Sensing a void in the market for bassists that
use multiple instruments in their set-up
or those needing a beefy control unit for their
pedalboards, Ruppert Musical Instruments
set out to create the Basswitch IQ DI. What
the company calls a “Swiss Army knife” for
bassists, the Basswitch IQ DI is a preamp/
dual-effects loop/A-B switcher/DI pedal that
provides a multitude of options for live and
studio situations, with Lehle switching technology
to boot. Whether you’re a virtuoso
soloist or a multitasking bassist-for-all-seasons,
life may have gotten less stressful for you.
Two is More Than One
For starters, you’re no longer at the mercy of
abused DI boxes supplied by the venue—often
beer-soaked and of questionable integrity—
because the Basswitch has an XLR out that
can go straight to the board. The unit also has
two input channels, so you’re able to have two
basses with separate settings dialed-in simultaneously.
But with just one instrument plugged
into channel A, you can get a quick boost or a
different EQ and effect(s) setting for another
playing style, simply by switching to channel
B. And there’s not just one effects loop,
but two. One passive serial loop for effects
like compressors that you may want engaged
all the time, and a second, switchable loop
equipped with a Mix control that allows you
to blend in an effect with the clean tone.
With a 4-string StingRay in hand, I ran the
Basswitch into my Yamaha 01v mixing board
and found the sound to be clean and surprisingly
warm for it’s solid-state components.
And if you want that signal to be recorded
clean so you can add effects later, there’s a
Pre/Post button allowing you to print the
clean tone while you listen to the effected
tone through your amp or headphones.
Running an Alesis NanoCompressor
through the serial loop and a Maxon overdrive
pedal through the mixing loop, I was able to
dial-up just the right combination of warmth
and grit I was craving using the Mix control.
If you’re like me and prefer vintage pedals, you
won’t have to worry about the clean signal and
the effect return signal cancelling each other
out. If they do, simply flip the Phase switch to
invert the phase, and you’re good to go. The
Basswitch also has a separate tuner out, keeping
your tuner out of the signal path, and a large
mute button front and center. You can’t miss it.
Instead of typical slider controls, there’s a
knob for each of the frequency ranges in the
Basswitch’s 4-band EQ, which boasts double
parametric mids. While it’s easy to sweep
the spectrum with the EQ controls, it did
take a little getting used to the knobs being
in the reverse order of what I’m accustomed
to, which is the highs on the right and the
lows on the left. It’s the exact opposite on the
Basswitch. And while not a huge issue, marking
the knobs with the same glow-in-the-dark
paint used for the Basswitch logo would be
helpful in low-light situations.
The footswitches felt very solid and ready to
take a healthy dose of not-so-delicate switching.
The bottom of the Basswitch is completely
flat and includes four, sturdy rubber
feet that can easily be popped in or out. It’s
relatively thin—about an inch and a half at its
thickest height—and about as wide as three
Boss pedals placed side by side. Weighing
just a hair over three pounds, this DI will not
overload or overcrowd your pedalboard.
Whether using the Basswitch as a standalone
DI or the master of a pedalboard, the
Basswitch is a cool option for bassists who
want to take control of their sound in a variety
of situations. Though the inverted EQ controls
do take some getting used to, it’s a small price
to pay for the peace of mind the Basswitch
delivers. Now that this pedal exists, I expect a
number of bassists won’t want to be caught at
a gig or recording session without it.
you record and play out often, use effects, and want to be ready for anything.
you trust the house DI, or you have one tone for your bass and that’s all you need.