Best Bass Preamp Pedals and Rackmount in 2024

bass preamps

Looking to improve or personalize your bass tone? With the best bass preamp, you can achieve your desired bass tone right on a pedal.

Bass preamps add amp-like textures to your bass tone. They are used for tone enhancements and for connecting directly to PA systems without the need for a bass amp. This allows for a more simplified bass rig, without having to haul around a heavy bass amplifier.

Feature here are the best bass preamps currently available, based on current market sentiments as computed by the Gearank algorithm. We divided our expert recommendations into four categories: rackmount, table/amp top, multi-switch pedals, and regular single-switch pedals.

You’ll find noteworthy features and specifications of each bass preamp, along with summaries of what bassists like and didn’t like about them. You can also go to the things to consider section for more tips on what features to look for.

The Best Bass Preamps

Author & Contributors

Best Bass Preamp - Rackmount

There aren't many bass guitar rack mount preamps available compared to their pedal counterparts. But we've identified two worth recommending based on positive market feedback.

Tech 21 SansAmp RBI Bass Preamp DI Rackmount

97 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.
Tech 21
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Rackmount Bass Preamp.


  • Absence of a ground lift feature.
  • Limited grit from the drive section.


  • Delivers great, natural tube emulation that exceeds expectations.
  • Responsive EQ section ideal for playing different styles.
  • Consistent performance over years of regular use.
  • Durable and well-constructed.
  • Highly regarded by many professional touring bassists.

The SansAmp RBI Bass Preamp is a modern version of Tech 21's pioneering amplifier sound emulation system, first introduced in 1989.

It retains the original formula while incorporating modern improvements. The interface is straightforward, with knobs for adjusting the preamp and EQ sections.

It features dedicated knobs for bass, mid, and treble frequencies. Another knob for adjusting the drive or gain setting of the unit's tube preamp emulation. Additionally, there are controls for blending and overall level.

Designed in a rackmount form factor, it offers extended input and output options, making it easy to integrate into existing racks.

This makes Tech 21's SansAmp the best bass tube preamp, and a preferred choice. Its reliability, makes it an invaluable equipment, especially for regular gigging in different venues.


  • Preamp: SansAmp Preamp
  • Controls: Drive, Blend, XLR, LEVEL, Active Switch, Mix 50/50 Switch, XLR Output Level Switch
  • EQ: Presence, Treble, Mid, Bass
  • DI Function: Via XLR Balanced Out
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20kHz
  • Input: 1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4" Instrument/line, 1 x 1/4" Effects loop Return, 1x 1/4" Footswitch
  • Output: 2 x 1/4", 2 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" Effects Loop Send, 1 x 1/4" Footswitch
  • Power: Built-in Power Supply
  • Dimensions: 1.5" x 19" x 5.25"
  • Weight: 5 lbs

Tech 21 SansAmp GED-2112 Geddy Lee Signature

89 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.
Tech 21


  • No blend output option for the two channels.
  • No footswitch option for changing between Drive and Deep channels.


  • Excellent for achieving Geddy Lee's signature dirty, clean tone.
  • Versatile EQ settings.
  • Sounds great with various amps, PA systems, monitors, and headphones.
  • Recognized by experts for its versatility, not just as a Geddy Lee tone box but as a flexible tone machine.

Rush bassist Geddy Lee collaborated with Tech 21 to create a rackmount preamp unit that captures his renowned tone.

The Geddy Lee Signature SansAmp GED-2112 features two distinct preamp voicings. The Drive voicing is based on the SansAmp RPM with an artist-approved EQ curve.

The Deep voicing is tailored to offer enhanced low frequencies with adjustable saturation. This provides a wide range of tones, from clean to tube amp-like grit.

This preamp unit offers versatile DI-out options with XLR and 1/4" ports for each of the two preamp voicings.

It includes an effects loop for seamless integration with other rack processors and pedals. Additional features comprise a tuner out, blend control, and dual inputs.

This is a no-brainer for fans of Rush or Geddy Lee. It can also be a good preamp if you regard sonic versatility as an important factor.


  • Preamp: SansAmp Drive and Deep Preamp
  • Controls: Drive, Level1, Saturation, Level 2, On/Off
  • EQ: Mid, Mid Shift, Blend, Bass, Treble
  • DI Function: 2 XLR Balanced Out
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20kHz
  • Input: 2 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4" Return
  • Output: 2 x XLR (Deep, Drive), 2 x 1/4" (Deep, Drive), 1 x 1/4" (Thru), 1 x 1/4" (Tuner Out), 1 x 1/4" (Send)
  • Power: Standard IEC AC cable
  • Dimensions: 1.75" x 19" x 5.25"
  • Weight: 5 lbs

Best Bass Preamp - Table / Amp Top

Although some retailers call this type of unit a 'pedal,' it is actually meant to be operated by your hands, not your feet.

