though, the GED doesn't have the bypass button (Active) so I've been looking at the One Control Xenagama Tail Loop 2. I'll use the three units for the bulk of my tone shaping, kicking them on and off with the Xenagama. Life sure would be easier if I just went with one tone for everything.
You’re giving me a headache lol. Sounds very complicated. Although we tend to nitpick, sometimes you have to ask yourself...do you think everyone hears big changes between these 3 tones in the mix with everything going on? I’m not trying to rag on you, I’m trying to possibly save you time, money, and stress. I used to run a splitter and send my signal path to multiple amps. Combine clean tones and dirty tones and get what I thought was a very textured sound. Then within those amps, I’d have dirty and clean channels. It ended up to the point where I had 4 signals and I could get dirtier and dirtier as I pleased. I finally decided it was ridiculous and moved to one signal chain. My bass to my pedalboard to my mesa. I run an aggressive but clean tone. If I want overdrive, I hit a pedal on. Playing live is complicated enough and when you can simplify your rig it’s stress relieving. So now I’ll contradict what I said an hour ago and say maybe the Darkglass is the way to go. You have your settings how you want them and when you need the crunch you kick the pedal.
I hear ya. I could forget the GED and use just RPMs or RBIs and eliminate the Xenagama. Just "activate" the preamp I want by hand. All I have out front is a Boss pitch shifter (to fatten tone during guitar solos, we're just a three piece.). You are right about playing live. I did my first gig in the early 70's and played professionally for 15 years in the 80's and 90's. I try not to make it more complicated than it needs to be. These days I'm also adding harmonies to my voice with a Digitech Vocalist, and triggering samples with bass pedals through midi into my laptop.
I'm in a similar boat... I've found while both sound great, The AOU shares only one eq between two channels and you can't save presets or settings. However, for 2 basses and tones for each, the Tech 21 has presets available
Individual settings for each different tone
Yes, I know what they are. I just didn't know that the AO Ultra or the GED 2112 had any.
Haha, sry... The AOU doesn't have presets. The GED has dual inputs
the new tech21 dug pinnick pedal might be worth a look. I didn't care for the standard A/O. I thought it sounded like a very saturated fuzz pedal, but would like to take the ultra for a spin just for the eq and cab sims.
I just love the fact that the Tech 21 is called the "GED-2112".
Those bands you listed pretty much all used the Sansamp, so a programmable Bass Driver might be worth a shot. But ultimately if you don't need presets, the AO would also work, and if it was around when those bands were touring and recording, some of them might have chosen it over the Sansamp. Get whichever one sounds better to you!