Connect with us

Gear Reviews

RMI Sonic Spark, Clean Boost, and Classic Boost Reviews

Published

on

RMI Sonic Spark, Clean Boost, and Classic Boost Reviews

In the not too distant past, Bass Musician Magazine featured a review of the RMI Basswitch; a fully featured and beautifully executed preamp/DI pedal that provides a variety of solutions for bassists, and some slick features that have rightfully earned it the “swiss army knife for bass players” title. More recently, they added a line of smaller pedals to their roster; each designed to provide a specific flavor of EQ and boost options. The RMI Clean Boost, Classic Boost, and Sonic Spark offer up some very usable tonal options, and share the exceptionally robust build quality and design aesthetic that we loved about the RMI Basswitch. We had an opportunity to put the new RMI pedals through their paces, and they did not disappoint.

RMI Clean Boost

Like all the RMI pedals, the Classic Boost offers a wide range of tones available via the 3 band EQ and the gain control of the pedal, and it was apparent to me that the Clean Boost is the most ‘middle of the road’ of the 3, tonally speaking. There is a neutrality and transparency to its tone that really helps to push forward the native sound of your bass. My first impression was that it had less impact on my tone than I felt I was wanting (it is an ‘effect’ after all), but after playing around and gigging with it, I realized that its clean, transparent gain is actually ideal for my needs. It stayed out of the way of my instrument and offered exactly what it advertised: “clean boost”. Even with the gain bumped up and the EQ controls boosted a little, the Clean Boost retained the fat glassy tone of my active 5 string jazz, the woody thump of my flatwound strung P bass, and the midrange complexity of my chambered 6 string. Whereas the other RMI pedals imparted more of their ‘thing’ to my signal chain, the Clean Boost allowed me to keep the sound and feel of my instrument intact, while pushing my signal chain and the front end of my preamp a little harder. One application I really thought the clean boost excelled at was toggling on and off for fingerstyle and slap sections in a song. It allowed me to dig in while playing fingerstyle, and then switch to a hotter/super responsive and dynamic slap tone that called for a lighter touch. I could see this pedal being an excellent choice for someone looking for the kind of boost pedal that preserves the instruments tone, and just offers more of it.

RMI Classic Boost

Up next is the Classic Boost, which, according to RMI is designed to benefit passive or ‘classic’ P/JJ/PJ style instruments. Much like the Clean Boost, the Classic Boost serves up great tone and noise free gain, and also preserves the sound of your instrument.   Where this pedal differs from the Clean Boost, is that it has a little more shape to its tone profile, which again is designed to complement passive or traditional style basses. In my testing I found the Classic Boost to perform as expected. Not quite as glassy or wide as the Clean Boost, the Classic Boost is a bit more ‘in the box’ so to speak. It seems to have less extension on the top and bottom end of the frequency range, and I felt that it helped pocket the sound of my P bass even more effectively than the Clean Boost. Without getting too far into the realm of subjectivity, I would say that the Classic Boost helped focus the midrange on my Fender style instruments.   Like the Clean Boost though, the EQ is powerful and super usable, and an array of legit tones are available. Suffice to say, this is the one that really shines if you tend to stick with Fender or MusicMan style basses.

RMI Sonic Spark

This is the hardest of the three RMI pedals to define. I’ll start with RMI’s product description of the Sonic Spark, which is that of a “harmonic overtone generator”. Instead of a 3 band EQ, the Sonic Spark offers controls for: Gain, Enhance, Intensity and a Deep/Bright blend for optimal tonal tweaking. Firing up the Sonic Spark, I was immediately rewarded with what I would call “tube-like bigness”. Plugged into a rig that I consider very clean and dry, the Sonic Spark spoke with a rich, overtone-laden voice that seemed to accentuate the entire range of the instrument. At higher gain levels, the pedal offers creamy grit, but at lower gain levels, I found the Sonic Spark imparted a hefty weight and thickness to the sound that I can only describe as “tubey”. I had a great time exploring the range of the pedal, especially playing with the deep/bright knob, which serves as a global EQ for shaping tone in those general directions. I was able to find a handful of great “always on” settings, and some sweet solo/boost type settings as well. When really pushed, the Sonic Spark dishes out its fair share of snarl too, which, while not my thing, is undeniably fun. Best of all, it sounds authentic, and has a dynamic feel that really resembles the response of a tube power section.