DSM Humboldt Electronics Simplifier Bass Station Bass Preamp

91 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.
Simplifier Amp


  • Small complex controls. It can be tricky to handle without changing settings.
  • Less tube warmth.
  • No power supply.


  • Multiple cabinet tones and speaker color options.
  • 3-band EQ with mid-control and switchable frequencies.
  • Parallel signal paths with a low-pass filter and dual FX loops.
  • Easy to transport and robust build.
  • High-quality headphone sound for practice.

The DSM & Humboldt Simplifier Bass Station is a versatile bass preamp that is ideal for direct recording or live use. It features a bass preamp with gain and level and a 3-band EQ with semi-parametric mid-control.

In addition, it has a parallel signal routing system with a selectable low-pass filter and dual FX loops. This offers a wide range of tonal flexibility.

The unit also includes an analog cabinet simulation based on DSM Noisemaker’s Omnicabsim. With these cab sims, you're provided with various cabinet tone options

The preamp stage is modeled after the Ampeg SVT, known for its distinctive sound and articulation. However, it might not fully satisfy your need for a warm tube-amp-like response.

The cabinet simulation offers three settings. It has a closed-back 8x10 for tight lows, a vented 1x15 for warm mids and thick lows, and a vented 4x10 for a wider range response.

The speaker color switch (Warm, Bright, or Modern) simulates different speaker materials and geometries. Meanwhile, the Resonance and Mic position controls let you fine-tune high-end brightness and low-end resonance.

It offers a flexible EQ and switchable midrange frequencies. This allows for tight and clear tones at most gain settings, with higher gains giving the characteristic growl of an Ampeg SVT.

But these controls can be quite complex, and they can be easily moved accidentally. Its knobs are also small, making adjustments more tricky.

Despite its small size, the Simplifier Bass Station is robust and reliable. It's a convenient alternative to larger setups. This makes it suitable for both live performances and studio recordings.

The unit is well-built and includes a quality headphone amp, making it a practical solution for various playing situations. If you're looking for a compact yet powerful bass preamp and DI solution, this could be a good choice.


  • Preamp: Ampeg SVT ®
  • Controls: Mic Position, Resonance, Speaker Color, Cab Sim, Preamp Blend, Cab Sim Belnd, Volume Gain, 3 Band EQ with Mid Frequency Selector
  • EQ: 3-band EQ, Mid Switch
  • Effects: 3 x Cabinets, 3 x Speaker colors, Mic position control
  • DI Function: XLR Balanced Out
  • Input: 1 x 1/4" (passive/active), 1 x XLR (DI parallel), 1 x 1/8" (aux)
  • Output: 1 x 1/4" (out/thru), 1 x XLR (DI out)
  • Power: 9-12V DC (80mA) power supply (not includedy)
  • Dimensions: 2.16" x 4.53" x 2.55"
  • Weight: 0.94 lbs.

Best Bass Preamp Pedals - Multiswitch

Here we will take a closer look at bass preamps in the larger multiswitch pedal format. These multiswitch preamp pedals provide greater control over the resulting sound. They also expanded functionality compared to their smaller counterparts.

Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 Preamp Pedal

95 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.
Tech 21
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Multi-Switch Bass Preamp Pedal.


  • Some users had difficulty dialing in their desired sound.


  • Highly rated because of its phenomenal sound.
  • Great tone-shaping ability.
  • Live and studio-quality bass tones.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver stands out due to its wide range of control knobs, especially considering its compact size.

This means you have more options to adjust your sound compared to most preamp pedals. The majority of the knobs are focused on providing precise EQ control, including presence, treble, mid, and bass.

Additionally, it includes a built-in drive control for adding bass-friendly distortion as needed. To make it easier to integrate into your live or recording setup, it also offers three output options.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 is highly recommended if you're looking to color or tweak the sound of your bass.


