For some time I’ve been thinking about a preamp for clean sound.
I don’t care about drive, I don’t use it.
Something easy to dial and decent sounding. My current setup consists of Empress Compressor and Radial passive DI.
I had Zoom B1Four, but couldn’t get through the interface. I need simplicity.
I had Laney Digbeth Preamp, but couldn’t really get anything that would sound “amazing” out of it.
Hotone (Ampero II Stomp or Mini) could be an answer due to its user-friendly interface. Knowing myself though, I would set 2 presets and use just that. Again, I need simplicity. So rather knobs than apps
Here are some pedals that I find interesting (the most appealing at the top):
Genzler Magellan Preamp (good price and features, I like the two curves and HPF, but not many demos online)
Markbass Vintage Pre (I like how it sounds on available demos, like the 3 “profiles”, not entirely convinced about the pedal design and blinking LEDs, like the fact that it was the idea of Marcus Miller)
EBS MicroBass 3 (some people say it is one of the most versatile preamps, good on paper but somehow does not attract me)
Two Notes Bass ReVolt (interesting option, sounds nice, limited EQ for cleans, some issues with headphones output)
Phil Jones Bass PE-5 (simple, transparent [not sure if this is a pro or con], affordable)
DSM Bass Simplifier (recives some nice reviews, but looks “busy” and I am not sure it is easy to dial)
Ampeg SGT-DI (expensive and unavailable for the next couple of months in the UK)
Origin Effects Bass Rigs [blue and black] (expensive, no headphones out, no separate clean channel)
Do you have any other suggestions? I am leaning towards Genzler Magellan, but wanted to run my thought process by others
All of the ones on your list are not really what I would call clean (except maybe the Genzler?), and you are paying for a lot of things you say you don’t want.
I have the Ampeg and the Origin Effects black - these are not clean at all, even without drive.
The ‘cleanest of the clean’ would be the new Bergantino, but it is not cheap (below).
I have the full amp as I wanted as clean an amp as possible.
If I am looking for a clean boost with my amp, I use the Darkglass B7K with all the grit turned off, it is the best I have seen for a really nice clean boost. The Basstheworld review of it has a nice demo without the drive bits.
I did a lot of research to get to the Berg, as did @joergkutter who might chime in here too.
@jacq: yes, I would agree with @John_E that the new Bergantino pre-amp is probably the cleanest from your list, closely followed (or, likely, equal) to the Genzler.
I don’t know all of the pedals on the list, but isn’t the ReVolt a tube based pedal? So, I guess, it’s not really meant to be as clean as the Genzler or Berg.
As for boost, I occasionally use the Spark from TC Electronics - it does its job, but also colors the tone a bit (even with the bass and treble controls flat); but, that’s OK for playing a solo, as it makes the instrument more present - it’s not adding any dirt for sure (EDIT: unless you want it to by tweaking the gain knob )
It sounds like (from your description and list) that you don’t actually want a preamp, you want an EQ with maybe some boost. IMO unless you are looking for some tone coloring, drive, and/or distortion there is no reason to go with a preamp pedal because frankly those are their differentiating factors.
Yes, a limited form of EQ, usually limited to three or four bands. Unless you spring for something like the Empress, which has some additional controls that I wish all preamps and EQ had.
Really what differentiates the preamps are the coloring they add to the tone, with or without drive or distortion. If all you really want is the EQ then an EQ is a better choice than a preamp. All EQ pedals contain a clean preamp, just like most preamp pedals contain some form of EQ. It’s just that with preamps, you typically are buying them for the other features - boost, drive, distortion, DI out, and (for me, most of all) the tone coloring of the “clean” tone.
I like Genzler and the colorless tone, except for the contour. Pretty much blue is modern with mid presence and amber is vintage with bass and teeny and mid scooped.
I’m all about the vanilla bass tone most times I put everything on center detent. I don’t even like compression if I have a choice I go without one why spent years developing finger tones and dynamics with nuances and ghost notes and put on a compression to level that away.
I know my tone is quite unique because the most difficult thing for a bassist to do on a bass is not touching anything, lol. It took me a year to recalibrate that.
I am kind of in this camp as well. I do want to have the option to EQ my bass more than what I am able to do with just pickups and tone knob on the instrument (I play and prefer passive basses). I guess most people would do that with the amp itself, but I don’t have an amp. I play through my DAI and monitors or headphones. I guess this just best describes what I need a preamp (and its EQ) for.
I am very far from saying that I have a unique tone. I still consider myself a beginner. Having said that, this is the path I want to go. Focus more on playing than on the tone. But to be clear, I don’t say tone doesn’t matter to me.
A fun fact is that one of the things that attracted me to bass, in the beginning, was that I thought I won’t have the effects/drives madness that guitarists have as I find that highly distracting I quite quickly discovered that I was mostly wrong
Luckily, though, you can live without that and your playing can still be cool, nice sounding and functional (depending on the genre of course).