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Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver Reviews

5.0 stars based on 34 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Tommy Winter

    The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver has become a huge part of my studio bass tone, and I never show up to gigs without it. It cleans up my stage noise and gives me deep, punchy tone.

  • from March 26, 2016

    Completely changed my sound!

    I was not expecting this pedal to sound as great as it did when I first plugged it in. Completely transformed the sound of my rig! Took out all the muddiness and gave everything new life. Works very well with other pedals and is extremely natural and musical. It just opened everything up and added a sheen to the highs and a tight punch to the lows. Incredibly versatile for such a simple little thing! Sounds great through a PA! Cannot praise this thing enough A+++

  • from Michigan February 29, 2016Music Background:


    Wow!! This thing sounds awesome through an amp or a P.A. System!
    It sounds better than my GK amp!

  • from Anaheim, CA November 10, 2015Music Background:
    Songwriter, Producer, Multi-instrumentalist


    I bought this to use in my studio to have a simple means of recording great bass tracks, and it did not disappoint. Super easy to use and very flexible - it can be very clean, but I was also able to dial in some drive and easily got some Chris Squire type bite and crunch. Are you kidding me? This thing is for real - I don't think I will ever need to use a plugin or bass amp ever again. It's that good.

  • from Redlands, CA. October 17, 2015

    A Must Have Pedal

    I have used the same Sansamp BDDI since 2004. The pedal has been stone reliable and I use it for everything. It is a go to pedal for me and always will be. I love the tones produced by these TECH 21 products. I run this pedal into the front of my amp but also used it to record with though the DI with excellent results. It's not especially noisy in the signal chain and you can dial in just the right amount of warmth up to a really fuzzy OD sound. It's not a distortion pedal but it will do everything short not that without sucking the low end out of your signal.

    One thing I like about these pedals is the parralel output. Most of the time sound guys will take the DI right off of the Sansamp and have no problem but there have been times when a sound guy wanted to MIC my cab and take a clean signall. Or they just want to do whatever because they are sound guys ( I don't argue with them over sound because you have no control of what they are sent ng through FOH anyway) I run an unaffected clean signal to a Radial J48 box and the sound guy is happy.

    This thing is worth every penny.

  • from Binghamton, NY October 3, 2015


    I've had the Bass driver DI for 7 years now. I've had the best results using it as a pedal going into the instrument input of my ampeg SVT 3 Pro. I have also used it as a DI box at live gigs as well. You can use the blend knob to dial in the appropriate amount of signal processing for your application. You can dial in a amazing variety of tones with this. After many years of use the unit did need to be sent back to Tech 21 for repairs. The Tech 21 service department was fast and their customer service was excellent.

  • from Mississippi October 1, 2015Music Background:
    Bass, ele/ac guitar. Sound engineer

    Perfect to drop stage noise

    This pedal replaced my bass amp and direct box on stage. No loss in tone either. We switched to in-ear monitors so didnt need the big bass amp creating stage noise when this little box will give you the same sound. Love the light weight i carry in every week now instead of my big bass amp.

  • from Hammond, IN May 6, 2015Music Background:
    Audio Enginner, Live Sound, Theatrical, Recording

    Great things come in small packages!

    I do a lot with live applications at a theatre and bars and the number one complaint is the bass sounds like a fart; when a bass player doesn't bring there amp in there isn't much you can do with line level clean signal. This little power house is the key to my bag of tricks. It is always in my bag. This is an active bass driver and does require a 9v battery or you can purchase a power supply. The instructions say to keep a 9v and a power supply together to keep voltage and suability of sound the same. It does sound more stable with both as a pair.

    I also record in my home studio so the grand selection of outputs put a smile on my face. It is built strong with a thick strong casing.

    EQ, Driver and Presence sounds natural and has power to give a nasty sweet sound if you desire. :)

    I recommend this to all Bass Players and Audio Engineers around you wont regret it worth every penny!!!

