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Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI 

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The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a 3-channel, programmable rig-in-a-box similar to the TRI-A.C. for guitar, but made for bassists. The all-analo...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Leave your rig at home and go live through the PA!

The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a 3-channel, programmable rig-in-a-box similar to the TRI-A.C. for guitar, but made for bassists. The all-analog circuitry features drive, bass, treble, presence, blend, and level controls. Digital only in its programmability, you just tweak the knobs until you find a tone, double-tap on a footswitch, and it's saved in that channel. Works great on stage or in the studio. Rugged all-metal construction. Operates via a 9V alkaline battery, phantom power, or the optional Tech 21 DC2 power supply. 7.25"L x 5"W x 2"H. 25 oz.

FEATURES
  • 3-channel, programmable rig-in-a-box
  • Drive, bass, treble, presence, blend, and level controls
  • All-metal construction
  • Operates via a 9V alkaline battery, phantom power, or the optional Tech 21 DC2 power supply
  • 7.25"L x 5"W x 2"H
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Tech 21SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI
 
4.7

(based on 41 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (34)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (7)
  • Versatile (7)
  • Compact (5)
  • Responsive (5)
  • Good selection of effects (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (7)
  • Home studio (6)
  • Professional recording (6)
  • Amateur recording (4)
  • Outdoor events / games (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Professional musician (6)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

How did I ever play without it?

This box is essential and irreplaceable whether I'm playing live shows, recording at home or in the studio, or just practicing and songwriting. No matter what I'm playing through (amp, PA,...Read complete review

This box is essential and irreplaceable whether I'm playing live shows, recording at home or in the studio, or just practicing and songwriting. No matter what I'm playing through (amp, PA, etc), I can always and reliably call up the exact tone I want. It replaces a $500+ tube amp (which would then need to be miced!) with a box that fits in my gig bag and requires zero set-up - I can just plug in and I'm ready to go.

The lack of a mid EQ knob doesn't cause a problem for me, it just requires thinking differently about how to set your other knobs. Want a mid cut? Raise both treble and bass and lower level. Want a mid boost? Lower both treble and bass and raise level. Even if you think you know how to work an EQ, spend at least half an hour with this thing slowly and methodically experimenting with each dial and their combinations...the range of tones you can get out of this easily surpasses what can be done with any amp I have worked with in the past. Especially impressive is the blend knob, even with the drive set all the way up it never sounds like two basses playing in parallel, but one solid tone. The manual suggests you will usually want to keep your blend on full wet and adjust drive to taste, but the opposite works as well if not better, maintaining a strong fundamental even as things start to get nice and crunchy. Honestly I like the drive on this better than any dedicated overdrive pedal I have used in the past, though that is of course especially subjective.

I would use this over amps with more than double the price tag any day - the added flexibility of the programmable switches, the convenience of never dealing with micing a cab on a small loud stage, the fact that it can even run on phantom power from the XLR output (or a 9v battery) - other than my bass itself, this is by FAR the most important piece of hardware I own.

There's no real reason to buy the normal BDDI over this, the price difference is minimal and the flexibility of the footswitches is much of the reason I will choose this over an actual tube amp any day. The deluxe adds a few cool features, but they aren't necessary for most musicians - the big one is an effects loop, like on your amp.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not For Everyone

If you have a good bass amp and always use your amp, you do not need this Sans Amp. It is intended for connecting between your bass guitar and a mixer, PA or...Read complete review

If you have a good bass amp and always use your amp, you do not need this Sans Amp. It is intended for connecting between your bass guitar and a mixer, PA or recording equipment, so that you have more control over your sound. I purchased it and I do not need it because I always use my amp. I will keep it because I know that one day I will play somewhere and just plug into the available equipment; this DI (Direct Box) should come in handy then. By the way, it is very easy to program and it comes in a sturdy medal casing.

Reviewed by 41 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Not For Everyone

By RadianChalant-VsfSp

from Aliquippa, PA (Northwest of Pittsburgh)

See all my reviews

Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

If you have a good bass amp and always use your amp, you do not need this Sans Amp. It is intended for connecting between your bass guitar and a mixer, PA or recording equipment, so that you have more control over your sound. I purchased it and I do not need it because I always use my amp. I will keep it because I know that one day I will play somewhere and just plug into the available equipment; this DI (Direct Box) should come in handy then. By the way, it is very easy to program and it comes in a sturdy medal casing.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

How did I ever play without it?