  • Preamp: SansAmp Bass Preamp
  • Controls: Level, Blend, Treble, Presence, Drive, Mid, Mid Freq Switch, Bass, Bass Freq Switch, Phantom & Ground Lift Switch, -20dB Pad
  • DI Function: XLR Balanced Out
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4", 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (thru)
  • Power: 9V DC Power Supply or Phantom Power
  • Dimensions: 2" x 4.75" x 3.75"
  • Weight: 0.875 lbs

Ampeg SCR-DI

93 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.


  • Short battery life.
  • Adding Pre/Post EQ DI out would be great.


  • Considered a good portable alternative to an Ampeg SVT amp.
  • Solid construction built.
  • Preamp and EQ offer a wide range of tones.
  • Overdrive circuit is versatile and comparable to standalone pedal options.
  • Works well with pickups of both active and passive basses.

The SCR-DI combines preamp, overdrive, and DI box functions in a single stompbox. It features a preamp section that captures the low-end sound of popular Ampeg SVT bass amps.

What sets this preamp apart are the Ultra Lo and Ultra Hi switches. These switches allow you to emphasize high notes or boost the low end for a powerful sound.

Additionally, this pedal includes Ampeg's Scrambler overdrive effect, customized for bass guitars, with its own footswitch and controls. Lastly, the SCR-DI offers wet and dry output, aux-in, and DI-out connections.

Overall, you want Ampeg SCR-DI if you want Ampeg SVT tones that fit in your gig bag. It is a great all-around preamp, DI, and overdrive pedal to add to your tool kit.


  • Preamp: Legacy Amper preamp and Tone Stack Circuit
  • Controls: Volume,Aux Level Ground Lift, Drive, Blend
  • EQ: Treble, Mid, Bass, Ultra Lo Switch, Ultra Hi switch
  • Other Features: Built-in Scrambler Overdrive
  • DI Function: XLR/Line Out
  • Input: 2 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8"
  • Output: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (Line), 1 x 1/4" (Thru), 1 x 1/8" (Headphones)
  • Power: Optional Power Adapter or 9V Battery
  • Dimensions: 2.2" x 7.6" x 4.3"
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs

Tech 21 SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver DI Preamp Pedal

93 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.
Tech 21


  • Lacks control over mid-frequencies.
  • A few users faced issues with compatibility, though this is common with preamps.


  • Highly rated for enhancing overall sound quality.
  • Replaces the need for multiple amps and cabinets.
  • Works well with various bass brands, from Fender to Ibanez.

The SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver DI (PBDI) is designed for musicians who need to adjust their sound between songs or even mid-song.

It retains SansAmp’s well-received all-analog preamp circuitry. It also adds a digital component to manage the controls.

It allows you to conveniently store and recall settings in real-time. This gives you the benefits of both analog sound quality and digital preset switching in a single package.

The SansAmp PBDI allows you to switch settings as you please. Whether you need to add more power to certain parts of a song or switch to a more overdriven tone for your next song.

Other features include a dedicated XLR DI output, phantom power, ground switch, XLR out pad, and a boost switch for the 1/4" output.

Although it's described as a 3-channel preamp, it's actually a single-channel preamp. But, it has the ability to switch between 3 presets via 3 dedicated footswitches.

So, if you want the analog tone and feel of SansAmp’s preamp, consider getting the Tech 21 SansAmp PBDI. On top of that, it provides flexibility via preset switching.


  • Preamp: SansAmp Bass Preamp
  • Controls: Drive, Blend, Level
  • EQ: Treble, Bass, Presence
  • DI Function: XLR Out
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4", 1 x XLR
  • Power: Optional Power Supply, 9V Battery, Phantom Power
  • Dimensions: 7.25" x 5" x 2"
  • Weight: 2 lbs

Best Bass Preamp Pedals - Compact Form

Here we will explore good bass preamp pedals in a compact form factor. They're all designed for simple single footswitch operation to save space and cost.

Darkglass Alpha Omega

96 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Compact Bass Preamp Pedal.


  • Clean settings tend to be inadequate.


  • Impressive sound quality.
  • Ability to blend clean and overdriven signals is a great feature.
  • Appreciated for the coloration it adds to the tone.
  • Overdrive is particularly well received.

The Darkglass Electronics Alpha Omega is a preamp overdrive DI box. It has growl and bite switches that allow you to saturate low and high frequencies, respectively.

At its core is the same preamp tone as its namesake amp, but this one comes in a compact single switch form factor. It features a blend knob for more control in adjusting the ratio between a clean and overdriven tone.

Additionally, it allows for parallel output processing and has a DI out, offering plenty of features for its size.

