6 Best Bass Preamp Pedals (September 2022) – Buyers Guide 🥇

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In this article we’re going to be discussing the best bass preamp pedals that exist in 2022.

Without any doubt, a preamp is one of the most essential pieces of gear for every bass player. Whether you want to use it with a classic bass amp, or you plan to go directly into PA, this is one of the most integral pieces of equipment on your pedalboard.

Still, picking the right preamp pedal is a little bit tricky. Although all these products are designed in a similar way, each unit comes with different characteristics, whether it’s about tonal diversity or the overall sound quality. Moreover, many products come with extra features, including direct input (DI), which makes everything far more convenient.

Therefore, we are here to help you to make the right choice. Before we start with the list of best bass preamp pedals, let’s say a few words about this critical piece of equipment.

Bass Preamp Pedals

What Is A Bass Preamp Pedal?

Bass preamp pedals are practically a preamplifier within a stompbox. While most bass and guitar amps come with integrated preamp and power amps, there are also preamps in forms of pedals. The function is pretty much the same and it’s all about amplifying a quiet signal into something a little bit louder, something that is suitable for an input of a power amp.

Just like a built-in preamp, a preamp pedal has the same basic functions. The first one is to deliver a perfectly clear signal to a power amp. The second one is to shape that signal and add a little bit of its own character. Therefore, a typical preamp pedal features EQ controls, while most of them also come with built-in overdrive and other effects.

Whether you have a bass amplifier with a built-in preamp or not, this is a pedal you definitely need to have. When used with a bass amp, it brings a full amount of additional tone-shaping options and helps in getting the best possible tone. On the other side, it is an essential piece of gear if you want to go directly into PA. Therefore, we present to you some of the best preamp pedals you can find on the market these days.

Bass Preamp Pedals

Our Number One Choice
MXR Bass Preamp
Our Premium Choice
Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass EQ Effect Pedal
Best Value For Money
Hartke Bass Attack 2 Bass Preamp/Direct Box with Overdrive
Summery
You won’t find many preamp pedals that can compete with this one
This is one of the best-sounding bass preamp pedals on the market
Without any doubt, this is the best choice for those who are looking for an affordable but also highly versatile preamp pedal
Dimensions
14 x 6.4 x 11.4 cm
14.8 x 12.4 x 7.4 cm
5 x 2 x 3 inches
Power
9V battery or optional AC adapter
Power supply via 2x 9 V battery
AC Adapter, 2 x AA Batteries, Or Phantom Power
Prime
-
Our Number One Choice
MXR Bass Preamp
Summery
You won’t find many preamp pedals that can compete with this one
Dimensions
14 x 6.4 x 11.4 cm
Power
9V battery or optional AC adapter
Prime
Check Price
Our Premium Choice
Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass EQ Effect Pedal
Summery
This is one of the best-sounding bass preamp pedals on the market
Dimensions
14.8 x 12.4 x 7.4 cm
Power
Power supply via 2x 9 V battery
Prime
Check Price
Best Value For Money
Hartke Bass Attack 2 Bass Preamp/Direct Box with Overdrive
Summery
Without any doubt, this is the best choice for those who are looking for an affordable but also highly versatile preamp pedal
Dimensions
5 x 2 x 3 inches
Power
AC Adapter, 2 x AA Batteries, Or Phantom Power
Prime
-
Check Price

TC Electronic Spectradrive

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TC Electronic Spectradrive

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It seems pretty legal to say that versatility is the other name for this amazing unit. The TC Electronic Spectradrive comes packed with so many amazing features in a single housing. No matter if you’re going to use is for live performances or for recording, this small pedal is fully loaded, not just with amazing recording tools, but also with loads of features for more convenient use.

On the upper section, you can see 8 knobs in total, as well as a couple of foot switches. Four of these knobs are reserved for the EQ, while the two white caps are reserved for extra features, both TonePrint ready. They are called TubeDrive and SpectraComp and the catch with these two is that you can upload artist signature or all other kinds of tones. The best thing is that all you need to assign new tones is a smartphone.

