2020 Bass PreAmp Shootout

The Bass Channel is doing a Bass PreAmp Shootout with a large number of preamps. I thought this was such a cool idea that I’m starting a new thread for it. Each time a new one comes out I’ll post a link here.

If you enjoy the videos, you can use the links below to go to YouTube.
Give them a like and vote for the one you like.

Round One! Match One!
Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver vs. Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra

Round One! Match Two!
Tech 21 VT Bass DI vs. Darkglass Vintage Ultra

Round One! Match Three!
Ampeg SCR-DI vs. MXR DI+

Round One! Match Four!
Electro-Harmonix Bass Mataphors vs. Electro-Harmonix Battalion

Round One? Match Five?
Hartke Bass Attack 2 vs. TC Electronic SpectraDrive

Round Two! Match One!

Round Two! Match Two!

Round Two! Match Three!

Round Two! Match Four!

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Round One! Match One!

Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver vs. Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra

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Round One! Match Two!

Tech 21 VT Bass DI vs. Darkglass Vintage Ultra

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Ooh. They should have started with SansAmp BDDI vs Behringer BDI-21 :slight_smile:

EHX Battalion is in Round One up against an EHX Metaphors. Will definitely watch that one.

This is gonna be a great chance to watch a lot of preamps. FWIW the tone I am doing right now on my board is very close to being like running both of these (the B7K and the BDDI) at the same time, with my Battalion and my BDI-21.

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I was thinking that before I even got to your post!
So . . .

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Next up, Ampeg SCR-DI vs MXR DI+

I’ve owned a SCR-DI and so I am a bit biased but I would say the Ampeg wins for pure tone color (it sounds great) but the MXR sounds good too and its distortion is way, way better.

Specifically, the Ampeg just sounds worse in general with the Scrambler engaged, even lightly; the MXR still sounds just fine with its distortion engaged.

I’d hand this round to the MXR.

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@howard Thanks for posting this. I had to go out of town and couldn’t keep up.

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No problem!

One thing I would add to their shootout - I really did like the tone coloring from my SCR-DI a lot. It is not a neutral preamp; it sounds like a generic Ampeg preamp. If that is what someone is looking for, they should give it a go.

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Round One! Match Four!

Electro-Harmonix Bass Mataphors vs. Electro-Harmonix Battalion

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Yay go Battalion :slight_smile:

Pretty clear that it’s much more versatile than the Metaphors. I guess it would come down to if you really loved the Metaphors distortion, but frankly, I think the Batallion does it way better in that vid.

They screwed up the levels in the compressor test though.

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Agreed. The Battalion sounded like an across the board upgrade of the whole unit. So far, I like the Battalion better than any of the others.

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For an overall preamp I am really happy with mine.

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Round One? Match Five?

Hartke Bass Attack 2 vs. TC Electronic SpectraDrive


It’s been so long since one of these came out, I really thought they had abandoned the project. I’m glad they’re still doing it.
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I liked the SpectraDrive drive/distortion toneprints in this video more than I liked them in other online videos. But the Hartke colored the tone in ways I actually liked better.

TC’s darkglass clone toneprint didn’t really sound much like a darkglass (I can get closer with the battalion+BDI-21) but still sounded ok.

The SpectraDrive had a very clean, transparent preamp. If that’s what you want, cool.

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@howard and @eric.kiser: how would the Aguilar Tone Hammer Pedal fit in here? Is that in the same weight class or a different beast altogether?

Still trying to wrap my head around this whole sound/tone shaping business and find a good (long-term) solution…

Thanks!

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Tonehammer is a great preamp and a perfect fit for this contest.

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It absolutely fits in here. I’m looking forward to hear what they do with it.

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Nice selection, great reviewer

Wow. They all sound awesome. I think I like the X7 better than the AO (possible affinity bias there, I love my Microtubes X and they sound similar); the EBS definitely was great and surprisingly rich, and the Le Bass sounded the tubiest for obvious reasons but surprisingly not as punchy as I expected. Could be with tweaks though, complex pedal.

EBS impressed me a lot actually.

Also, the Yamaha Sheehan Signature Attitude sounded awesome. I mean, $3k, sure.

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if I remember, I believe that the Le Bass is designed around the Alembic F-2B circuitry, which is extremely close to a Fender design :

f2b

it’s made for a nice clean scooped tone but not really for a big fat punch.

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Interesting! thanks for the info. I find that preamp fascinating.

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