Must-Have For Bassists – The ISP Technologies Beta Bass Pedal
More and more often, bass players (particularly for live performances) are relying on DIs as the primary component of their rigs. Bass players are making use of the house PA and monitor systems rather than having to cart around a ton of gear. For those of you not in the know on exactly what a DI is, it’s basically a unit that provides an electrical ground isolation and gives sound engineers a MUCH easier time for being able to plug right into the mix and control your sound. If you’re a bassist on tour, your back is going to love you for this. Also, it’s just a matter of plug in, and go.
And if you’re looking for a great DI box to do such that, here’s a quick review on a bass DI pedal made by ISP Technologies. Their Beta Bass rackmount preamp has already gotten tons of accolades throughout the music world with a quality compressor, EQ and a ‘Decimator’ noise gate. And now, ISP have put this functionaility into a pedal format that gives you all of those features but in a smaller, pedal form factor…PLUS some great new added bonuses!
The Beta Bass Overview
The Beta Bass pedal is a blue color and has 3 footswitches along with 14 control knobs. At first glance, it seems like too much to deal with until you actually start looking at the control knobs in groups instead of as a whole. About the size of two regular foot pedals combined Much like a mixing console, the controls seem daunting until you look at them in groups, rather than as a whole. The footprint is only about the size of two tuner pedals combines, so it doesn’t take up much room on stage or in the studio.
In a word, the EQ is clean and punchy and with the second set of knobs, well this really brought everything to life. The top row of knobs as you can see are for the clean preamp. There’s a gain control on the lieft, followed by a 4-band EQ that includes 2 mids and 2 frequency sweep controls, and those all work together well for shaping the sound. The frequency rang on the mids goes from 60Hz-6kHz, so it’s a really wide range to work with.
Moving down to the 2nd row of knobs, this is now split into 5 different areas. You have the compression threshold that adjusts the ratio, then the exciter area which lets you blend in your preferred level of exciter. This EQ for the exciter complements it and lets you mess with its mids and highs. Finally the ‘Decimator’ knob lets you control ISP’s exclusive noise-reduction feature. And right after that is the distortion section (with its own footswitch) with its own mix and gain knobs and at the far right a master knob. So you have the 3 footswitches that each toggle the compression, the exciter, and the distortion.
Taking The Beta Bass Pedal For A Spin
As you’ll see in the embedded video below, reviewer Steve Cook set up the Beta Bass between a ’78 Fender P and an Eden CXC210 combo. He found the clean section kept the bass sounding true to itself when set flat, and he also found that small changes went a long way (especially when dealing with the bass and treble knobs). The Beta Bass didn’t so much color the tone, as it more got it to where it needed to be.
The compression was found to be smooth and even, and no serious over-compression started to occur until the unit was pushed to about 75% and up. The exciter controls added a nice harmonic sweetness to the overall tone. The trick to this function is to dial in the ideal tone with the EQ area, and then activate the exciter. The shimmer seemed to kick in to add a better clarity to an already great tone. Whether you’re a finger style player, or play with a slap style, you’ll find that you’ll get a nice nuance out of this feature alone.
Now here comes the really cool part: the distortion section is VERY versatile and you can use the mix control to really vary that sound for either a tad bit of distortion, or a really aggressive distorted tone. Coupled with the exciter, it makes the bass tone extremely edge and with even more options to play with as well. I know of a few bassists out there that would make this feature in itself well worth the purchase.
As mentioned, you can see and hear for yourself in Steve’s review of the Beta Bass.
In short? If you’re a bassist, you really need to give the Beta Bass pedal a good hard look. This baby has a LOT to offer. Like I said, even for the distortion piece alone with the control that is offered, this is well worth the retail $416 asking price. Be careful dialing up too much on the treble EQ controls but otherwise this would be an incredible investment for your touring or recording bass setup, and for sound & features that are usually found in a device more than twice the cost!
You can pick up the Beta Bass pedal online at these following retailers:
AND if you want to get up to an additional 10% back on your purchase there (for any musical piece of gear), all you have to do is….no, wait. That would be telling!
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[source] [image via spf]