Recorded with Orange O Bass into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: MOSFET setting, M selected, gain at noon, mix at 11 o’clock, volume at 2 o’clock, tone at 2 o’clock.
Clip 2: Diode + LED setting, H selected, gain at 3 o’clock, mix at 12 o’clock, volume at 2 o’clock, tone at 12 o’clock.
Clip 3: MOSFET setting, M selected, gain at 10 o’clock, mix at 10 o’clock, volume at 2 o’clock, tone at 2 o’clock.

 

Ratings

Pros:
Multi-dimensional OD flavors. Versatile. Color-coded dials.

Cons:
Would prefer clipping option switching to be located topside.

Street:
$180

Zorg Effects Small Basstar
zorgeffects.com


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Value:
 

Originally envisioned as a smaller version of the company’s Glorious Basstar bass overdrive, Zorg’s Small Basstar is that—with more. But there’s nothing small about its sounds. The pedal houses the fairly typical quartet of controls for gain, mix, volume, and tone. I like that each knob is a different color, which is a potential plus when it comes to dim stages and/or crappy eyesight. Centered between the four dials is a 3-way switch to select the crossover frequency for the saturated treble signal: 200 Hz (L), 400 Hz (M), or 800 Hz (H). Also, a small access hole underneath reveals a pair of DIP switches to alter the overdrive flavor with different clipping options: MOSFET or Diode + LED.

The Small Basstar’s tones can move from lighter grit to aggressive filth. There is a lot of gain on tap, so it’s not a subtle OD, but the character of the distortion overall is smooth and strong with a defined attack. I was impressed with its responsiveness, and no matter where I set the gain dial, more extreme settings were kept in check by how well the bass signal held its ground. The pedal invites experimentation with its tweakability, but I found my happy base on the MOSFET setting and 400 Hz crossover frequency—both of which help along a good balance of mids. It’s priced on the medium-high side for bass overdrives, nearing $200, but the Small Basstar was designed to play nice with guitarists, too, making it that much more versatile.

Test gear: Fender Precision, Orange O Bass, Gallien-Krueger 800RB amp, Orange OBC212 cab, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4