[sfx] [sfx]:Custom Shop - case study

Bass preamplifier



 Customer comments

   I play gigs in clubs and I always struggle to recreate my sound with different equipment. I spoke to Max about designing a Pre capable of putting an end to this. To spice things up, I wanted it to be a small, easy to use and no frills device.

   He came up with a few ideas of what should and what shouldn't go into it. Even though we agreed on the ideal solution, I must confess I wasn't prepared for the surprise.

   First of all, the look is pleasingly no non-sense, with big Typefaces and brushed aluminum finish (I particularly like that). It feels very professional, robust, with so many controls arranged in a clear and clean layout. It is as small as it can possibly be with all that has been packed inside and it easily fits into my gig bag.

   I instantly fell in love with the Mid contr/Mid freq. I can shape the sound in many ways. But most importantly to me, I could right away find the sound I wanted. The Bass and Treble controls work in a non-intrusive way, I like that. Next to the agreed bass freq. toggle, Max added one for high freq. because he felt I would need it. As a bass player himself, he clearly understands what sound one is after. Needless to say, the extra switch proved very useful.

   I showed up at the first gig with my new Pre and it took me less then a minute to make my band mates go Wow! ;) The D.I. with separate volume and post/pre eq. toggle made the sound engineer's life (and mine) easier.

   After the gig, a few loyal followers pointed out how good and clean my bass sounded this time around. It felt great. But it felt way better to be able to clearly hear every note I was playing for the first time.

   For the records, I played an old Steinberger, and the amp was an old Trace Elliot with a broken Eq! I recently started using the Pre with my Tobias Killer 5 and Wal5 with the same great result - it particularly breaths a new life into the K5.

   Next up: I absolutely love the m:link. Being able to power more then one device with only one adaptor is as close to heaven as I can possibly get. Genius!

   But you never really know it all until something goes wrong. Right out of the box (packed to survive WW3 - or a London, Kuala Lumpur shipment) the connected Pre produced a horrible Hum.

   That sucks. What I didn't know was, that unlike similar experience I had in the past - yeah, shit happens - this was going to be a great learning lesson with a happy ending. Max suggested I did a few tests to narrow down the possible causes.

   It tuned out that the culprit was what he had foreseen - inadequate adaptor. Once I got the right stuff the Pre turned out to be as silent as dead and crystal clear at maximum volume. Max's way to dealing with a post-sales issue - from the opposite end of the globe - was extremely professional, efficient and dedicated.

   Even when it became clear that his product was not the issue he wasn't satisfied until I was all set and offered along the way invaluable tips as how to improve my rig's set up.

   I particularly like [sfx] true 'custom' approach. I can talk to Max about a sound I have in mind and he is able to translate that into a plan that takes in account variables like cabinets, amps, strings, playing style and so on. Priceless.

   Improvements? Well, a beer pint holder would be nice.

- Maurizio Caduto, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)




  • high impedance input (2M ohm)
  • 9V power supply (internally >30V rail-to-rail)
  • low control 80Hz (with bass shift: 40Hz)
  • middle control with variable frequency
  • high control 12kHz (with treble shift: 6kHz)
  • XLR output with independent volume
  • XLR output can be selected pre or post EQ
  • XLR ground lift
  • EQ bypass switch
  • Active/Passive/mute input selection switch
  • Send-return directly on the input signal
  • m:system (power and signal)
  • unbalanced output
  • size (without knobs, connector and switches): 188x120x37mm