Sadowsky Preamp/DI Testimonials
Please tell me...I've had your Bass Preamp DI for a while...and I totally love it! I've thrown away most of my pedals....that I have tried to use to capture that tonal quality that I've been searching for throughout my 30 year bass career. I haven't found it until now! Thank you so much!
I wish I had the monies to afford a Sadowsky bass, but I guess the Preamp DI will have to do...and I have very happy!
The transparent, clear, crisp, snappy, edge that this unit gives me, represents the 'hifi' sound that world renown bassplayers have known. Now I have it! YES!
It has made ALL of my basses sound exquisite!
Thanks again for ending my search for the ultimate bass tone!
Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands....
October 10, 2005
Over the years I have been privy to pre-amps and D/I boxes by every high end company (including Fodera), and recently I had the pleasure of acquiring one of yours DI boxes. I have to say that the person I ordered the box from was VERY helpful, professional, and just plain cool to be blunt about it.
About 4 buisness days later I received the DI box. I had never tried one of your pre-amps, and bought one out of good faith (after trying an INCREDIBLE used instrument that you guys had built. Wish I had the money at the time for that one!) I plugged it in (with a 74' fretless Fender P Bass), and the first words to come out of my mouth was OH MY GOD. Roger, this was the MOST incredible sounding box I've EVER come across. It's tone became meaty and the dynamics were perfect. The box was quiet with absolutely NO HUM. So, after hearing the PERFECT sound that I could get out of it with my P Bass, I plugged in my Jazz, and, may I say, that I never thought I would get THE sound out of my stock Jazz Deluxe. You guys do incredible work.
I beleive I will be selling my F Bass eventually for an Ultra Vintage J bass. You have completely convinced me. You guys make the best sounding equipment I've ever heard. No doubt in my mind. Thanks.
Forever A Sadowsky Fan,
May 8, 2005
I recently purchased a Sadowsky Preamp/DI from Clubbass in Toronto. (A great place to deal with!) I LOVE this thing!
I am a professional "weekend" musician doing small room and big room gigs, and was always having difficulty getting a good tone through our PA. Not only am I getting GREAT tone on stage now, my tone through our PA is amazing!
It really cuts through the mix without upsetting the bottom end or drum mix. What a difference this device has made to my sound.
I ordered a Metro MV5 and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
Thank you, Roger! All the best to you and your staff for 2005.
December 21, 2004
I live in Sydney, Australia, and I play bass and guitar professionally, and I run a small studio from my home. I just bought your one of your Preamp/ DI pedals from The Bass Player here in Sydney. I can't believe how much it has improved my tone! I'm using it without an amp at gigs and in the studio. It's incredible. Thanks for this awesome product and your great contribution to music.
December 15, 2004
The tone of the onboard preamp is the best. This is the sound I have been struggling for ... to play with total abandon. However I choose to articulate ... the frequencies and harmonics are there!
Total support ... thank you!
November 20, 2004
Just ordered and received the onboard preamp two weeks ago and I just wanted to thank you for this incredible sound on my bass. That was the sound I was searching for. Thank you very much!
Best regards from Germany!
October 24, 2004
Ciao, I am Carlo and i have wrote for informations about your outboard pre. Thank you very much for answer.
Today i have buyed it in my nearest Shop (Cavalli strumenti musicali BS) ... it's really Great!!! GREAT WORK!!!
My Jazz Bass have a new life!! Really good sound, very "professional " and warm with all the style: finger, slap, picking. Also my other effects pedals sound better with your pre!! I use sometimes a Boss "bass chorus" CEB3 and the sound is much better and more trasparent now. I have put the pedals like you suggest me: Sadowsky - EBS compressor - Boss chorus.
Thank you very very much for your great work, now i am a happy italian bassman!!!
March 11, 2004
I ordered an outboard preamp from you three or four days ago. I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love it (I relayed this to Frank over the phone but I wanted to let you know personally).
I play a Fender Custom Shop Relic Jazz Bass, and through your preamp the bass sounds absolutely amazing. Massive low end, which is exactly where I thought the sound of the bass (which I was already very pleased with) needed some improvement. Of course, I will be keeping the preamp. Thank you so much for such a wonderful product.
March 4, 2004
I have ordered a D.I. bass preamp through my friend Eddie and I just want to let you know that it's sounding AMAZING. My MusicMan bass just got a pair of new balls :)
February 7, 2004
My Fender 75 Jazz re-issue bring fuckin tears to my eyes every time I play it though your Pre-Amp! Im working on a bass CD (hip-hop jazz type). Im so glad I waited until I received your pre-amp before I laid one fuckin note! Nobody in my area can understand how your pre-amp is making me play so much! ITS THE FUCKIN TONE FOLKS! As soon as my CD is done, I will be sending you a copy of it along with my bass so, you can put your Pre-Amp in this baby! Then, when I go out and make some more $$$ you can bet Ill be purchasing one of your Babies!!! Thank you and your crew so much! I like to play bass AGAIN!
P.S. Sorry about the cussing. Thats just how much I love that pre-amp!
January 1, 2004
Played my first gig last night with the Sadowsky DI in my Ampeg/MM SR4 rig. I can't say enough about the improvement in my sound that the DI has provided. In fact, I had more than one person comment on the awsome bass tone that I had. Two thumbs up!!!
Still saving for my Sadowsky bass, too!
October 25, 2003
Just wanted to let you know that I received the preamp and have had the opportunity to play out with it a few times since. I am so pleased with the effect that it has on my Stingray. The bass is tighter and more focused -- no more subterranean mud.
The treble has gone from cold and brittle to crisp and glassy. I also love how the mids attenuate based on the treble and bass settings, and this bass has lost none of its characteristic mid-range punch even with healthy treble and bass settings.
When slapping, the bottom does not fall out of the music like it used to. All thumb notes ring fat and clear to get the band pumping.
October 20, 2003
I have owned one of your floor preamps for about 8 months now and I use it every time I plug one of my basses into an amplifier or console. I even run my active Warwicks through your preamp with no problems. I also use your preamp to record other bassists in my engineering work and I have never had a complaint after they hear the end result. I can't believe the difference your Preamp makes no matter what bass I use it on!!!!
