Gear Review: The Basswitch IQ DI
Ruppert Musical Instruments dubs their Basswitch IQ DI the “Swiss Army Knife for Bass Players”, and I have to agree. The device is just now available in the U.S.
The device indeed is many things in one:
- A/B box: Allows you to have to instruments plugged in for fast switching on stage
- Clean Boost: Engage the EQ with a separate adjustable boost level with the push of a button
- Parametric EQ: Channel A goes through the EQ, which has treble, parametric hi-mid, parametric low-mid, bass and volume (while Channel B is always sent through pure)
- Dual effects loop: Two effects loops! One is in series for any pedals that you may want working with both channels and always in-line (like a volume pedal, for example). The other effects loop is triggered via pedal push (so you can have multiple effects ready to go and just put them all in at once, with one pedal). There’s also a blend knob, so you can adjust the level of your direct line in conjunction with the effects.
- High quality DI: This is the cleanest and best sounding DI I’ve ever tried. I used it in a studio setting and the bass sounded better than ever. I was really impressed.
After a weekend bringing the pedal to every gig and session I had, I can say that this box is very versatile and can do a lot for a player.
I first just used it on stage and played through Channel A and tried to only use the EQ of the Basswitch to dial in the room. The EQ is stellar. I’ve also never heard a quieter pedal. I actually turned the treble all of the way up just to try and get some noise and it was still very, very quiet.
I was able to dial in a phenomenal tone with just the Basswitch’s EQ. I kept my bass passive and my amp completely flat. My bass has never sounded as big, thick and punchy (while retaining the higher fundamentals of my tone), when I’ve tried that with other similar products.
The next day I was in the studio, so I figured that I’d bring it along and check out the DI. Again, I used the EQ to dial in my tone and went straight from the Basswitch into the board. Again, the tone was glorious.
Next I figured I had to check out the effects loop so I brought my pedal board to a Klezmocracy gig (we get pretty whacky here and there) and I must say that I can’t believe that I’ve never thought about using an effects loop before!
I didn’t run anything through the series loop because there was nothing that I wanted in-line for every song. I was quickly able to dial in the level of my mix loop and loved being able to turn a few pedals on and off as I prepared to engage the mix loop and have three or four effects dialed in at once, with the ability to disengage them simultaneously, and just as easily. This makes life easier when you don’t have to quickly stomp on two or three boxes at once to turn them all on or off.
For the next gig, I decided to run my bass through the Basswitch but switched the A/B switch so I was running through channel B all night. This allowed me to use channel A as an EQ and boost! If you only have one instrument plugged in, it automatically allows you to use both channels for this very reason. B is true bypass and A is through the EQ with adjustable boost.
Now, I was able to have my bass sound as it always does but use channel A for a little bump in volume and different EQ for solos. I loved the ability to have a separate sound and level for my solos. Very cool indeed.
The build quality and design of the Basswitch is on par with the sound. Very low profile and nothing is attached to the circuit board inside but is, rather, mounted on a separate steel chassis and wired to the board so no amount of stomping will crack the circuit board. The knobs all recess nicely, so there is no accidental changes to your settings.
My only disappointment with the Basswitch is that you can’t run it on batteries. This is due to maintaining your tone, so you always have to plug it in.
Here’s a demo:
For more, check out Luthiers Access Group.