What else is noteworthy about these RMI pedals? Well, for starters, the componentry in these pedals are second to none. Gold plated relays, loss-free silent footswitches, ultra smooth taper pots, and a discrete JFET input stage all contribute to a smooth operating effect with ultra low noise operation (110db “with very little noise”). Another cool feature of the RMI pedals is their 18V internal power supply. The pedals will accept any 9-15 volt AC or DC power supply, but internally, the voltage is rectified up to 18V, for better headroom. This offers some nice flexibility for pedalboard users, who are constantly trying to juggle the available power channels on units like the Voodoo Labs pedal power 2 and similar isolated power supply units.

There really isn’t anything to dislike about these pedals. Anything I could potentially complain about would be subjective at best, and most certainly a nitpick. For my purposes they did exactly what they’re designed to do, and they did it well. RMI gets extra points for: 1. top mounted jacks (pet peeve alert: wasted space on a pedal board from patch cable jacks protruding from the sides of pedals), and 2. The slight overhang of the faceplate, offering a small degree of additional protection at jack insertion points. I also dug the mellow vibe of the soft blue LED light to indicate that the pedal was engaged.

These RMI pedals offer a lot of usable tone shaping for bassists looking to craft their tone in simple yet sophisticated ways.   The Clean and Classic Boost sell for $259, while the Sonic Spark sells for $299. Not exactly cheap, but well worth the price of admission if you’re looking for some very savvy EQ and tone shaping options in an exquisitely well designed and constructed pedal. Head over to www.lehle.com for more information.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Joyo Double Thruster – Modern Bass Distortion Redefined

Published

on

Gear Review- Joyo Double Thruster - Modern Bass Distortion Redefined

Review of the Joyo Double Thruster…

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinions or the content of our reviews. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

Introduction: When it comes to bass distortion, finding a pedal that delivers a wide spectrum of tones while maintaining the essential low end can be challenging. The Joyo Double Thruster, a modern bass distortion pedal designed to cater to the diverse needs of bassists was a pleasant surprise that we had the opportunity to review. From subtle overdrive to full-on fuzz, the Double Thruster delivers with versatility and affordability.

Specs: The Joyo Double Thruster is compact yet robust, making it ideal for both stage and studio use. Here are its key specifications:

Dimensions: 109 * 72 * 48 mm

Weight: 250g

Working Voltage: DC 9V

Controls: The Double Thruster features a comprehensive control set that allows for precise tonal sculpting:

Tone: Adjusts the overall tonal character of the distortion.

Blend: Critical for bassists, this control blends the dry signal with the distorted signal, ensuring the low end remains intact.

Volume: Sets the output level of the pedal.

Gain: Controls the amount of distortion, from mild overdrive to full fuzz.

Gain Boost Switch: Provides a noticeable boost, especially at lower gain settings, enhancing the low end and adding depth to the tone.

Mid Boost Switch: Boosts mid frequencies, helping the sound cut through the mix with greater clarity and definition.

LED Light Control: Customizes the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance: The Joyo Double Thruster excels in delivering a range of distortion tones while retaining the essential low end that bassists need. The blend control is particularly useful, allowing users to mix the clean and distorted signals to maintain clarity and punch. The gain boost switch adds a pleasing depth to the low end, especially noticeable at lower gain settings, while also compensating for low end loss at higher gain levels. The mid-boost switch enhances the pedal’s ability to cut through complex mixes, making it ideal for intricate playing.

In terms of versatility, the Double Thruster can emulate a variety of distortion sounds, from subtle warmth to high-mid, djenty grind. This makes it an excellent tool for bassists exploring different genres and styles.