  • from Brooklyn, NY March 23, 2015Music Background:
    Contemporary Church

    Good Sound and Reliable

    Our church is on a tight budget and limited on space, so the SansAmp Bass Driver DI is the best alternative. We run this through our main mix, and we don't have a subwoofer, but it still does a decent job. People are pretty surprised how good it sounds, even though it is coming from the main mix. I can only imagine how much better it would sound with a subwoofer in place. If you're limited in resources and space and have phantom power on your mix board, this is a great buy!

  • from Elverson, PA USA March 11, 2015Music Background:
    Worship Pastor, Sound Engineer

    If you're thinking about it, just buy it. It's that good.

    You know that great bass sound where the bottom is round and punchy with no mud, the kids are articulated and strong, and the highs are smooth, but not shrill or piercing? That's the sound you can get with this thing. We have three bass players at our church and all three love this thing. In addition to that coveted awesome sound, you can overdrive it a bit and is sounds really natural. We have only scratched the surface of what this thing can do. It sounds a lot like playing through a great tube-powered rig - only you have more control of volume. Great piece of gear.

  • from Kissimmee, FL USA March 2, 2015Music Background:


    I've been playing bass for about 2 years in small local churches of Kissimmee, Fl. when I was finally able to land my first big gig, I thought to myself that it was time to buy new tools to spark my sound as my current equipment was not all that. I stumble upon the SansAmp, and boyyy, let me tell you this thing is a killer. I currently own a Fender P bass Special that is to bright in tone but with this bass drive im obtain the varieties i need. The only thing i didnt like about it is that the battery life is too short.

    The SweetWater customer service experince was a remarkable one. There were no incidents in the process and the item arrived when and as it was expected. Also, they placed some candy in the box for me.

  • from Lake Tahoe, NV December 30, 2014Music Background:
    Working Bass player.

    Very useful tool

    Owned one since 2004. Had a combo amp set up at a house gig that needed some tube warmth, and extra EQ. It worked great. When I moved on from that rig, I started using my SansAmp more as a DI on gigs where I went direct into the house system. It worked really well for that. If you have any passive basses, the EQ really helps them to get a more active sound, if desired. It's very quiet. EQ is effective. Tube emulation works great for a variety of purposes, such as clean or distorted. AND it is small enough to fit in a bass bag, plus it doesn't weigh much. Battery life is good. I don't use it on every gig, but I wouldn't want to be without it, when I need it. I highly recommend it.

  • from Morro Bay, California November 6, 2014Music Background:
    Bassist, Band Drunk

    Everything You Need As A Bassist

    This DI Stompbox does it all - you'll be sure to find the tone that you need to sit in the mix properly. The Presence is wonderful to make your faster bass lines sparkle. It works really well - almost too well - so be careful when trying to put that brightness in your tone.

  • from United States May 27, 2014

    If I can use it, so can you!

    I'm not really a bass player. I'm a guitar player that needs bass for my recordings, and I got sick of trying to find a synth bass I liked, so I thought I'd try a DI setup. This was one that came highly recommended, and now I see why. Not only is it great, but I'm actually having a lot of fun finding out what it can do!

  • from Frisco, TX May 7, 2014

    Great buy!

    I'm no bassist, but I was tired of trying to find a bass synth that worked for my music, so I turned to a real bass guitar, and let me just say that this beautiful piece of gear has completed the sound for me. I can't wait to try it out live, and it helps so much in the studio. Great buy!

  • from Virginia Beach, Va. May 5, 2014Music Background:
    I've been playing bass with The Beachnuts for over 40 years with no member changes.

    Would never use anything else. Clean, punchy and easy to use

    The best piece of gear ever made for bass. I use it for direct injection in to our main PA. Hold on to your seat !!!!!!!!!