I have gone from a 16 space Anvil Shock rack full of gear (over $15,000 worth) to your preamp and an Avalon U5 DI (with the Avalon tone shaping bypassed) straight to a recording console or monitor rig. I could probably just use your preamp but I could not see letting a $500 DI collect dust. I can now fit my entire live rig into a dual instrument gig bag and a small road case (primarily for the Avalon) that I carry into a date.
I will NEVER play or record without using your preamp as the first component in my signal chain again!!! I apologize for going on but I think you have a GREAT product and I could not be happier!!!!!! Feel free to give anyone who is unsure about purchasing my email address and I would be happy to answer any questions about my experience with your company and your product.
Professional Musician and Engineer for 24 years ... owned it all, played it all, done it all, and still alive ..... and picking!!
December 21, 2002
I just recieved your outboard bass pre-amp/D.I.. I have never heard my bass come so alive. The bottom end is fantastic, and the overall definition of my tone is unreal. I am in tone heaven, How did I ever get by without this little black box? Thanks for all your help.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I just got the bass preamp and tried it with my fender 75 RI and my rogue beatle bass.and it brought a tear to my eye.i cant beleve the sound thats comeing out of them basses. I have been playing bass for 25 years and never had a sound that good.I wish I would have had one years ago it would have saved me from buying every bass and amp under the sun. if that preamp is that good the basses you sell must be awsome!!!!!!!!! thanks again. also when i called to place the order the person i talked to couldnt be a nicer guy and so helpful. thank you all again for making my basses sound like basses.
January 9, 2003
Your preamp rules! I mean it. Everytime I get a nice bass I end up running it passive through your preamp. All the other builders tell me how great the sound will be with their preamp but I always end up using your pedal.
December 11, 2002
I recently purchased 1 of your pre amps and I wanted 2 let U know how impressed I am with your product. I used the pre amp on an out door gig with my Fender Jazz bass and my little polytone amp. The conditions were terrible, it was raining, foggy and cold.
The bright side is that your pre amp made the polytone sound like a 4x10 cab. I was able 2 get a big warm sound with a clear solid fundamental pitch. The other players on the gig noticed a huge difference in the sound.
The next night I played jazz gig at a coffee house. I had my string bass, an old Walter Woods amp and a Raezer's edge speaker. Simply a really clear deep tone. A very focused sound where the response 2 the pizz and arco notes were immediate and precise through the entire range of my bass.
A couple of nights later I play another out door gig. Same rig as the coffee house except with my Jazz bass, an even better sound than the polytone. I did a church gig and all I brought with was my bass and my Sadowsky and I sounded great. In every situation that I used your pre amp, it just makes life so much easier.
I have several students that have heard the pre amp and I think 1 of them is very interested in getting 1. I will recommend it with great enthusiasm 2 any one I come in contact with. I would 2 thank U 4 making such a great sounding pre amp.
Martin M. Torres
November 26, 2002
Thank you very much. I received my preamp as you promised in time for my Wednesday gig. I played with it a bit at home first. My five string Fender has a very strong case of that classis Jazz bass "growl". The preamp subdued that somewhat. At the higher control settings it gave a very scooped out modern sound. Down around 1/4 it flattened out the sound but added fatness so I took it to the gig to try it out. What a difference! People should not try to evaluate this in a music store or a bedroom. It is obviously the result of many hours of tuning by working musicians in real situations. The bass came alive and sat perfectly in the mix. Deep and solid with out being boomy or bloated. I could play low D's and C's and get a deep solid pitch. Not just a meaningless rumble. Pop's rang clear without being tinny. Several experienced musicians in the audience came up to complement me on how great the bass sounded.
Thanks again for your great product. I've never written a manufacturer before but this thing is truly special. And I would caution anyone from making judgments about it until they get it out on a gig. Keep up the great work.
October 26, 2002
Ive had your outboard bass preamp for about 4 years. For something so simple to use, it has the greatest impact of anything I own (my Rickenbacker loves it).
September 22, 2002
I have an 75 jazz reissue with your preamp, and I want to thank you for the quality in tone that it gives my bass. The preamp has taken my bass to a higher level than before. I may not have a Sadowsky bass, but I have the GUTS to take on any gig.
May 31, 2002
Received the preamp on Friday, Roger, and used it at a performance over the weekend: It’s fantastic. I have abandoned my stage rig and will now be going direct to the board and through the monitors using your preamp, and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for providing such a high-quality, reasonably-priced product designed specifically for discriminating bassists.
May 20, 2002
Your preamp is a monster and has been so good to me... I use it with all my basses. You rock !!!!!!!!
April 15, 2002
I recently bought your outboard preamp, and Ive had it about a month. During that time Ive played it at a handful of gigs and quite a few rehearsals. Ive found that it adds a wonderful richness to the tone of both my fretless and fretted basses (all Fender-style, passive). When I first heard it, it seemed to me to add more than just equalization perhaps some compression, and a bit of a flange sound in the upper harmonics? Or perhaps the flange is a natural sound my bass makes that I could not hear before. Whatever it does, the sound is very pleasing. I also very much appreciate the simplicity of just two knobs Ive long been irritated by amps with numerous tone knobs and buttons. Such amps have nice sounds within them, but finding them requires a search procedure which is exponential to the number of knobs, and lots of poor sounds along the way.
Your device gives good but different sounds at every tone setting. I was surprised to find nice sounds when rolling off my passive tone control, even when the high-end preamp knob is set for boost.
February 21, 2002
I'm a bass player in Nashville session work and have a 9 piece funk, soul band. I play old Fender basses mostly a 1975 with 62 pickups badass bridge and a valley arts maple neck.
I recently purchased a pre amp from you guys and i just wanted to tell you how much i like it. I play a lot and every place i play im getting compliments from the studio to live from sound engineer. I use SWR amps and the direct feature sounds cleaner live also. I also use this pre amp with my 1973 fretless P-bass. I am definately going to purchase one of your PJ reverse config. 5 strings soon. I have met Michael Rhodes before and get to watch hime live and he always plays your basses and they sound incredible.
Just wanted to say thanks.
