"An excellent, studio-quality preamp that's reasonable priced, sounds superb, and offers you real options in terms of how you play" — Gareth Morgan • Guitar & Bass Magazine
The BPA-1 floor mount preamp, the flagship model of the Bassics® range, is an innovative, high-end UK built bass preamplifier designed that represents a completely new approach to bass guitar amplification.
Designed by legendary recording engineer and professional studio equipment designer, Malcolm Toft, this unit essentially places studio quality bass signal processing literally at the feet of the bass guitarist. With the BPA-1 you no longer need any of the controls on the amplifier head, instead all you need is a power amplifier and speaker. All the rotary controls are clearly and brightly illuminated when in use so that they can be easily seen, even on low lit stages.
The frequencies chosen in the BPA-1's equaliser section have been specifically designed for the bass guitar and offer the same range of control as that found in the very best studio consoles. Studio quality, ultra-low noise input amplifiers ensure that you will get the very best, low distortion, wide bandwidth sound from your bass guitar pickups.
Twin channel inputs
Two jack inputs are provided on the rear panel for inputs 1 and 2, so you can connect two different instruments (or maybe a bass guitar and an upright bass). Input 1 can be selected for ultra-high impedance to cater for such devices as piezo pickups, whilst Input 2 has its own independent trim control on the rear panel so that the level from the two instruments can be matched without having to use the instruments' onboard volume controls, which can sometimes alter the sound.
An illuminated switch allows you to select which input is being used.
The input level control is illuminated red and a four led bar graph display indicates the level in db through the input section. A massive +36db of gain is provided for even the most insensitive of pickups.
After the input stage, a balanced direct output is provided on both jack and XLR connectors (with ground lift) so that you can provide a studio quality feed to a live sound engineer before any equalisation or signal processing should it be required.
Also at this point is an effects send and return loop provided by individual jacks so that external signal processing can be added prior to the equaliser if required.
Unique Three Channel EQ
The next stage is the equaliser section consisting of three individual channels. A unique feature to the BPA-1 is that not only is there an overall equaliser footswitch but each EQ channel can also be individually bypassed. When the whole equaliser is bypassed, none of the relevant controls are illuminated. When each of the three sections are bypassed, the illumination of the two controls associated is extinguished.
Channel 1 provides up to +/- 15db of continuously variable boost or cut with a centre-detented neutral position. The frequency can be continuously swept between 45Hz and 250Hz and this section is designated ‘Low Bass’. These controls illuminate green. An associated footswitch bypasses this section and extinguishes the illumination for the two controls.
The second channel provides up to +/- 15db of continuously variable boost or cut with a centre-detented neutral position. The frequency can be continuously swept between 150Hz and 800Hz and this section is designated ‘Mid Bass’. These controls illuminate orange. An associated footswitch bypasses this section and extinguishes the illumination for the two controls.
The third channel provides up to +/- 15db of continuously variable boost or cut with a centre-detented neutral position. The frequency can be continuously swept between 500Hz and 3kHz and this section is designated ‘low bass’. These controls illuminate yellow. An associated footswitch bypasses this section and extinguishes the illumination for the two controls.
A four-segment LED display indicates the signal level through the entire equaliser section. By means of the individual section bypass footswitches it is possible to create a combination of different tones.
Studio quality VCA compressor
Following on from the equaliser section is a very high-quality studio quality VCA compressor. The attack and release times have been specifically tailored for bass guitar and a single control increases the amount of compression. Special gain compensating circuitry automatically compensates for the loss in level normally associated with the use of compression.
A four-segment led display indicates the amount of compression and a blue illuminated switch can place the compressor either before or after the equaliser section. The rotary control is also illuminated blue and a footswitch will bypass the compressor section.
Completing the controls is a master level (output) control which is also coloured red and another four-segment led display indicates the final output of the unit.
A ‘Mute’ footswitch situated next to the output level control kills the entire signal and extinguishes all control illumination. A large red led in the middle of the footswitches illuminates to show that the mute has been activated.
A further balanced direct output with both jack and XLR connectors (with ground lift) is also provided on the rear panel so that this can be used either for recording purposes or as a feed to a PA.
It should be noted that great care has been taken to ensure that activation of all footswitches is silent. In keeping with its studio heritage, the BPA-1 has a massive amount of headroom, being able to provide up to +18dbm before any distortion occurs.
To ensure operation anywhere in the world, the BPA-1 is provided with its own self-contained power supply that will operate on any AC voltage from 85 to 265 volts.