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warm OD preamp: Vintage Microtubes or Tech 21 Bass Driver DI v2 ?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by blujosh, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. blujosh


    Dec 8, 2009
    i'm looking for a pedal to use as a slightly overdriven preamp pedal to run direct to a full range speaker and to the PA.

    on it's own, it should be able to produce tubey low-medium gain overdrive - w/o any clank or fizz - that still has a heavy/thick low end. this would be an "always-on" pedal, and should also work well with other OD and bass fuzz pedals before it.
    ie. it should have either have a speaker sim or low-pass/high-cut filter built into it before the output.

    oh, and i don't need a direct out (i have a good DI).

    the two that have my attention are the Vintage Microtubes (non-deluxe model) and the new Tech 21 Bass Driver DI V2.
    based on what i've described, which do you think would fill that role best?

    open to other suggestions in that same price and size range, but before anyone suggests them, i'm not interested in any of the VT Bass pedals (don't like the clanky tone), or the larger "deluxe" Darkglass pedals (too expensive).

    FWIW, i'm playing a 5-string w/ a split coil and single coil tuned to Drop-D.
  2. Seems like you want quite a bit of control over your lows and highs. If you love the Dark glass sound, I would honestly skip the Vintage Microtubes and go straight for the Deluxe or Ultra.

    I used the VM for a good year as an always on overdrive, but found the Era control just a bit lacking as the only EQ parameter. The Era control shapes the drive character, but doesn't touch your clean signal.

    Now that I own the Vintage Ultra, I have control over my clean sound AND the drive sound, even more so because of those added Grunt and Attack switches. I've never been this happy with my tone. The Vintage Microtubes was nice, but as a pre-amp I much, much prefer the Ultra.

    ...although I could see that being outside your budget! :)
    gregmon79 likes this.
  3. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I think the new BDDI would probably get you close to what you're looking for. If you keep the presence control low, it should keep the clank and fizz down. Some folks have had good luck with the PDDI, but it is trickier to adjust for bass than the BDDI IMO. I also think the OD feel is a bit hotter and can easily get into "in your face" territory more quickly than the PDDI.

    It's always hard to argue against the Darklglass stuff, but unless you move up in their line I think you may find the EQ limited. However, if the tones you get work for you, you're golden.
    TJH3113 likes this.
  4. Snowglo

    Snowglo Pro Aris et Focis Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2013
    U.S. Military endorsement since 1984
    BOTH! I have been using a VMTD for some time now and recently added a VT Bass DI.....killer together. I really think the DG tone really plays well with Ampeg tones.
    LowRenzo and gregmon79 like this.
  5. blujosh


    Dec 8, 2009
    in which order to you stack them?
  6. Snowglo

    Snowglo Pro Aris et Focis Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2013
    U.S. Military endorsement since 1984

    VMTD - VT Bass. I set the VT to taste, then on with the VMTD for drive (always on) and overall warmth and goodness.


    The Zoom is merely a tuner. Always in bypass.
    LowRenzo and gregmon79 like this.
  7. Snowglo

    Snowglo Pro Aris et Focis Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2013
    U.S. Military endorsement since 1984
    I'm guessing they could be flipped in the chain since they are both always on. Don't believe it will make too much difference.
  8. Philly Watts

    Philly Watts

    May 6, 2016
    The new Sansamp BDDI V2 plays extremely well with distortion, especially when ran before it. The added mid controls and low end controls are nice too! All Darkglass pedals are basically top notch preamp overdrive/distortions. Although, the Vintage Microtubes doesn't have a cab Sim like the Sansamp, or the amount of adjustable eq, it sounds great on every demo I've heard.

    Like @Al Kraft said, Sansamp V2 will get you there, but keep the presence control down. I also recommend cutting some highs. I made a post recently explaining my journey for "tube" sound in a small pedal board format. Check the sound clips and see what you think. MXR Bass DI+, and Sansamp BDDI V2 (now with mid controls)...
    Al Kraft likes this.
  9. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland
    Ampeg SCR DI.
    Might be the best Preamp / DI I've heard. (I've used the other 2)
    Another option over the Sans v2 would be the VT Bass, not sure what "ClanKy Tone" you're referring to. The VT is smooth.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  10. Check the pic above of the OmniCabSim for the cabinet simulation. The Chilean DI box maker should be shipping more soon!

    NPD DSM Noisemaker OmniCabSim
    Philly Watts likes this.
  11. Philly Watts

    Philly Watts

    May 6, 2016
    Looks awesome! Its also analog!
  12. Jamesmidders


    Sep 16, 2013
    I use the darkglass VMTD as an always on preamp and DI for live and studio. It's really good at mellow n' thick mild drive, with nice subtle compression and touch response.

