October 18, 2011
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.
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.
Street $599 - Ruppert Musical Instruments - basswitch.com
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