January 9, 2002
Last week I got my outboard preamp from Pauls Bassmatters in Netherland an I really like it. I play a Fender Jazz Bass 4-string. Most of the time I used to play the bridge pickup, only for slap sounds I change a little bit to the neck pickup. Compared to my active basses I was missing the bottom when using the bridge pickup. So I got your preamp and now my bass sounds crisp and has a great band sound with enough bottom. Sometimes I have jobs where I play without my amp right into the mixer. I like to have a tone control now on my DI-box. I tried it also with my upright together with a old underwood pickup and it works fantastic. My upright sounds very naturally. Congratulation for this little magic box.
December 3, 2001
Im very happy to get the preamp. Its FANTASTIC. I read all of the reviews, that the users of the preamp wrote. All that they said is true. My bass really lives! Thanks a lot! I hope once I will have one of your famous bass guitars.
Adrian Csapó (from Hungary)
November 29, 2001
I got the preamp and all I can say is WOW! I LOVE IT! I usually NEVER like any active electronics on my gear, but I bought this originally to use with my MM-style and Jazz bass for slapping and popping at home (with the band its all finger style and pick playing). Im having SO much fun with it I gotta try it at a show with my real gear. Were in the process of selling our home and doing some last minute remodeling so Im not getting a LOT of time to try it out, but so far I LOVE it! I like the fact that you can go from active to passive and set the active settings to match the passive volume with the volume control. Ill try it at the shows this weekend and see how I feel about using it for fingerstyle and pick playing. I think Ill really like it for pick playing especially - gives that extra treble boost that sounds VERY cool.
I tried the preamp at last nights show with my Roscoe Beck bass and Ampeg SVT setup. Im always asking the soundman we used last night about gear when I try it out and hes almost always very non-commital, usually cant tell a difference through the PA no matter what Im trying. But last night after soundcheck he made a point of coming up to me to tell me how great my bass sounded. He didnt even know I had changed anything. The preamp was the only difference! The guys in the band noticed, too. Its very cool - really adds a lot!
Ill be recommending your preamps to anyone wholl listen!
September 28, 2001
This review is now posted on David Geschkes website: http://www.daveonbass.com/equipbassmisc.htm
SADOWSKY PREAMP/DI PEDAL
If you’ve never tried a Sadowsky preamp you owe it to yourself to find a way to check it out! THEY ROCK! I’m not a big fan of active electronics, so most of my basses are passive. I wanted to get a preamp unit basically just to use with my Aslin Dane Music Man copy and my 66 Jazz bass at home to practice slapping and popping. I chose the Sadowsky preamp after hearing Juraj Griglak’s CD "Bass Friends" - his tone is SO cool I wrote and asked him what he used - a 70’s Jazz with a Sadowsky outboard preamp for most of the disc. Upon receiving my unit I plugged it into my $260 Aslin Dane MM copy and - WOW! WHAT A SOUND! THE BEST slap/pop sound I have ever gotten - in an instant.
After playing around with it for a while and using a couple other basses with it I decided I had to try the preamp at a show. So I took it to that Friday’s gig, plugged it in and did sound check. Afterward the soundman (who usually NEVER comments on anything - even when I want him to) came up and said to me, "Your bass sounds great tonight - are you doing something different?". Yep, I was - the Sadowsky preamp. I’ve been using it non-stop for ALL playing since I got it - the sound for fingerstyle and pick playing is great as well as slapping. You can adjust the preamp volume and match it to the passive volume if you want to use the footswitch to go back and forth between active and passive. I like that a LOT - I prefer using the ?passive? input on my amp.
This allows me to get an ?active? sound while not overdriving the amp on the "passive?" setting. I can’t say enough good things about this preamp, check out the Sadowsky site at the link above. Tell Roger that DaveOnBass sent you! Oh, and cost? Around $250 shipped...
Thank you for returning my call so quickly this morning. After I got off the phone with you, I immediately called UPS and found out where to pick up the preamp/DI. I brought it home and played with it all day. The sound was phenomenal! My Jazz Bass (with Bartolini pickups) had been sounding weak and clanky through my rather nice bass rig, and I wasnt getting the fat bottom end I needed. Two minutes into using the pedal I got the sound I was looking for. All I can say is I hope I can one day afford one of your beautiful basses and get the same sound. I know my upcoming gigs with my band, Mass Transit (http://www.masstransitmusic.com), will be that much better.
Thanks for all your help and keep up the great work.
June 28, 2001
I received the Outboard Pre-Amp I ordered about 4 weeks ago, and after using it for several weeks and numerous gigs, I have decided that it really does improve the sound of my Sting-Rays. As a matter of fact, the phrase Kicks my Ass comes to mind every time I plug in!! Im sold!
Hope to come to New York sometime early next year and check out your showroom, try some different models out, and decide which one I want you to build for me. I think a 24 fret 5-String would do nicely.
Once again, thank you for the info and the amazing preamp.
June 17, 2001
Immediately upon recieving the preamp, I took it to the studio for three days in a row. I was recording my double-bass both with mic (which I always do) and direct, to leave more options soundwise for the mixdown. Both myself and the engineer/producer were amazed at how the device improved the direct signal (coming from The Realist).
After the recording sessions, I took some time to briefly fool around with it and my amp (the EBS Drome) at home. It was clear within a couple of minutes that your preamp delivers far better sound for all my instruments than the pre section of the combo, being so incredibly simple(r) to work with at the same time.
Next day I played with a straightahead jazz piano trio (not my typical format, but a very sensitive one in terms of sound). At the start of the sound check I only briefly left your preamp out of the signal chain just to A/B the combos preamp section and the newly purchased little box. To cut the story short: I will never play any bass without the Sadowsky outboard preamp/d.i.!
In the next few days since, I have played through the preamp going to effects return on the combo, with three musically very diverse groups, and in any setting the outboard works just perfect! The sound of the double-bass is so much more natural I can hardly believe it.
Thank you for this marvelous little machine. It makes my bass life far more enjoyable. Keep the good vibe!
