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Tech 21 SansAmp VT Bass Rackmount Preamp Reviews

5.0 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • from Long Island, NY September 28, 2015Music Background:
    Semi Pro (gig weekly, have day job).

    VT Bass Rackmouint

    I always loved the VT pedal and have used it almost exlusively for the past year or so. I always wanted a rackmount version of this pedal, I already have the RBI and RPM which are both great but got into the convenience of just using the VT pedal. When I saw they came out with a rack mount version of the VT, I had to get it. i have not been sorry. It definitely has some similar tones to the RBI but it comes a lot closer to the "Squire" type Yes sound for me. And you stil get that nice overdriven Ampeg tones that you would get from the RBI and RPM. It's the only coloration i use with my rig (keep my rig all set flat) and love the results. you'll love it too. Strongly recommend.

  • from Dallas, TX October 15, 2014

    More than a bass preamp...

    I bought this to help out my bass sound for my real bass guitar recordings. My musical partner , who does most of the production work, borrowed it to see what else it could do for some other synth sounds by reamping through the thing. This thing can fatten up just about anything! The only con is that now I cant get the dang thing back! May have to get two..

  • from Springfield, Missouri February 5, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer, Live Sound

    Great Sound

    This is one amazing tool... I use it both for live performance on stage, and for recording as well. Love the warm tones while keeping the punch in the bottom end. Easy to set up and lots of flexibility... totally changed my overall sound. I've been looking at different amps.. tube and hybrids.. it was hard to find one that had all the options I wanted and also the tube sound I was looking for.. The VT does everything.... and I still have all the options I need for amps and enclosures. I record straight out of the preamp into my X32 and the sound is incredible.

  • from Belle Vernon, Pa January 24, 2014Music Background:
    Longtime Musician


    The SansAmp was everything I expected plus! I play out of an Ampeg svt 7 pro and an Ampeg 8x10 and it sounds good! Pair it up with the SansAmp VT and it sounds AMAZING! The only regret I have is from not getting a SansAmp pre amp sooner!

  • from Maryland, between D.C. and Baltimore November 25, 2013Music Background:
    Semi-pro weekend warrior

    My new favorite SansAmp

    In the late 70's and early 80's my favorite bass rig was a '70s SVT head and cab. For awhile I switched to modern gear, but eventually realized I wanted the classic SVT tone. I didn't want to deal with the weight and bulk of a 90 pound SVT head, so I tried various amps and rack rigs to try to duplicate that tone without all the weight. My favorite SVT-style preamps were the SVP-Pro, SWR Interstellar Overdrive, and also SansAmps: the BDDI, RBI, and RPM. No imitator can give the full glory of a vintage SVT rig but to my ears the BDDI/RBI could come closest.

    Then came the VT pedal, and now the rackmount version, the VTRM. I recently jumped on the VTRM, and after numerous gigs it's become my favorite SansAmp overall, and my favorite device for getting SVT style tones. The Ampeg SVP-Pro preamp has a more SVT-like EQ section, but despite being a mostly tube preamp, it doesn't give the overdrive characteristics of warm 6550 power tubes. The solid state SansAmps are designed to do that, and to me they do it better than genuine tube preamps.

    The VT/VTRM emulation does vintage SVT best of all, and the magic is in the Character control. Panned over to the left, you get some mid scoop (think Ultra-Lo switch on the SVT). With Character closer to noon you get a flatter EQ curve. Then as Character moves to the right of noon it provides thick, chunky overdrive. Turning both Drive and Character to the right results in outrageous amounts of distortion and fuzz, especially with an active bass, but to emulate a V4B or SVT stack run really loud to the point of overdrive you can get there by being more gentle with the Drive. The Blend control is also useful: by dialing it back from full, you add more of the natural tone of your bass to the mix. Combined, these controls give you a nice range of SVT style tones, from clean to warm to dirty. You can also get a broad array of non-SVT distortion too.

    The VTRM doesn't have the EQ capabilities of a true SVT, which has Vari-mid, Ultra-Hi, and Ultra-Lo settings, but again, it covers a wide range of SVT tones, and the most important benefit is the sound of warm power tubes. My favorite environment for my vintage SVT rig was a big stage in a big venue (or outdoors) where I could run it really loud, just to the point of overdrive or sometimes beyond. The VTRM does this beautifully, and unlike a real SVT it gives you power tube overdrive/distortion at any volume.

    Note that the VTRM controls are powerful: a small turn of a knob can result in a significant change in tone or overdrive. However once familiar with the device it's easy to dial in your desired tone, and even change from cleaner to dirtier tones with only a few tweaks.

    I would not recommend the VTRM to someone looking for modern clean/flat bass tone. That said, like all SansAmps it's beautifully designed and has a true bypass. So, if you want to run clean/flat and use the VTRM for occasional overdrive, the VTRM will not change your clean tone when it's switched out.

    Extra credit to Sweetwater for offering the best possible price, free shipping with quick turnaround, and free extended warranty.

  • from Orangevale, CA November 1, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, FOH, speaker designer

    Outstanding Preamp for Bass

    The VTRM does a wide range of SVT emulation and power tube grind in a high quality 1RU chassis.

    VTRM has a Blend control that is also found on the RPM and RPM, but is missing from the VT Bass v2 pedal. Compared to the pedal, Blend adds a lot more flexibility to VTRM.

    The Character control sweeps the Mids from deep scoop (full CCW) to heavy grind (CW). VTRM is a player's preamp, and makes no pretense about being a boutique "straight-wire-with-gain" type of preamp.

    The VTRM has three internal jumper blocks to modify the Bass control to 80-100-120 Hz, the Mids control to 750-1000-1200 Hz, and the Subsonic filter to enable or disable. These are not documented in the user manual. Unfortunately, the VTRM does not have the desirable Mid Shift parametric EQ found in the RPM. There is no Speaker Simulation disable, as is found on the VT Bass pedal.

    Internal build quality is first-rate. There are two circuit boards, one each for the front and rear controls. These are interconnected with two ribbon cables. The boards are a combination of low density SMT and through-board components. The controls are silky-smooth. There have been no engineering changes (board revs) in either RBI or RPM over the product life, which bodes well for the VTRM. All three appear to be built on a common chassis, for economy of manufacturing scale.

    Same as the RPM and RBI, there is a front panel Engage button which is also controlled by a simple latching footswitch. This engages the Sansamp circuitry, or passes the unmodified input signal. This feature allows two Sansamps to switch Engaged units for two distinct settings. Some bassists run a combination of two Sansamps in parallel. I own the RPM and VTRM, and run them Switched into either a PLX or ProLite 2.0. VTRM has more than enough output to fully drive any power amp.

    Sweetwater service is top-tier. I was contacted by phone with the order status, and given an arrival date. The order was securely packed and arrived without shipping damage.

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