4 Best Bass amp modeler

It is increasingly common for bassists to incorporate pedals to their set … but they are a very useful instrument and almost basic to be able to model the sound of the instrument. One of the biggest problems for bass players is the dynamics and control of the punch, especially if we do it with our fingers, it is an extremely sensitive instrument and if we do not have a very controlled punch, the volume ups and downs can be very obvious, for that reason a pedal is essential, to have our signal at bay.

Amp modeler pedal for bass

What it is? It is a preamp for bass in pedal format and with many more features than a simple DI box. It is a complete and professional device for the bassist. The amp modeler pedal that we decide to acquire must be specific to the bass since the frequencies of this instrument are very different from those of a guitar. The pedal that we think is basic is a pedal with distortion, to be able to have another record of the amplifier. And it is not necessary to play rock or metal, to add a little grain to the sound of our bass and increase sustain of your notes. In addition many of these pedals are a very useful instrument since they include previous and DI. One of the most used in the market is the SanSamp Bass driver DI or the MXR Bass DI and another option launched to the market is the Ampeg SCR DI that works very well.

Another peculiarity of this instrument is that there are different ways of playing it, slap fingers and pua, if you are a bass player who interjects these ways of playing, an EQ pedal could help you to shape the sound in these passages. If we add a tuner to this, we believe we have the cornerstone to model and have our sound controlled. From here are the needs of each musician and each project become infinite, Big muff to fuzz the signal, an octavador to fatten our sound, envelope filters, Auto Wah-Wahs…

MXR M81 Bass Preamp

The MXR M81 Bass Preamp is a solid, well built pedal, simple and flexible at the same time,   wrapped up in a green box.

  • Its main feature is its 3-band equalizer with a parametric middle (250Hz-1kHz) to control that is composed of bass, mid and treble. The means are specially controlled thanks to the possible action of two potentiometers for their management.
  • Through the Pre/Post switch we choose if we want to send our signal in pre mode (before gain and EQ of the preamplifier) or in post mode (after gain and EQ of the previous one).
  • It has input and output in TRS format ¼ (jack) and also of a balanced XLR output.
  • There is a Ground Lift knob to prevent possible network interference from entering the scene.

The most advanced musicians will also be able to search for the right sound for their solo parts, ideal if you play in a progressive or funk band. This pedal for bass combines the characteristics of a preamplifier with those of a direct box with studio quality. It is the small brother of the M80 Bass DI + because its casing occupies less size and is very comfortable for your pedalboards. Unlike the M80, it has no distortion effects and is more focused on clean, low-end high-end sound.

Many bass players send their signal directly to a mixer. To be sure that the quality is always excellent, we recommend using a DI box, which transforms the unbalanced high-impedance signal into a suitable signal at the input of a mixing console. In most cases the DI bass box is already combined with a preamplifier, which allows you to change the sound of the instrument to your liking before you get it to the mixer.

The SansAmp Bass Driver DI

The SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a pedal designed in the in 1994 and it has been an arsenal staple for players and studios almost since the day it was introduced. It is much more than just a direct box, it is capable of delivering surround sound just like a vintage tube amp: a bright modern slap, a dirty, powerful overload, and anything else. Three pedal outputs let you connect to an amplifier, mixing console or computer, and also just make your effects chain even more flexible. This multi-function, multi-application pedal allows you to get on a stage or enter the recording studio without carrying heavy amplifiers. Bass Driver is a must for bass players who want a versatile and realistic sound without too much trouble.

But let’s get to the description of the pedal.

  • The frame, entirely in gray aluminum, is already present from the first solid contact in the construction and resistant to impact. It is equipped with six potentiometers (Drive, Bass, Treble, Presence, Blend, Level) that allow you to create and modify the sound, making it personalized.
  • On the left side of the top, below the potentiometers, there are three outputs:   Phantom & Ground Connect activates power through phantom power, XLR Out Pad allows signal attenuation when transmitted via XLR Cannon, 1/4 Out Boost is just a signal boost for the 1/4 Jack output.
  • The right side of the pedal has three 1/4 Jack connections: two allow you to connect a chain of effects to the pedal (FX Send, FX Return), while the topmost one (Parallel Out) is a very useful parallel sound output, for example, to connect a tuner.
  • On the left side there is the XLR Out output to connect the pedal via Cannon cable.
  • The The SansAmp Bass Driver DI can be powered via a power supply, with a 9V battery, or with 48V phantom power on mixers, converters and on all those devices that are equipped with it.

In a real context it is possible to use the SansAmp as DI, allowing a connection on the XLR connection directly to the room mixer, which also allows the possibility of phantom power. The attenuation pad is very useful in this situation, to avoid a too strong signal coming to the room mixer, by sending the channel into a clip. Even connecting to your amplifier, the pedal does not affect the sound of the instrument or amp, but it makes it even more powerful and believable even for those bassists who do not have a touch superfine.

