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Hartke VXL Bass Attack Pre-amp/Direct Box/EQ Pedal Reviews

4.5 stars based on 23 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Dave Brow

    I initially got the Bass Attack to use as my front end on my live rig because it gives me all the tone control I need to get that punch I like. Now I find myself using it for direct recording. I can dial in the right sound very quickly and get a clean, hot signal through the XLR output. It can be powered via phantom through the XLR out as well. One other nice touch is the parallel 1/4" output that is perfect to keep your tuner hooked up without actually going through it. This thing is built like a tank too; itís solid and the knobs are smooth.

  • from October 17, 2015


    I Got This Pedal On A Whim, BUT OMG It Gives Me A SOUND Depth No It's Not Like An Overdrive, But On The Other Hand It IS Like A Notch Filter!!!! With My ESP Bass It Gives Me Resounding Low End!! And The Other Channel Really Punches The Mid-Ranges. I Like It Because One Can Use It As A Subtle Pedal , OR You Can REALLY REALLY Add A Lot Of Punch To Your Sound!!!

  • from Columbus, Ohio October 15, 2015

    The pedal that refuses to be replaced by another..

    First thank you Mike Baldonado for the suggestion. I am moving away from rack mounted gear and needed a bass preamp pedal for my pedaltrain pedal board. I purchased an Aguilar Tone Hammer and it works well... unless left on for over a couple of hours. Then the saturation sets in, making the clean sound a bit distorted. I called up Mike seeking a replacement and he suggested to look into the Hartke Bass Attack pedal. I bought it and plugged in, dialed in my tone and started recording immediately. I was very surprised a pedal for less than $100.00 would sound as good as it does, and offers a wide range of tonal diversity. It helped that Mike has been using this pedal for 10 years or so and he has yet to find a pedal that rivals the Hartke Bass Attack. The pedal is very well built, so do not let the price tag fool you. I will be using this pedal for a very long time.

  • from NEWTON , NJ August 25, 2014Music Background:

    This is it

    Best pedal for bass , EQ is fantastic, you can spend $200 or $300 and you are getting a better pedal, the price is right.

  • from November 18, 2013Music Background:
    Guitarist, Bassist, Drummer who has been performing live since 1997.

    Hartke VXL

    For those who don't like moving amps around for gigs and practices, this unit is great. Previously, the bass was plugged into the board through a regular DI box and the sound was lethargic, at best. Now the bass comes through with authority. The shape button/feature is great for tone changes on the fly. This is by far the best $99 I've spent in a long time.

  • from December 25, 2012Music Background:
    I make music


    Very high quality pedal. Great preamp. It works very well for live shows as it has an xlr out, 1/4 inch out, and a parallel output. This is nice because you can go xlr into the P.A. and you still are able to go to potentially two amps or back into your pedal loop. The sound quality is top notch. The shape knob/switch combo is very effective for live shows where a quick drastic tone change is needed. The harmonics overdrive sounds like a classic overdriven Ampeg and the other knobs really let you shape your tone to your preferences. Very good pedal for 99 bucks and sounds great with bass and guitar.

  • from Wisconsin, USA September 30, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Good, clean sound

    I'm really happy with my Bass Attack pedal. It really gives you a wide range of sounds. Just had to look at the manual to find out how the switches work. The ON/OFF enables the Brite and Harmonics/Mix knobs. The SHAPE enables the Shape knob(duh). I also really like the 3 options for power - 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor(not included), or phantom power from a mixer. When using a 9v battery, I always try to unplug my bass input as this cuts out the pedal and seems to make the battery last longer.

  • from Westminster, MD. 21157 July 21, 2012Music Background:
    Song writer, bassist, guitar, drums

    Bass Attack

    Superb, Wish it was a rack unit, but great.

  • from ohio May 23, 2012Music Background:
    church musician, student

    It works

    I like the versatility of the unit. It will be added to my arsenal of preferred components.

  • from North Mississippi February 29, 2012Music Background:


    I love this thing..

  • from Venice, Fl. December 12, 2006Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    WOW! What a great deal.