  • from Mason City, IA USA December 13, 2013Music Background:
    Bassist and sound tech

    Don't buy a new amp

    Our church was looking to buy a new amp to replace a failing unit from way back when. I recommended the SansAmp because so many professional bassists use one, they sound great and a DI fixes the age old problem of stage noise (i'm a bassist and sound man). It also happens to be WAY cheaper than a new amp. All of our bass players instantly fell in love with it and it has been nick named "the magic box". It sounds great no matter what you play. Fretless, upright, P-bass, J-bass. Bluegrass to Funk. There is a tone for everyone inside this thing. Worth every cent.

  • from October 15, 2013Music Background:
    Full time musician at a large church


    For those of us who are experienced enough musicians to be tired of lifting anything past our instruments and believe inner ear monitors should be the norm, this will put out a punchy thick sound that I've strained my back to get for years lifting heavy amps for. Let the PA do the work!!!

  • from Austin Texas May 13, 2013

    SansAmp rocks!

    I bought the SansAmp to practice with (plugged into a jam hub unit) initially. Although a bit pricey, its worth every penny. The tones are really nice sweeping from a growling low end to a thinner and dryer sound. You can emulate various amp sounds which i find pretty handy. The xlr out was also perfect for the way im going into the jam hub making my practice room with the band very clean. Ill be keeping this as a stomp box option even when i play with my full rig (TC Electronics). Great sounds, great buy.

  • from Spokane, WA January 9, 2013Music Background:
    Bass/vocal musician in a church worship setting.

    Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver

    This box came recommended by bass player Michael Rossback. It really gives a punch to the low notes from my Fender Jazz bass. I'm amazed at the sound quality. I play in a worship setting so I don't need to use that many of the settings, but if I did, I'm sure this box would deliver. Highly recommended if you want that added low punch.

  • from Columbus, OH April 13, 2012Music Background:
    recording enginner, musician

    Couldn't be happier

    Great pedal for on and off the stage. I use it as a DI in my studio, and as a distortion in a live setting. As as DI, it works well on its own; however, the trick is to mix it with a "live" mic. You can really hear the difference when you do that; the bass sounds more thick and round than just your mic signal. In a live setting, this thing is a box; very well built. I've gotten a lot of people needing to know what pedal I use, because I keep it out of sight (I keep it behind my head, using tiny cords to connect it to the effects in/out and a switch pedal to activate the effect loop on my head). To quote an observer a couple weeks ago, "I've never heard a bass distortion sound so good." 6/5 stars if i could.

  • from Findlay, Ohio September 26, 2011Music Background:
    Active, gigging bassist, home recording, live sound engineer

    My favourite bass tool

    I have used this pedal for a very long time now and it has become essential in my bass rig. Nothing sounds better to me for running my bass to a mixer for recording or a live show! Other DI boxes just don't seem to work as well or sound as good. I love the over-driven tones I can achieve with this and it totally rocks when used as a preamp going into my QSC amps!! When I purchased it I thought it's price was very steep but it has payed for itself many times over due to it's quality and sound characteristics. I really think every bassist should have this...it's that good!

  • from Kettle Falls, WA USA September 5, 2011Music Background:
    part-time gigs

    My Hero

    I've had my SansAmp for abut 7 years and I NEVER play bass w/o it unless I play on someone else's SVT/Ampeg 8x10 rig. Then it's not absolutely necessary. Tone and guts; it just has that otherworldly bass sound in that little box. If you've got relatively weak or inexpensive gear, this is just what the doctor ordered. This thing fills up the whole bass spectrum. But, you should also consider the 3-channel programmable version.

  • from Chicago May 12, 2011Music Background:

    Cheap Bass + SansAmp = PHAT!

    So, I bought a cheap Ibanez bass that sounded like a rope on a broom handle fixed to a water bucket. I really didnt have the funds to pour into an SVT, so I went with this instead. I've used SansAmp equipment before in a studio setting, so I was pretty confident on the purchase. I'm totally sold on this thing! I can't believe the difference in tone when I AB it. Night and day! Through the credit card down and buy this thing. DO IT!!

