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Tech 21 VT Bass DI Review

A New Bass Pedal in Town The VT Bass DI offers vintage tone and lots of handy features. How does it compare to Tech 21's other VT Bass products? read more…

Tech 21 Characters Series VT Bass Deluxe Review

At Your Beck and Call... Following the Red Ripper, let's check out the new VT Bass version released by Tech 21. The unit is a preamp in stompbox format. It simulates the sound of the legendary SVT amps from a manufacturer whose name is unnecessary to mention. since you are all very cultivated. Many AF members have praised this system in the forums and asked for a review of the Deluxe version. That's why we decided to try it out and give you our opinion. read more…

Tech 21 Oxford Mini-Review

Who Stole the Orange? The story of the Character Series started over two years ago when Tech21 decided to market five effect pedals that each one simulated a legendary amp. Their immediate success made the manufacturer launch three new models in 2010. We tested the Oxford, a stomp box that smells like orange peel... read more…

User reviews on Tech 21 SansAmp products

Tech 21 Bass Driver (Tech 21 - SansAmp Bass Driver DI)

By MGR/Golem, 06/09/2004
$89 used at Guitar Ctr Albany NY.

Had gone to one of their clearance
sales and was just browsing around.

I knew Tech 21 NYC stuff is very OK
because I'm already using their Bass
Compactor, a compressor with EQ.

It is both tube simulator and a DI box.

I know what my Fender Bassman tube amps sound like, and know their limitations.
The Bass Driver is a decent mimic, not
quite 100% fool-your-ear, of the Bassman
sound, but it can produce that tone over
a much wider range of volume levels and
at any level of drive-effect you choose.

The Bassman itself increases the drive
sound linked to increases in volume that
are not always appropriate for the venue
or the audience. The Bass Driver solves
this dilema and I find the trade-off [of
very slightly "inauthentic" tube sound]
to be well worth the greater flexibility.

It has a 2-knob EQ [bass & treble] but I
find that the "mid" knob of any 3-knob EQ
is my most valuable control. This is not
really a limitation if the bass that I am
playing has a midrange EQ control; and if
the bass in use has only a single passive
tone knob, then even the 2-knob layout is
an upgrade in tone control.

Like all Tech 21 stuff, rock solid. USA
built with heavy metal exterior, solid
punch-button type of foot switch, very
quiet [super-low background noise].

Has a 9v DC input, or runs from Phantom
Power when using its XLR output jack, or
runs from internal battery.

Also has 1/4" output, plus another 1/4"
out for dry [bypass]. The 1/4 and XLR
outputs of course carry a user-dialed
mix of wet and dry controlled by a blend
knob. There are also knobs for overall
output [dry bypass jack not affected],
for drive intensity, and knobs for bass,
treble, & "presence". Presence adds a
lot of finger noise if you dial it above
the 1/3 position [with roundwounds].

Clean overall gain is less than from any
other pre-amp that I've tried [Fishman,
Baggs, and Aguilar] since this is really
a DI box and not a pre-amp. However with
a medium amount of drive, and some boost
on the bass, it's about the same level as
an outboard pre-amp.

This is a very useful, flexible device.
That comment despite my general attitude
that effects are for losers!! I don't
care for anything that masks or that even
transforms the instrument's voice. But
in truth, even your choice of amplifier
somewhat transforms the voice of your ax.

Before you trade your light-weight solid
state amp for some monster tube amp, you
owe it to yourself to see if this box is
all you really want or need. Do be aware
that it might shred a cheezy speaker, but
it can turn a decent rig into a great one.

This review was originally published on

Sansamp Bass Driver Deluxe (Tech 21 - SansAmp Bass Driver Deluxe)

By MGR/Riko, 24/08/2009
it is a good looking unit, black, 6 programmable slots,
fx sends.
I have been playing bass guitar since 1980, mainly rock and in a lot of bands and gigs with plenty of recording, also i am a sound engineer.

I initially used my friends sans amp bass driver D.I Unit on our new album, this was awesome, so decided to buy the deluxe model for gigging at £239 from digital village (uk) i read some reviews and it seemed fine.

great sound, programmable, fx sends and return

unlike the D.I the duluxe when gain, presence and treble went past 3 o clock it started to oscillate/feedback, very unpleasant high pitch whine!even thru headphones at very low levels ! so i sent it back thinking it was a fault, so they sent me another,which had the same problemos,i compared it to the D.I and the D.I version did not have the same problem! so sent it back and am going for the D.I Unit instead.i own an 18 month old fender precision bass with no probs!

THE Construction/Quality IS EXCELLENT.
strong metal finish and the knobs are well sturdy

i have no problems with anything else only the feedback issue!so be very carefull!
i emailed tech21 and they said:-

Thank you for your Bass Driver purchase. Since the Deluxe version uses digital control to remember the knob settings, you can't just transfer the physical settings from the original Bass Driver to the new unit. In your example 3:00 on the Bass Driver does not equal 3:00 on the Deluxe. Due to the way the circuitry works, 3:00 - 4:00 is basically maximum, so a 3:00 setting on the Bass Driver will most likely be about 1:00-2:00 on the Deluxe.