    I really liked the sound I got with my Hartke bass amp,but was having problems with hum using the XLR out when recrding. I saw the Bass Attack when searching for an effects pedal. It had the same contols as my amp and at the price I figured what the heck. When I plugged it in, using the 48v phantom power from my VS480, I was blown away. Dead quiet when not playing and great bottom end and overall sound. This product far exceeds its price in terms of quality

  • from Fort Wayne, IN July 28, 2006Music Background:

    Bang for your buck

    I was in need of a pedal to give some overdive and boom in parts of songs where it was needed. I was never one for stomp boxes but this is amazing. The body and structure its very durable and strong. This pedal can turn a little combo amp into a stack sound. It adds alot of boom to your bass, this gives alot of options for distortion or overdrive. It is definatley worth the money.

  • from Indianapolis, IN January 20, 2015Music Background:
    Weekend Warrior, Gigging bassist

    Great Bass DI for Recording and Live Use

    I mean, what can you say? This is a great tool for a gigging and recording bass player who isn't a pro. I play weekend gigs with my band Bomb Cats, and this is a pivotal tool. You run a DI to the house directly from this guy, run a parallel line into your amp (I play a Fender Rumble 150) and this will define your bass tone. At home, use this to plug into your recording interface on bass and guitar for biting, tube-like tone. There's not a better tool.

    The only downside is that the knobs a recessed from the stomps, which can make it difficult to adjust this bad boy on stage.

    I give major props to Hartke, because this tool is great for metal and rock bass playing as well as cool guitar tones while recording.

  • from El Paso, USA December 23, 2013Music Background:
    Studio Musician

    Real Tone at a Great Price

    Just an all-around great preamp and DI for your bass. The ability to power this bad boy off of Phantom power from the main board of a PA system makes the Hartke VXL Bass Attack an amazingly portable, versatile, tweak-able and care-free piece of bass gear.

    My main rig consists of a Hartke HA5500 head paired with two Hartke VXL410 cabinets. It sounds great, but there are some situations where even one 4x10 is overkill or inconvenient. For short practices or quieter gigs I don't want to haul all my gear and the Bass Attack works perfect in those situations. Unlike a typical DI, you can still tweak your tone via the preamp and even a dead battery won't stop the show if phantom power is available through the board. This is a great addition to any rig. The wide range of tone tweakability even makes it a great DI/Preamp for guitarists in a pinch.

  • from San Diego, CA February 23, 2013Music Background:
    hobbyist, musician

    Good Device

    This device does what is claims. Its built pretty sturdy, so far as I can tell. All the knobs help provide for extra shaping and tone control for your bass sound, and the preamp gain ability really helps me get more noise-free gain on my bass into my audio interface. The harmonics and shape functions are somewhat neat, not up my alley but I know they will come in handy for some people.

    The parrellel out, as well as an XLR out and Line out really take the cake for me, especially when doing casual jamming/recording. My only gripe is that it doesnt come with a power cable, you have to buy it separately. Thats always a downside. Other than that Ive been loving using this thing, mainly for recording, since its tone control isnt TOO much better than whats already on my bass. Great product, just wish it came with power cable.

  • from NW Ohio September 5, 2011Music Background:

    Great pedal

    First off, I had been looking for some sort of subtle overdrive/preamp to throw in front of my rig. I was going to get a VT Bass used on Talkbass, but then I learned about this little guy from my sales engineer. I checked it out and ordered it the same day I heard about it. When I got the first one, it worked great... for a day. The pedal's circuit died somewhere and I got a lot of signal loss and no overdrive. Fortunately, Sweetwater has amazing customer service and the next day I got a replacement pedal.

    With that sorted out, I got a chance to play on it and I must say, this little stomp box has all sorts of tones available from a warm SVT tube emulation to a growly slap tone. The tone-shaping circuit works great because it can function as a preset tone. The DI function is a great help that I wasn't sure I needed at first. I've ended up bypassing my rig and going straight to the mains from this multiple times since I got it.

    The only reason it doesn't get a perfect 5 is because of the initial quality issue.

  • from CA. August 3, 2014Music Background:
    hobbyist bass player

    Impressive bass di box

    I was very impressed with the Hartke VXL bass attack , pre amp pedal, I was amazed at how sterile my sound was just plugging my guitar into my amp, this pre amp pedal brings out great tonal options I never knew about before, I would recommend this pre-amp bass attack pedal.