  • from Phoenix, AZ May 28, 2010Music Background:
    Worship Bassist, Guitarist, & Engineer

    Bass Swiss Army Knife

    This thing is phenomenal for both live (PA only) and recording situations. I've used it for both. When doing worship with no amp and just PA support, it's been great. The tone is very clean and clear (if you want it to be!), and it conveniently runs off of phantom power in case you want to go battery-less.

    It's also great for acoustic guitar. I once played my acoustic through this thing live, and a very experienced guitar player told me it was one of the best acoustic sounds he's heard. Of course, Tech21 makes an Acoustic DI, too, so you might want to compare. But a very versatile pedal.

    This is really a combo DI and pedal all in one--with EQ, distortion (if you want), or just clean DI interfacing. Again, very versatile.

    Better than a spork. This is the Swiss Army Knife.

  • from Cincinnati January 11, 2016Music Background:
    Guitar lead, Bass & Drums

    Sans Amp Bass Driver Rocks!

    This pedal is super powerful. The range of tones is impressive although I usually leave it on one setting for a the whole gig. I've also used it as a DI box which is pretty cool, but I prefer the tone to come through my rig and the house, so I'll just run it as a pedal in the future. Dialing up the presence makes my Kustom 100 2x10 sound like a 2000 dollar amp (paid a hundred bucks). Super awesome tool - pretty darn expensive though... I'm on the fence on whether it was worthwhile but like I said, my tone sounds fantastic now!

  • from Burke, VA October 4, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Musician

    A Classic That Works

    I own a number of Tech 21 products, including the Para Driver and VT Bass V2, and find that they all do what they were designed to do, really well. They are also all well built, highly reliable and easy to use once you understand their design. In terms of my ability to evaluate the performance and functions of the BDDI, in addition to the Tech 21 products already mentioned I own the Aguilar Tone Hammer, MXR M80, Xotic RC Bass Boost, Countryman 85 and Radial JDI.

    While I don't actually have a favorite out of that group for any particualr task - it depends on the specific function(s) I need, bass I'm playing, type of music, the venue and associated acoustics, etc. - I do find the BDDI to be one of the easiest to use and most consistently effective tools when time for "knob turning" is limited. WIth most any bass (passive or active), this box can get you a nice sound for just about any situation very quickly and is typically recognized and respected by the FOH engineer. My typical BDDI use is to DI to FOH and then go parallel out to my amp/head for on-stage monitoring.

    For those who criticize the mid scoop that you get as you bring to the blend to 100% with the bass and treble at noon, I would say that you may have the wrong box if that's not a characteristic of your tone goals. While you can reduce the bass and treble a bit (while increasing the "level control" to make up for the gain loss) to get a flatter EQ (running the blend at aorund 50% or less also helps), the SansAmp functionality essentially replicates a mid scoop type of rig. By the way, that's why running the regular affected 1/4" output to an amp/head combination that may also be a bit mid scooped can result in folks thinking this box "steals all their mids".

    For recording and sending something to FOH that is a little more full and colorful than a simple DI (which the BDDI can also do if you wish), I can't think of anything that will get you a satisfying result as quickly, easily or reliably as the BDDI. It's as close to plug and play as I've ever seen, once again assuming you like the type of tone the BDDI was designed to model. In all the years that I've used it (for outdoor festival venues, large and small clubs and for recording) it has earned me nothing but compliments from audiences, band members, sound engineers and producers. While it's not always my first choice for every task, it is something that I always have iin my gig bag along with my Countryman 85 - I think that says a lot.

  • from February 25, 2015Music Background:
    Hobby musician

    Up to my (high) expectations.

    I was looking for a sound improvement solution and went to various online resources (facebook, reddit, product reviews, famous bassplayer equipment reviews on youtube) and I kept running into the SansAmp. I asked some online gurus and they said it would suit my needs.

    It does, it fixed a problem I had and gave me much more control over my sound, just what I needed.

  • from NJ December 28, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    A Classic!

