Two Notes Audio Engineering Le Bass
Recorded using Gallien-Krueger 400RB head, Ampeg 8x10 cabinet, and PreSonus AudioBox iTwo interface.
Clip 1 - Channel A (clean): gain at 11 o'clock, level at 10 o'clock, bass at noon, treble at noon.
Clip 2 - Channel B (dirty): gain at 3 o'clock, sweep at 10 o'clock, level at 11 o'clock, bass at noon, midrange at 1 o'clock, treble at 11 o'clock.
Clip 3 - Cold Fusion (Metallic Overdrive): Channel A - gain at 11 o'clock, bass at 2 o'clock, treble at noon, fusion at 1 o'clock. Channel B gain at 4 o'clock, sweep at 11 o'clock, level at 3 o'clock, bass at 10 o'clock, midrange at 2 o'clock, treble at 2 o'clock.
Clip 4- Hot Fusion (Heavy Overdrive): Channel A - gain at 5 o'clock, bass at 10 o'clock, treble at 1 o'clock, fusion at 2 o'clock. Channel B - gain at 5 o'clock, sweep at 5 o'clock, level at 2 o'clock, bass at 11 o'clock, midrange at noon, treble at 9 o'clock.
The Le Bass from Two Notes Audio Engineering is the low-flying offering in the company’s tube-based preamp pedal series. Its clever and intuitive interface gives an impressive amount of control over two separate channels—one voiced for clean and responsive tones, and the other for overdriven roar—which can be utilized to great effect individually or simultaneously.
A Little of This, a Little of That
At the heart of the Le Bass is a Ruby 12AX7 tube that’s running at a massive 200 volts. In addition to 1/4" input and output jacks, the Le Bass houses a post-EQ effects loop, a thru output, MIDI in and out, an 1/8" headphone output, a balanced DI out with ground lift, and a switch for engaging the pedal’s analog speaker-simulation circuit. The pedal is powered by an included 12V supply.
The plethora of knobs, switches, and jacks on the Le Bass might be a little overwhelming at first, but they make a lot of sense if you pay attention to how they’re grouped together. Channel A includes dials for gain, volume, bass, and treble. Channel B is governed by six controls for bass, mids, treble, gain, mid-sweep, and volume. Nestled between the control groups is the fusion-mode switch for selecting either “cold” (parallel) or “hot” (series) mode when the fusion feature is engaged to run the channels simultaneously—accomplished by stomping both footswitches at the same time. Below the mode switch is the fusion dial that administers channel A’s level when in fusion mode.
An Axe to Grind
I connected the Le Bass between my P bass and the GK 400RB/Ampeg 8x10 pairing. With channel A’s bass and treble controls set to noon and the gain set to about 11 o’clock, the tone was squeaky clean and extraordinarily detailed. Single notes played in the lower registers had a beautifully throaty midrange and a low end that was warm, full, and corpulent. The range of tones afforded by the dual-band EQ was impressive, to say the least. I was able to easily transition from fat-bottomed, hard rock tones to tight and percussive slap-friendly sounds with only minor adjustments to the knobs.
Things took a much more focused turn after I switched to channel B and set its gain to 10 o’clock and the EQ to neutral. Compared to the warm and bubbly quality of channel A, channel B sounded tighter with a bigger emphasis on the lower midrange, which gave its tones an overall heavier and more aggressive quality.
It was initially a little thin on the low end until I turned up the gain to at least 1 o’clock, which was also the point at which the beast inside the box began to rattle its cage with a cranked SVT-like snarl. The added gain also seemed to grease the wheels of the pedal’s responsiveness, which allowed me to bring in a meatier midrange punch by digging into my Precision’s strings a little harder.
Engaging the fusion feature is an easy, on-the-fly maneuver. The footswitches are placed far enough apart for accurate individual stomping, but still close enough together that my size-11 feet had no issue making contact with both simultaneously. Thanks to its parallel operation, the cold mode was the more articulate of the two. By giving me the ability to effectively blend in channel A’s fat-bottomed cleans with the sharp and strident overdrive of channel B, it not only allowed for some seriously earth-moving tones, but provided an excellent way to fill out channel B’s thinner low-end with lower-gain settings.
Hot-fusion mode picked up where the cold left off, starting with a guttural doom-metal howl and ending with a filthy Moog-like grind that would bring a smile to the face of the most jaded industrial-metal fan. The EQ controls weren’t quite as effective in hot-fusion mode since they were cascading in series, but there were still discernable changes when I swept through each of their ranges. What was most noticeable, however, was the surprisingly low amount of noise—even under the heaviest doses of overdrive.
With its gentle learning curve, hookup options, mammoth-sized tones, MIDI capabilities, and more, the Two Notes Le Bass excels as a jack-of-all-trades stompbox. But above all its advantages, the fusion modes are the real stars of this grindhouse. When tweaked properly, they’re capable of unleashing some of the more fiercely vicious overdriven bass tones you’re likely to hear. For bassists yearning to add a unique blend of punch and grind from a portable, potent package—bon appétit when you get an opportunity to check out the Le Bass.