    I often practice with it through studio monitors and I believe the era control or at least some part of the circuit includes a low pass filter or general high cut as I've never had any problems with fizz, even at higher gain settings or with a fuzz before it. Same goes when I use it for geetar.
  13. leothebit


    Sep 27, 2013
    +1 on the Vintage Ultra, I think it's exactly what you're looking for (even though it's really expensive, I think it's worth the price)
  14. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    i'm using 3 pedals to warmup & preamp my signal ...

    1st - RMI Basswitch Classic - very warm open , nice eq points .

    2nd - Dark Glass Super Symmetry Compressor pedal ... warm . tubey sound

    3rd - Eden - Glow Plug - tube warmer pedal w/preamp tube ... gain/blend/filter .. i installed a lower gain JG5751 tube from 1957 ...

    then onto a few analog gain/mod pedals before it goes into the amp/fx digital modeling realm ... !

    sorry that's a bit off track from your question ... i really think the Blend/Mix knob are a necessity .!
    Fat Fingers and gregmon79 like this.
  15. invalidprotocol


    Dec 11, 2008
    The DG VMT is very warm. No clank or fizz and it doesn't lose the low end. I use it in the same capacity that you seeking and it works great. I've considered upgrading to a Deluxe or Ultra but only to obtain more upper mid content. In the end I added a Pike Vulcan as a punch in OD behind it.
  16. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    What you're describing is an Xotic BB. That's how I basically use mine---always on, in front of my Radial JDI. The EQ on it is incredibly flexible and the thing is VERY "transparent" - you get your bass sound, with as much OD as you want, but not an "active-y" sound. VERY natural, amp-like. Can go from no OD to full-on mayhem.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
    Philly Watts likes this.
  17. Granny1089


    Oct 15, 2012
    Saskatoon, SK
    I just picked up a BDDI V2 to try out for a few weeks.

    First impression:
    -I preferred it to the VT Bass, which I found felt more like a distortion pedal than a preamp/Tube OD.
    -The mid controls are excellent to have (the lack of mid control was main reason I had avoided the BDDI in the past)
    -Solid DI - you aren't going to lose anything there.
    -As some of the others have suggested, you need to mess around with the treble, presence, blend and drive to find your sweet spot with you amp/bass.
  18. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Just for reference, this is recorded with a Stingray 5 thru' a SanAmp RBI (rackmount BDDI + mid control + some more ins and outs) and that's it, direct to Cubase. Specifically my presence is all the way down which, BTW, is flat (this is an only boost control -halfway it's in fact pretty clicky-). Lows are flat, highs and mids are also cut to about 10 o'clock, drive and blend both around the 2 o'clock zone.

    audio clip

    That was a reference track for the drummer (playing is pretty "careless"), this is the final track it became (further EQ and compression applied, altho' slight really) ;-)...

    Philly Watts likes this.
  19. LowRenzo


    Jul 3, 2014
    The Hague
    I put in another vote for the VT Bass DI, mainly because of the added EQ options, speaker sim, and the fact that it's made to go direct.

    The regular Darkglass VMT is an awesome pedal but I've never found the signal coming from it to be particularly warm. Plus, it is indeed a bit limited EQ-wise to be a flexible preamp.

    The Vintage Deluxe or Vintage Ultra would be much better choices from DG, because of the added EQ before and after the drive, and in the Ultra's case specifically, because of the Master control and switchable mids.

    Can't really go wrong with any of them though. the VT Bass DI can sound really full and warm when you disengage the 'Bite' switch, and the DG stuff can easily be EQ'ed into a satisfactory tube-like sound as well (plus, you can get a lot more sounds out of those pedals).


    Bit surprised at this statement, haha. Both pedals being always on doesn't mean that switching them around doesn't make a difference.

    Maybe it's more common knowledge for guitarists as they generally use more pedals (I always played both bass and guitar up until a few months ago), but where you place pedals relative to eachother usually makes a massive difference in how they interact, ESPECIALLY when they're always on :D.

    If I use a pedal specifically as a preamp (as in, it replaces my amp's preamp), I run all my drives into that pedal. Doing it the other way around would be like placing drive pedals in the FX loop, which to me anyway, sounds horrible :thumbsdown:.

    There's no wrong way per se, but where you place your pedals really matters a bunch man :p.
    Philly Watts likes this.
  20. Philly Watts

    Philly Watts

    May 6, 2016
    Awesome! If I wanted overdrive I would go for the VT BASS over the BDDI too. I don't use the BDDI for overdrive.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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