By dC

from Albany, NY

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

    This box is essential and irreplaceable whether I'm playing live shows, recording at home or in the studio, or just practicing and songwriting. No matter what I'm playing through (amp, PA, etc), I can always and reliably call up the exact tone I want. It replaces a $500+ tube amp (which would then need to be miced!) with a box that fits in my gig bag and requires zero set-up - I can just plug in and I'm ready to go.

    The lack of a mid EQ knob doesn't cause a problem for me, it just requires thinking differently about how to set your other knobs. Want a mid cut? Raise both treble and bass and lower level. Want a mid boost? Lower both treble and bass and raise level. Even if you think you know how to work an EQ, spend at least half an hour with this thing slowly and methodically experimenting with each dial and their combinations...the range of tones you can get out of this easily surpasses what can be done with any amp I have worked with in the past. Especially impressive is the blend knob, even with the drive set all the way up it never sounds like two basses playing in parallel, but one solid tone. The manual suggests you will usually want to keep your blend on full wet and adjust drive to taste, but the opposite works as well if not better, maintaining a strong fundamental even as things start to get nice and crunchy. Honestly I like the drive on this better than any dedicated overdrive pedal I have used in the past, though that is of course especially subjective.

    I would use this over amps with more than double the price tag any day - the added flexibility of the programmable switches, the convenience of never dealing with micing a cab on a small loud stage, the fact that it can even run on phantom power from the XLR output (or a 9v battery) - other than my bass itself, this is by FAR the most important piece of hardware I own.

    There's no real reason to buy the normal BDDI over this, the price difference is minimal and the flexibility of the footswitches is much of the reason I will choose this over an actual tube amp any day. The deluxe adds a few cool features, but they aren't necessary for most musicians - the big one is an effects loop, like on your amp.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Well built and sounds good

    By jocfan1

    from Edmond, OK

    About Me Professional Musician

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Easy to use
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Gets fizzy at high gain
    • Limited Selection Of Effects

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

    Bought to use in a church setting. I was looking for a pre-amp to beef up our bass signal (running direct into the board), and this unit does a great job. If you're looking for a wide range of effects this obviously won't do the trick, but it's not designed to do that. It's essentially an EQ and overdrive pedal, and it does those things pretty well. On its more extreme gain settings the drive tends to get a little fizzy for my tastes, but some may find that sound useful. I really like the way it rounds out the tone at lower-gain settings, and some of the suggested presets in the manual are really excellent. The all-metal construction feels solid and the switches are quiet; I have no worries about its durability, especially in church where it's not likely to take a beating.

    I like it quite well for our uses, and I can definitely see it coming in handy even running into a full bass rig.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Lives up to the hype!

    By ClayHinson

    from Athens, GA

    About Me Professional Musician

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Live Show
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      As a bass player your equipment needs are pretty simple. A quality instrument, A versatile and powerful amp, and a good DI. Sound guys in most clubs do not except the DI you have included on your amp. This DI is so much better in that it provides your pre amp, eq, and overdrive. The presets deliver a very good starting point, 1 SVT, 2 B15, 3 high gain overdrive. This unit is very responsive to your playing. If you dig in and attack the strings hard you get a nice break up overdriven sound. If you smoothly play you will get a nice R&B sound. Last but not least is the power versatility of this pedal, 9v battery, power supply, and best of all phantom powered. Sansamp really delivers!

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Wow...

      By pmfman

      from Winnipeg, MB

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • It Can Do Almost Anything
      • Settings Stay In Place
      • Versatile
      • Xlr 14 Out

      Cons

      • It Is Bulky

      Best Uses

      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      The Sans Amp is a very versatile piece of equipment (calling it a simple driver limits it too much) which can do just about anything, provided that you know how to use it and have the patience to dial it in. Another advantage is that it is hard to accidently change the settings, since programming an effect takes more than just turning a knob at random.

      The only negative thing that I can say about it is that it is a bit bulky, although if that is a problem the non-programmable unit is a bit smaller.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Product

      By Octopus

      from Under the Sea

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      Just received this pedal yesterday in the mail and spent hours messing around with it. I use a solid state Carvin head and Carvin cabinets, with American Standard Jazz (primarily) and the SansAmp does exactly what I want. With the boost on there is a little buzz, but once I adjusted my head a little it sounds fine. A very small amount of buzz won't hurt anything. If you want to bypass the channels (but why?) this thing is silent. The factory presets give you a good starting point, and there are endless capabilities for your sound. I personally like the "SVT" setting with a digitech bass overdrive pedal and it sounds fantastic. I did try my dunlop wah pedal with it and it sounded like garbage, still working on that...A mid control really isn't necessary. This thing has everything you need; if you want a little dirt in your sound, lots of fuzz, or a clean boost then it is worth the money. It is built solid, all metal, plastic battery cover. If you are considering this product, then quit wasting time and buy it!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Awesome.

