Best Bass Preamp Pedals in 2021
Here today, we are sifting through the top choices that represent some of the best bass preamp pedals for you.
If you're looking to be able to adjust your mid-set or even mid-song tone, then the smoothest way to go is a foot-operated choice. They also have other cool benefits, which we will try to explore in our quest for the best bass preamp along the way.
View The Best Bass Preamp Pedals Below
1. Behringer V-Tone Bass Driver DI
In one kit, this first option offers a hell of a lot. In the past, we previously featured the Behringer V-Tone Bass Driver DI in our DI boxes post.
For clearer direct signals, it is a well designed DI package, which also packs in a lot of preamp modeling effects.
Thanks to its patented V-Tone emulation circuitry, users can dial in their retro analog-inspired tones to produce brightened funky-plunks or meaty bass distortions and crunches, as well as give them a polished, clean sound.
For a cheap plastic-housed alternative, it's very well-engineered and pretty durable. It has a plain, easy-to-use interface and features primary drive, bass, treble, and level mini-dials that are used alongside additional controls for presence and blend.
+ Wonderful analog emulation.
+ Good reach.
Why We Liked It -Given the variety and flexibility it provides, it is very low-priced, and while the building materials used are on the cheaper side, it is well manufactured and durable enough to impress.
2. MXR M81 Bass Preamp
Next up, we've got one of the two MXR versions we chose to use. The M81 is a very well-constructed pedal that will provide a major boost to your bass and bring a number of vibrant character tones to life.
For finer detail, the MXR M81 features conventional equalization controls alongside a mid-frequency sweep. As well as an output level dial, it has an independent input level dial, allowing you to build up what you give. Before it hits an amplifier, it helps optimize every bass guitar.
It's quick to use and the dials have reasonable resistance and sufficient spacing, so when you change the next, you won't knock one.
A ground-lift switch often benefits from stopping any electric hum and maintaining a crystal straight thread.
+ DI wipe.
+ Superb scope set.
+ Separate dial with mid-frequency sweep.
+ Not "always on".
.Why We Liked It -With a robust build and a range of tone enhancements on offer, it is another all-in-one option.
3. Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2
The first incarnation was well-received enough, but the model Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver V2 offers an amazing boost to the Bass Driver. It is tailor-made for those playing 5 to 6 string bass.
The Tech 21 provides a number of EQ settings to dial in, but it provides an expanded low-end control in particular, providing users with switches to better concentrate their frequencies. You can opt to highlight 80Hz or even 40 Hz, which gives users a low-end effect like no other, along with the separate drive and presence controls.
For colouring your preamp stage tonality, there's a decent amount of mid-range flexibility. It has parallel outputs and can be used directly, bypassing the preamp circuitry of your amp itself.
It is a little larger than other pedals on the market, but much easier to handle and manage. It is very well made and laid out.
With drive, presence, and mix, + 3-band EQ.
+ High-impact Punchy drums.
+ Switchable increase in frequency.
+ Outs in parallel.
Why We Liked It -This is an amazing piece of kit that provides your bass with a major boost.
4. MXR M80 Bass D.I.
Second, the M80 is the prior pedal to the M81 that we have already tested. Now, however, it could theoretically be perceived by those lucky enough to have the 81 as a down-grade.
That said, it does retail at about a third less and offers some amazing features, making it the best choice with less cash for some of us.
It's a well-made, hardy, big pedal that provides a separate channel of clean and distortion. It has a ground-lift/phantom switch and features conventional equalization of bass, mid and treble.
Mix and trigger, along with gain, are additional controls for the distortion channel to offer everything from a dirty analog grumble to an over-driven edgy eruption.
Instant access to some killer preset sound is provided by the color switch. The trigger helps with clarification and for flexibility, it has parallel outputs.
+ Feature Hardy.
+ Wide tone range.
+ Outputs in parallel.
Why We Liked It - For many, this is a go-to pre-amp. It's manufactured well. Dunlop is familiar with their material.
5. Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass
Our final range to consider is the Aguilar tone hammer direct box. Again, this item serves up considerable tone, tailored in a sturdy box.