June 12, 2001
My bass arrived safe and sound yesterday. Please pass on to Bryant how pleased I am with his set-up work: he dialed it in just right, not easy to do going by feel and playing style descriptions over the phone. The real revelation was your pre-amp incredible! I especially appreciate how easy it is to match volume levels between on and bypassed modes and the dead quiet footswitchs. Great piece of gear. Thanks again for all your help and the first-rate craftsmanship of you and your staff. Now if I can just scrape together three large for my own vintage four w/matching headstock . . .
May 15, 2001
Ive found the holy grail! This is the sound Ive been searching 18 years to find. I have a roscoe 6 string with Bartolini p/us and preamp that sounds good but a little sterile and perhaps harsh. Your preamp softened and smoothed my sound to a nice vintage/musical tone. Many thanks for a great product!
April 27, 2001
I started using the original outboard preamp two years back. I found that it warmed up the sound, made the bass more hearable at lower amp settings, added clarity and cut out the mud. I have used with a passive jazz bass and I am currently using it mainly with my American Standard P bass. The combination of P bass, Thomastik Infeld jazz flats and the Sadowsky preamp gives me the most useable and manageable sound I have ever had. When the new preamp/DI came out, I bought it mainly because I was so happy with the original preamp..and I needed a new DI.
I have gigged the unit seven or eight times since I got it, and heres what I think. It sounds just like the original preamp, but is much easer to use. I keep the unit on my amp with tuner attached. I find the volume and tone controls more easily accessible and controllable there than on the original style preamp, where I have to reach behind my back to adjust them (I had that unit dangling from my bass strap), and I find I use the preamp much more to control volume than I used to. I like the functionality of a battery level LED, and the sheer weight of the unit, which keeps it firmly seated on my amp head. The mute switch lets me change basses easily, and just switch my whole rig off without changing bass settings. It is particularly useful when going direct. It is totaly silent, which other footswitches I have used are certainly not. On the whole I find it an extremely well designed, very well built and thoroughly useful bit of gear.
Thanks for an excellent piece of equipment, Roger. I thought about selling my original preamp, as I dont use it any more, but I just cant bring myself to...
March 26, 2001
WOW!!! thanks for stirring me in the right direction and convincing me to buy the pre-amp. I must admit I was skeptical at first because I was sure that the only way to go was ripping out the pickups and going with an onboard preamp. I am totally impressed, what a great sound! Not only did it wake up my 82 Carvin bass but it also optimized the performance of my SWR Workingman amp and 4 x 12 cabinet. I started with setting everything flat on my amp and have not moved the controls yet, no need to! Finally, I also want to thank you for personally responding to my numerous questions in an extremely timely manner. This alone is proof that you stand behind every one of your products and care about your customers.
March 30, 2001
Now I see why you dont find your preamps for sale used on ebay thats one magic little box. My bandmates asked me to turn up, and commented on how good it sounded when we were in the groove. Ive never had my stock 70s Fender Jazz sound so good. The sound, controls, functionality and ergonomics of your preamp could win a design award.
Thanks for a great product.
Matt A. Wood
Associate Professor, Dept. of Physics and Space Sciences
Florida Institute of Technology
March 10, 2001
Posted on "The Bottom Line":
Well, got my new sadowsky "stompbox" preamp and works as advertised ... haven’t messed with the DI, but i’m confident it will sound wonderful ... not too nuts about the smaller knobs, i suppose the assumption is that it’s a set and forget thang, but if you twiddle alot, might be a problem, but the dead quiet mute switching and tuner out is worth the price of admission, for silly folks like me that like to switch basses alot. of course, the build quality is up to the usual "battle ready" sadowsky standards. yet another home run ... oh, yeah, it sounds to die for.
THIS PUPPY RULES!!!!! I received your preamp as a Christmas present from my wife. Though I was disappointed that the design had changed, once I plugged it in I was disappointed no more. Every ad, every review, every article was 100% on the money. It is all you said it was. It sounds so good that I now by-pass the EQ section of my Trace-Elliot head, using it as a preamp. Keep making great instruments!
January 30, 2001
I just received the Bass Preamp / D.I. today and all I can say is WOW! It has totally improved my tone. It sounds like I went out and purchased another bass! I like the foot switch design and especially the mute button because of all those embarrassing moments when I accidentally raked my hand across the strings when I wasnt supposed to be playing. When I get to play with it live Ill let you know how it went.
December 21, 2000
I finally got around to picking up one of your outboard preamps. At first I was a little disappointed, I guess I expected something more dramatic. But as I played with it over the next couple days I discovered its beauty is in its subtlity.
Now I cant play my Fenders without it. Im not much into eq, it always sounds so harsh and inorganic to me, but when I turn up the bass and treble a little bit it puts out a such a nice slap tone on my MIM fender jazz. When playing fingerstyle I like the controls flat. It adds just a bit of bass and a touch more clarity on the high end -- and sounds totally natural. Congrats on such a nice product. Ill send anyone looking for better bass tone towards you.
December 1, 2000
I just wanted to drop you a line regarding your external bass preamp. I was lucky enough to get one used and was blown away when I used it on a gig last weekend. The bass I use it on is a 95 Fender Jazz with Lane Poor pickups and a Wilkenson Bridge going into an Ampeg SVT-III and Flite cabinets. Even with the all tube preamp section of the Ampeg, the preamp made a huge differece. Some people thought I had new speakers, and were confused when I explained the only thing different was that little black box.
Thanks for the sound!
July 3, 2000
I just received my Sadowsky pre-amp and it is outstanding! I was ready to give up on my Fender Basses as they just didnt give me enough tone on their own. Your pre-amp breathed new life into them. Of course, now Im very interested in your basses. Thanks again for your time and and I must say that your pre-amp was the BEST $200 Ive ever spent on music equipment.
August 13, 2000
Your outboard preamp is simply outstanding! Ive played around with tone controls and EQ for many years, coming close but never being able to get the sound. I finally gave in and settled for passable.
The results with your preamp are amazing. I took my amp settings to flat, plugged in your preamp, cranked in some bass, added a touch of treble, and there was the sound... simple as that. After all these years! Easy as pie! Magic! With your preamp, I only need the main amp controls to compensate for cases of excessive room boom.
