NPD! Aguilar Tone Hammer

Effects pedals or devices to alter the sound of your bass
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NPD! Aguilar Tone Hammer

Post by T-Dub » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:03 pm

Aguilar Tone Hammer

For you TL;DR types, read the bits in bold
Well, this wee beauty turned up from the states today.

Such a great pedal! Part of me was wanting a great preamp/di pedal to use live and for recording, but also I wanted to test out the theory that all my warwick streamer LX needed was a change in preamp.

I'm sure most of you know the specs of this but once more through can't hurt, eh?
Th Tonehammer is essentially an Aguilar OPB-3 preamp in a box with a DI and dirt pedal. The mids control is different from the OPB-3, as the OPB-3 only switches between 400hz and 800hz, whereas on the Tonehammer you have the option to select the frequency by sweeping the pot from 180Hz to 1KHz.

I found that the MEC preamp in the Warwick Streamer LX amplified a lot of woofy/muddy frequencies around the 140Hz area, which was a nightmare to eq when DI'd live, and just made the bass sound murky all together. The tonehammer really helped this as the bass control is set at 40hz, bringing the doom, and the Mid freq knob starts at 180Hz, somewhat skipping the ugly 140Hz zone. Treble on the MEC preamp was also strange as it controlled boost at 10khz, which is a bit too high to be useful. The Tonehammer has the treble set at a nice useful frequency of 4Khz. This means that a small adjustment goes a long way.

I can see that setting the bass at 40Hz may provide a problem is you don't have 15 inch speaker to pump out the lows, as it might be overpowering the desk without your knowledge but I'm sure that is manageable.

It really brought out a clear, full and woody tone from my warwick, which I was very pleased to find. It had enough lows to keep me happy, and the mid control was really powerful and useful; a little careful tuning is better than a lot of knob twisting. The Streamer has a P/J setup and finally there was a clear, significant difference between the two pickups. The P Bass style were big and full, whilst the Jazz pickup was growly and tight.

It's made it clear to me that I need a set of passive pups in my warwick to get the most out of it.

I really enjoyed the AGS overdrive setting on the pedal as it gave some nice grind and warmth. I didn't like that you couldn't select the amount of boost it provided but I found that I liked to turn it on to a low setting where it would start to grind if I dug in. I'd keep it there rather than being perfectly clean.

I would recommend this to anyone who isn't into their sansamp, or wants to get to the next step up from the MXR DI Box.

Pro's: Great sounding, sensible eq settings, AGS has a nice grind, can be powered off phantom power, very flexible preamp that brings out the best in your bass, nice DI
Con's: Price is steep (but worth it), 18v means you have to use two 9v batteries or get a separate adapter, AGS doesn't have a way of controlling the level of boost

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Re: NPD! Aguilar Tone Hammer

Post by irvinz » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:25 pm

the 6th person i've influenced... and the second on this board =p

dang. i shouldnt let my lady try her lx4 into my tone hammer then. i might be tweaking away for awhile! but a pup change is definitely the next place to go!

if i remember right. the AGS is affected a by the mid controls..... give it a whirl i think.
ex- Music Planet Queen Street Resident Bass expert wannabe

now residing at

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