  • from San Diego July 2, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Student, Live Sound Engineer

    Cool for tone, not really much of a pre-amp

    This thing is great for shaping your bass tone. I have only used it with my active Bass, and my passive guitar. For my bass, it helps me smooth out a more solid tone using better electronics than the ones in my active circuitry. You can dail in some nice tones and sounds. Especially when paired up with a guitar and using the shape feature, you can make your guitars sound very dark which is neat. As far as build quality, top notch, Ive owned it for over a year with no issues. It is pretty quiet and hardly brings any noise into the mix at all, if any at all. Like I said, this is great for tone shaping bass guitars with cheaper active electronics, while still getting the same loudness you would from your bass normally. This little box has two downsides. 1) I would have like to see a compressor feature, but for 100$ its not a big deal. 2) this thing isnt much of a preamp. with my guitar or bass on full volume, and the hartke dailed in at 9.5 output, its pretty much the same loudness if I had not used the hartke. Only difference is a cleaner, less noisy sound. No gain knob. So this is a great tool for the arsenal, just don't buy it to boost your bass guitars levels, its not built for that.

  • from Midwest Ohio March 2, 2013Music Background:
    bass for the last 35 years

    Hartke VXL Bass Attack

    Nice pedal. Quite surprised at the quality vs. pricepoint, for the money I dont think it can be beat. Solid case, knobs seem firm, no scratchy pots, all the switches and jacks are solid as well. You get alot of nice tones out of this box, I prefer the distortion sound on this unit over the Tech 21 stuff. Give it a try.

  • from Washington, DC March 8, 2011Music Background:

    Sounds great

    Bad news first: my main gripe is the chrome-top knobs -- they're so shiny, it's virtually impossible to see how they're se -- so frustrating. Ironically, they include some sample settings in the manual (fun) -- indicating they realize how particular settings can be -- but it's so hard to see the tiny dot that indicates a given level. . . it's just a really bad UI choice.

    On the up side, I got this pedal primarily to offset a small/cheap practice amp that had very basic eq, and it does the trick. I also use it (with a compressor) to go straight in to the sound board. The main bang for the buck is having access to the infamous Hartke Shape knob -- that' s the magic. The other features do certainly offer more than a basic amp as well, so overall I'm quite pleased.

  • from August 31, 2014

    hartke bass attack

    Just got it. Used on two gigs so far. Really like it, lots of tonal control. Still in the trial stage. So far i really like what i hear

  • from Nashville, TN USA September 15, 2007Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Active Musician

    Good Tone, Questionable Quality

    The "Shape" feature is by for the most valuable part of this pedal. The bass, treble and bright knobs don't do anything great or drastic to affect your tone.

    After purchasing this unit, I was trying it out on my rig and when I adjusted a knob there was a loud POP and suddenly I had no signal. My power amplifier was showing no incoming signal. The pedal had seemingly fried after only 30 minutes of use. The next day, on a whim, I pulled the pedal back out and tried it again. All appeared to be well.

    I would say this pedal is a great value provided that it continues to function properly. It sounds great for the money spent on it.

    The tones achievable are great and numerous, however, it's quality of construction (Chinese Construction) causes me concern. I won't gig without a back up pedal. That being said, at $65 having a back up pedal/preamp won't be hard to do.

  • from Indiana July 19, 2007Music Background:
    Bassist for 10 years, recording engineer

    Ok, but could use one more feature

    let me start out by saying, it's a fantastic sounding pedal
    here's the problem i encountered:
    i, like most musicians, don't have the pedal always on...there are certain parts that i'd use it for. The tube overdrive will jack the output volume THROUGH THE ROOF...so i had to ride my volume knob when i'd turn it on to find a good blend w/ the rest of the band again after switching it on...now i use it soley to boost my volume when i use a remote control (to get that strange beep) so that it's loud enough
    basically, if it just had a distortion volume knob, it'd be fantastic
    also, it'll make your rig a lot louder, so be careful if you're already pushing your amp when you enable it (if you're not used to it)

  • from C-Ville, OH February 1, 2005


    This was exactly what i was looking for! i was trying to get a tone, that was like flea's from korn, but not that low of tuning. So i tried out this pedal, and its done everything for me, i have the ampeg b5r head, and a 18" peavey cabinet, and it makes it sound really punchy, and gives it all the highs i was looking for. It also kinda sounds like the bass thats in inflames-cloud connected. or the sound epic, by faith no more. But at any rate i found the sound i wanted without spending money on some nice 10's lol

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