J.P.'s Gear Review v2.0 - Ep. 8 - Gallien-Krueger Plex bass preamp (part one)
Guess who has two thumbs and managed to get sick on his last day of Christmas Holidays vacation? That would be me. The review I wanted to write and record for January got delayed until I could spend more than five minutes without sneezing and my voice doesn't sound like a wet accordion smoking four packs a day. Once that got better, I promptly managed to get
the Spicy Cough COVID, which meant no review for February either...
Editor's Note: There's no audio demo or pictures (yet) since the unit was sent for repair due to a ground issue with the input jack. I'll make a "part two" once it's back.
I've been on the lookout for a proper bass preamp for quite some time. I have an EQ and a compressor pedal, but I wanted something that would give me more voicing options. My bass teacher uses a Darkglass B7K Microtubes and it sounds awesome, however its price tag isn't... At about 650$CAD, it doesn't come cheap, so I decided to shop around for something similar, but cheaper. My favorite music store held a Boxing Week sale from the 26th to the 31st of December, and as usual they had a few tables filled with some of their smaller items on sale. Usually these are demo or used units, but most of them are in really good condition and the savings can be substantial.
That's how, on the 27th of December 2022, I noticed this rather large pedal wedged between some much larger boxes. It didn't have a box of its own, but it did have a price card. My first thought was similar to "that's nice, but it's a bit expensive" and I left it there. Once I got back home, I decided to Google it and read some reviews. Most of what I read paints it as one of the best bass preamp there is, and at about 45% off its usual 639$CAD cost, I for sure thought something was seriously wrong with it.
I went back the next day to try it out and ask what the history of this particular unit is. I tested it for a good 30 minutes on a P-Bass (the Steve Harris special edition one, because why not) and a Hartke 50W amp, both similar to the gear I use. First impressions were very positive, and I decided to purchase it. Turns out this unit was a store demo they had for a while and they wanted to get rid of it. Beside some small cosmetic imperfections, it's working perfectly. They managed to find the box a few days later and it even had the power supply in it still. Win!
What it looks like
- ¼" input and line output
- ¼" effects loop send and return
- 3.5mm auxiliary input and headphones output
- XLR output with ground lift toggle, and pre/post selection
- USB in/out port for direct recording and re-amp (and firmware updates)
- Bass / Bump
- Low mid / Contour
- High mid / High cut
- Treble / Presence
- Master volume / Voice
- Level / Drive (for overdrive)
- Level / Attack (for compressor)
- Threshold / Ratio (for compressor)