The all-analog, true-bypass Bass 10 is a compressor with a 4-band EQ and a switchable overdrive.

Download Example 1
Fingerstyle - '75 Reissue Fender Jazz Bass
Download Example 2
Distorted - '75 Reissue Fender Jazz Bass
Download Example 3
Slaphapy - vintage Sting Ray
Clips recorded in Cubase with no EQ and no plug-ins.
I’m a bass player who tends to stay away from pedals. It’s just a personal preference—a sense that simpler is better, and the signal chain should stay as clutter-free as possible. So when the Bass 10 by DDyna showed up on my doorstep for review, I had to check my ego at the door and jump into this pedal for what it is, not what I wanted it to be. And boy, was I pleased.

DDyna is relatively new on the pedal scene and the company is probably best known for its Thinman overdrive. The Bass 10 is billed as a compressor, but to pigeonhole this device as a compressor alone is like saying a Precision Bass is strictly for rock ’n’ roll. The all-analog, true-bypass Bass 10 also has a 4-band EQ and a switchable overdrive. So with my pedal bias set aside, I was thrilled to find out where this one pedal could take me.

Busy Bass Box
With its 10 knobs staring you in the face, the Bass 10 can look a little daunting. For a non-pedal guy, this ordinarily would be enough to send me running, but I found the controls very logically grouped. The top four knobs are the EQ section (Bass, MidL, MidH, And Treble), the three controls on the left of the lower row (ODVol, Depth, Drive) control the overdrive section, while the three on the right (CVol, CRatio, Sust) control the compression. DDyna eliminated a little more guesswork out by using white, red, and blue accented knobs for each function.

Wider Perspectives

To get a feel for the many flavors of the Bass 10, I placed it variously between a ’75 Fender Jazz Bass Reissue, Warwick Streamer 4, and ’00 Music Man StingRay, and an Eden 500 WTX with 410XLT cab, an Ampeg B-18, and straight into Cubase with no plug-ins or preamps.

Jumping in at the top, I started with adjustments to the 4-band EQ. The level controls are bandpass filters that offer up to 18 dB of attenuation in each band with which to experiment. It doesn’t take long to dial in a great tone to suit a particular bass/ amp setup, and given a few minutes to tinker, you’ll find a pretty wide range of tone to suit your taste.

The primary job of this pedal—at least in name—is compression. And the Bass 10 handles the task very nicely with three simple controls: Volume, Ratio, and Sustain. Compression means different things to bass players and guitar players. And for bass players, really squashing a bass tone to gain punch can strip a low end of harmonics, overtones, and other nuances. The Bass 10 has a very relaxed squeeze, so to speak, so even when the ratio is cranked the pedal maintains the tonal integrity of the relationship between bass and amp.

I personally wouldn’t recommend setting the Ratio knob to 10, but rolling it back to the mid-level range, the Bass 10 produced some pleasing results, coaxing both definition and muscle out of various bass/amp rigs. Under the influence of the Bass 10, the StingRay became a virtual slap machine by taking on a more concise popping character. The Warwick, meanwhile, tended to become smoother and more controlled. As a lower-output passive instrument, the Fender seemed to benefit most from the Sust (sustain) knob, and the P-bass came alive with the sustain dialed to about 6, becoming more muscular and bossy without sacrificing any harmonic character. It seems that with this pedal, like life, moderation is key.

Get Dirty

The dirty side of the pedal is, well, just that. DDyna is best known for its guitar overdrives, and that experience pays off in the Bass 10. The red-knobbed OD section is, like the compression section, made up of three simple controls—Volume, Depth, and Drive. Some OD pedals kill bottom end, but that is certainly not the case here. The overdrive is warm and big, especially when running the Fender through the Ampeg. But you’ll want to keep the Drive somewhere in the middle unless you’re into particularly snarling grungy or post-punk tones.

The Depth control is interesting. It has two limit levels—a fixed one for high volume levels, and a variable level for using at lower volumes. And it opens up a lot of possibilities, whether you are a touch player, full-bore thumper, or need to move between those identities in a single performance.

The distortion is affected significantly by the compression settings. With the Drive and Depth at 5, and the compression basically off, the distortion takes on a subtle grit. When the compression controls are moved up to the halfway point to complement the overdrive, the signal breaks into a dirty, punchy sound that would please any aspiring Larry Graham. With more aggressive settings, the signal can get downright sick, especially with the Drive on full bore. My distortion of choice on this unit is with the Depth and Drive and all the compression controls around 7. This seems to deliver the fullest, most practical tone.

The Verdict

The DDyna Bass 10 is packed with features that can help you move and expand your tone in a ton of different directions. The pedal could benefit from some additional features, like a switch so you can use the EQ independently and an XLR output for using the unit as a direct box. But if you’re looking for a smooth, even compression pedal to broaden your bass rig’s tonal palette, this pedal packs a lot of sonic versatility into a single box.
Buy if...
you’re looking for a simple way to shape the tone of your bass and expand performance dynamics.
Skip if...
you prefer your signal chain to consist of nothing more than a cable.

Street $289 - DDyna Music Company - ddynamusic.com