The Bassics BPA-1 is a new approach to bass amplification. Essentially, it extends the controls from the amplifier and places them at the feet of the musician. In essence this means that only a power amplifier and speaker cabinet of your choice are required to complete a bass setup.
You can of course still use The BPA-1 with your existing bass set-up allowing you, for instance, to turn a single channel single EQ set up, into a two channel 6 x EQ set up, giving greater flexibility of tone easily accessible at your feet.
Alternatively, the house p.a. system can be used with just the BPA-1, with the second DI output going to such things as in-ear monitors. The bassist gains a greater control and flexibility over his sound.
The same is true when it is used in the studio as it has fully balanced D.I. outputs that work to studio levels.
The BPA-1 should therefore not be thought of as ‘just another effects pedal’ it goes way beyond that.
The brain behind this product is legendary recording engineer and studio console designer, Professor Malcolm Toft. As a recording engineer he mixed The Beatles number one ‘Hey Jude’, recorded David Bowie’s Space Oddity album, James Taylor’s first album and three albums with T-Rex and worked with producer Tony Visconti for three years. He has many other recording credits to his name.
As a console designer, he founded Trident Audio a major manufacturer of recording consoles and his designs have been used by just about every famous artist including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Queen, Radiohead and Muse.
So with that background, you know the BPA-1 is going to sound good! As you can appreciate from the above, it is equally at home on the stage or in the studio. Unlike a lot of bass gear, it has masses of headroom, is extremely quiet and has very musical tone control.
The unit has dual inputs so that two basses can be connected at the same time and either is selected by an illuminated switch. The first input has an impedance switch on the back of the unit so that a very high impedance pickup such as a piezzo can be connected. Particularly useful if an upright bass is used. The second input has it’s own level control also on the back of the unit so that it’s level can be set independently of the first input which has it’s level control on the front.
A unique feature of the BPA-1 is that all front panel rotary controls are illuminated when in use which is particularly useful on a dark stage. If a section is bypassed, they do not illuminate. The first stage of studio quality, very low noise pickup amplification has it’s own metering as well as a balanced D.I. output and the metering allows the player to provide the right output level. An effects loop is provided at this point and the send jack can be used as a constant tuner output.
There then follows three bands of tuneable sweep eq. with frequencies chosen specifically for bass. Boost and cut of 15db is provided in each range with a centre detented ‘off’ position. A unique feature is that each section can be individually bypassed with it’s own footswitch and an overall eq bypass is also provided by another footswitch. Metering is again provided for the eq. section.
The next section is a high quality single knob compressor which adjusts the compression ratio. Attack and release times have been chosen for optimum performance with bass. This control works in conjunction with the input level control which provides the ‘drive’. A meter shows the amount of compression being used and there is a bypass footswitch. A nice feature is that ‘makeup’ gain is automatically introduced as more compression is added to compensate for level loss that normally occurs when large amounts of compression are introduced.
Finally, an overall output level control is provided with a meter that shows the final output and at this stage a balanced D.I. is also provided along with an overall mute footswitch and large led that shows the unit is bypassed. When this is operated, all of the rotary control illumination is extinguished.
Proudly made un the UK, the BPA-1 is built into an extremely robust cast aluminium case with it’s own internal power supply that will work anywhere in the world.
The Sound on Sound Review Aug2017
The First Review
Guitar & Bass Magazine
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