Will a new pedal help bring back my punch?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by firstbassman, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. firstbassman

    firstbassman Apples & Dirges

    Sep 6, 2004
    NYC/Northern NJ
    I'm trying to figure out how to improve my fading sound. I'm playing a 1975 Rick into a Digitech BP200, going into a DI box straight into a board - no bass rig. Here's the problem, though - the pedal has sucked for me live. I was full up on the board, full up on the bass and it still was barely making a peep. My sound guy tried to play with the compression on the pedal, but it didn't do much.

    Later, I had the Rick checked and it was fine.

    So, I figure I should probably upgrade my pedal. Obviously, the BP200 hasn't worked well for me live. I've heard that the Boss ME50B or the GT-6B would be a good choices, but I don't know if I'm just being sold the latest thing that's been overstocked.

    My experience with effects in general is pretty limited, so I don't want to choose poorly without some guidance. I've proven I can choose poorly without it already. I'm not looking to do anything crazy with 50 different distortion choices and the like, we're a fairly straightforward band - but I'd like the potential to go nuts if the need arises, or if I just wanna.

    Anybody have any thoughts, before I hit the store?
  2. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Never had much good luck with Digitech units...I'd say try Boss. If you only use a few effects get a couple of dedicated pedals and a good DI (Sansamp, Aguilar, etc...), something with a level control. With a Rik that should do you well.
  3. Naterade


    Apr 29, 2004
    Franklin, MA
    First off, getting rid of the BP200 will be a step in the right direction to getting your sound back. Those units are terrible. If you want more volume in the mix get a dedicated overdrive pedal such as the Ibanez PD-7 or the Boss overdrive pedal. I have the Ibanez pedal and it effectively doubles the volume of my bass with the amp i use.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Obvious question...Rick to DI to board...how's the level with that? If that's also weak, the problem isn't due to the pedal.
  5. davesisk


    Aug 30, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I was just about to start down this path myself. I went down to the local shop with the intention of trying a few digital multiFX with amp/cab modeling built-in, and decide on one that my wife could get me for my birthday. The bassist at the local Guitar Center said "hmmm...trust me on this...try one of these preamp/DI's and compare that to one of the digital amp/cab modeling deals. You will be very surprised." I was. So much so that I didn't even bother trying a Boss GT6B, which is what I figured I'd end up getting.

    Here's my suggestion: go down to your local music store and try out a MXR M80 Bass/DI and a Tech21 Sansamp Bass Driver/DI (and the similar Radial Tonebone Bassbone, if they have one...my local shops did not). Both these are solid-state tube emulator preamps with built in bass guitar-friendly EQ's, color/presence type controls, distortion settings (none to fuzz), 1/4" and XLR out, etc. I compared both side by side and I chose the M80, which also has a parallel output for a tuner. If you're looking to improve your sound, especially doing direct into a PA or recording console, these stompbox preamp/DI's are THE way to go. I expected something subtle (like you get with a sonic maximer or a compressor)...quite the contrary. These things make you sound like your playing through a full tube stack...it's amazing. It's a drastic improvement in tone...I'm still blown away by it. (FYI, The MXR M80 is cheaper, quieter, has more features, and is IMHO better sounding than the Sansamp....however, compare both and decide which you like best!) You'll be even more disappointed with that digital multiFX pedal away after hearing one of these boxes...

    I've got an SWR SM-900 bass head, and I swear this M80 sounds more like a tube preamp than my tube preamp does. It's a amazing. My wife bought me one for my birthday for the exact same purpose...going direct into a PA at church (no rig, no SWR head, no tube preamp!).

    The problem with these digital multiFX's is that they're digital, thereby needing A/D and D/A converters, and that's where you loose alot of the meat in the your bass tone. Even in bypass mode, you're still getting a signal that's been converted to digital then back to analog. If they put high-end AD and DA converters in there, it would be more like studio quality effects...but they don't...go figure. Let's hear it for analog!

  6. Tritone

    Tritone Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America
    Here's another vote for the M80, but also consider the Sansamp Acoustic DI. Works great for clean bass tone.
  7. The Sansamp Acoustic DI adds massive punch to my otherwise sterile sounding EMG loaded Jazz Deluxe.
  8. Maurice Carr

    Maurice Carr

    Aug 7, 2004
    Mt Wellington, Auckland, NZ
    Authorised BFM and fEARful cab builder: New Zealand
    A Tech21 sanamps bass driver DI did wonders for my sound - I've got a fender bxr300c which sounded like a dog, but now sounds more like a bass amp should. Am now considering a sansamp RBI to use as a pre-amp and get a good power amp and see if my boating mate wants the bxr for an anchor.
    When I first used the BDDI at our church, quite a few musos, including one of the other bassists came up and remarked at how much nicer the bass was sounding compared to what they heard before.
    Sansamps get my vote fwiiw.
  9. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    About the MXR M-80... I've heard the distortion is very trebley. Is this true, or are you able to get a nice, rich distortion tone out of it? Thanks! :cool:

    Graeme :bassist:
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Well, you can blend the distortion with the dry bass sound so it doesn't have to be harsh. I think people just try to make it clear that it's a distortion, not an overdrive.

    Is it my favorite distortion sound? No
    Is it a perfectly workable throw in on a quality preamp / di unit? Yes
  11. davesisk


    Aug 30, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I'm not real crazy about the distortion sound on either to be honest. The Sansamp and the M80 sound about the same to me in terms of the distortion output (but perhaps I haven't listened close enough...the M80 fits my needs better on all other accounts, so distortion wasn't a primary criterium). That said, I think it sounds pretty good if you set the gain about 1/4 - 1/3 of the way up, and set the blend to around 1/4 - 1/3 or distortion, the rest clean bass signal. It's kind of a nice growley sound.

    Still, I really doubt I'll use it that much. It always seems to me like distortion on bass just takes some of the low-end punch away. My Stingray5 gets plenty of growl (especially with newer strings), so I've never felt the need for electronic distortion...I just dig into the string a little harder (I have the action set pretty close) and the sound made by the strings grinding against the fret really has some meat to it. (I'm not sure how clear I'm being about this...is this clear as mud?) The only case I can think of where I might use the full fuzz setting is if I needed to emulate a really thick sounding guitar... :bassist: ...or perhaps if I were recording something with multiple bass lines, and wanted them to sound drastically different. Hmm, I don't know...now you got me wanting to experiment! :hyper: