improving my tone (again)- Monique tube pre vs REDDI tube DI

Looking back on what I thought was great tone when I first started playing bass in 1999-2000, I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face. I’ve bought and sold so much equipment over the years, my tastes changing every year or so as my influences and experiences grow. I’m 24 now, I’ve been out of school and gigging in the city for 3 years now, and I can confidently say I’m closest to my tonal goals than I’ve ever been in my bass playing life. Just a short time ago I was REALLY into the sound I was getting out of my ‘69 Precision with super old TI flats through my Trace Elliot V6 tube head and Epifani 2×15. Tone knob rolled back, Pino-style fatness and thump. I even rocked a foam mute for a minute. But these days I’m really into my EA stuff which is just clear, dark and articulate, and I’m LOVING my Alleva-Coppolos which are basically new “pre-CBS” Fenders but better. So it’s vintage thump meets modern clarity. I think I can live with that for now….

But in my research for constantly upgrading my tone, I’ve noticed a lot of great bassists using really nice preamp/DIs BEFORE their amps live. I’ve used both the Avalon U5 and Millenia TD-1 before (both sound AMAZING) and have noticed a lot of players rocking those, such as Nathan East, and Anthony Jackson. However, there are two tube pre/DIs that are quickly gaining some serious popularity in the bass community. The first is the REDDI tube DI made by A-Designs and is referred to by many as the “best tube DI ever made”. I’ve personally never tried it, but I know Paul Turner is using one, and there’s a buzz amongst Alleva-Coppolo players that they’ve found the secret ingredient for the ultimate tone. It’s based on the design of the Ampeg B-15, so it can’t be bad, right? From what I’ve heard online, it definitely adds something to the tone that just sounds perfect on a recording. If you listen to the guy going back and forth with it in the video I found, it makes a huge amazing difference. I found it online for $750 which is pretty steep but for a bassist or producer who’s constantly doing recordings, thing thing could be worth it’s weight in gold. Now to our other contender, the Monique tube bass preamp made by Jule Amps. Now this pre really intrigues me. It’s design is based on an SVTs tube preamp section and it features 2 x 6SL7s (like a B-15!) and a rectifier tube! Every piece is made from scratch by hand in the USA and comes in an awesome see through metal chassis, or a more expensive fancy wooden box. The metal box version is $1295 and the wooden box one is $1695. WOOO that’s a lot….but from what I’ve heard online, I think the Monique may make more sense for me right now. Check out the vid I found of Stew McKinsey killin it! That tube overdrive-fuzz just sounds awesome. But who said you can’t have BOTH!

2 Responses to “improving my tone (again)- Monique tube pre vs REDDI tube DI”

  1. Jule Potter says:

    Hey Mitch,
    I appreciate the kind words about Monique. Things are crazy here right now. If I could build all night I would be doing so. But if you ever want to do some Monique testing, I would appreciate the opportunity to work with you.


  2. Mitch says:

    hey Jule,

    I’m so glad you noticed my blog! Thanks for posting! I would be honored to test out the Monique. In fact, I’m pretty close to putting my order in for one. I was really hoping to have one by the time I leave on tour but with all the other last minute things I need I don’t think it’s going to happen….I’m going on the road with O.A.R. playing with an artist named Kelley James and I’ll be gone for the next few months. But I plan on placing my order for a Monique as SOON as I get back! And if I manage to make it through your area of CA I may have to stop by and say hey! Best of luck Jule, you deserve it for making such awesome gear!!

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