I played a gig that evening and intentionally didnt mention the new preamp. During and after the gig, the other players individually mentioned that I sounded especially good that night. Familiar room, same setup, same bass player. Only difference was the preamp. Thats the real test! It wasnt just me. The product is super, and youre a pleasure to do business with. No wonder youve built such a solid reputation. Now Im eager to get my hands on one of your renown 5 string vintage models...
February 10, 2000
Youre the best. I received my pre-amp today - 12 days after placing the order! The goods were received in perfect order. I have been gigging with my MM Stingray 5 for approx six month. Im the bass player for Octave - The Band. Im delighted with the effect of the pre-amp in my signal chain. The MM has woken up and become alive - for want of a better way of explaining it. The highs are crisper and the lows deeper, more punchy. I swear I can hear the strings vibrate, the wood resonate, and the pickups transduce!? This is one happy customer who can hear his bass singing for the first time. Cant wait for the gig tonight.
April 14, 2000
Happy? Im verging on ecstatic! I used the preamp on a gig the other night with my Jazz Bass and a bass player in attendance was asking me what it did. I told him that it shaped and improved the tone and his response was that I could do that with the amp so why would I want another box to do the same thing? I said that it sounded better than the preamp section in the amp (a Walter Woods) but the guy was an computer engineer and claimed that numbers are numbers and sound is sound and that if I wanted a better bass sound I should buy different speakers!
Needless to say, I had neither the time nor inclination to go into my signal-chain lecture (Ive been a happy owner of a Linn turntable for about 15 years and have totally bought into Ivors theory of sound reproduction) and I figured that it was pointless to argue about it so I let him sit in for a couple of tunes. He was blown away by the way the preamp enabled the bass to cut through the mud of the room and the onstage sound. I dont know whether I converted him to the concept of better sound through better design at the beginning of the sound chain but it sure did reinforce it in my mind (and ears).
The sound improvement is even more noticeable in my 51 Precision. It seemed to lack punch and midrange definition and Bill Bolton told me that your preamp would remedy that situation. It sure did. Not only does the bass sound great through the amp but I dont have to play it as hard to get the notes out of it!
In the week Ive been using the preamp Ive stopped considering it as an effect and now approach it as a neccesity, as important to my sound as are the bass and amp.
March 29, 1999
I had the possibility to purchase your pre amp at Schalloch in Hamburg. Wow. Congratulations to such nice equipment. Great sound, which brings great joy. Thanks for offering such a product.
Best regards from the music city in Germany.
April 27, 1999
I usually run the preamp with the bass halfway up and the treble either off for jazz, or up to halfway for loud R&R. I have had the cream of area upright players,including the guy who plays for the Fort Worth Symphony, heap praises on the sound at the jazz gignot on my playing, but on the sound! I always tell them its your preamp. With the preamp going into a beat up old Polytone, this one guy got an upright sound that I would rate as damn near erotic. I have to lecture them, no its not a Fishman, its a Sadowsky.
May 3, 1999
I can safely say that your preamp is the best. You guys spent lots of hours researching to get that sound. I’m currently using it with a Fender Jazz with Seymour Duncan Vintage pickups and it sounds really punchy and clear.
June 19, 1999
Thanks for the wonderful preamp! It does more than I thought possible in a little black box! I set my SM400 eq flat and plugged in the preamp to my 78 jazz and magic, the bass has never sounded better. The same with my plywood bass, I was able to play at a much higher volume than I thought possible with no feedback. I was pleased with the construction of the preamp also, it was compact and solid. Im looking forward to working with you on a Vintage 5, as Ive wanted one of your basses for 10 years.
Daniel M. Price
June 22, 1999
I love the preamp! It gives me the sound that Ive been looking for over maybe the past twenty years (I even had a Dan Armstrong Yellow Humper installed in one of my basses for a while but it was only _close_ to the sound I wanted). I now use your pre with all my basses.
July 29, 1999
Your pre-amp arrived today by fed-ex and Ive just plugged it in an it sounds really sweet...totally warmed up the sound of my EMG based fretless and taken out some of its inherent clackiness...I cant wait to get my 1960s ampeg B15 back from the engineers (its transformer blew and its being repaired)..so that I can try it out through that ...
Ive got a feeling that my sound is about to take a quantum leap forward...thanks ever so much.
August 29, 1999
I purchased the Sadowsky preamp a few weeks ago. To be brief, it is fantastic. I use it with my Fender American standard Jazz bass through an SWR workingman 15. Next stopthe real deala new Sadowsky bass. That is about the only place to go from here.
October 27, 1999
I used Outboard preamp on my doublebass with an underwood transducer and I can say it is very very good sounding and easy to control. Never before I had so good sound on stage with my double bass. Thought youd like to hear from another happy customer.
November 19, 1999
Roch Lafleur writes:
I heard about Sadowsky preamps about six months ago. What do they do exactly. Is it something that all bass players should consider?
Ive owned a Sadowsky Outboard preamp for a couple of months now and had been meaning to review it on TBL after Id played with it a for while and this seems like an appropriate opportunity.
For those who are not familiar with what it is ... it is more or less active electronics in a box and is the same circuitry that is in the much heralded Sadowsky basses. I use it with my three passive pickup basses: an ash bodied 78 Precision with a maple Warmoth neck, a stock vintage style P pickup and a Joe Barden J pickup, a stock Fender 51 Precision reissue, and a stock Hamer 4 string 2Tek Cruise bass (which, for comparison purposes, has a pair of Seymour Duncan Vintage Jazz pickups and could be thought of roughly as a Jazz bass). My reference rig is an SWR Electric Blue Head, Crown DC-300A poweramp, and a Mesa Boogie 1 X 15 cabinet. For tone context purposes, I play mostly roots music and like a clean, twangy yet thick sound to compliment my primitive and redundant playing style. I kept the tone settings on the SWR the same as the passive settings except for the gain control which was pulled back some to account for the extra gain from the basses when used with the Sadowsky preamp.
