WHILE SOME STOMPBOXES TURN
heads with swirling modulation, crunchy
overdrive, or bubbling filter sweeps, the
Basswitch IQ DI is a stealthy but sexy device
that serves several utilitarian purposes. The
Basswitch can act as the command center
for an intricate pedalboard setup, a buffer
preamp for piezo pickups, a tone-sculpting
tool for two basses, a clean boost, or
a DI for recording or live performance.
With high-end components and top-notch
German manufacturing, the Basswitch
may be the answer to any number of bassrelated
For example, if you use the Basswitch
with two basses, input A (which has an
impedance switch for optimal response with
piezo pickups) routes the signal through
the EQ. Input B goes “straight through”
the unit’s 18-volt buffered bypass. If you
use only input A, however, you can switch
between the EQ channel and the bypass.
The Basswitch has a well-designed preamp
section with up to 15dB of gain, and the
unit’s 5-volt output is a good match for
most power amps. The 4-band EQ is flexible
and musically voiced for both electric
and upright bass. Pedal pushers will
love the two effect loops, a passive serial
loop and a footswitch-controlled, variable
mixing loop with a phase switch. The mix
loop’s boost control can also be used as a
clean boost for solos, or to provide optimal
output for overdrive pedals. The Basswitch’s
transformer is touted to provide the
DI galvanic isolation, eliminating ground
hum and background noise. The DI also has
a pre/post-EQ switch, ground lift, and output-
attenuation pad. A tuner out and mute
switch are handy features as well.
Under the hood, the Basswitch boasts a level
of uncompromised quality not often seen in
a world full of inexpensive Asian imports.
Best-in-class components like Wima capacitors
and gold-plated relays give the unit
technological pedigree, although they do
add to the cost. To some, it may seem like
overkill—but the sum of the parts increases
when the parts themselves are top-shelf.
And taking into account that these expensive
bits are housed in a box that will be
repeatedly stepped on, the pedal’s circuit
board is isolated from the mechanical stress
points of the footswitch, via a unique mechanism
that distributes pressure to an actuator
button and the unit’s housing.
Running the Basswitch through its paces,
the inherent quality of the unit shines through.
The footswitches operate silently and feel
reassuringly solid. The control knobs are
mounted to avoid errant swipes of the foot, and
the potentiometers have secure and smooth
travel. Tested as an instrument preamp/EQ
with a Mike Lull MV5 in both passive and
active modes, I found the IQ had the rich
smoothness I’ve experienced with Class A
studio preamps—this is no mere stompbox!
The low EQ plumps up the bottom nicely
without mud, while the high mids have a
range that can aid articulation, or cut troublesome
resonances. The shelving control
for the highs can warm up the tone without
taking away too much detail, or open
it up with airy top end.
|The Basswitch’s fine Lehle components ease worried minds.|
When I used an analog delay through the
Basswitch’s mix loop, I was initially unhappy
with the blend coming back to the amp. But
a quick fl ip of the phase switch brought back
my low end—a lifesaving feature. Using the
boost control, I was able to set a slightly
higher volume level for my soloing tone.
The sonic benefit of the pedal’s high-quality
circuit is noticeable through an amp, but
it really shines as a DI. The signal is clean
and dynamic, with plenty of headroom in
bypass mode, but you can use the EQ to
tailor the tone in any number of useful ways.
Plugging my David Gage Realist-equipped
upright bass into the Basswitch, I flipped the
impedance switch from 1MΩ to 10MΩ and
heard an astounding improvement. The low
end opened up and all traces of nasal midrange
disappeared. The EQ seems to work
exceptionally well with the acoustic bass,
too—upright players, take note!
A note on power: The Basswitch doesn’t
come with its own power adapter, but it will
work with any power supply ranging from
9–20 volts, so long as it delivers 130mA.
The Basswitch’s engineering, components,
and tone far surpass typical pedalboard fair.
It may be more expensive than most boxes
in its category, but with so many applications,
it is unlikely this monster will ever
collect dust like your other pedals do.
Pros High-quality design and components,
Input impedance Input A, 1MΩ/10MΩ;
Input B, 1MΩ
Output impedance 150Ω
Frequency range 20Hz–100kHz
EQ Bass, ±18dB @ 33Hz; low mid, ±18dB
@ 90Hz–500Hz; high mid, ±16dB @
840Hz–5.4kHz; treble, ±18dB @ 12.5kHz
Power supply 9-20 volt, 130mA (not
Dimensions 6.3” x 8.6” x 1.6”
Weight 3 lbs
Made in Germany
Warranty One year, limited