If you're looking for a preamp bass pedal with amazing flexibility and killer tone, you need to seriously consider a SansAmp from Tech 21. The tried and true products from Tech21 in NYC range from preamp bass pedals and rackmount gear to all-in-one portable multi-effects such as the Bass Fly Rig v2.
With any of the great bass preamp options from Tech 21 SansAmp, you can go straight into the house PA over balanced XLR and/or go into a power amp knowing you can shape your tone to exactly how you like it or to compensate for different venues of various sizes and speaker setups.
What Does a Bass Preamp Do?
Bass Preamps are responsible for your core bass tone. Without a preamp, you are just amplifying the dry signal of your bass guitar. Though that won't sound terrible, it's probably not a tone people crave, and may not cut through the mix of other instruments well enough to be heard.
Bass preamps often add controls for EQ, level, and drive. The drive can sometimes be "overdriven" past peak levels which creates a warm crunchy mild distortion sound. Some, such as many of Tech 21's products, also go up to heavy distortion, even for bass guitar.
What is a SansAmp?
SansAmp is one of the product lines made by the company Tech 21. Taken from the Latin "sans" which means "without", the name means "without amp". Since these products offer balanced XLR out, as well as 1/4" I/O ports and versatile tone and drive controls, an amp is not even necessary. Geddy Lee of Rush would famously use these, line them straight to the house PA, and have home appliances on stage instead of huge bass amps.
Tech 21 also offers other product lines such as their powerful, compact "Fly Rigs" which is basically a SansAmp preamp plus a pedalboard's worth of effects, including a tuner, all in a small sturdy box that fits in your gig bag. They also offer EQ and effects pedals, as well as MIDI control boxes. Discover more on their website, Tech21NYC.com.
From the SansAmp Bass Driver to the PSA 2.0 or the handy, compact, and powerful Bass Fly Rig v2, you can go from clean to mean, mild to wild, or bright to dark all at your fingertips. Almost all of their products features tones that include a fuzz bass, to get that dirty but clear bass fuzz you want, all the way to distorted bass with harmonics galore.
So whether you're seeking a preamp bass pedal with clear cutting clean tones and overdrive bass, or great sounds bass effects like chorus, compression, octaver, and more, Tech 21 and their SansAmp products have you covered.
Their rackmount and bass preamp pedals are used by music legends such as Geddy Lee of Rush, Doug Wimbish of Living Colour, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, dUg Pinnick of King's X, P-Nut of 311 and countless others.
The Tech 21 SansAmp sound imparts such lovely warm tone and rich harmonics that they are frequently used in the studio on vocals, guitars, keyboards, and even drums.
Which Tech 21 or SansAmp Product Should I Buy?
I have everyone's favorite answer for this question: it depends! So let's break it down into what you might be looking for and why you would buy one Tech 21 product over another for your bass guitar tone.
Want that SVT sound?
Look no further than the SansAmp VT Bass DI Preamp Pedal. It offers EQ, bite, drive, and character controls and goes from chunky funk with the ubiquitous flip top, to the higher gain growl of indie rock, or fat distortion when needed.
Need multiple inputs?
If you want the flexibility of multiple inputs (only 1 active at a time) where you can leave basses plugged in and ready to go, and switch between them when you want, look no further than the SansAmp Geddy Lee Signature GED-2112 or the SansAmp RBI. Both are rackmount form factor and offer more than 1 input, to be used one at a time.
This also provides the ability to daisy-chain 2 units together and use the input switches to change from clean to dirty, or dirty to filthy, so to speak. Sorry, I couldn't help but laugh as I typed that.
The GED-2112 also features a sweepable mid EQ as well as a separate "drive" and "deep" channel outputs so they can be mixed downstream on your recording interface or by a sound engineer in live settings. Both offer bass, mid, and treble boost/cut and drive adjustment to get as gritty as needed.
Need a pedal with multiple channels?
Definitely check out one of their multi-channel or programmable pedals if you need the ability to change back and forth between a few channels hands-free.
The Bass Fly Rig v2 offers 2 different channels of drive plus foot controls to switch effects on and off independently for compression, chorus, and an octave/fuzz channel where you can have octave, fuzz, or both for a really wild but usable sound. It also features a tuner so you have everything you need and it fits right in your gig bag.
Need more than 2 channels?
The Bass Driver DI Programmable pedal lets you store your 3 favorite settings and switch between them with zero latency thanks to the ingenius analog design and engineering.
If you want even more saved settings or channels, check out the SansAmp PSA 2.0, which features 128 memory locations. But don't worry, the digital ends there... the rest is pure analog goodness with a 100% analog signal path. You can even search for a setting out of order - so if you're in the middle of playing and need to switch from saved memory slot 1 over to 7, you can use the foot controls to find 7, then switch when you're ready - without having to hear 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 if you don't want!
Check out Tech 21's products, from SansAmp to Fly Rigs and more that we have in stock. Bass Alien is proud to be an authorized dealer for Tech 21 and we just love their innovative products and the outstanding variety of tones they provide.