Overall, this product is one of the coolest things since sliced bread. To set expectations ... the Outboard preamp didnt transform my Fender basses into some kind of electronic synth sounding instruments. Rather, it just enhanced their classic tones with a very nice EQ setting. If you are a plug and play type of bassist, then this is the EQ device for you. It is very easy to get a good sound on it. There are only three controls: volume, bass, treble. On all my basses, it worked the best with the volume all the way up (i.e. on 11) which gave all three basses a higher gain level without having to go to the attenuated active bass input on my SWR. The Hamer Cruise bass and 51 Precision reissue benefited the most from the added gain because both have very low gain pickups. From there, I just increased the bass until it sounded as thick as I wanted and then added treble until there was a little bit of a click on each note and that was it. I use it on about the same settings for all three basses. Because the most popular Sadowsky models seem to have Jazz like pickups, I expected the Hamer to benefit the most from the Sadowsky Outboard preamp. However, I found that my Precisions and in particular the 51 reissue were improved the most. The pre 57 Precisions had a single coil pickup that was located slightly closer to the neck than a neck position Jazz pickup and had a surprisingly bright sound. In conjunction with the active preamp, this bass sounded bright, deep, and warm. In addition, the added gain of the preamp seemed to give the setup a better signal to noise ratio which lessened the noise problem the single coil pickup Precisions are famous for. It also sounded great with my split pickup 78 Precision and seemed to notch some low-mid frequencies and allowed me to get a deep, yet tight bass tone. It also worked well with the Joe Barden Jazz pickup (which is a side by side humbucker) on alone and in conjunction with the Precision pickup. The Outboard preamp also functions well as a loudness control to add bass when playing at a low volume where it would otherwise start to sound thin. This is particularly helpful with my Hamer 2Tek Cruise which is a very twangy sounding bass.
Overall, the Sadowsky Outboard preamp is a very high quality, low noise (if anything, my basses were quieter when using it), well made, compact unit that sounds great and is easy to use. I like the concept of the Out-board preamp in that no mods were needed to my basses, they still have their ultra reliable (and classic sounding) passive electronics intact, and by purchasing one unit, I gave three of my basses active electronics. They are about $200 (plus shipping) and are available directly from Sadowsky.
July 25, 1999
I just purchased the outboard bass preamp. My 75 Jazz bass never sounded so good! Just as advertised, the preamp fattened up my sound. I wish I would have known about this product years ago. God bless the web. As much as I enjoyed my new found tone, my drummer couldnt keep his hands off the dials. Great product, not a gimmick.
July 25, 1999
Sadowsky pre-amp review posted on The Bottom Line:
For a long time I have been needing an impedance matching device for my upright bass (Kay with Underwood piezo). After doing lots of research on TBL, 2XBASSLIST, CHURCHBASS, etc. I decided on the Sadowsky Outboard Bass Preamp. It costs $198 shipped, which is more than the Fishman, but I knew it would do the impedance matching thing & would also add a great-sounding active circuit to any electric bass I ever played. (For more detail on this see Steve Reiters report in TBL from July 25, 1996). Roger himself took the order when I called this is a small company with great customer service. The unit was shipped the same day (or close to it) & arrived regular UPS in about one week. I experimented with it over the weekend & used it in a church service on Sunday. Heres the report:
1. Upright bass (tested only at home so far): the preamp has just three controls volume, bass boost, treble boost. The signal is flat when the tone controls are rolled fully counterclockwise. With the URB, a flat setting seems to be the most natural sounding (i.e. as close as possible to unplugged). It works like a dream smooths away all of the unpleasant crispy-hot piezo sounds. So far, so good; Id be happy even if it went no further.
2. Electric bass (tested in the church): Music director calling on Saturday night: ?Bring the electric tomorrow.? Me: ?OK, I’ll bring the new pre-amp with it.? First, understand that I use the URB about 90% of the time & the electric bass I play isn’t all that great. In fact it is pretty limited a stock 1975 Fender Musicmaster with D’Addario XLs, good neck & fingerboard, but short scale, one T-Style pickup, one volume & one tone control, body painted the color of cafeteria tapioca pudding. But believe it or not, run through the Sadowsky preamp this little thing came alive & sounded *great*. You could hear the warmth of wood, you could hear strings, the low notes were tight & focused, the high notes had bite. The best sound (to my ears) was obtained by boosting the preamp bass control to about 10:00 & the treble to about 2:00. Don’t know what this would look like in terms of graphical EQ; it just sounded good & cut right through two keyboards, horn section, guitar, & vocals. Everybody loved it.
Conclusion: Given the results with this little baby Fender, it is almost scary to think what this unit might do for a higher-grade instrument. If you have a good playing passive bass, consider it as an alternative to a new bass with an active circuit. To try one you have to order direct to Sadowsky Guitars, at least here in the States. Check out the website (www.sadowsky.com) or send Roger some e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
He is very responsive to online inquiries; I had a few minor questions after using it on Sunday & had an answer from the man himself within 24 hours.
Standard disclaimer: I have no financial interest in Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.; Im just a happy customer. Feel free to send private e-mail if you have questions or comments.
August 28, 1996
To the person who asked for feedback on the Sadowsky outboard preamp:
I just got one, and I love it with my double bass. One of the people I regularly play with said my sound was more round and brown with the preamp, his definition of brown being the sound is more like a double bass played acoustically (String basses are brown.). To my ears, the preamp makes my bass tone deeper, without being too boomy on the low end.
The technical information (or as technical as I can get) is: I play a carved double bass with an Underwood pickup through either a GK 150MB combo amp or a Walter Woods amp and a GK 112T cabinet. The Walter Woods is set flat. The GK is also flat except the contour control is set at about 1 oclock. I havent A/Bd the Sadowsky with the Fishman or any rack preamps, but another reason I like the Sadowsky is the excellent customer service and product support I received from Roger Sadowsky himself.
Heres my $.02: Several months ago, another bass player suggested that I use a preamp with my Underwood pickup. He mentioned something about impedence matching which I didnt really understand, not being very knowledgable about these kinds of things. So I decided to e-mail Roger about it. Roger responded right away with an explanation of how a preamp works with a piezo pickup (even I could understand it). And it was not a sales pitch, just pure info. I then decided to buy one of his preamps. It arrived via UPS a couple of days later. The instructions were easy to understand, and there was even a tip about Duracell vs. Energizer 9V batteries. After I tried it out at home, I had a bunch of questions so I e-mailed Roger again. He responded with some questions for me and some very good information and usage tips, and he asked me for more feedback after I used the preamp at a gig.