    This pedal is fantastic! Covers most styles effortlessly. I got this to run into my Eden WT-800 and it sounds beastly! Just the amount of bite I wanted without sacrificing low-end. Tightened up my low end nicely too! I prefer this as a front end over my B7K.

  • from Birmingham, Alabama November 7, 2012Music Background:


    Love it and wouldn't do without it.

  • from Michigan May 28, 2012Music Background:
    Semi Pro Musician, Hobbyist Recording Artist

    Great Direct Box For Bass

    I think that this thing is great. It provides great tone and is very portable, to say the least. This is great when you are for whatever reason, going to keep it simple and compact and run direct, either for live or studio. I didn't give it a 5 because I didn't want to mislead the reader into thinking that this was truly an on-par substitution for a quality bass rig. I love my SansAmp, but it will never hold a candle to the sound and response I get from my Trace Elliot 715x, and many other fine rigs.

  • from NJ May 5, 2008Music Background:
    recording engineer, gigging musician

    Love it!!!

    I've only had this box for about a week but already I love it. It really improves my live bass tone (fender jazz>boss odb3>sansamp>2x15 stack). You can dial it in to really cut through the mix. Nice sharp midrange, plenty of that high frequency slap, and the bottom end is ridiculous. And at the end of a chain of stompboxes, it does a nice job of controlling the overall volume and homogenizing tones.

    I even used it to DI record a guitar and it worked perfectly. Like others have said, the EQ on this box is very potent. Excellent product!

  • from WI,USA July 22, 2013Music Background:
    gigging, recording, teaching guitarist, bassist, vocalist

    Handy in the studio and on the stage

    I got the Bass Driver around 1999, to record bass direct in my home studio, which at that time was centered around a compact mixer and ADAT. It performed OK for this purpose.
    Later, I used it between a bass and bass amp. Here it excels. it's like adding another channel to my solid state bass amp, revoicing the amp completely with a smooth, punchy bass tone like ones heard on pro recordings.
    These days I use it in the home studio, where I now mic the bass amp, using the Bass Driver ahead of the amp, and using the parallel output to record a direct bass track which I later put a bass amp simulator plugin on. The blend control is a great feature for when I need the uncolored tone of the bass amp but still want to use the Bass Driver to split the signal. The Bass Driver's onboard EQ is flexible enough even though there is no midrange control since I can further EQ the signal at my bass amp and in my DAW on the direct track. The real magic of this tool is not the tweakability of its EQ but the "under the hood" EQ and dynamics processing and tube voicing it imparts.
    Over the years of use, it has developed some crackle in the blend knob, but otherwise has held up very well.

  • from Kansas City September 25, 2006Music Background:

    Great Pedal, Well Worth The Purchase!!!

    Don't let the size of this pedal fool you. It really allows you to tweak your sound and provide you the perfect bass tone into your digital recordings. The drive knob virtually eliminates the need to use heavy compression in your mix. If you prefer to use it as a live tool, the Sans Amp Bass DI really delivers! It'll make any Bass Amp sound beatuiful. I highly recommend this product to anyone. Great Job Tech 21!

  • from Chicago, IL September 10, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    A Good Bass DI, but...

    I've had this SansAmp BDDI at one point in time for 3 years. At that time, this is one of the best DI to fatten-up your bass especially the passive ones. This delivers a rumbling bottom and more so when playing low-b 5-strings. But this doesn't have a mid EQ, just the regular treble and bass, and so, no matter how I boost my mids from my bass it diminishes when it goes thru this DI. The mid-EQ is important to me since each bass I owned had different tonal characteristics and I need to "balance" the tone for the type of music. I've had this ordeal for quite some time; then, I sold this pedal when Tech 21 came up with the SansAmp Para Driver DI which is a pedal version of their rackmount SansAmp RBI. I have since used the Para Driver DI which has 3-band EQ with mid-shift from 170hz-1khz allowing me to define my mid EQ settings.

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