Introduction: A Foreword about the Best Bass Preamp Pedal
With countless pedals available to bassists, some of which are very pricey, and with limited space on the pedalboards, a bass player must make sure to get only the best bass preamp pedal they can get for their rig!
After mastering the basics, you will need to start expanding your musical arsenal and explore new tonal possibilities. That’s why we’ve made our pick of the best preamps for bass for every price range!
Before we take a look at the top picks, let’s revise what we know about these boxes in the buyer’s guide section and answer some common questions!
Alright! Now we can start our actual review!
Please enjoy the top 7 Preamp Pedals!
BEST BASS PREAMP PEDALS
- Blend: Mixes the clean input signal with the overdriven signal
- ttack Switch: Sets the amount of treble content to saturate
- Fantastic drive possibilities perfect for all harder genres
- A fantastic blend of a gigging pedal and studio pedal!
- Selectable 2-channel bass preamp
- Two 3-band EQ section
- Unbalanced output can drive a power amp
- Footswitchable 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange and AGS circuitry
- The most affordable Bass Preamp
- Interesting Vintage Tones
Our number one pedal is in no way a cheap toy for the average player – it is a modern tool with sick controls suited perfectly for recording musicians, sound technicians and some live performers with more room on their pedalboard.
This pedal doesn’t offer a true distortion sound, despite the name – but it offers two switches which regulate how much bite your overdriven tone has.
With just the flipping of these switches, you get a very different tone – from something fairly mellow to punchy punk-rock sound. The settings are intuitive and extremely easy to set up. It is an amazing pedal for an aggressive slap-bass player.
This pedal keeps your low end perfectly clean even on extreme overdrive settings.
It can make your bass sound really heavy, but don’t be fooled – this is not just a heavy-metal speaker popper – it is a versatile pedal that makes the job of recording a song much easier.
A wonderful feature is that engaging this pedal changes nothing when the settings are exactly at the middle. You can enjoy both punchy slap bass sound and crunchy tapping madness.
If there were any downsides, then it would be the very high price of the pedal. But the price is nothing compared to the time and nerves you could save with this pedal.
A bigger disadvantage is that the two channels don’t interact quite as well as on the previous two pedals, which doesn’t make it a perfect stage-pedal – only an exceptionally good one.
But no matter if you use a cheap passive Squier or a custom shop active bass – this pedal will help you get the best out of your instrument in a recording situation!
That is why it hits number one on our list!
- Sound 100% 100%
- Quality 100% 100%
- Value 95% 95%
Our number two pedal comes from Two Notes – a company known for releasing nothing by high quality gear. This pedal offers a perfect blend of the Providence DBS and some bigger multi-effect units.
One channel is easy to dial in and feels very intuitive – the second one offers a more detailed sound shaping. It offers a few different driving possibilities, the most interesting one being the Hot Fusion setting where Channel One drives Channel Two.
The Chassis is robust and feels good when playing live, the display is very bright and the color signalization is mostly wonderful and also very intuitive – more similar colors mean similar pedal behavior and sound.
It’s sometimes very hard to talk about a pedal that does most of what it does incredibly well and has almost no downsides to it.
This pedal is pricey but it offers amazing slap tones, wonderful drive possibilities and offers nothing less than a perfect mixture of a live-performance unit and recording tool.
The only reason why this pedal is not number one is the slightly muddiness of the tone when the gain is dialed in very high. Maybe slight tweaking of the pedal might solve this problem. But still – a well-deserved number two with only a very slight disadvantage that shouldn’t bother you too much.
- Sound 95% 95%
- Quality 100% 100%
- Value 100% 100%
Are you playing a passive bass and need all the punch and crunch you can get for
heavier genres? Are you a live performer who wants to be able to change between two completely different tone settings even in the middle of a song just by pressing a single button?
Then you are going to love this great effect unit by Providence! It does exactly what it says on the tin (literally). It offers two selectable channels that can be dialed in separately essentially giving you two pedals in one. All the cables that you’re going to use with it will have enough space making this by far the best pedal on our list for live performances!
