R/E/P > Recording Hardware Products

Getting that tube growl without an amp


Tom Tolleson:
Hey, everybody!

I use a fender tube preamp in my bass rig as I like to get a lot of gain and a sort of warm growl in my sound. However, sometimes I want to record a few ideas at home (my studio is in another location), and so I bought a little DAW to put down ideas with when I'm at home. Because I live in an apartment building, a bass amp is not an option at all. However, I'd like to get the sound of my bass running through the board at home as close to the sound of my bass through a tube amp.

I bought Guitar Rig 4 pro software which features a bass amp (hasn't arrived yet), but I'm a little skeptical about how realistic it will sound.

I thought about buying another tube preamp, but then I saw this sansamp hardware, and wondered if that was a better choice.

I have a Presonus tube mic preamp, but I'm not sure if that would be a suitable preamp for my bass. The guys at the local music shop weren't much help with this stuff.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience running an electric bass through a mixing board, and what additional hardware I might need to get the warm tube growl I'm trying to get without an amp.


Tom Tolleson

I can at least say that the Sansamp is a nice unit, used often as a "DI with something extra."

Hi Tom

The Sansamp is a good unit.  A bass player friend of mine had one, but he now has an Aguilar Tone Hammer and sold the Sansamp.  I had the opportunity to hear him compare both units.  The Aguilar was the better of the two in our opinion.  He found out about it from a bass players forum where a lot of people rated it.  Might be worth checking out bass message boards for inspiration.

Both of these units are good.  It really is a matter of personal taste.  Good luck on your search.

Tom Tolleson:
Hey, guys! Thanks for all the info and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I wanted to make sure I had checked out my new gear first.

I played around with a few DI boxes, some of which featured some gain and distortion parameters. They all worked great (including the Sansamp) as DI boxes, but I found the gain to be a bit lacking in tonal quality. The box I finally decided on is the Rusty Box by Tronographic.

The Rusty Box is a DI pedal with a distortion sound so saturated and so much like a tube pre I'm really amazed that I'm listening to solid state.

I've read that the Rusty Box is based on the pre-amp in a Traynor head. I've read the specs on the Traynor bass amps and now I have a new object of gear lust - the Traynor YBA200-2.

Of course, even if I had one, I wouldn't take it on the road and would use my Rusty Box with my GK or Fender Bassman.

In any case, if anyone is looking for a nice, aggressive bass growl in a low-maintence solution, I'd recommend getting the Rusty Box.

I use it directly in the board at home (I live in an urban apartment, so bass amps would be antagonistic to neighbors) and I can get a good rough idea of what something is going to sound like before I go back in the studio.

Customer service was pretty good from Tronographics too.

Anyway, drop a line if you have any questions.

Thanks again for all the information you've given me!



[0] Message Index

Go to full version