Pros:

  • Blend Control: Essential for retaining the low end in a distorted signal.
  • Size and Weight: Compact and sturdy design.
  • Rugged Construction: Durable build quality.
  • Gain and Mid Boosts: Adds versatility and clarity to the tone.
  • Affordable Price: Offers excellent value for money.

Cons:

  • Plastic Knobs: May feel less premium compared to metal controls.
  • Comparison to High-End Pedals: While close, it may not fully match the tone of more expensive pedals like the Darkglass B3K, and that’s ok. The Double Thruster is a great pedal on its own!

Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Double Thruster stands out as a versatile and affordable option for bassists seeking a wide range of distortion tones. Its thoughtful design and comprehensive controls make it a great tool for achieving everything from mild overdrive to full fuzz, all while maintaining the crucial low end. For bassists looking to expand their tonal palette without breaking the bank, the Joyo Double Thruster is a must-have addition to their pedalboard.

Visit online at joyoaudio.com

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Published

on

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Published

on

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Published

on

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Joyo Scylla Compressor: When Quality meets Budget-Friendly

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the diverse landscape of effects pedals for bass guitar, finding a compressor that strikes the balance between performance, versatility, and affordability can often feel like a daunting task. 

However, amidst the sea of options, one pedal stood out as a true diamond in the rough – the Joyo Scylla compressor. Despite its wallet-friendly price tag, the Scylla boasts a great array of features and controls typically reserved for pedals with much higher costs. Let’s take a closer look at why the Joyo Scylla is turning heads and earning praise among bassists on a budget.

Specs: The Joyo Scylla compressor measures in at 109 * 72 * 48 mm and weighs a mere 234g, making it both compact and lightweight – perfect for gigs or studio sessions where space is at a premium. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Scylla is efficient and versatile, compatible with a wide range of pedalboard setups.

Controls: What sets the Scylla apart from its direct competitors is its comprehensive control set, offering bassists a good amount of flexibility in shaping their sound. With six knobs, the Scylla allows for a very precise adjustment of key parameters:

  • Input Gain: Adjusts the amount of signal being fed into the compressor.
  • Output Volume: Controls the makeup gain after compression, ensuring consistent output levels.
  • Compression Ratio: Unlike traditional compressor pedals with preset ratio options, the Scylla features a continuous knob, allowing for seamless adjustment from subtle compression to limiter-like effects.
  • Attack and Release: Determine how quickly the compression engages and releases, offering a range of tonal possibilities from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle.
  • Output Tone Control: A unique feature not commonly found in compressor pedals, the tone knob adjusts the coloration of the compressed signal, adding warmth or brightness to your bass tone.
  • LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal, adding a touch of visual flair to their setup.
  • Performance: In practice, the Joyo Scylla delivers where it matters most – in sound quality and performance. Whether you’re aiming for a tight, punchy bass sound or smooth, sustained notes, the Scylla excels in providing transparent compression that enhances your playing without sacrificing dynamics. The granular control offered by its knobs allows for precise tailoring of compression settings to suit a wide range of playing styles and musical genres.
  • Pros: The Scylla’s strengths lie in its granular control, versatility, and compact design. Its sturdy build quality and diminutive size make it a welcome addition to any pedalboard, occupying minimal real estate without compromising on functionality. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Scylla is its price point. Despite offering professional-grade features, the Scylla remains accessible to bassists of all budgets.
  • Cons: While the Joyo Scylla excels in many areas, it’s not without its drawbacks. One notable omission is the lack of metering, which may pose a challenge for users seeking visual feedback on compression levels. Additionally, the plastic knobs, while functional, may feel somewhat less premium compared to other pedals. 
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Scylla compressor emerges as a great option in the world of budget-friendly effects pedals for bass guitar. Its comprehensive control set, transparent compression, and compact design make it a compelling choice for bassists seeking professional-grade performance without breaking the bank. From its intuitive interface to its thoughtful touches like the tone knob and customizable LED lighting, the Scylla delivers a level of versatility and functionality that belies its modest price tag. For bassists looking to elevate their tone without compromising on quality or affordability, the Joyo Scylla compressor is a clear standout.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/265.html

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

Published

on

String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

Continue Reading