I know from experience that setting the Drive, Presence, and Treble on the original Bass Driver to max (or near max) will result in self oscillation, so that sounds about right if it is happening on the Deluxe with maxed settings.

There are other factors that may contribute to this type of oscillation. Pickups that are not potted properly tend to oscillate with high treble and gain settings. If the oscillation goes away by turning the volume control off on the bass, the problem may lie elsewhere (pickup potting, inadequate grounding or ground loops in the system).

Proximity of the bass to the speaker cabinet or monitors may also magnify this problem.

Where the Bass Driver is connected in the chain may cause oscillation to occur. For example, it should not be connected to the send and return of an effects loop of an amplifier.

Improper setting of the level switches on the Deluxe can also cause oscillations.

Feel free to email me any more information on your setup in order to diagnose this problem. If you do have the opportunity to check out the units head to head, try modifying the settings on the Deluxe by ear and you should be able to match them up as they do have the same exact analog circuitry in the signal path.

But i just do not trust the unit anymore!

This review was originally published on

Tech 21 Sansamp VT Bass Pedal (Tech 21 - VT Bass)

By MGR/Billy, 28/11/2011
Tech 21 is known for their popular line of Sansamp rack mountable units. With the new technology of bass amplification out these days not many guys are using racks, yet rather smaller amp heads that still need a little kick in the pants in the preamp section that Tech 21 is known for delivering.

My friend ended up not using his and let me borrow it to play out with my live rig to see if I dug it. New they cost right around $130. They are very popular right now and pretty tough to find in stock, if you are on the fence grab one, if it is not your cup of tea I am certain you can easily flip it for close to what you paid.

It gets you into the ballpark of an Ampeg SVT tone for about $1000 and 100 pounds less! It can easily be powered by any 9 volt power supply.

You can add just a little grit to simulate some tube breakup or you can this thing into full overdrive mode similar to an Electro Harmonix Big Muff.

I was hoping for just a little more in the sub low end department. They can really make or break you if you are playing a room with big ceilings and concrete floors.

I wish there was an XLR out on it. BTW I have seen mods for this, I just have not done it myself.

A tough aluminum box, a red LED light to let you know if the pedal is on or off. The knobs starting from the top left and moving to the bottom right: Level, Mid, Character, Drive, Low and High. The finish of this is a nice powder coat, if kept well it should last a long time.

A simple and effective way to spice up your bass tone. A great unit to toss in your gig bag in case you need to use a house amp, yet still keep the integrity of 'your tone'

This review was originally published on

Swiss army knife for musicians (Tech 21 - SansAmp Para Driver DI)

By MountAnDewMe, 15/01/2013
The Sans Amp Para Driver DI by Tech 21 is probably one of the most overlooked but intuitively usefull tools every musician should own. Built primararly to be a Direct Interface, which it does well, it goes well beyond the scope of any normal DI box. This is an analog DI that can be powered by a nine volt battery, an AC adapter, or by phantom power. It offers one quarter inch input, a quarter inch parallel uneffected output, one quarter inch effected output, and one effected XLR output. There is one true bypass footswitch on the pedal. There are six large knobs that control level, treble, mid, mid shift, bass, drive, and 1 mini knob to controll the blend of the Sans Amp simulator. In addition to this there are three switches, two that controll the output level between line and instrument level on the two effected outputs and a third to select phantom power and a ground connect switch.


Unlike many pedal manuals Tech 21 sends a very informative guide to the operation of the pedal and its many components. Along with that there are many examples of setups provided for use with guitar, both acoustic and electric, bass, keyboard, and more. This pedal truely is useful across the range of amplified instruments. The use of this pedal is very straight forward but does require some experimentation to gett the feel of it. The controls are extremely interactive which allow for drastic changes with minimal adjustments. It can be made to not sound the way you want if you treat it as a general tone shaping device as the knobs require a high level of familiarity, similar to the way you would dial in a Mesa Boogie Recto. It is not a deficiency of the unit but a testament of how powerful the shaping qualities can be.


This unit is a transparent or as colored as you needit to be. The reason it is so adept to working across various instruments is it versitility. If you simply need a colorless DI to the board it has it covered. If your a bass player and want to take just your instrument to a house of worship to play it can send a convincing Ampeg sound to the board. It works wonders to eliminatethe unwanted parts of piezo pickups and really anything you need it to do. It also is indespensible for use in a home studio. If you are using an amp for feel and are recording it the parallel though is indispensible for preserving a quality DI track for future reamping if needed.


This unit is a perfect solution to many problems any musician can face in any situation. There are no flaws I can see in this design. I believe this piece is worth every penny and I only wish I had owned it since the day it was built. It operated phenominaly in any situation as long as the user takes some time to know what they actualy own in this piece. I have seen and used a few other DI boxes in the past but none can compare to the toolbox nature of this unit. I would buy it again if anything happened to it but it is built very well. I do not forsee me breaking it anytime in the future. The only regret I have is the fact I never thought much of it before I actually went and tried one. I wish it had been with me since day one.

News Tech 21 SansAmp

The SansAmp Blonde Deluxe is available

Published on 08/05/13
Tech21 launched the sale of its SansAmp Blonde Deluxe pedal, a limited edition available only on the manufacturer website.

Two new Tech 21 VT Bass preamps

Published on 02/13/13

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