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Tronographic Rusty Box vs Darkglass B7K

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by melodiaopus, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking to get a preamp to juice up my Puma 900 head. I've been looking at these bad boys for a little while now. I'd like to use it for recording purposes as well, just so I don't get the DI signal from my Apogee Duet2 interface. Thought I'd check on here to see what others think about these two pedals.

    All comments would be much appreciated.
  2. Gmclachlan

    Gmclachlan Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    I have both and use both. There's lots of info here on both pedals, they're very popular. In my opinion, they're not very similar; the Rusty Box has a solid state distortion sound (based on the Traynor TS-50 head), sort of a 70's amp clipping that's still pretty warm but cutting, while the B7K is a more modern grind. From a DI point of view, the Rusty doesn't have an XLR out. (As a preamp, it does have a 1/4' balanced out)

    The upside of the Rusty Box is it also does totally clean very well and has a second distortion boost. The B7K, though, is a premium modern gain, with many great distorted tones in there. I don't think it gets completely clean, but in a band context, a little bit of gain just really adds warmth and sustain.

    Using a pick, I think the Darkglass comes off better, the gain responds to that kind of transients better, it doesn't suddenly blow out in the low mids like some gain pedals do. Otherwise, I think it comes down to aesthetics. Even though it's modeled after solid state, the Rusty sounds big and warm and kind of vintage, while the Darkglass sounds like you're playing 100 basses through 10000 amps riding a stainless steel viking vessel down an avalanche of iron cauldrons. Maybe not the ideal pedal for rootsy folk.

    If it matters, the Rusty Box is like 150 bucks cheaper.
    andrew likes this.
  3. yaksonator


    Apr 16, 2011
    Branson, MO
    Yeah what he said! ^^
  4. Spencer!


    Jun 25, 2006
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    This might be the best description of the B7K I've ever heard.
  5. Road Bull

    Road Bull

    Jul 24, 2011
    Seattle, WA.
    While I don't have the B7K, I do have the B3K and a Rusty Box. I don't use either pedal as a preamp by bypassing my heads preamp. I run both pedals in front of my amp for tone shaping. I do like both, but to my ears the Rusty Box seems to have a bit more gain on tap. It can go from pretty clean to grind. The B3K has its own sound. Like Gmclachlan said, it cuts through best when using a pick. I play more finger style than with a pick. The B3K also seems to have a little more low end bloom. Whereas the Rusty Box is very strong with mids. I am sure that you could shape the overall tone quite a bit more with a B7K vs my B3K, so take that into account.

    Overall, I like the Rusty Box for its flexibility to go from clean to buzzy grind. I think I would dig the B3K a lot more if I played more with a pick. But the B3K sounds nice stacked with other pedals, like a VT bass.

    The good think about getting either, is that if you don't want to keep them, you can flip them pretty quickly here as both don't sit for long on the TB classifieds.
  6. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I'm just trying get a more modern hi-fi tone out of one of these pedals. I don't necessarily like heavy distortion or fuzz, I'd like to barely notice the effect when I play. I'm just trying to get some more tone shaping with it, along with some warm tube tone. I like fat and clean, not tinny and gutless. Plus I would like to use it as a preamp when recording.
  7. Road Bull

    Road Bull

    Jul 24, 2011
    Seattle, WA.

    If you have not looked into the Sansamp VT Bass Deluxe, you might give that a try too. That does warm and tuby very well. If you don't want such a large footprint of a pedal, they have a smaller (regular VT size) pedal coming out soon, (not sure when), that has a D.I., but without all the bells and whistles of the VT Deluxe. The VT Deluxe should be relatively easy to find, and give a go. If you can't find the VT deluxe, at least you can listen to the VT to get the vibe in order to make your decision.
  8. Based on the description of what you want, consider researching the Aguilar Tone Hammer DI pedal.
  9. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I'm not really looking for a clean EQ/DI pedal. Something that is going to give me some balls, but not a ton. Just something that will fatten my sound with a little OD behind the mix. The VT stuff, I'm not into. It's too much like my old RH750 tone, not clear and fat. Looking for something with tube warmth, but also clean.
  10. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    I have the B7K and I use it without adding dirt. If you watch the Will Davies demo video, I set mine up similar to his tube grit settings. This is nice and clean, and only gets gritty if you really dig in. I use it as a clean preamp that is always on.
  11. I own a Rusty Box and use it as a clean'ish pre for my Epi tube head (used for recording/practice); you can DI out of it with a balanced 1/4" TRS cable in the line-out, and it will do slightly dirty very well by adjusting the input gain to taste. Some of the best money I've spent on amp gear is this pedal.
  12. jwr

    jwr Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    B7K is hot. Would really like to try a Rusty Box sometime though.
  13. Yup, once again I've got to suggest the Aguilar Tone Hammer. You should be able to accomplish that in a variety of ways with the pedal, messing around with either the AGS on, or even with it off and just using the gain to give some oomph to your tone. As others around here have put it, the Tone Hammer has some built in midrange complexity and grit to it that means it never has a clinical sterility to it. It of course has all the DI functions that you'd be wanting and looking for. Give it a try or listen, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
  14. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Bought the B7K. I will give an update soon.
  15. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    FWIW, (and I see that you went ahead with the B7K so it's sort of a moot point now and I hope the B7K works out for you), I would have suggested the Tone Hammer as well.

    I use mine for exactly what you were describing (extra oomph to the signal, with very effective EQ controls and a little bit of warm tube-like compression - and also for me, a little bit of extra hair added to the signal).

    If the B7K doesn't work out for you, you should keep the Tone Hammer in mind. I'll be curious to hear what you think of the B7K.
  16. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area

    I agree with the above... I use both the Rusty Box and B3K as low to medium low gain overdrives in front of my Buster 200 (which is a very clean tube amp) adding grit and fur. They do sound very different as stated before, and have become essential tools in my swiss army knife of a pedal board.

    FWIW, for higher gain applications, I use QF2 and a TFR.
  17. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Once I get a full day messing around with the B7K I will post a YouTube review for everyone. The ToneHammer pedal has had my eye for quite awhile, but I wanted to try something else. If it doesn't work out then, the B7K will sell in minutes on TB.
  18. Like others, the ToneHammer came instantly to mind. The B7K is also a cracking pedal, although I'm not convinced it will be what you're looking for. As you say, though, you will be able to sell it instantly in the classifieds if you want.
    Report back, and have fun trying all these great pedals out !
  19. melodiaopus

    melodiaopus Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Any comments about the Sadowsky outboard preamp???
  20. yaksonator


    Apr 16, 2011
    Branson, MO
    I asked about different preamp di boxes on here and the sadowsky was recommended to me. I bought the b7k on a whim and haven't looked back at all. But that was me, I'm sure its a great preamp but the b7k is totally worth its weight in gold!