I like to think that there’s something for everyone on today’s market. Back in the day we might have been limited in our choices. However, things have changed and new pedals are created every single day. No matter what your needs are – it’s possible to find a unit that will suit your preferences, your playing style, music genre and etc. You just have to do a good research and don’t be lazy to experiment with available options. Eventually, you’ll find your one true love (or maybe even several). The same goes for every single effect out there, including bass overdrive. There’s something wonderful in every price range, you just have to determine your budget and the rest will follow. You do also have to know what your music needs so that the pedal you choose is compatible with your creations. Otherwise even the best bass overdrive will be a piece of crap for you. Today we’re going to turn to the classics and discuss the stompbox manufactured by Digitech. Their Bass Driver is extremely affordable, yet it provides us with great performance. It offers extensive sounds and it does so without forcing us to pay hundreds of bucks. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bass overdrive pedal, then this one is definitely right up your alley. Let’s get started and discuss its features in depth!
As you unbox Bass Driver and look over its features, you think that it offers typical stuff that you’ll come across in every other bass overdrive pedal. However, careful examination will show you that it does have a certain gem that takes it to a whole new level. Before we discuss that I want to mention that this puppy comes in a durable chassis. It has dark-burgundy body and resembles Boss stompboxes quite a bit. Main controls are in the top part of the unit, while the lower piece is occupied by large footswitch. Apart from standard input and output, this puppy has a mixer output. It has Digitech’s CIT amplifier technology, meaning that your signal can be routed directly to the mixer or a recorder, avoiding a bass amplifier.
In addition, Bass Driver provides you with the ability to play with three different types of distortion/overdrive. Even though you’re dealing with a single circuitry, Morph functionality emulates the feel of various pedals and turns this unit into a versatile beast. As you experiment with it, you find that there are many different options to choose from, expanding the scope of your creativity a great deal. The particular models it emulates are Rat, DigiFuzz and TS9 Tube Screamer. Though you won’t hear the exact replication, you’ll definitely catch their main characteristics. Bass Driver can be powered either with a battery or an adapter. It has release pins that can be used to open up the chassis and swap the battery for a new one. It is as clear as day that this bad boy doesn’t joke around. It makes sure we have all the possibilities we need to unveil our full potential. And that’s something we should really appreciate, especially at such a price point.
Things look even more appealing as we move onto the control section. However, here we have one flaw that can be a significant fault for many. Even though Bass Driver has the majority of essential knobs and even a unique one, it doesn’t have a Gain knob. In order to intensify overdrive, you have to mess around with the combination of Blend and Morph encoders (I’ll define their functionalities in a sec). Though it would be way more sensible to have a dedicated control, these two still do the job.
First thing on the panel is Level. It changes the volume of affected signal and lets you set it as high or low as your rig requires. Then comes Tone, which accentuates or tames higher frequencies. If you want to enhance the character of your bass, you should definitely roll this one off. However, if your sound lacks harmonics, this control could be your lifesaver. Then comes Blend, which alters the ratio between dry and wet signals. It’s a crucial control in every bass overdrive, however, it is even more important in this particular model (due to the lack of Gain). Finally, Morph shifts between three flavors of overdrive as you turn it clockwise. It ranges from subtle to fuzzy and creates a vast variety of sounds. Since the functionality of the footswitch is self-explanatory, there’s nothing else to discuss in this section.
We’ve already seen that Digitech Bass Driver has impressive feature set. However, it’s still not clear if it can undergo the sonic test. I’ll tell you right away – it performs wonderfully. I did lack Gain knob in several scenarios, because I seemed to need a bit more flexibility in terms of gain. However, Morph has a wide range and it manages to substitute that missing control. In starting position, it emits warm and subtle overdrive, it thickens up as you increase the settings and in the end turns into a fuzz-like distortion. Blend knob is of great help as well, as it brings back the natural sounds of your bass. I ended up keeping wet and dry signals with 50/50 ratio, because this way the pedal sounded more natural to me. In short, it can be said that Bass Driver is really musical and organic. Does it replicate those three stompboxes exactly? No, it doesn’t, but I think its range is what we should concentrate on.
All in all, Digitech Bass Driver mightn’t be the best bass overdrive pedal in the world, but it is definitely one of the leading options in its price range. It is capable of creating different flavors of overdrive with ease. It discerns and reproduces low-end decently and adds the effect without destroying the frequency spectrum. Keeping its affordability in mind, the minor issues it has are understandable. After all, you won’t find a pedal out there that doesn’t have at least one con. Good luck!
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