I ended up sending a few messages to Roger with more questions which, in retrospect, I could probably have figured out by myself with a little more experience, but Roger answered all of the e-mail within 24-hours! The only other company owners (music as well as non-music) who have given me such fine personal service and product support are Don Underwood, Walter Woods and Rich Krueger of GK, all of whom gladly answer questions by phone.
Keith K. Hiraoka
April 6, 1996
Sadowsky outboard preamp, the one word review: WOW!!!
It adds a whole other dimension to your tone. If you have a passive bass that you would like to improve the tone significantly on, buy one of these little FET monsters. Theres a reason you never see them for sale used. $200 seems a bit pricey when you look at the components involved, but the construction is top-notch, the operation is as simple as it gets and, again,it sounds fabulous.
September 20, 1996
Ive used my new Sadowsky Outboard Bass Preamp several times now and its wonderful! Ive used it with my Fender Jazz (passive) and Alembic Essence (active), into my Crest V-650 850W power amp with an Acme Low-B2 3-way cabinet (2-10s, 5-inch midrange, and tweeter), and into my Mesa-Boogie M-2000.
With both basses and amps, the sonic improvements are dramatic. Cuts like a knife, simple as can be to use, VERY usuable frequency centers, bottom to die for, and quiet as can be... and... inexpensive; you did good guys! Considering how great it sounds,I REALLY cant wait for my Vintage 5 now!!! <nudge, nudge, wink, wink> ;-)
Thank you; a VERY satisfied customer and happy bass player!
February 7, 1997
Just received my Sadowsky outboard preamp yesterday and have to say it sounds great! Roger (seems like I know you, since Ive been reading your messages for a couple of years), I hesitated in the purchase a bit, due to the price and wondering how the outboard preamp would fit in with my other gear. Within a few minutes of testing it out I could tell that it was well worth the expense and should mix well with any gear.
(The Box Tops)
March 25, 1997
Just a note to say that your bass preamp works as advertised. I am not a professional player, just a closet nut case who enjoys playin and jammin (i hate that word) with friends. Ive been tweaking out my fretless Yamaha with new pickups (SD BassLines), new bridge (Wilkinson), various boxes, etc. looking to add some definition to my set-up. I was frankly skeptical that your preamp would be the solution (it is just a preamp after all), but I thought it was worth a try given all the remarkably good word of mouth Ive heard about your stuff.
The bottom line: plug in the bass, plug it into my SWR combo, set it flat, it sounds great. No funky eq settings, nothing but sound. I am impressed.
It was good to meet you. Keep up the magic.
July 10, 1997
I received in the mail my outboard preamp and tried it out at band practice the other nite. I think it sounds great and is basically what I was looking for. I even got a compliment from our keyboard player who had no clue I purchased a new toy for my rig..hey your bass sounds really good tonite, what gives?. Anyways, Im still fine tuning and experimenting but overall am very happy with my first trial.
November 3, 1997
Boy where do I begin! The preamp is wonderful!! I tried it out immediately after it arrived and it improved my Japanese 62 Fender Jazz ten fold. I had recorded my playing on my Minidisk player ealier that day and decided to record the same things again with your Preamp. Mind you this was direct, no amp, no effects, just Bass and Preamp. Well, the sound was fuller, there was less pickup noise (in fact I do believe it was so negligable that I thought it was GONE) and the bass just sounded better! I have a gig tonite, so the second test will be then! I thought that this would be the best way to see how YOUR basses truly sound and if they sound like your preamp (and I imagine they are even BETTER) then I hope to own one ASAP!
Still hoping I can get to your shop in early January, Ill call first if the trip comes to fruition. It was an extreme pleasure talking with you on the phone and I look forward to meeting you and trying your basses soon.
SSgt, Bassist, USAF Band Of Flight, Dayton, OH
December 12, 1997
Just a quick note to tell you that I bought one of your outboard preamps from Dave Freemans Club Bass in Toronto. The preamp is killer. Due to circumstances beyond my control I wasnt able to get to my gear until late Thursday night. I had a couple of hours before the gig to see where the pre amp needed to be set and all the other variables. What I ended up with was just as we did at the gallery. The amp flat and all the bass and treble that I wanted--with loads to spare--was in that little box. While at Daves gallery I expressed my doubts about the outcome of what my sound would be like once I hooked in my own gear. Well in these days of quick fixes and products that dont live up to the hype this one excels. Thanks...
I also played one of your instruments and fell in love all over again. But due to cash flow restrictions Ill have to live in my dreams on getting one. For now...
March 6, 1998
I received my outboard preamp today (thanks for the prompt delivery service). I couldnt have asked for a better product. I play through a small 30 watt amp for practice, and even in this tiny amp, my bass sounded AWESOME with this preamp! I play a Fender Standard Jazz Bass and was blown away by how it sounded. I cant wait to plug into a bigger amp and see how it sounds.
If my bass can sound this good with the Sadowsky electronics, then your basses themselves must sound out of this world. When I have enough money one day to afford one, you can bet a Sadowsky will be my first choice in a new bass.
Happy in North Carolina!
April 6, 1998
Thanks for the great piece of gear!! I received it last Weds, and used it immediately that night at a church rehearsal. With my 75 Reissue Jazz through an Eden Metro combo (already a *very* decent sounding rig!), my overall sound popped. I dont even know if I can put into words how your preamp improved my tone (and Im a professional writer!).
Just for a goof, I ran my 73 Ibanez Hofner 500/1 Beatle Bass copy (one of the nicest copies Ive come across) through your preamp. Wow. It sounded JUST as boomy, thumpy, and burpy as my friends 67 Hofner (the real deal) 500/1. Amazing. You made a $300 boat anchor sound as pleasant as a vintage (OVERPRICED!!) axe.
Now if you would just find me some felt picks like Paul Ms.....Youre the proverbial bomb.
June 1, 1998
Wednesday I ordered an outboard preamp. Much to my AMAZEMENT, it arrived today (Thursday). Its great to see a business respond so quickly an order.
Im still amazed.
