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Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI   

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The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a preamp DI a lot of bass players will like because it makes ordinary gear sound fantastic! Exclusive Tube Ampl...Read More

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OVERVIEW

Direct to the board or direct to your amp, SansAmp makes it full, fat, and funky!

The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a preamp DI a lot of bass players will like because it makes ordinary gear sound fantastic! Exclusive Tube Amplifier Emulation circuitry delivers the warmth, presence, and punch of a souped-up bass system, and it gets monster overdrive sounds too. Includes an XLR out for DI and a parallel 1/4" out for running an unaffected signal to your stage amp. Has Presence, Drive, Level, and Blend controls; active Bass, and Treble EQ. Can use phantom power, 9V battery, or optional DC power supply. Highly recommended by our bass guys.

FEATURES
  • Preamp, stompbox, and direct box in one
  • Offers a wide range of bass amp sounds
  • Active EQ boosts/cuts up to ±12db
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Tech 21SansAmp Bass Driver DI
 
4.7

(based on 99 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (83)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Versatile (7)
  • Compact (6)
  • Excellent sound quality (6)
  • Responsive (6)
  • Good selection of effects (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (6)
  • Performances (5)
  • Amateur recording (4)
  • Outdoor events / games (3)
  • Professional recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

It's hard not to gloat

PA systems have come a long way but that's a good thing for bassists. Instead of a backline of refrigerator-sized cabinets, it's entirely possible (and usually preferable) to rely on this little unit...Read complete review

PA systems have come a long way but that's a good thing for bassists. Instead of a backline of refrigerator-sized cabinets, it's entirely possible (and usually preferable) to rely on this little unit fed directly into the mixing board, exempting you and your bandmates from the volume wars. Obviously a good monitor is a must but setup and tear-down is so fast and easy it's like stealing. The sound men will thank you for the quality of your tone and for the simplicity of your 'rig.'
The promise of technology that can reduce or eliminate cumbersome equipment such as heavy tube amplifiers, cabinets, etc. is rarely met by the reality of such technology. It seems that modelers and the like always involve a trade-off: simplicity means compromising sound quality. Most musicians aren't willing to make such a trade and for good reason.

As someone who has hopped the fence countless times between bleeding-edge new and old reliable, I approached the SansAmp with the usual leavening of skepticism, especially given that bass is often as much about raw physical presence (the thud) as it is musical expression. Could a box the size of two decks of cards deliver the sound(s) of a amplifier/cabinet rig? The short answer is....yes. The long answer is yes...and it sounds much better than the equipment it replaces!

The features and controls are detailed elsewhere but suffice it to say that there is as much variety as quality on offer. Some products are renowned for doing one thing well...but only that one thing. This unit provides for a nearly unlimited tonal palette as well as the often-overlooked ability to adjust the mix of the 'magic' with the straight dry signal. True, most will keep the blend knob at max but at least the option is there if so desired.

The switches for power source/ground, line/inst etc. further increase the flexibility and usability since one size rarely fits all in a live or studio setting.

Did I say studio? Oh yes...beyond the fantastic sounds this little box produces it's also a top-notch DI for recording. It easily eclipses my GK 1001RB head for tone and ease of use. No cabs, no endless trial-and-error mic placement. Edits such as overdubs and punch-ins, including those long-after-the-fact fixes that require an identical tone (obviously) are a snap.
A powder-coated metal box with rubberized, solid-feeling pots and enamel labels - this unit can take a pounding. Design has remained unchanged since Tech 21 introduced it, which should be evidence enough of its real-world durability and satisfactory feedback from users.
Two bills is the pain threshold for many buyers when it comes to mere 'pedals' but when you consider what this unit is capable of doing then the price appears very reasonable indeed when compared to the potential time, money and effort you might expend in going through a variety of amp heads, cabinets, combos, preamps, etc. in order to nail down the tone you've been seeking.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

OK for a 4 string, but not a 5 string

I have owned the SansAmp bass driver for 3 years; it has good tube-like tone shaping ability except it is lean on the very low end. Some reviews are critical that it doesn't have...Read complete review

I have owned the SansAmp bass driver for 3 years; it has good tube-like tone shaping ability except it is lean on the very low end. Some reviews are critical that it doesn't have a mid frequency control, but in fact it does if you read the instructions. I would love it if it were not for a couple of reasons. I play a 5 string through a custom built cab that plays flat to 30 Hz. I can hear the fundamental of the low B string at 31 Hz without the sansamp, but with it plugged in, the low end is lacking. Turning up the bass level doesn't help either. I believe the low current op amps in the sansamp are to blame. Plus there is an incredible amount of hiss from my bridge pickup with this device. I think this would be great for a 4 string bass with low noise pickups, but with my setup it doesn't satisify.

Reviewed by 99 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Very happy with it!

Profile Image

By StAugBassMan

from Saint Augustine, FL

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

  • A little noisy when engaged

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Events
  • Home Studio
  • Performances

Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

In 2 days it will be one year since I purchased this Sansamp from MF. I've been very happy with the device in that it allows me to plug directly into a mixing board and not have to carry a ton of gear! Don't know about y'all, but my Fender bass is heavy!! Then add on a 2x10 or 4x10 cab (or both!) and head or even a just combo amp and you still have a back breaker. I have all the juice and tone I need to shine through the mix plugged right into the board, and my position near the subs helps a lot too :) Of course this configuration works great for just about any venue but larger venues I prefer to have my cabs too but still use this to pump me up. It's all about the BASS :D

The only complaint I have is that when it is engaged it is very hard to filter out the slight static noise I hear in the background when everything is silent or muted except my channel. When the music starts of course I don't hear the noise at all. This is why I gave it 4 stars. It would have been 4 1/2 if I could have selected it!