The Darkglass Alpha Omega continues to be the highest-rated single-footswitch bass amp pedal. Get it if you want nothing less than what the market deems to be the best preamp pedal.


  • Preamp: Darkglass Alpha and Omega
  • Controls: Blend, Level, Dry, Mod, Mid, Bass, Treble, Growl, Bite
  • DI Function: Yes
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 2 x 1/4" (OuT, Parallel out), 1 x XLR (Direct Out)
  • Power: 9V DC power supply (Sold Separately)
  • Dimensions: 4.2" x 4.7" x 2"
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

Darkglass Microtubes X7 Bass Preamp Pedal

94 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.


  • Many controls can be overwhelming.
  • A bit pricy.
  • Hard-to-see knobs in low light.


  • Versatile distortion, ranging from high gain to mild overdrive and fuzz.
  • Comprehensive tone shaping controls.
  • Small, practical for live and studio use.
  • Robust build quality.

The Darkglass Microtubes X7 Bass Preamp Pedal is designed to provide bassists with a wide array of distortion options.

This bass guitar preamp pedal is noted for its bright, chunky tones and versatility. It allows precise control over distortion texture, definition, and size. This offers everything from high gain to subtle overdrive and aggressive fuzz tones.

It offers EQ capabilities for shaping their bass tones effectively, with low and high shelf controls, plus midrange shaping at 500 Hz and 1 kHz.

In terms of connectivity, the Microtubes X7 includes a 1/4” output for amps or other effects pedals. It has a ground lift control to manage DI signal noise and a balanced XLR output for integration with PA systems, an audio interface, or studio consoles.

It features a parallel output for maintaining an unaffected signal path when needed.

Powered by a standard 9V DC adapter, its compact design makes it suitable for both live gigs and studio sessions.

Users appreciate the pedal's ability to cover a broad spectrum of tones. Tones that range from aggressive metal distortions to cleaner, more refined sounds.

If you want a more saturated bass tone with lots of tone-shaping options, then the Darkglass Microtubes X7 should be high on your list.


  • Preamp:
  • Controls: Low Comp, Low Level, High Level, High Drive
  • EQ: 4-band EQ, Lowpass, Highpass
  • DI Function:
  • Frequency Response:
  • Input: 1 x 1/4" (instrument)
  • Output: 1 x 1/4" (main out), 1 x 1/4" (parallel out), 1 x XLR (direct out)
  • Power: 9V DC power supply (sold separately)
  • Dimensions: 1.81" x 3.7" x 4.7"
  • Weight: 0.7 lbs.

MXR M81 Bass Preamp DI Pedal

93 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.
Jim Dunlop


  • Lacks tube-like growl and warmth.
  • Super-bright LED can be annoying on dark stages.


  • Widely praised for its excellent sound quality.
  • Versatile EQ with impressive tone-shaping capabilities.
  • Easy to find the sweet spot for set-and-forget operations.
  • Many users rely on it as their primary coloration pedal.

The MXR M81 is a bass guitar preamp pedal with an equalizer and DI functionality, all packed inside a regular-sized stompbox.

It's designed to help you save both money and space, without sacrificing quality. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

Despite its small size, it offers deep control over the EQ section. Its knobs are for adjusting the lows, mids, and high frequencies tailored for electric bass guitars.

It features a selectable midrange frequency control. But if you're not into tone shaping, there's a Pre/Post EQ switch that lets you bypass the EQ section.

The preamp section allows you to control the input and output levels. This gives you precise control over how much you want to drive the preamp section, independent of the output volume.

Finally, it features MXR's "Constant Headroom Technology," providing improved clarity at higher output levels.

For subtle enhancement and coloration, and for rounding off some of the rough edges of your bass tone, the MXRM81 Bass Preamp is highly recommended.


  • Preamp: MXR Studio Quality Preamp
  • Controls: Input, Output, Output, Ground Lift
  • EQ: Bass, Mid, Treble, Mid Freq. 500, Pre/Post EQ
  • DI Function: Switchable DI Out (Internal)
  • Extra Features: Switchable Buffered/True Bypass, Buffered Bypass
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4", 1 x XLR (DI Out)
  • Power: Optional Power Supply or 9V Battery
  • Dimensions: 4.5" x 2.5" x 4.5"
  • Weight: 0.438 lbs

Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass Preamp/OD Pedal

93 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.


  • Complex initial setup.


  • Offers a wide range of tones, from subtle overdrive to intense distortion.
  • Dual distortion circuits.
  • Detailed tonal sculpting controls.
  • Enhanced presence and rich low ends.
  • Durable design suitable for live and studio use.

The Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass Preamp/OD Pedal is designed to provide bassists with a versatile distortion solution.

It includes two distinct circuits: Alpha for punchy and defined tones, and Omega for aggressive and raw sounds.

The dual setup allows for a wider range of tones, from subtle overdrive to intense distortion, suitable for various musical styles.

Key features of the Alpha Omicron include controls for blending clean and distorted signals. This adjusts the level and gain of the overdriven signal and selects between the Alpha and Omega circuits.

It also includes a "Bite" switch to enhance high mids and a "Growl" switch for low-end saturation, allowing for precise tonal adjustments.

The pedal includes standard 1/4" input and output jacks for easy connection with amplifiers and other pedals. It operates via a 9V DC adapter and boasts a compact, sturdy build ideal for both stage and studio use.

Alpha Omicron's ability to cover genres from classic rock to modern metal. Its versatility, robust construction, and distinctive growling character also become a huge part of a musician's sound.

Although the initial setup is a bit intricate, its detailed controls allow for fine-tuning to suit individual preferences and musical needs.

The Darkglass Alpha Omicron delivers punch and rawness to your bass sound. It's ideal, especially if your playing style leans more toward more aggressive genres like thrash or metal.


  • Preamp:
  • Controls:
  • EQ:
  • DI Function:
  • Frequency Response:
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power: 9V DC power supply (not included)
  • Dimensions: 1.77" x 2.95" x 4.45"
  • Weight:

Tech 21 SansAmp YYZ Geddy Lee Signature

91 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.
Tech 21


  • Lacks an XLR DI output for all-in-one preamp/DI use.
  • May not appeal to those who prefer a more transparent sound.


  • Iconic tone, often described as "Geddy Lee in a Can" for its signature sound.
  • Versatility pedal for various tone flavors.
  • Highly rated as a tone color pedal.
  • Well-built and durable.

The Tech 21 Geddy Lee Signature is an all-analog bass guitar preamp pedal that includes overdrive functionality.

It features Tech 21's popular SansAmp analog preamp technology, specially modified to meet Geddy Lee's requirements in a pedal form factor.

The pedal runs two separate internal preamps in parallel and allows you to blend them using the Mix knob. The two preamps are Deep (enhanced low-end tailored to Geddy's preferences) and Drive (delivering a dirty tube amp-like tone).

Additionally, this pedal is equipped with a 3-band EQ that follows Geddy's preferred taper. It has a Drive knob to control gain and overdrive, and a tight button for adding definition to your clean tone and making your overdriven tone snappier.

It's worth noting that this pedal does not have a dedicated XLR DI output, meaning you would need to use its unbalanced 1/4" output if you want to connect to a PA system directly.

While many will get this pedal for its association with the popular Rush bassist, this is a great pedal to get if you're looking for a versatile preamp/overdrive for your bass.

If you're interested in analog stompbox bass preamps with good overdrive functionality, you should consider the Aguilar Tone Hammer. It is highly rated, comparable to the SansAmp YYZ, and has been previously featured in our guide, demonstrating its quality.


  • Preamp: SansAmp
  • Controls: Master, Low, Mid, High, Drive, Mix (Deep/Drive), Tight Switch
  • DI Function: None
  • Input: 1 x 1/4"
  • Output: 1 x 1/4"
  • Power: 9V DC Power Supply (Optional)
  • Dimensions: 2.1" x 3.9" x 4.7"
  • Weight: 0.7 lbs

Things to Consider When Buying a Bass Preamp

  • Tone Coloration

    Bass preamps are often used as a saturator, to improve sound, making them more like an effect that colors the sound. Most bassists prefer those that mimic the sound of old tube amps, but there are others who prefer clean and transparent.

    Most Preamps let you adjust the level of sound coloration via the drive/gain knob, other preamps allow for more precise control via blend/mix knobs and other parameters. Note that aside from giving you direct to PA/Console tones, you can route your preamp to the poweramp section of your bass amplifier to give your amp a different voicing. While ratings provide a good representation of sound quality, your perception of sound quality will always be subjective, mainly dependent on the sound of the artists that you look up to. We've included demo videos so you can have a better idea of the sound of each preamp.

    Some preamps, like the SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2, Walrus Audio Badwater, Microtube X7, Microbass 3, Darkglass Alpha Omicron, and Markbass Vintage Pre come with built-in overdrive or distortion effect.

