Low-end tone is a critical component of a live mix or studio recording – if the bass doesn’t sound good, the music will suffer. Badly.
The Bassics BPA-1, designed by legendary engineer and gear designer Malcolm Toft (Bowie, James Taylor, Beatles), is essentially the front-end of a bass amp or channel of an analog mixer, and it gives bassists serious control over their tone.
Frequently, bassists are concerned with surgically precise EQ and level controls. With this in mind, Bassics included two inputs on the BPA-1, allowing bassists to have two instruments ready to go. Input 1 can accommodate both low- and high-impedance pickups, allowing for combinations of active and passive electronics, not to mention piezo-fitted axes. The back includes a 1/4″ output, as well as balanced XLR outputs (pre- and post-EQ) and an effects loop.
EQ fans will dig the three-band equalizer featuring Level and Frequency knobs and 15dB of gain for each range: Low Bass (45 to 250Hz), Mid Bass (150 to 800Hz), and High Bass (500Hz to 3kHz). Each band has footswitchable on/off, while a master EQ Bypass turns off the section. While this might seem like overkill to rockin’ electric guitarists, bass players know they can set each band to a specific tone setting and activate it at the perfect moment. One example might be tweaking the Mid Bass and High Bass to deliver the bright Rickenbacker sounds of a Chris Squire or Geddy Lee. Conversely, pump up the bottom and mids for a more jazz-oriented tone, all at the tap of the footswitch. There’s also an excellent, one-knob compressor to control dynamics.
Another great touch is that every knob is illuminated with a different color to help remember which circuits are deployed at any moment. And aside from sounding terrific, the BPA-1 is built like a tank, ready for the toughest live show or studio date.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.