Tonally, this pedal offers amazing twang for the funk and slap bassists and a nice punch for the rockers without distorting the bass a lot.
Think of having strings that stay new for an eternity – this is what the pedal does – it completely rejuvenates old, dirty strings, although you should still change them at least once every few years!
What would’ve been nice is if this pedal could give you the option to blend the two signals, essentially giving you the ability to turn a classical passive P-Bass into an active bass with two pickups, for example.
The two different mid-controls look somewhat weird. Maybe instead of those, two drive functions would’ve been nice. Still, this pedal is an amazing addition to any bassists’ rig!
- Sound 90% 90%
- Quality 95% 95%
- Value 90% 90%
The Agular Tone Hammer in the form of an effect pedal? Sounds like a dream!
And this pedal sounds and looks dreamy, too!
The gain and master knob offer a very nice amount of gain that can be dialed in very precisely, especially with the AGS switch which has a pre- or post-switch at the back of the pedal.
The tone can further be shaped very precisely with the treble and bass controls which are further complemented the two sweepable mid-range controls.
Now, while the steel chassis offers amazing protection for this pedal, it’s design is slightly off-putting.
All the cables are meant to go to the back-side of the pedal, making it hard and sometimes impossible to use 90 degree cables. You will also have to invest in some patch cables if you’re buying it which is somewhat irritating considering that this pedal is not really cheap, unless you already have some.
There is not much else left to say about this pedal. It gets the job done amazingly and gives you fabulous sound with a lot of possibilities, but with a very bothering live performance issue.
But if you’re more of a recording type of bassist, then this is just the pedal for you!
- Sound 95% 95%
- Quality 85% 85%
- Value 90% 90%
Don’t let the size of this unit bother you at all! This is not your average Preamp – it’s a tightly packed multi effect unit that takes only a fraction of space that 4 different effect pedals would take normally! For the average performer and an occasional recording musician this is a dream pedal!
This pedal was one of the highlights for bassists at the Winter NAMM 2015!
Not only is this a Bass preamp pedal with EQ and tone controls – it is also a Bass Scrambler and Overdrive pedal with an 1/8″ aux input to jam along with your music player, making it perfect for silent practicing!
The very durable metal switches and the no-slip feet make this pedal appear very modern and are a demonstration if both its durability and performance!
SCR-DI is the Ampeg lover’s ideal DI box for the stage, with connection options perfect for driving your rig and feeding your tone right to front-of-house delivering a wide range of Ampeg tone perfect for the stage.
The ultra-high and ultra-low settings just offer additional tonal possibilities!
The wonderful scrambler and overdrive offer a wonderful bass tone for hard rock music with a lot of punch. That being said, this pedal is not really for much besides rock and metal music.
There seems to be a major volume drop when using the Scrambler section only and you won’t really be able to dial in a neat, warm gain boost for blues or similar genres. It’s kind off all or nothing with this one.
- Sound 88% 88%
- Quality 85% 85%
- Value 90% 90%
With Jim Dunlop we’re starting out with fairly decent pedals that have a well-balanced-out price and a decent build quality. This pedal is loaded with a lot of controls which are easy to set up and offer security and stability to your bass tone!
The most unique feature of this pedal is the separate INPUT & OUTPUT level controls which allow for very interesting tonal combinations. Even at higher volume settings, this pedal can keep your tone nice and clean. This is a solid, well built pedal that can add some life and fullness to your bass tone.
The biggest problem with this pedal is the somewhat limited equalizer specter. A bit more tonal variations would’ve been nice. Another complaint is the extremely bright LED light that is more blinding than clear, especially in a very dark stage setting.
But if you have an active one, you will be able to give your bass an additional dosage of tonal possibilities!
- Sound 80% 80%
- Quality 85% 85%
- Value 95% 95%
Our first pedal is the Behringer Bass DI Pedal which is an Essential Bass DI Pedal for the player on lower budget.
