SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI Review

manufacturer: Tech 21 date: 02/15/2010 category: Bass Effects
Tech 21: SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI
The SansAmp is a great Bass pre-amp for plugging straight into a PA system or for when you're uncertain how someone else's amp is going to sound at a gig.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Ease of Use: 9
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review (1) pictures (3) 11 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI Reviewed by: UG Team, on february 15, 2010
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Price paid: $ 209.99

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Ease of Use: The Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI (or as I simply refer to it, the SansAmp) is a great Bass pre-amp for plugging straight into a PA system or for when you're uncertain how someone else's amp is going to sound at a gig. It is extremely easy to get a good sound out of this, and I should know, I use it as an EQ/Overdrive pedal and plug straight into whatever amp I'm using it and adjust the amp to the pedal. The manual that came with it gives a bunch of cool ideas and preset tones, such as Bassman Style, Slap, and Fat Tube. With 6 distinct knobs, each with an audibly distinguishable effect on the tone, finding your voice with this is great! There is a 1/4" out and an XLR out for easy access to whatever kind of speaker you're connecting to. Also, the 3-Channel system is also easy to use by simply hitting the corresponding switch or hitting the one you are currently on to run a clean single. Setting your own settings is also achieved similarly, by stomping whichever switch twice to save it. The aforementioned manual also mentions how to connect to a PA, amp or mixer, and what order to put effects before and after it among other helpful hints and tips about the pedal. This product is exactly as it is the day I bought it, and still very fun and easy to use. However, I recommend, even if you are like me and use it as an EQ pedal to set it up over a PA, and then adjust to your own amp's settings. // 9

Sound: I have used quite a few setups with the SansAmp, but my most common is with my Behringer BX1200 bass amp and my Squire Affinity Precision Bass. I have also used it quite extensively with a Fender Rumble 15 bass amp, various PA's, in combination with many bass pedals, and the Dean Edge Q6 6-string bass. And no matter what, even through the horrible quality of the Behringer amp, this guy pulls through and makes the tone sound however you want it to. You can make the settings on this make almost any sound imaginable, but you can really hear the differences through a clean PA system. The pedal gives no random buzzing or feedback and has the always great true bypass feature. I again recommend trying the preset styles and finding your own to see how you want to sound, which with this will always sound great. I have tried to emulate a few bassists, and even some upright bassists, and have gotten some close results. I tend to try and find my own tones so I have not tried that too extensively, but it is definitely possible. Even if you're going for a distortion or overdrive effect, it always comes out perfect for my needs, and therefore causes me to not even need an overdrive pedal. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The SansAmp is possibly the most reliable piece of gear I have ever owned. It is made in a hard metal case and high quality durable materials. It always produces the same amazing tones on command, and has given me absolutely no troubles in my two years of having it. I would and have used it to gig and most certainly know the durability will last me forever. However, the time it takes for it to go through a 9V battery is always different, and is the only unreliable aspect of it, but I normally daisy-chain it with a OneSpot anyways. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, the Tech 21 SansAmp 3-Channel Programmable Bass Driver DI is possibly one of the best and most affordable multi-purpose bass pedals on the market today. For just $10 more than the single channel SansAmp, I highly recommend the 3-channel for its convenience and functionality on stage whether it's changing genres or adding overdrive mid song. I personally experiment in all genres but at large play rock and alternative, but I have delved into funk, metal, reggae, ska, and almost every other genre. I've been playing bass for about 5 years and been in music for almost 10. I own several amps and basses, as mentioned above, along with Boss and Dunlop pedals for the bass. I have no regrets about this purchase and urge everyone to ask themselves why they have not bought this great pedal yet! If I did somehow lose this pedal, a replacement would be my next purchase and that would be made as soon as possible. There is almost nothing I hate about it, but a Mid knob would be nice. I love all of the different knobs that are there though. The Drive knob is great for overdrive and distortion or just in general gain to give your bass have a edge to it. The Bass and Treble give you an amazing EQ experience which, as stated, would be 100% perfect with a Mid functionality. Presence and Blend are also helpful, in that they can bring out the high harmonics and let you choose how much EQ from the pedal to mix in with your signal respectively. Level is just about the volume and output through the pedal and into its next destination. My favorite feature would have to be the Presence as it really gives you great control on your higher tones and clean attacks on the strings. I did not compare this product before I bought, but now it is clear I made the right choice and eliminated having to buy an overdrive or EQ pedal for myself. Also, I might add that it has 3 additional buttons for boosted 1/4" output, phantom power, and XLR out padding. Besides the aforementioned Mid knob, this pedal is perfect in every way and has helped me greatly to find my voice through my bass! // 10

- Robert Hassa (c) 2010

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