Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Bass Preamp

Footswitchable Preamp with Parametric EQ, Variable Gain, Drive Control, Effects Loop, Active Tone Controls with Cut/Boost, Blend Control, 1U
Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Bass Preamp image 1
Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Bass Preamp image 1
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Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Bass Preamp
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A Feature-packed Preamp in a Single Rackspace!

The Tech 21 SansAmp RPM footswitchable preamp packs a ton of features into a single rackspace unit. Adapted from a pedal SansAmp unit, the versatile SansAmp RPM includes a preamp, an effects loop, semi-parametric EQ, Drive control, active bass, mid, and treble controls (with +/-12dB of boost/cut), and tube amp emulator circuitry. Now you can introduce gain and overdrive into the signal path without losing the clean punch of your bass sound (a handy feature for bassists who want to add some grit to their tone). Want some truly monsterous bass sounds? Try the SansAmp RPM.

Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Preamp at a Glance:
  • Functional and compact
  • Flexible signal control

Functional and compact
The SansAmp RPM bass preamp is feature-packed! Use the Drive control to adjust the overall amount of gain and overdrive. Active Bass and Treble controls cut or boost +/-12dB, while Mid Shift is a parametric EQ control allowing you to select the center frequency of the Mid control. Its sweep ranges from 170 Hz to 3.0 kHz. Mid is also an active tone control, with a cut or boost of +/-12dB.
Blend allows you to mix the direct instrument signal with SansAmp Tube Amplifier Emulation circuitry.
There's also an individual Level control for the XLR out to optimize your amp's output relative to the P.A. system.

Flexible signal control
Tech 21 was able to include several great connection options to the SansAmp RPM. Included is an effects loop with a Mix 50/50 switch to configure in series or parallel, 1/4" rear input and XLR output with selectable levels.
You also get a buffered uneffected XLR output to run a dry signal to a separate channel.
A footswitch input is built in to remotely engage the unit, and a footswitch output is added to chain and toggle between another SansAmp RPM or SansAmp RBI.

Tech 21 SansAmp RPM Preamp Features:
  • Drive adjusts the overall amount of gain and overdrive
  • Active Bass and Treble controls cut or boost +/-12dB
  • Mid Shift is a parametric EQ control which allows you to select the center frequency of the Mid control
  • Mid is an active tone control, cut or boost +/-12dB
  • Blend allows you to mix the direct instrument signal with SansAmp Tube Amplifier Emulation circuitry
  • Individual Level control for the XLR out to optimize your amp's output relative to the P.A. system
  • Effects Loop with Mix 50/50 switch to configure in series or parallel
  • 1/4" rear input and XLR output with selectable levels
  • Buffered uneffected XLR output to run a dry signal to a separate channel
  • Footswitch input to engage unit
  • Footswitch output to chain and toggle between another SansAmp products
The Tech 21 SansAmp RPM puts great tones right in your rack!

Tech Specs

Type Preamp
Form Factor Rackmount
Rack Spaces 1U
Height 1.5"
Width 19"
Depth 6.25"
Weight 5 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number RPM

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
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Geddy Lee's preamp

The sound quality is great on this. I record with it only and just gives you that edge and magic. If you like Geddy's sound really consider this preamp. Also, it is no slouch on guitar either. Thank you Jason Koons for the suggestion. It was the piece I needed!!

What's this? A non-Bass review!?

