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Tech 21 SansAmp RBI Bass Preamp Reviews

4.5 stars based on 15 customer reviews
  • from Kingston, PA December 3, 2016Music Background:
    On stage for 30 years.

    RBI Bass

    First of all...this is the best piece of bass gear I ever bought....I mean EVER ! It is NOT to be played in the effect loop..Front end only. If the PRESENCE knob is put anywhere past 10 o'clock it will HISS. That's normal but not detrimental. Also don't crank the treble knob high...too much gain and hiss.The drive knob gets overdrive anywhere past 2 o'clock...I keep it at 12 or less. When all this is done, gain can be boosted very high. If you start with everything at 12 it's pretty much a good beginning. Going mad on the controls is a bad idea. You can get into trouble. When all this is done you will have a bass preamp that can make the worst of bass amps into something much better. It greatly improves the sound of a crappy bass. I won't play without one or either the foot switchable programmable bass driver DI. Bass tone forever...

  • from Fayetteville, nc November 17, 2015

    One small minor issue

    I've been playing an RBI since they were released years ago. These things are solid as it gets. I've gigged mine so much the letters are almost all worn off on the back and it still works just like it did the day I got it. Don't set the blend any higher than 2 o'clock. This is not a fuzz or something where you want a totally wet sound, it shines when blending some grit with your dry bass sound. every complaint I've ever heard from anyone on the RBI was by someone who had the blend knob set to high.

  • from Austin Texas August 10, 2015Music Background:
    Pop, Insermental progressive spacy Metal, groove , just music bra don't matter where it came from or what it is just play

    Okay here is someone who finally tryed the RBI out.

    Long story short. This magical and very inteligent Preamp (that could have came from another planet) made MY tone sound like all the "pros".
    Funny because I have been trying it out on a little bitty practice amp.

    Never the less its like a photo enhancer. It works to make your tone happen.
    When I activate the RBI I can get a grit and punchy tone with out the buzz or the hairy white noize . I can simply make my tone clear as day with out a some what covered sound. It helps express your sound further by making it rich. Instead of your sound being in Pajama's its now in a suit and tie . So be aware it almost is to good I am not Worthy!!! But this is my own personal opinion it might work for you it might not. I do recommend it. It was worth a whole work stub . Jam on friends

  • from Maine February 19, 2015Music Background:
    Veteran Musician

    CanNOT go wrong buying this!!!

    I'm a semi-professional veteran musician and have owned my RBI for almost 10 yrs. now. In the entire time I've owned the unit, I've yet to have it fail me. The versatility is SUPER cool!! Haven't yet gotten the 2nd one I've been after for some time (hey ... I'm married) but am definitely going to as one of my basses is active and the other is passive (HUGE level difference). I want each one to have their own then I'll A/B them as needed. Am SERIOUSLY considering investing in an RPM unit as well for the mid-sweep capability. I also like the programmable pedal, too. That's the biggest issue I've found with Tech 21, in general - they have too many great options to choose from, it's hard to make a decision. I have their 30w guitar combo, which sound great (tracks well on recordings - set it clean and run outboard processor then mic. You'll LOVE IT!).

  • from Fayetteville, NC March 23, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    good sound and durability.

    been playing the rbi since it was released and its yet to let me down. It has everything I need. I especially like ability to blend the wet and dry signal. If I want to go from a slightly gritty rock tone to a clean modern tone I just back the blend off some no EQ adjustments needed. It has all the ins/outs you need. I run the "wet" 1/4'' to my power amp, the dry 1/4" to my rack tuner, the wet XLR to FOH. It even has an input on the back for those like my self who don't like cables in the front of the rack.

  • from Oklahoma July 26, 2013Music Background:
    Weekend Musician

    Every Bass Player Needs A SansAmp RBI

    I've used a SansAmp BDDI pedal for years and have always been satisfied. I decided to try the RBI because I wanted something I could put in my rack. I have been surprised at the difference.
    Easy to use....looks great.....and sounds FANTASTIC!
    I'll never play another gig or record without one.

  • from Kingston, PA October 26, 2007Music Background:
    25 years stage


    I wrote many reviews in different places. Try this in any store. This will focus and clear any bass sound. It sounds as if what you have turned your amp toward you instead of facing backwards, or you have suddenly removed a heavy blanket from your speaker. This is the first and last effect you should own for bass. It lets you also go direct to P.A. without using an amp and retain the bass tone. (Hence SansAmp)

  • from Cuba, MO January 7, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer and musician

    Excellent Gear

    I've been using one of these in my bass rig for almost 8 years. It's worked flawlessly the entire time and it gets a great tone. What I find is that unlike a lot of other preamp devices the Sansamp tends to sound like a whole amp not just the front end. I tend to use it for mostly classic rock sounds with an EBS Multi Comp compressor in the effects loop. I power the rig with a Crown Macrotech 1200 into one or two Euphonic Audio NL210 cabinets.

  • from Fort Myers November 23, 2012Music Background:
    Former pro musician.. presently more of hobbyist/semi pro

    Great Sounding Bass Pre

    Great sounding pre with a very tube like sound and feel. Only thing its missing and why I deducted a 1/2 a star is there is no tuner out and mute but other then that its a great sounding pre.

  • from Huntsville, AL August 13, 2008Music Background:
    Bass player for more than 30 years

    Very pleasant surprise

    I initially was looking for the "idiot pre", meaning something different people could plug into an find challenging to mess up their tone. It most emphatically is not an idiot resistant unit and is somewhat tweaky. That being said though, the same could be stated regarding say a Boogie Mark 2C or 4 where you can dial in that absolute holy grail tone and with very minor control change switch to tone to induce projectile vomiting. If you work with this thing you can get all manner of sounds. The suggested starting points for different tones are very useful. Seems to work for live and recording very well, Geddy Lee being someone who can attest to it.

  • from Dunmore, PA March 29, 2008Music Background:
    Bassist; 32yrs exp. live and studio

    I Really Like It!

    After becoming bored of my dull lifeless bass sound, I decided to try the Sans Amp RBI. I'm glad I did. I put it in my rack, plugged into the power amp in of my head and there was that pizzaz I was looking for. And the more I tweaked the better it got. Many compliments on the FOH sound from other players.In the studio, I still prefer the Avalon U5, but live I stand by my Sans Amp and highly recommend it. Well built and sounds great!

  • from Wisconsin July 14, 2016Music Background:
    Professional musician/Bass guitarist for SKROG

    SansAmp RBI

    Love this pre amp , great functionality and user friendly.

  • from Chicago, Il April 30, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Does the job!

    Does exactly what it says it will do. Control is excellent. The only thing is if you could add the mid controls like on the RMI it would be perfect. You can do it, takes alittle more tweeking, thou for recording you probably going to do alot or some anyway and having the extra mids is mostly no that important.

  • from AKRON, OHIO May 7, 2006



  • from Tuscaloosa, Alabama June 1, 2005

    Good bass sound made easy

    I have tried many ways of recording bass guitar direct over the last few years without getting the sound I was looking for. Due to where I live, I can't use an actual amplifier so I had been stuck with various software plugs and DI boxes that never quite delievered. The SansAmp RBI immediately made a big difference in the recorded sound. It's doesn't try to emulate different amps like some of the plugs I have tried, but offers a better sound quality than software. You can get close to some of the more famous amps you hear. All in all it sounds more realistic with better dynamics and tone. I love it!

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