From the sides, you can see that there are lots of connectivity options, which is the thing that makes this pedal super practical and versatile. Besides typical 1/4-inch ins and outs, you may also count on balanced XLR out, which is a perfect recording tool. Of course, there are also small 1/8” aux in and headphone out, for even more convenient use. Finally, the pedal features a built-in BonaFide Buffer, which will keep your tone intact, no matter how long are the cables you use.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The TC Electronic Spectradrive is a perfect tool for serious players that look for a pedal that doesn’t just sound good, but also offers an impressive level of practicality and functionality. With all those inputs and outputs, as well as with loads of options for tonal diversity, it’s hard to say no to this pedal.

Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver

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Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver

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The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver is a perfect example of a modern piece of gear. This DI/preamp pedal has pretty much everything most bass players will ever need but the main reason why this unit stands out is the exceptional tonal diversity. You will hardly find a pedal that has such an amazing EQ section, but the pedal actually offers much more, including overdrive, parallel output, balanced XLR out and more.

As it was just mentioned, the biggest strength of this pedal is the excellent EQ section. While presence and treble controls are pretty typical, the bass control comes with a 40/80Hz switch, which is highly convenient if you use 5- or 6-string basses. The middle control comes with a 500/1000Hz switch, which allows super-fine adjustments depending on the pickups, picking technique etc.

The Drive knob lets you add some hair to your tone, while more experienced players will definitely benefit from the parallel output. Speaking of outputs, this pedal features both standard 1/4” and XLR outputs, so you may get the best possible tones whether you’re going into an amp or directly to PA. Speaking of amps and PA, the aforementioned paralleled out allows you to send affected tone to the PA while keeping the amp clean, which is perfect for stage monitoring.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

This is a great sounding and a pretty versatile pedal. We see it as a perfect choice for players who have high demands when it comes to the tone. Simply, the impressive EQ section makes it super practical for those who use multiple bass guitars on stage or while recording. Still, we have no doubt that live performance is  Tech 21 SansAmp’s zone of comfort.

MXR M81 Bass Preamp

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MXR M81 Bass Preamp

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While most other bass preamp pedals on the market tend to be as practical and versatile as they can be, the MXR M81 Bass Preamp puts focus on the most important thing – sound. Therefore, all the controls you will find on this small unit are at your service with the same goal, to help you find your perfect sound. So, it’s no wonder that this is one of the best sounding bass preamps on the market.

There are several reasons why this pedal sounds so great. Of course, one of them is an excellent EQ section, which besides typical knobs also comes with the additional knob that lets you sweep through mid-range frequencies. Still, the best thing about this pedal is that there are separate volume knobs for input and output, which in combination with the advanced Constant Headroom Technology allow you to get perfect clarity at volumes other pedals can only dream.

In terms of on-stage functionality, you may count on several amazing features, starting from a  buffered/true bypass selector. Also, you can switch pre/post EQ direct out, which in practice means you can dial different tones for your amp and PA. Finally, the pedal can operate with all kinds of power sources, including phantom power from your mixer.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The MXR M81 Bass Preamp may not be the most functional pedal around but from the tone-quality standpoint, you won’t find many pedals that can compete with this one. Therefore, it seems pretty obvious that this unit is designed for tone purists, those who pay attention to every nuance in their sound.

Xotic Effects Bass BB Preamp

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Xotic Effects Bass BB Preamp

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Many bass players don’t like numerous knobs and switches on their pedal, but rather stick to something simpler. The catch is in the sound and such simple units should be able to deliver amazing tones at once. In our humble opinion, the Xotic Effects Bass BB Preamp does a great job, especially if we consider the price tag.

This pedal features just four knobs and the thing we like about it is that it delivers instant killer tones. Still, if you want to play a little bit, there is also a decent amount of tweaking options. The knob configuration is pretty typical, as you may count on two EQ pots, as well as on Level and Gain control. Yes, the pedal also features overdrive, which seems highly convenient. Still, we find the EQ section more important. The two knobs are overlapping and offer a pretty wide range of options in the tonal spectrum. Also, you may count on a 15dB boost or cut.