It's beautifully built and has a sensible control setup. To help you finalize the mid-region a little more, there is a cluster of 6 dials on-board that supply your bass, treble EQ, and 2 mid-frequency/mid-level controls. It also has degrees of gain and mastery.
There is also a ground lift to indicate when it is engaged, which has an LED indicator. The engagement and AGS switches are divided between left and right, so you're not going to inadvertently stomp on them.
Active Gain Shaping circuitry is triggered by the AGS switch, enabling users to play with the drive and EQ for some killer-driven tones. It has an LED indicator, again, making it incredibly visual to use.
+ Lovely raised clean.
Circuitry + Aggressive Gain Shaping.
Why We Liked It - This item offers a wonderful pre and post-boost, as well as a great clean and overdrive. It's well-built and we love the battery drawer's convenient slide-out.
Bass Preamp Pedal Buyers Guide
What is a Bass Preamp Pedal?
Bass preamp pedals, with the primary purpose of providing a signal boost, are foot-operated switch-enabled pedals.
If you apply benefit to an inadequate line-level input at a later stage, you will end up with much less clarification than a previously boosted one. So, before you play with it any more, a preamp will improve what your instrument has.
In addition to its signal raising capabilities, many can incorporate the 3-band EQ that you usually find on your preamp head, or if it's a bass combo amp, the amplifier itself.
There are those who claim that this makes the EQ onboard pedal redundant, since most amplifiers will come with tone settings and other effects, but before the original signal is sent, there are still those who prefer it.
It can be catastrophic to have millions of effects, as each stage worsens the original instrument signal, but this can open up an impressive noisy variety of sound characteristics for certain genres.
This is entirely undesirable for the majority of cleaner or precision matches, which is where the debate starts.
For recording purposes, one good reason to have a preamp separate from your amplifier is. A rack-mounted preamp collection would be available for most studio setups, and could consist of a whole variety of preamp devices that will be customized for you by the sound engineer.
A preamp pedal is similar, but allows for foot operation that gives you the ability to turn from clean to dirty in a hands-free way while recording independently.
If you depend on your amp, you'll have to record from your amp with a mic, or it'll need its own direct out, which some don't provide with its ground-lifting as cleanly as a dedicated DI box does.
It is better to have bass directly produced through the device in live situations. Some bass amps for the mixer are too hot, and this is the main reason why the DI box has become critical. The techies would insist you've got one for several specialist venues.
Preamp pedals take all of these criteria into account and pack them into one powerful package.
What to Look For in a Bass Preamp Pedal?
They were created to offer a required boost to a passive instrument, but if you have active circuits in your bass, you will need one that can cope with this effectively, or you will produce some unnecessary noise.
It is wise to find one with a ground-lift switch that provides separate clean and distortion channels and, preferably, for optimum functionality, you want a parallel output.
Durability is a crucial factor since it's going to be trodden-on. As they will experience the most wear and tear, the switches themselves should be very resistant.
As for the on-board EQ and tone shaping, it is down to the styles that you play. You're only looking for a sufficient signal boost and the signal matching of the DI capabilities first and foremost.
You may want a pedal that provides a refined collection of drive and blend options if you play heavily to give you something to get creative with.
To settle the EQ on a preamp pedal argument, there will never be a definitive response; it either suits you or it doesn't.
We hope you are inspired by what you saw today! If not, on the market, there is a range and they each have their merits.
It can make a huge difference to have a proper preamp pedal. To ensure that the signal output suits the rest of the equipment, having a DI box is pretty crucial to the quality of your play.
So why not get a 2-for-1 and still have the option to play around with the sound of your preamp? We have highlighted a few fine examples and hope some of your FAQs will have been answered by our short yet insightful guide.
To help control interference, you can opt for a parallel output preamp pedal that allows you to bypass the integrated preamp portion of your amplifiers.
Did you Know
Most individuals consider the EQ a preamp on their amplifier, but a preamp boils down to the literal meaning of its terms in fact. It's a device that increases the initial level of the electrical signal of the instrument until it's worthy of a line-level volume.