July 23, 1998
Its been about five months now that Ive been using your outboard pre-amp. From the first moment that I plugged it in, up until and including today, I can honestly state its the least expensive way Ive ever seen to make such a radical improvement to the sound of every bass that I play through the box!
Thank you very much.
August 2, 1998
Thanks! The pre-amp got to me yesterday, I hooked it up to my restored 65 jazz bass and i ran the volumes on both the pre-amp and the bass all the way up and boosted slightly the bass and treble while running the bass tone on high, and WOW whata differance, more punch, better definition and more cutting highs, you are right it doent take much to add a lot of gain. I even hooked it up to my alembic 20th anniversary bass and wow an 18 volt active system, it was scary. It sounded great as well. I love it, i do.
Thomas E. Lehner
August 26, 1998
Thanks for getting that pre-amp out so quick. I got it Tuesday. Im really happy with it. I wanted it for my upright but im really keeping it for my electric (Alembic Rogue). I was always happy with the versatility and sound of the Alembic. I wasnt looking to improve it. But man! I cant believe what youre pre-amp did to it! Ill never go without that little box.
November 20, 1998
Mike McKinnon wrote:
Does anyone out there have experience with the Sadowsky outboard pre-amps?
The lure of one outboard preamp to use on several basses is appealing. Ive got a 64 P-bass, 76 MM Sabre, and 69 Guild Starfire II, all with EMG pickups and no internal preamp. Note that my pickups are active, if anything I think this preamp helps passive basses. For years I did the aggressive preamp shuffle, adjusting my Boss 7 band bass EQ into an Alembic F2B or MM HD 130 with the aggravated big smile tone pattern with bass pumped, mids cut, and treble boosted. I always had a clicky sound, but the sound you got on-stage was often quite different than the room, especially true after reading so many posts that recommend flat tone controls and the touch coming from the strings and brain.
Past preamps Ive used were:
1) No preamp at all (64 P-bass, Duncan quarter pounders, Rotosound Swing bass strings every two weeks). Got incredible bottom and top with loud tube amps and a ton of string noise from striking down hard with fingertips and nail (hurts my head to think of those days, the exuberance of youth!)
2) Stars Guitars SF Calif (Alembic-influenced retail outlet) 1973 Stardrive (low pass/hi pass system), used on the Guild with Alembic pickups: very clean, great bottom and top end, a huge goldfish bowl sound without much of a snap to the top end (30 string length-influenced)
3) MM Sabre preamp: very hissy, brittle top, adequate bottom but very little string noise transmission (ughhhh!!! too clean!). Great for slapping, but not great for fingers.
Sadowsky Outboard preamp: First impression: Huge amounts of bass and treble boost, no midrange control, nice EQ centers (low bass and click). I of course was expecting the wow, do I see a dramatic change for the better?, and had to make a decision in the seven day trial period they generously give you. You need to make a few adjustments, it really does help to have the unit the first in your chain with a short cord connected to the bass (Thanks Bill Bolton!), it improves the warmth considerably (the high frequency presence is slightly affected). And it does have quite a bit of gain, so if you use it all the way up you can distort your stomp boxes (solution: turn it to about 75-80%)
The bottom end is fantastic, turn up the preamp bass tone control and it gets very smooth. Ive always been in the Jack Casady/Phil Lesh school of bass playing (lots of melodic patterns and up-front playing) and never was one to try to ever get much of a reggae bottom tone, but you can get it with this preamp easily! The lack of a midrange control after years with a 7 band EQ was at first a problem for my ears, but my bass sound was better in the room for it. I especially like the top string noise click you can get.
I was a prisoner to buying strings frequently to maintain that springy piano wire high end, and this preamp gives you back some of that with worn-in strings (I use DRs). Of course YMMV, and in a perfect world we change strings as much as our budget allows, right? <grin>.
The final clincher, was at a first time bar gig where the bar owner came up to me after the second set (I was scared, could you please turn down Mr. Bass player, *way* too loud ). To my relief, he exclaimed what equipment are you playing with? Youve got the best bass sound Ive heard in this club, and he proceeded to list all the famous guys that had played there.
Of course in the final analysis your fingers and brain influence your tone more than anything else, and your speaker system has to be up to the task to reproduce the wide frequency response. It is a neat little device, but my problem is now I wish it were *installed* in each of my basses, but considering the fact it would cost about $600 to do this, I can live with that!
Still a bottom-dwelling tone opportunist!
November 24, 1998
This little box is fantastic! I now leave my amp e.q. completely flat, as your preamp gives me the perfect sound. I play country, roots rock, and surf and go for a very old-school sound (P-bass with flatwounds, etc.) and the preamp enhances my traditional toneit doesnt make my bass sound active or boinky. Cant wait to record with it! Thanks for making this thing available.
December 5, 1998
Sadowsky Onboard Preamp Testimonials
I would like to say "thanks" for everything. This started out with a stomp box, I liked it but preferred a onboard for my 76' Fender Jazz. The Stomp box was returned for an onboard which I installed myself. Your instructions were clear. Within a few hours, I had what I had always wanted. There was a slight issue with a stack pot however, your Tech support (Frank) sent a replacement part ASAP. After this was installed..... There was no doubt in my mind that this is what I should have had years ago!!
I tried one of the other retro fit pre-amps but for me, the Sadowsky was the only one that I was interested in. My bass sounds better than I expected! Your Staff was extremely helpful & polite. Nothing but Customer Service from start to finish!
Again ... Thank you all!!!
March 28, 2003
I noticed that on your site most of the testimonials were on your outboard preamp, and very little about the onboard version.
For that reason I wanted to give you feedback about my upgrade. Last week you installed your onboard preamp in my Warwick Dolphin Pro 5 string, and all I can say is WOW WHAT A DIFFERENCE. The bass sounds much tighter, and clearer.
You can really hear the qualities of the wood much better than before. It has delivered what your preamp is famous for, that fat punchy tone. I was also impressed with your workmanship which was very neat and clean. You are also a pleasure to work with. I felt I received the same quality service and attention that Marcus Miller or any other prominent bass player would have received.
Thank you for your great products, and your wonderful service.
November 19, 2002