      By ZGotts

      from Virginia

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      Great unit overall. One tip though, don't try to use it as a preamp. This is intended to go into a mixer or amp's preamp. It doesn't have enough gain to stand alone. If you use it through your bass head, be sure to put it through the effects loop, and set your amp flat.Use it how it was intended, and I cannot possibly see how anyone could be disappointed.. especially at this price.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      3 different tones = Awesome.

      By TheSignOfFour

      from Bloomington, IL

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      This is my first review even though I own many basses, amps, and pedals - I was prompted to do so because this pedal rules. I just bought a SWR Redhead but needed a pedal to provide a good overdrive/distortion tone for use on Tool-like songs. This pedal did the trick - I have 3 patches programmed with 3 different levels of distortion and EQ. I play a Warwick Streamer and a Corvette through this rig and can get a lot of top-end prescence with this pedal without all of the excess treble that blows your tweeter. You can dial in the right amount of grit and then save your settings. Put it in your FX loop and use it for soloing or whenever you need a boost to cut through the mix, then tap it off when you go back to the quieter melodies. Perfect.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Wears its' battle scars well.

      By 12thTuesday

      from St Petersburg FL

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      Almost two years now and no worries. I have found that if I use a mic xlr to 1/4 cable and punch the xlr pad button, even the driest, thinnest tone I dial in has almost no unwanted noise, even on an unforgiving 1972 Peavey head. Good stuff. Half a point off for the battery cover, no big deal. You will be mad as hell if you leave this behind after a gig.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Interesting tool

      By Dr Pocket

      from Corvallis, OR

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      This is an interesting tool. I have always had trouble getting a "usable" tone at a Jam session without mangling (so to speak) theEQ of the bassist in the host band. With the Sansamp I can get a decent usable tone that completely overrides the tone of the host amp. I can then program the box for that venue. This gives me the potential to permanently program 3 different jam session venues so I don't have to hassle with that problem each time. The host bassist was grateful by the way.

      (2 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Not that great

      By Young Thug

      from C-Town

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      I bought this pedal hoping it would warm up my solid state head with its tube emulation. It really just added some unecessary bass and treble and sucked away all the mids. Maybe if there was a mid control on this pedal it wouldn't be so bad but I couldnt seem to dial in a good tone. Its either really bassy or really trebley and nothing in between. Do yourself a favor and save your money

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      replaces my amp

      By classic sticks

      from Seattle, WA

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      I have a vintage Peavy bass amp(solid state) that has a 7 band eq and an active Schecter 5 string, which has a lot of tonal capability. This Tech 21 Bass Driver duplicates my amp sounds and more. With 3 presets it's like having 3 guitars on stage, it really lets my bass come alive and I can run direct into the PA as well as my amp, both at the same time. Thats pretty awesome!! Kinda spendy but for what you get it's worth it. The settings are endless and you can change presets over and over. The owners manual has 15 or 20 preset suggestions(very cool), after you figure out what the knobs do, the sky's the limit!! I've owned this driver for about a year, I don't abuse my gear but a friend dropped it down a flight of stairs, it never bobbled and when you plug into the PA fantom power operates it(no batteries) That's it! Rock on !!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Overall, pretty good product

      By poit57

      from Oklahoma City, OK

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

      This has been a great solution to our church's sound mix issue. We've been using a powerful bass amp with a direct out to the mixer. The issue is that the volume control for the amp itself also controls the signal to the direct out, so we ended up either having the amp drowning out all the other instruments or the soundman not getting a strong enough signal to be able to mix the sound correctly.We are using Aviom's for in-ear monitoring, so we didn't need the amp for that purpose. To eliminate the amp, we used a passive direct box. This also forced us to boost the gain on the sound board to the max in order to be able to hear anything. The SansAmp gave us the ability to boost the signal as well as tweak the tone to our liking.As far as the sound quality through this product goes, it's good, but not quite what it would be in a perfect world. As others have pointed out, there is no mid-range tone control, only bass and treble. I play a Music Man Stingray and we have another person who plays a passive bass. I tried all the suggested tone settings with both basses, but ended up just tweaking all the settings to get a sound I liked for each bass. For what we do in our church services, one sound for each bass player is enough. Overall, I'm pleased with the sound, but like I said before, I like just a little more tone control with this device.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Really, REALLY good!