  • EQ and Sound Shaping

    In addition to coloration, most Preamps let you shape your sound via EQ knobs. Some provide basic Treble and Bass EQ, while others offer more precise control, complete with fully sweepable Mids. They work in conjunction with the preamp to give you more control over the resulting sound. While more knobs do mean more control, be careful not to end up obsessing over the controls instead of making good music.

  • Passive or Active Electronics

    Most bass preamps are meant to work with traditional passive pickup-equipped bass guitars. They can also work with active pickup-equipped instruments, but the interaction of the active electronics within the instrument and the electric bass preamp may produce unexpected results. It is recommended to deactivate or bypass the active electronics of your bass guitar if you plan to use them with preamps unless your preamp has a specific option for active pickups.

  • Input / Output Options

    Most, if not all portable bass preamps come with DI box functionality, and this usually means having at least one balanced XLR or 1/4" line level out. This straightforward option is best for a basic use, but there are others that allow for more signal routing options - including the ability to plug in two bass guitars and/or send your dry signal out to a regular amplifier. Some even have a dedicated effects loop section, aux in, headphones out, and more. We have presented the input and output ports for each unit above so you can choose one that has the connections you need.

  • Form Factor

    Unlike mic and guitar preamps that come in a wide variety of shapes, most of the top-rated preamps come in pedal format. This makes them easier to integrate into existing pedalboards and allows for some level of hands-free control. Pedal size is something that you need to seriously take into account when.

    This edition sees two rack-mountable bass preamps making it into our recommended list, they are ideal if you already have rackmount gear setup, or if you have a trusted roadie/tech that can make sound adjustments for you. Rackmount units tend to have more connectivity and control options, but based on market data, they are not as popular as pedals for most bass players. In fact, as a bass player myself, I agree with most gigging guitarists who prefer the convenience of bass preamps.

  • Power Supply / Battery

    Bass guitar preamp pedals are powered by either a power supply or a battery. Power supplies are more convenient, just double-check if the pedal already comes with one because some manufacturers require you to buy them separately. Some of the bass preamps listed above are powered by batteries, and they are recommended for recording, because of their quiet operation. Just note that preamps tend to eat up batteries relatively quickly.

Best Bass Preamp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in March 2017. The current edition was published on June 18, 2024

We sifted the market for preamps that are specifically designed for bass guitars, and like always, we limited our search to those that you can readily buy from major retailers in the USA. We did not include compact amp heads and best bass combo amp because while they do have preamplifier sections, they serve a different purpose, which is mainly to drive speaker cabinets.

For this edition, we ended up with 37 bass preamps on our short-list, including the . We then gathered and analyzed the most recent reviews and ratings, which added up to over 7,900 sources.

All these data were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 you see above. We used these scores to select and rank the top performers and market favorites, divided into four categories: Rackmount, Table / Amp Top, Multi-Switch and Regular Single-Switch Pedals. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.


Jerome Arcon: Co-Writer and Product research.
Alden Acosta: Product research.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Produced by using photographs of the Darkglass Alpha Omega, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 and Tech 21 SansAmp RBI.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

10 thoughts on “Best Bass Preamp Pedals and Rackmount in 2024”

  1. Avatar
    Johnny Lawson

    Recently purchased the Tech 21 Sans Amp Geddy Lee Signature Bass pre to use in my rack to replace my Ampeg PF350 as I needed a rack mountable unit. What a disappointment. It basically is a Fuzz Face with very little to offer for getting a clean, driving bass tone. Once I found a clean setting, I tried to dial in some low end….nothing. None of the tone knobs made any notible change to the sound. Way too much $ for such a limited piece of equipment. I have an Ampeg SCR DI that I use in my home studio and it sounds great, however it does not lend itself for rack mounting. I ordered and received a 2u drawer and secured the SCR using foam materials and it works fine (also provides storage for other gear). I ordered a second SCR as backup and both units cost a few $ more than the Sans Amp alone. I also like Sweetwater, however they would not match Musician’s Friend price point. Still give them props.

  2. I’m interested in the AVID Eleven Rack as a bass preamp. I was wondering how the Eleven Rack would hold up as a live performance rig as compared to other bass preamps in this review. Given that it’s price has been cut in half ($350) makes it more competitive. Not too much information about this.

    1. I don’t think any of the team can advise you on this because we have only researched hardware systems and I’m pretty sure none of us have used a software setup for Bass.

      Hopefully someone else will read this and provide their thoughts.

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