A preamp/DI for bassists that packs a ton of essentials, but keeps the price well under two bills.
Recorded with Sanberg TM 5-string direct into Focusrite Saffire 6 interface into MacBook Pro using GarageBand.
Clip 1 - Blend at 100 percent, drive at 2 o'clock, comp at 9 o'clock, bass at 10 o'clock, middle at 12 o'clock, treble at 3 o'clock.
Clip 2 - Drive off, comp at 9 o'clock, EQ flat.
The applications of a preamp/DI for bassists are numerous—particularly in a time when many players are leaving their SVTs in the garage and going to gigs essentially, well, rigless. Amp builders and effects gurus have taken note by developing versatile devices to suit the needs of working players on the go, and packing them with a host of practical features. The B Station from Hotone is both packed and practical, and, as an added bonus, it’s priced nice, too.
The B Station is a tad smaller than the size of two stacked CD cases, and the main panel consists of a 3-band EQ, a drive control (with accompanying blend dial), and a compressor. Dual footswitches provide the means of activating the B Station and engaging the drive section.
The rear side of the box is packed with options. Next to the input is a parallel output, along with a mini jack for headphones tucked above the two. Hotone also kindly added an effects loop, which is a feature rarely found on preamp/DI pedals. After the output jack is the DI section with ground/lift and pre/post EQ switches. The pedal can be powered with either a 9V battery or adaptor.
I explored the versatility of the B Station in the studio by placing it between a Sandberg TM 5-string and the studio’s audio system. As a clean preamp, the pedal functioned well. Boosting the bass control didn’t add punch, but instead thickened the notes.
The middle dial offers a nice mix of presence and bark that’s ideal for bridge pickups. I felt that the treble control functioned best in its higher settings, as it delivered pleasing finger attack and authoritative popping transients.
A little went a long way with the compressor. It added some focus and punch in the 7 to 10 o’clock range, which was great for thumb work or fingerstyle playing. Any settings beyond this range sounded a bit too squashed for my taste, but the B Station’s compressor is a nice, user-friendly feature to have onboard.
As an overdrive tool, the B Station succeeds at creating dark, rocking tones. I was surprised, however, to hear such a significant amount of low-end boost as the blend dial was turned past 12 o’clock. This resulted in some extensive tweaking between the clean and drive channels to balance the volume when switching between the two modes. Because the drive sounds lean toward the darker side of the spectrum, the B Station would be right at home for doomy, drone-driven tunes. A crank of the treble dial added teeth and helped me nearly replicate the sound used by Chris Wolstenholme in Muse’s “Undisclosed Desires.”
Either pre- or post-EQ, the DI did its job delivering the signal and I’d say brought just a slightly darker representation of the Sandberg’s sound through the studio speakers. The B Station might not replace your favorite tube DI, but it will definitely suit most musical applications.
At a penny under $170, the B Station’s price point places it on the wallet-friendly side of the aisle amongst other preamp/DI pedals on the market. Its preamp is super simple to use, so the B Station might be attractive if you’re a minimalist tone shaper. It took a little work to balance the levels between the clean and drive sections, but that’s a non-issue when using the B Station as a standalone drive pedal or clean preamp. If you’re ready to free yourself from the burdens of a big rig, or like the notion of an all-in-one device that’ll work in almost every musical environment, pull into the B Station for a test ride.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.