Despite that we are talking about a pretty compact unit, which tends to be simple, it comes with all essential features of a bass preamp pedal, including a true bypass. When it comes to a power supply, you can run this pedal either on batteries or with a 9V AC adapter.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

If you look at the price tag and the overall design, it looks obvious that the manufacturer has aimed those players who look for simplicity but don’t want to pay an extra sum for a highly-reputable brand. In return, they can count on pretty amazing sound characteristics and on-stage functionality.

Hartke Bass Attack 2

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Hartke Bass Attack 2

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Although it has been a full decade since we’ve seen this pretty bulky unit, we are still impressed with all the goodies it offers for a more than reasonable price. Practically, this pedal has everything a bass player will ever need on stage, starting from pretty versatile EQ section, more than decent overdrive and the fact that it comes with three foot switches.

Of course, the core of the pedal is the familiar Hartke circuit, which allows a lot of EQ manipulation. Still, be sure that you won’t get confused with all those controls and that the learning process is actually pretty quick. This is also a DI unit, so you may count on direct XLR out, which also comes with ground lift function for added versatility and on-stage practicality.

Speaking of stage practicality, the pedal doesn’t just come with the ability of pre and post signal tweaking, but also comes with three foot switches, where one of them is reserved for the overdrive, while the other one lets you engage Hartke’s signature Freq and Amount knobs. Of course, the third one is a typical On/Off switch. The pedal can also run on phantom power from your mixer.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Without any doubt, this is the best choice for those who are looking for an affordable but also highly versatile preamp pedal. The number of features you get for such a price tag is really unbelievable. The Hartke Bass Attack 2 is cheap, extremely practical and versatile, and sounds great too.

Aguilar Tone Hammer

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Aguilar Tone Hammer

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The Aguilar Tone Hammer is one of the best bass preamp pedals around. Simply, all you need to do is to look at the list of bass players that use this unit and to realize that it’s impossible to go wrong with it. Whether you’re after vintage or ultra-modern tones, this pedal does a great job. Moreover, it also comes packed with additional features that make stage or studio performance highly convenient.

Despite we are talking about a professional-grade pedal, everything looks so simple on it. The pedal is easy to use and allows lots of tone sculpting at the same time. Sweeping mid-range frequencies, along with typical bass and treble controls seem pretty typical for a pedal like this, while the drive control allows you to bring it on and get an impressive range of overdrive tones.

There are few more switches on the pedal, including pre/post tonal manipulation, while XLR out makes the pedal suitable for any situation. Also, you will like the ability to run this pedal with various power supply units, including phantom power from your mixer.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Just a couple of notes and it becomes clear that this is a premium unit, designed for professionals. Superior tone is the strongest point of this preamp/DI pedal, but we also like its on-stage practicality. Finally, the pedal is built like a tank and looks like it will last for ages.

Our Number One Choice

MXR M81 Bass Preamp

Although there are several pedals on the list that come with more features and overall functionality, we believe that the tone should be the most important criterion when choosing a bass preamp pedal. From the tonal standpoint, it’s hard to beat MXR M81 Bass Preamp, especially if we consider the price tag, as well as the excellent Constant Headroom Technology, which offers impressive clarity in an extremely wide volume range.

Buy On Amazon

Our Premium Choice

Aguilar Tone Hammer

The Aguilar Tone Hammer features a pretty high price tag, but that’s for a reason. This is one of the best-sounding bass preamp pedals on the market. In addition, you may count on everything a bass player needs, whether it’s about the studio or on-stage performance. Also, the ability to run such an impressive amount of features on phantom power sounds beyond amazing.

Buy On Amazon

Best Value For Money

Hartke Bass Attack 2

When you are on a tight budget, the first thing you need is decent sound quality. The second thing is to get as much functionality and versatility is possible. The Hartke Bass Attack 2 goes way beyond that for an unbelievably affordable price. It is one of the most functional pedals around, at least when it comes to on-stage performance, while numerous extra features make it by far the best bass preamp pedal in this price range.

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That concludes this full buyers guide on the best bass preamp pedals. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions regarding the products you have seen in this article. Check out our other bass buyer guides such as the best Bass Synth Pedals.

Here at Guitar Effects Pedalz we also provide full reviews of the best online guitar services so you can learn guitar with our Guitar Tricks review

Last update on 2022-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API