What Preamp to get...current sansamp user. HELP!!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bassingeorge, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. bassingeorge

    bassingeorge Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    San diego, CA
    First time posting here in the effects area, long time reader/lurker.

    Ok, so I currently own a first gen Tech21 SansAmp PBDI...it's first gen so you know it's seen some use and even abuse. I used to ADORE this pedal, I had 3 settings to program, didn't care about mids, didn't understand about transparency, I only rocked my L2500 bass with a good amount of that distortion tone only a sansamp provides.

    Years later, I quit playing hard rock, discovered the importance of having mid control, which my sansamp lack, and had some money to buy a used Tone Hammer DI, in which I found a SOLID clean preamp, but that AGS circuit plain sucks. I sold it like 2 months later. Anyways, my sansamp has 1 workable channel because of all the abuse, the others don't work anymore and I really don'tn want to spend on fixing it; plus it's gotten noisey. Frankly I love the sansamp overdrive, but I'm done with my particular pedal. I wanna get a new one.

    Now here is where my dilemma begins.

    Here is what I want:

    - I want 2 channels, one clean and one overdriven. With the ability to go seamlessly between both of them, without significant loss or spikes in volume.

    - I'm not limited to a single pedal format, can be 2 pedals (a preamp pedal + an OD).

    - I wouldn't want the pedals or pedal to cost more than $300 if possible, even if I have to buy used.

    So far I have some possible scenarios:

    1. Get the new sansamp bass driver di V2 (not the programmable) with mid control and add a darkglass vintage microtubes or B3k for distortion.

    2. MXR Bass DI+ with or without a darkglass pedal, either a B3k or Vintage Microtubes.
    Hows the MXR overdrive on these?

    3. Consider the two notes Le Bass dual channel preamp. Read great things here, video reviews sound great, looks to be versatile and all...the only gripe is lack of mids on clean channel, and the cab sim sounds dark to my ears. Great OD sound though, and good prices on reverb.

    4. Get a Darkglass Vintage Ultra, which sounds super convincing, and has what I need in terms of EQ and the OD sounds amazing and the cab sim has tuneability, unlike the LeBass. The only real "BUT" is that it's also the more expensive option...I mean, it's EXPENSIVE! Is it worth almost $400 bucks?

    5. How's the TC SpectaDrive? Seems finicky in the way you set different sims with the app, etc. And the clips I saw didn't wow me.

    Now, I'm open on not using another Sansamp, but I'm so used to that sound, I'm afraid I won't like anything else.

    And some of you'll say...try them out! Well, I wish I could. It's not an easy drive to a local shop...I'm hours away from anything worthy.

    As a note...I will be using the preamp with a TC Electronics SpectraComp compressor.

    Please recommend a capable preamp with a good overdrive channel or capable preamp pedal that pairs well to a good overdrive pedal. Thanks!
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
    BrentSimons likes this.
  2. If you really want to buy something new - I ain't stoppin' you...

    However, the SansAmp did for me always the trick when used in an "adds flavour" way rather than takes the whole signal hostage. That way I also liked the grind it gave me. Blend way before 12.
    bassingeorge and BrentSimons like this.
  3. try the tech 21 DP-3X
    This is one of several demo videos available
    BrentSimons likes this.
  4. The Ampeg SCR-DI it's great, but I don't love the overdrive channel, give it a try.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  5. bassingeorge

    bassingeorge Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    San diego, CA
    For sure. I love the color it gives to the sound...but it's just one very specific flavor, even with the blend at 50% on my clean tone, it doesn't do a very transparent tone, so whenever I switch to my flatwound bass with a humbucker it almost always sizzles and overdrives when I peak the signal, and that I don't like. I think what I'm sayin here is that I maybe favoring some EQ'ing capabilities without much of the coloring the sansamp is known for.
  6. bassingeorge

    bassingeorge Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    San diego, CA
    This looks and sounds good. I will listen to other demos of this for sure.
  7. bassingeorge

    bassingeorge Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    San diego, CA
    Does anyone here use an MXR M80 with an OD pedal?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  8. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm a Vintage Ultra guy. Its controls leave EVERYTHING up to you... so you have to use your ears and tailor it to the sound you want. But that's the beauty of it, too, and while DG's other pedals tend toward modern, heavier drives, this one specializes in more subtle color. But when pushed, it can and will get mean, like a tube pre.

    It's expensive, true. You may be able to find a 1st gen one for substantially less, though, and if you're not hurting for headphone access and the cab sim, it fits the bill. The XLR is super quiet & noiseless in clean mode, and still very good in dirty, which was a requirement for me since I had a VT Deluxe prior (which had perfectly silent XLR out). It's always post-EQ, mind you.

    I'll say that if that VTD had had a selectable mids control and clean blend, it'd be hard to get any better than that. It's a great pedal.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  9. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    BrentSimons likes this.
  10. speedball3


    Nov 13, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I’d recommend the separate Ampeg preamp and scrambler pedals. The SCR-DI isn’t true bypass (so it’s always bleeding off some top end) and the scrambler section in the DI loses low end when engaged. This can be fixed with the clean EQ section but makes it a challenge to use it live as a 2 channel setup. No such problems with the individual pedals but you’d lose the XLR out, aux in, and headphone amp.

    You could always try the Tone Hammer again since you liked it. Like the SCI-DI and its scrambler, just treat it as a single channel preamp, using a single setting with or without the AGS depending on the sound you want. As you found, it doesn’t take very well to being switched on/off in a live setting. Then get your dirty tone from another pedal.
    lucianoxrp likes this.
  11. Julian G

    Julian G

    Mar 16, 2017
    Very little experience in this area though about three months ago I did buy a Spectradrive, which has been pretty good so far and I wouldn't be put off about the toneprints which are very straightforward to use. My main criticism is that when you kick in the tubedrive the volume level is overpowering, sure you can adjust the levels but it means you can't just bring in the Tubedrive midway through a song (unless you want to drown out the guitarist - which is not always a bad thing!!). I've been experimenting with the various drive toneprints and the Ida Nielsen Funk in The Trunk Toneprint doesn't cause any sonic booms and there may be others as well.
    bassingeorge likes this.
  12. Good tip!
    I’d like to try just the classic ampeg pedal with a different OD, but I’ll have to sell my scr-di first. I’m trying not to accumulate pedals and lighten mi rig, that’s why I’m tempted with the dp3x.
    The bass fly rig it’s a nice alternative as well.
    Do you use the ampeg classic? Does it have the same tone than the scrdi?
    Is it too heavy?
  13. Cuzzie

    Cuzzie Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Lehle Sonic Spark can give you Clean and Break up.
    Tech21 DP3X is amazing, can leave a whole in the mids.

    Combine the two you can have 2 different clean sounds, separate, a 3rd stacking, 2 different dirty sounds either DP3X alone or stacking with the sonic spark - all at button presses when you have dialled in what you want.

    Judicious second hand buying, get both close to 3-400

    But the DP3X alone will do you, you can dial in a ‘clanky’ tone for aggressive stuff, then roll the tone knob off on your bass and it turns more ‘tube/organic’ type, so 3 sounds 1 pedal, no dial switching (4 if you include bass bypassed)
    bassingeorge likes this.