First and foremost, this is NOT a Bass Preamp... this is an INSTRUMENT preamp. It is the rack-mounted version of the ParaDriver, which means it was designed for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass... so it is by no means bass-exclusive. I have yet to run a keyboard or electric mandolin through it, but I would bet a pretty penny it can handle the task. Does it do vocals too? Oh yeah. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Have an audio mixer? Want to run the balanced line out into this sucker? WELCOME TO THE NEXT LEVEL.Playing a gig at a bar with a great sound system? Run this little guy's XLR out straight into the PA instead of mic'ing your cab. Trust me.Recording an EP with your band at home, and don't want to piss off the neighbors when you crank your 4x12 to get up to decent studio/recording volumes? DONE AND DONE. The RPM functions splendidly as a DI box, if you want a Vintage 60s-era amp sound. Think Fender Tweed or Marshall Plexi fully cranked to tube saturated glory!No studio -- amateur or professional -- should be without a preamp. It is quite literally the difference between good and great analog recordings. If you don't own a preamp, and have a home or pro studio, YOU MUST BUY THIS PRODUCT!All this being said, the RPM is not perfect. The EQ is marvelously musical, especially with the Mid Shift knob, but depending on your particular instrument and pickups, certain tones and frequencies may be more annoying or prevalent than others. Because of this, I highly recommend running an additional EQ after this in your rig/chain, not necessarily because the RPM needs it per se, but more for "seasoning to taste" regarding your "final sound" output. Most instruments benefit from a big -12db cut somewhere in the 200Hz to 2kHz range, no matter what your setup is, so take my advice more as general.Off all the different shades of boost, OVERDRIVE to me is the most musical. Some players prefer Fuzz, Distortion, or a High Gain Clean kinda sound... but a solid Tube-driven Overdrive is the King of Guitar Tones. If you agree with me on that, then you will LOVE the RPM. If you don't agree with me, then you will LOVE the RPM anyway, because with the Mid Shift, you can get an amazing Fuzz sound, and if you want a High Gain Clean boost, the RPM also does that too. Being a metalhead myself, I can guarantee you that the RPM DOES NOT do Metal. Does it do the early-Metallica tone that was Hot Rod Plexi w/Tubescreamer... YES, BUT... it does not do "Distortion" by any means that could be construed as "Metal" by today's standards. Get an MXR Full Bore Metal if that's your thing.
Music background: Guitarist and Home Recording Engineer

buy this now!

i've had this for a few months, but i didn't want to write a review until i got in a gig with it. i just played one a few nights ago with both of my bands, and holy crap my tone was awesome! i was able to dial in the perfect amount of grit within seconds for each of my basses: an ibanez soundgear 5 string and an ernie ball stingray 4. i got so many compliments on my tone, even from non-musicians! i definitely recommend this!
Music background: hobbyist for 16 years and counting

Flat out fantastic.

I knew I would be happy with this thing, I just didn't know I would be THIS happy. Everyone knows this thing is in Geddy's rack, so obviously it's a quality piece of gear with great sound. I bought it based solely on it's reputation. It literally made my tone come alive. I don't know how else to describe it. You need to really take some time with it and make tiny adjustments to the knobs as you tweak - a little bit really goes a long way. They didn't skimp on the back panel either - check out the connectivity options. I run two XLR's to my PC interface; effected (sansamp tone) and un-effected (dry - straight from the bass) so I can record two separate tracks to play with later, then I have yet another line going to my power amp/cab for rockin' out. I can go back and forth without having to play cable monkey anymore!
Music background: bass player - 28 years

A very well engineered product

I am a working bass player. Over the last 40 years, I have played through numerous types of preamps, amplifiers (tube-SVT and solid state) and processing schemes. I was very suprised at the warmness and tone control of this Sansamp product. I have only used it for live performance; however, I am completely satisfied with the unit's operation in this enviroment. I find when arranged with just a simple preamp/compressor/solid state amp configuration that I get a versital and solid stage rig. Again, that warm tube amp sound and easy tone control with virtually no noise in a light weight package. In short, I recomend it.
Music background: Pro Musician/Audio Eng./Electrical Eng.

Sweetwater Advice

Evan Mehre

Bass amps aren't mic'd very often, so it's important to have a great DI sound. When my band went on tour with Saving Abel, I brought only a compressor and a Tech 21 Sansamp RPM with me to ensure that front of house was delivering my very best tone to the audience. It's got a number of tone-shaping options, including my very favorite bass overdrive. And it sounds great on a variety of input sources, holding its own against preamps twice the price.
See also: Bass Effects, Tech 21, Tech 21 Bass Guitar Pedals & Effects