The most interesting thing about this pedal, besides the extremely low price, is the tube emulation, which makes you sound like you’re playing on a vintage tube amp when used with the highest settings, but you can also limit that vintage sound with the use of the blend knob.
This pedal might be better that even some which cost twice as much as it offers a DI, a Preamp, light distortion and there is no tonal modification when the pedal is turned off.
But still it’s a German-Designed pedal which is built in China with Chinese components, essentially making it a not-so-durable pedal, especially considering the quality of other pedals available.
This might be useful for a garage band which can’t afford a very expensive pedal, but it’s not recommended for gigging as it might give up the spirit at any time, especially when not handled with great care. It’s also not very suitable as a backup pedal for the same reason.
Having this around for when nothing better is available is fairly alright, but the low build quality and the fairly big chassis might stop you for making room on your pedalboard for it.
But still, it’s the by far most affordable unit available which works and offers a fine amount of sounds when used in a studio setting where someone might give you a different pedal if yours dies.
If you have a passive bass, you really need any preamp you can get – and you should definitely be able to get this one.
- Sound 80% 80%
- Quality 70% 70%
- Value 95% 95%
A Preamp – what is it and what does it do?
A preamp is a “pre amplifier” and, it prepares a signal coming from a pickup for further amplification and processing. There are a number of different functions of a preamp: it can boost a low signal, cut a signal that is too strong or produces extremely loud, echoey sounds in rooms which were not specially designed for loud music, shape or clean up the input so that the overall output sounds better coming through the amp and the speakers and work as an additional volume control or equalizer.
Put in the most simple way – it is a tool to shape the sound of your bass.
You can make your notes slightly distorted, let your higher sounds get more twang,
or scoop the mids and highs to make your bass sound more muted, somewhat like an upright bass played with fingers.
I’ve seen the word preamp before – do I maybe already have one?
Some acoustic basses come with an on-board preamp and a system to plug them into
an amp. Some electric basses are called active basses. Passive basses lack a preamp and only have one tone knob per pickup, so the sound shaping of those basses is very limited,
especially if you have a single pickup bass like a standard P-Bass.
Some amps also come with the best on-board bass preamp available for the money.
A different type of preamp are rack mount preamps and preamp pedals which you buy separately
from your instrument and amp.
So, do I really need a preamp pedal? I already have some other form of preamp.
In short, if you want to be a gigging musician or record your own songs, you do need a preamp pedal or a rack mount. Rack mounts can be sometimes very heavy and might be to big for the amp that you have – there are no such problems with pedal preamps!
In a recording studio situation, a serious recording engineer will most likely have
their own gear, but having a pedal that you are used to will make it much easier to dial in a sound you’re used to. Even professionals sometimes face problems with their gear, and smaller studios might not be able to afford the best bass preamp for recording, so having a pedal with you can solve this issue.
Another very important place where you can use a preamp pedal is at live events in smaller locals which are usually not designed for loud performances, have some issues with only certain frequencies which you will be able to cut out, or for recording and practicing in a garage with a band where you all need to work on having tight sound and avoid excessive overlapping of single frequencies of the different instruments.
No matter if you have a lot of money to spare or if you’re on a very tight budget, you should be able to get only the best tone possible out of your instrument. We hope that our review has given you enough information and that you can now choose the best preamp for your bass!
We also hope that you will have some spare time to check out some other articles that we have prepared for you, like our Compression Pedal Review or our Synth Pedal Review!
A good pedalboard doesn’t get finished with just a nice preamp, but with our favorite picks you will be one step closer to creating the best bass pedalboard for your own unique tone and needs.
If you’ve enjoyed our article, make sure to share it with all your bassist friends!
Besides pedal reviews aimed at more intermediate players, we also have lessons for the absolute bass beginner, too! And if you’re the only bassist in your friends circle – don’t worry!
We also have a wide range of articles on guitars and drums!
Till next time!