It's built tough, works off phantom power only if you use an XLR cable. If you use a standard 1/4 you will need a 9 volt battery or power supply. They recommend in the docs keeping a 9v in all the time.

The parallel output for me comes in handy to plug my tuner in to it for quick checks.. yes, old school sabine tuner :D

I also like the sample settings diagrams the docs show you to get different sounds and levels. There are also instructional videos on youtube if you need them.

Before you engage, make sure you check and lower the gain on your channel or you will get an unpleasant blast through the PA! The gain on my home board is set to like 2 and even that is a little push! If you are going to use the boost AND normal sound then you will need to find a happy medium setting for your gain. I just keep mine engaged the whole time I am playing.

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5.0

Love it!

By David

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

Works as advertised. Delivered quickly!

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5.0

Awesome tones!

By Chris

from Tomball, Tx

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

    Using this to record our album. Running direct into the daw through this little box is all we will need to get an amazing bass sound.

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

     
    5.0

    Bass Rig in a Pedal

    By Fat Mikey C

    from Dallas, TX

    About Me Novice

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio

      Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

      Exceptional, I have finally been able to dial in that ever elusive specific sound!

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

       
      5.0

      Was as expected

      Profile Image

      By StAugBassMan

      from Saint Augustine, FL

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances

        Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

        Wanting it sit in with my friends that have regular gigs, I was looking for a quick easy setup for impromptu sessions where I would not have to lug the cab/head gear all over the place. This device is specifically used as a pre-amp going directly to the main mixing console. I play a Fender P-Bass Deluxe which has both P/J pickups. It gives me enough juice and presence that it works with most regular PA systems... in the case where the mains and subs are sub-par or small I bring my cab, but this sure does lighten the load because it fits right in my bass case. Easy to get familiar with, can run on phantom power (XLR) from the mixing console or 9V and multiple outs... I don't use any effects, usually a clean tone just to provide the bottom.

        The price is a little high but the name and quality are solid.

        All the good reviews convinced me this was the one, and I am glad I spent a little more on it the first time instead of having to re-buy later :D

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        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        amazing sound

        By Dan

        from Phoenix, AZ

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

          I picked this up as a possible pre-amp for my little under powered practice amp and to add some better controls to my sound. I decided to bring it along to a venue and use the DI since the venue had in-ear monitors and to reduce the stage noise. I use this as the last in a chain of compressor-noise gate then sansamp DI and then plugged directly into the XLR in the venue. I was AMAZED at the sounds I was able to produce on the house PA with this thing. The other band members were suitably impressed as well.

          It also turned my sad little practice amp into a monster - it now gets far louder than it should. It makes the low end of my bass (4 string) really rumble (even more so through the XLR/PA output). There are only a few controls on the Sansamp, but there are enough that you can play with the sound and dial in just about anything you'd need as a bass player. I will be using this until I can't play anymore.

          Buy this, spend some time working with the dials, and you won't regret it.

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          (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Every bassist needs one

          By Swamp Daddy

          from Tidewater Delaware

          About Me Experienced

          Ask me a question

          Pros

          • Compact Design
          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

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

            Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

            I call this my magic box and have used it in many different venues since 2001. If I had discovered it earlier, I could have saved some money. Buy a cheap bass and a cheap amp, but spend your money on this little box, and make the tone you really want. I use the SVT setting and that's what it sounds like. This isn't one of those bells and whistles boxes--don't expect lots of different effects, but you can rely on it for a host of mellow or overdriven tube amp sounds that respond to the dynamics of your playing. It also makes it easy for soundmen. Tell those guys to set their dials at 12 o'clock, feed them the XLR out of the magic box, and they have great sound in the mains. Better still, you can run another cord to your amp and have the same wonderful tone right beside you, and you can adjust your amp volume independent of the house mix. If you play out anywhere, get this box and save the money you might have spent on expensive amplifiers and basses. You'll still sound like a pro.

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            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            SANSAMP BASS DRIVER DI

            By I

            from Ct

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

                Gets a good sound to record bass lines for most of the music I do every one who records must have one .

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                (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                good for recording

                By DcEyes

                from Cleveland, OH

                About Me Experienced

                Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

                Had it about a week and it's given me some nice tones. Really compresses the signal as well and the wav sits pretty well in the mix without much fussing around w eq. My only concern is the unit generates a good amount of hiss, which is easy enough to remove when recording, but I anticipate using this in a live setting soon and I'd rather not have all the hiss coming through the PA.

                Another pro is that the manual is excellent and gives tips on how to achieve certain sounds (ie Bassman, SVT, fat tube) as well as gives you templates to write your own created sounds down right in the back of the manual. much appreciated!

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great pedal!

                By Davidenvoi

                from Parma Ohio

                About Me Professional Musician

                Verified Buyer

                Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI:

                No matter how good or bad your bass amp is this thing will make it sound worlds better! Super crisp clear and punchy tube modeling.

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