The Laney Digbeth DB-PRE Bass Guitar Pre Amplifier Pedal makes bass players’ lives easier. With a range of features taken directly from the Laney Digbeth bass amplifier range and shrunk down into a portable, pedalboard-friendly design, you’ll find that gigging without a bass amplifier or even a multi-amp rig is entirely possible.
If you love the sound of the Laney Digbeth bass amps, yet you A) don’t have the room for a bass amp or B) simply want something that you can practice with, gig with and throw into your backpack when you’re done, the Laney Digbeth DB-PRE is one of the best preamp pedals available.
But ours is a little different from others…
We’ve covered the benefits of a bass preamp pedal and reasons you need one, but today we’re looking at the benefits and key reasons you should consider the Laney Digbeth DB-PRE when it comes to choosing the best affordable, hard-wearing preamp for your board.
So why is this different? Why should you buy it? How does it make your life easier and what are the benefits of the DB-PRE compared to other bass pre amp pedals?
We’re going to dig (beth) in!
We’ll explore the reasons behind our 6 key benefits, but these are the 6 major reasons we think bass players will love this pedalboard-friendly bass preamp:
One of the major benefits and key features of the Laney Digbeth bass amp series that bass players appreciate is the introduction of the FET & TUBE signal paths. The Laney Digbeth DB-PRE has this feature built-in – which is pretty impressive considering its compact size.
Why is this an important feature?
This is like having two different amps in one preamp pedal. The FET & TUBE signal paths offer very different sonic qualities that you can isolate or mix to your liking.
The FET setting provides a clean, fast response full of articulation and a punchy low-end. This is similar to a solid-state or transistor bass amp. Super reliable with oodles of headroom at high levels.
The TUBE setting provides a valve amp emulation, with all the warmth and growl you’d come to expect from a high-end tube amp. This responds exactly like a valve bass amp – dig in and the amp will break up beautifully. Play soft and the amp retains all the subtle nuances and dynamics of your playing style.
The channels are also mixable. As standard, the amp is always set to FET mode. You engage the TUBE setting via the footswitch. You can either isolate the channels and engage either one or mix the two for a signature sound via the toggle switch.
This is perfect if you want the tube growl with the added clarity of a solid-state amp and the ability to change your sound depending on the song or band you’re playing with.
The Source Switch is slightly hidden, but a key benefit of the Digbeth DB-PRE Pre Amp Pedal that sound engineers will absolutely love you for.
This switch allows you to send your bass signal to the DI-XLR PRE or POST the pedals EQ section.
Why is this a key feature and benefit?
Venues sound different. Stages are either hollow or solid and sound engineers have a difficult time wrestling with bass amps with too many effects running directly into the DI box.
When you set the switch set in the “PRE” position the EQ section of the pedal is bypassed. This means your sound engineer gets the pure signal from your bass and can mix it to the sound of the room.
However, if you run several effects or want the sound of the pre-amp pedal to come through the PA speakers, just set the pedal to “POST” and the pedal EQ setting plus the TILT setting will be sent to the XLR-DI.
The Pre-effect is a benefit for the sound engineer who needs a clean signal for the front of house. If they won’t allow you to run a wet signal to the DI, then they can mic up your amp and retain the qualities of your effects pedals and amp settings. In smaller venues, you may have fewer microphones to work with. In this case, set it to POST and have the sound engineer mix the entire rig sound into the PA – just work with them to get the best sound in FOH.
Either way, you have the choice of running a WET or DRY signal to the FOH engineer and can even use this on its own if you want to set up an ampless bass rig.
The inclusion of a LO-MID sculpting section is one of the best features within the Laney DB-PRE and a massive benefit onstage and in the studio for bass players who need a diverse palette of sounds. This feature alone is probably one of the reasons it’s the best preamp pedal for session bass players as it gives you instant clarity without changing your overall sound too much.
Why is this important?
If you’re a live or session bass player, you’ll know that either A) your sound can sometimes get lost in the mix and B) you might be fighting to be heard when playing with others on record. The LO-MID section solves this by allowing you to determine the amount of LO-MID bass frequencies are present in the signal.
When the control is set to Centre-MID (middle toggle) and you set the dial at 12 O’clock, this means it does not affect your signal. But turn the control clockwise and listen to how the DB-PRE increases the level of the LO-MID frequency bass notes. Turn the control anti-clockwise and you’ll hear how it decreases the LO-MID level frequency bass notes. Use this middle setting and enjoy more bite to your distorted tones when you go lower, or cut the settings back and increase mid-range clarity.
The Upper MID setting (toggle up) ensures you can hone in on the ‘pop’ of your bass guitar and is useful for cutting back on the “thwack” of a fret noise which can sometimes ruin a mix.
If you need more definition, engage the narrow, Lower MID-cut setting (toggle down) to make sure you’re either in front of the drums or at least being heard on a boomy stage when your drummer has a larger 24-inch (or bigger) kick drum!
The TILT function was one of the awesome features of the Laney Digbeth amplifier series. This is otherwise known as an ‘EQ Seesaw’ control.
Why is this a benefit?
Again, not every situation calls for the same settings. The TILT function works like an overall balance control of the tone. When you turn the rotary knob towards the TREBLE clef, your bass sound will decrease in the lower frequencies and enjoy boosted higher frequencies. Turn the opposite way towards the BASS clef and you get the opposite effect.
If you need more punch, just add more treble. If you want more low-end power, the BASS clef is where it’s at! This allows you to change settings quickly.
Preamps often respond to active and passive pickups in very different ways. Sometimes the active pickups in your bass will send your amp or preamp pedal into an unwanted higher output – the opposite goes for passive pickups. If you have multiple bass guitars this can be a problem.
Fortunately, the Laney DB-PRE has got you covered.
Why is this a benefit?
You might find that your active pickups do not play nicely with some amps, pushing your output to unwanted levels, causing feedback and forcing your sound engineer to constantly wrestle with the sound onstage. The Active input tames this output, reducing the output slightly to give you a controllable volume, without affecting the quality of your bass.
The passive section ensures you’re getting all the gain and output you need, retaining the quality of your signal by bringing it to line-level, which is the level mixing desks need from your bass to record and send the sound through the PA.
Carrying your amp home with you every night is not always feasible. When playing loud and jamming along to your favourite tracks or new demos is impossible due to noise constraints, the Laney DB-PRE is the perfect preamp pedal thanks to a headphones socket.
Why is this a benefit of the Laney DB-PRE preamp?
If you’ve spent all rehearsal sculpting your ideal sound for a particular song, the last thing you want to do is reset everything and practice through a different amp. The benefit of the Laney DB-PRE headphone socket means you can plug your bass guitar into the pedal, hook up your headphones and jam along to your track via an AUX connection in silence. The sound comes through the pedal, directly to your headphones.
This means you retain all the qualities and tone sculpting you’ve worked hard on and can practice as if you’re actually in the room with the rest of your band, confident that what you hear in your headphones is what the crowd will hear.
The Laney DB-PRE preamp pedal makes the lives of bass players so much easier. Whether you’re a professional musician in need of a wide range of sounds for stage and studio, a complete beginner in need of a tone sculpting preamp that helps you get your signature sound or a hobbyist bass player that doesn’t require a full-size bass amp – it’s ideal.
It can fit on your pedalboard, meaning you can gig without an amp and it can even fit in your backpack on your way to practice.
This is the bass preamp pedal for bass players who don’t know how to use one – they’re just so simple to operate!
Watch the video below to hear how it sounds.