Price paid: € 119
Purchased from: Thomann
Sound — 8
I'm using it with an Ibanez GSR 190J 4 string bass and a Marshall MB-30 combo, sometimes a set of Prodipe Pro550 headphones and BCT cables. Some presets and effects are silent dead but others, mainly distorsions, add a buzz on the background, sometimes even annoying, but you can tweak the variables and settings of said effect to mitigate the noise. Mostly it behaves good and delivers quality effects. The range of effects and amp simulations it includes is quite stunning, and most of them are of good quality; including flangers, auto wa-wah's, delays, reverbs (hall, room and spring), fuzz, overdrives, synths, choruses, parametrical EQ's, compressors and nosie gates that cna be mixed as custom presets and saved. The pedal can be configured to control most of the parameters and variables and can be given the sensibility, the max and the minimum parameters you want and the "direction" of the function (For example, if you want to boost the wetness of a reverb when pushing down or pulling up. I play some covers of Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, even Queen and other classicals and with a bit of time I can get the sound I want from the B2.1u, it's handy to have it prepared before a gig or a rehearsal session. Furthermore, there's sites on the net that allows you to share and use presets that other people have made with this unit, and there's quite a few. The compressors and the Wah's are specially good, but what I use the most are the FX, Synths and Overdrives. They ain't bad at all either when tweaked a bit.
Overall Impression — 8
Been playing for nearly two years, mainly rock, alternative and metal and it suits good. Although I could imagine users playing funky, jazz or classic rock even more satisfied with it, since it has really good simulators and effects for those kind of music. For the price paid it was a bargain and a really fun, interesting toy to play and experiment with. And way cheaper than a rack of analog pedals and FX. Useful to mix and play with different settings and creating your own sounds. It's versatile too: It has an unbalanced input and a stereo output for headphones or your monitor amp, a balanced XLR ourput for the PA mixer as well as a control in for auxiliar devices such as CD or MP3 players, also you can set it to be before or after the amp with the pre/post Switch and a ground lifter if there's any interferance issues. Lastly, it can serve as an amateur sound card recording at 16bit/44100Hz (CD quality) trhoguh USB 1.0, it includes the software Cubase 4 LE. Of course it could be better, it could record at 24bit/48000Hz through USB 2.0 or fireware, have more preset banks, sound better and be easier to use having a more user-friendly display, but we're talking about less than 120, and for that prize the B2.1U is a true bargain. It won't make you sound amazing, but it's not its job. It does its job good and that's to allows you to spice your bass freqs up. 8 Effects, amp simulators, configurable expression pedal, built-in tuner, D.I., basic audio recording interface, 40 factory presets, 4 banks to make your own sounds, basic beatbox included, metronome... sure it doesn't sound like an analog pedal rack but tell me, what analogic hardware gives you that much for so few bucks?
Reliability & Durability — 9
I actually used this on 3 gigs without any backup and it never failed. On the contrary, it surpassed my expectatives when plugged into a PA through a Marshall amp, it doesn't distort the sound of the bass or the amp at all (if you don't set it to do so). It's sturdy and resists harsh treatment, you could kick it around for a while and not even damage it (don't do it though). I always bring it with me to rehearsal and my gigs and it's doing quite good. Just some squeaky buttons but I bet some lubricant will take care of that, and it really surprises me it's just that considering the ammount of dust and dirt it takes being on everyone's floor and under my boots.
Ease of Use — 7
This small and sturdy thing delivers good sound, amazing for the prize I paid. It includes 40 factory presets to choose from, which helps you getting used with the effects unit and the basic controls to get the sound you want quick and easy. And that's what you'll do for a good while until you start seeing the possibilities the B2.1U has. The patch editing provides nearly-endless possibilities for toying and experimenting around, and when you get a bit of experience through tis itnerface you can really get what you want quite easly, with the manual of course. The manual is VERY complete and explains everything you can do, and all the types of effects and their variables detailedly. Without it you'd be quite lost through the different abreviations, buttons, switches and knobs it has. Keep in mind that there's so many possibilities for the scarce controls it has so they simplified it in a way you need to learn what everything means by heart or have the manual nearby. Possibly, a more sophisticated and intuitive LED display would have helped tons.