Sansamp VT Bass Pedal: Still a Great Choice in 2022?

Since getting my Sansamp VT bass pedal a while back and playing through it for several years now, I’d have to say that it is hands down one of the best bass pedals that I have ever owned. I’ve owned several other pedals over the years, including the very popular Sansamp Bass Driver DI.

Both pedals are quite similar, and they’re made by the same company. So, I’ll compare the two stomp-boxes and explain why I prefer the VT bass.

Note: This article was written a few years back. However, the Sansamp VT bass pedal is still an amazing piece of gear if you can find one used. If you’re looking for something newer to replace an old VT bass pedal or as a new option altogether, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the Sansamp Bass Driver DI boxes.

First off, the VT is very simple in design and function, which I like. You have six knobs: level, mid, character, drive, low, and high. The most important one is the character knob which can greatly alter your tone with very small adjustments.

The sturdy metal chassis feels like it could take heavy hits with no ill effects. The overall feel is one of quality, the knobs move smoothly and predictably, and the foot-switch is very strong. The amp graphics are interesting, but personally, I would prefer something a little more subtle.

For many people, I know this has actually been a problem. They feel that the controls are too sensitive. It seems that they find it hard to dial in a good tone, and too easy to mess it up after they have found the settings they like. Personally, I like the touchy controls, as it gives you that much more to work with.

How the Sansamp VT bass pedal Sounds

As its name implies, the VT bass pedal was designed to mimic the sound of the legendary Ampeg SVT bass amp. However, there are many more tones available in this box than just the SVT. With a small adjustment, you can get a convincing Ampeg B-15 tone or even a more modern-sounding tube amp. To my ears, the VT sounds more open and clear than the Bass Driver which tends to have a more scooped tone. The tube emulation technology does a pretty good job of sounding like a real vintage tube amp.

I mainly play through it with my Fender 62 reissue P-bass with flats and an Ampeg B-100R combo amp. The sound is classic ’60s bass tone, which is exactly what I’m after. My favorite setting is character at about 11 o’clock, drive at about 10, and all other knobs at noon.

The VT pedal definitely has a more vintage vibe than the Bass Driver. To my ears, the Bass Driver is more modern sounding. It has a tendency to smooth out your tone by cutting mids unless the drive setting is way up. In contrast, the VT pedal has a vintage edge to its overall sound. This is especially useful if you play flatwounds, as it adds some nice growl and definition to your tone.

It sounds like there’s mid-range bump that really adds some spice to the otherwise warm tube sound. If that’s not your thing, you can always cut the mids, which gives you more of a Bass Driver sound.

I’ve heard some complain that the VT sounds too clanky. I suspect this is mainly from bassists who play roundwounds. Slap some flats on your bass, and everything will warm up really nicely. But even with rounds, I’m sure you can get a good workable tone, it just takes some time to get used to this versatile pedal.

Final thoughts

Of course, experimenting with the settings, which as I said are very sensitive, should get you any usable tone you’re after. The bottom line is that the Sansamp VT Bass pedal is a great stompbox. I absolutely love the darn thing and can’t imagine playing my bass without it.

Note: The newest version of the Sansamp VT Bass pedal adds a button to turn off the amp emulation while still keeping the EQ controls active, very cool…see below.

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