      By Rico Belled

      from Sherman Oaks, CA

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Well-Built

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        I've been doing mostly fly dates, all over the world, and the hardest thing is always having a different amp to deal with. I've tried various pedals over the years, but even without having used the Sansamp on a gig yet, I already know this is THE ONE. Been playing with it in my studio and the sound is just awesome, and the flexibility is perfect. You can dial in anything from a clean little boost with no amp saturation, to nice hypey slap sound, to full on distorted SVT. Programming couldn't be easier, phantom powering it works perfectly and quietly, and the unit is solid but nice and light and even works on battery power quite efficiently.

        But, above all, it sounds AWESOME! The blend knob allows you to put as much 'amp sim' in the tone as you want, but with headphones on I've been loving the full on tone this unit gives you. The distortion is sweet, with still pleny of dynamics left in the tone.

        HIGHLY recommended!

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Pretty Cool

        By 12thTuesday

        from St Petersburg FL

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        Day One I was a bit disappointed but now on day six I've decided I won't do without it. Easy to program, easy to see in dark, built like a tank, blah blah. Some complain of noise and no mid range control, but this can be easily dialed out by paying attention to the very prominent controls -they are surprisingly sensitive. Quality gear!

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        A Great Piece of Equipment..

        By Shell

        from East of Atlanta, Ga.

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        I play a lot of the time plugged into either a studio mixing board or a live board. I wanted something to be able to give me the sound I get from my SVT rig without having to lug around all that heavy stuff. This amazing piece does that. One of my basses is a 68 Les Paul with low impedience pick-ups. Plugged into an amp the bass just does not sound good at all. But, plugged into a mixing board it sounds pretty good, which is what it was designed for. Putting the Tech 21 Sans-Amp between the bass and the board I can get that wonderful SVT sound. One of the other channels I have programed for a brighter tone and the third channel is programed for a nice growl. It sounds great with any of my basses especially in Church. I can get that sound I want that the sound man can't seem to get with the mixing board. This thing works perfect for me in Church, the blues band I play in, the rock band, and the country band. This is truely a must have piece in your arsenal.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Good Unit!

        By KJ-90AMn

        from Clinton, Maryland

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        I've been using this unit for almost a year and I MUST have it with me every time I minister. It's very durable and compact. Slap or finger style it produces a very fat bottom, ear piercing highs and all in between. If you play through the house, it will definitely cut through the mix and give you a clean sound (no need to bring your amp). The only down side is that it doesn't have an on-board midrange control like the rack unit. Whoever, if your bass has a three-band EQ, it will make up for this minor flaw. Other than that, whether you have active or passive electronics this baby will do the job.

        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Review

        By mwhan2209

        from Windham, OH

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        I bought this pedal because of all of the reviews you see on this site and in forums. Believe everything you hear about this pedal. It is flat out amazing. You can get about any tone you want out of this and it makes your gear sound amazing even if you just leave it on 'fat tube'

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Great Pedal

        By kneehighmidget

        from Alabama

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        This pedal allows you to dial in a lot of different tones and save up to three different tone settings. It is very easy to use and save tones and it is very rugged. I had it on the road and it never got a single scratch or ding in about 5 months of heavy use. However, as soon as I upgraded my rig I no longer had a need for this pedal. I am able to get my tone from my amp head and cab and don't need to use this pedal any more. I was disappointed with the drive knob on this pedal as it never gave a very good distortion or even a slight overdrive, so I am glad to have my boss distortion pedal back. This pedal does a great job in a recording setting because you can bypass all of those amp plugins and get great tones. Overall this is a great pedal if you do not have professional grade gear. I tune to drop C and have a gritty overdriven tone (Mike D, Fuzz, Johnny Christ, etc.) and this pedal did a great job until I got sufficient live equipment.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great item !!! - SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI

        By Art

        from NJ

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI:

        Overall rating is 10.....
        What can i say? I read the reviews online and that pushed me to buy this item. And the review are true. This item is a must. Unless you have a very high end Bass rig.
        The item is tough enough to survive the road gigs..

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