For the record it is of no little importance to point out that, to get top performance, it is preferable to use the Bass Driver with a suitable and quality instrumentation. An inexpensive bass coupled with an inexpensive amp or a noteworthy system will never do justice to the true sound quality that this pedal offers. The application in the studio is also amazing. By connecting the pedal in DI via XLR Out to the studio’s audio converters, you get a full-bodied, powerful sound. You will no longer need plugins, special microphones or equalizations to the extent possible to get a quality sound already recorded, without compromise of any kind.

The SansAmp Bass Driver is a pedal to have absolutely in the set-up of every respectable bass. You can face any musical commitment with the serenity of bringing a faithful and competent companion of music and sound, traveling comfortably by putting it in your bag, arriving at the concert or studio where you have to lend your work, pull it off, easily connect it to the installation where you will perform and start playing. You will always have a quality sound, it will be “your” sound and, above all, every performance will be a great satisfaction for your ears and those of those who listen to you.

The BOD400 Bass Overdrive

The BOD400 Bass Overdrive is created specifically for the bass but quietly usable even with the guitar.

  • It delivers rich, tube-like distortion, sustain and incredible bass tones!
  • It has four controls: Level which controls the volume, EQ which is divided into two dedicated potentiometers one at high frequencies and one at low frequencies, Balance to mix the clean signal with the distorted one and Gain to increase the distortion.
  • It can be powered by an internal 9v battery.  

The BOD400 Bass Overdrive is really very dynamic and versatile and is not limited to being an overdrive; in fact bringing the gain to high levels is able to turn the sound into a distortion. With the bass is obviously its maximum expression, it is a bomb, and can be considered a valuable alternative to the famous Human Gear Animato, distortion of 500 Euros, of which there are very few clones. The points in favor of this pedal are the perfectly controllable equalization through two very dynamic potentiometers that allow you to use it even with the guitar, and the Gain that through its dynamism allows you to get many overdrive shades. All this is completed by the Balance control to mix the clean sound to the processed one.

Behringer V-Tone Bass Driver Di Bdi21

BDI21 is the union of different devices in a compact and practical housing so the device is not only very functional but also easy to transport. To start, you can use as a DI box what is essential for the stage but this device stands out especially because it has an amplifier modeler for bass and a preamp to record the sound directly. Actually they are different devices united in one. With the controls Drive, treble, bass, presence, level and blend you can adjust the sound precisely to your liking to achieve a personal touch.

Among the products that offer this type of solution, we find the V-Tone Bass Driver Di Bdi21, among other instruments proposed by several companies, almost certainly more expensive and that offer results similar to V-Tone in some cases and much higher in others.

Customer reviews:

“In a casual way this pedal has come into my hands and I have used it with an Ampeg of transistors with surprising results. I was pleasantly surprised and I did not expect it since the brand is not exactly an example of quality in many ways. The pedal models the sound in an extraordinary way and I am sure that it will give even better results when I have more practice with it”.

“Behringer is what it is, yes, but there is also a clear stigmatization, which is easily explained in a context of “luxury” consumer market (not commodities) in which the concepts of “brand” and “price” are differentiators. And these weigh as much or more than the differentiation of quality. To products with similar characteristics in these types of markets, the “prohibitive” price is almost an incentive, while the “factory cost” price may imply a depreciation of the product.

The stigmatization is caused because, in general, they are products that over time lose reliability much earlier than other brands that offer the same item. The main reason is that they use electronic components that are usually of a much lower quality than the originals they reproduce. And that shows in the final result. The good thing about Behringer is that he has copies shot, and very interesting, of many brands. And if the basic design is good, you end up carrying a very good copy at a laugh price”.

The Behringer Company raises very different opinions among users. There are those who think that the products are more apparent than effective and who thinks that the offer of functions and finishes of the various instruments is very striking at the price at which they are sold. We think that, as in almost all companies, there are products that are better achieved than others. It is logical to think that the teams of engineers that develops the different instruments, subject in their elaboration to produce “inventions” that work by adjusting the cost a lot, get to excel in certain developments and not shine so much in others. Therefore, we believe that both opinion groups are valid. That is to say, there are models of the company that offer surprising utilities, considering what they cost, and others are very cheap, but they remain somewhat short when they are used.

Tip:It should also be noted the level of demand and the needs of different sectors of buyers. Finding first the beginner or amateur musician sector, with little budget and low experience, who is obviously undemanding and even uses cheap gadgets to learn how to use them, and even to begin to distinguish why a device is better or worse.

On the other hand, the group of professional musicians and pro audio sector is located; This second group of consumers or users has a greater investment fund and is much more demanding when it comes to expecting results, since professional applications require minimum quality levels, which can throw many products by land, however cheap they may be. Taking these two groups into account, we believe that this company’s products fit first in the first block, underlining that some references of Behringer offer an acceptable performance in semiprofessional and even professional environments. These groups of products that meet the minimum requirements continue to maintain aggressive prices (cheap) and therefore become desirable as an economic solution to certain needs.

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