Seriously hitting the low-end market with a bang, Darkglass Electronics has gone from some initial ideas to running a serious line of pedals.
Recently releasing their first amp head, opening a new fancy headquarters in Helsinki and receiving a heap of good vibes (including over 50,000 Facebook followers), this is one brand you need to keep your eye on. Still relatively new to the market, Darkglass now boast an impressive list of players using their gear and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Doug and his crack squad seem to be ticking all the right boxes, and their last few releases have been some of the most anticipated bits of bass gear for many moons. Let’s see what all the fuss is about…
Essentially a preamp in a pedal, the Vintage Ultra features a heap of tonal controls for you to use it live or in the studio. Furthermore, it can be a pedal to add to your palette or your entire rig for sending to FOH. The Vintage Ultra has standard In and Out jacks (top mounted) for running as a pedal or to put on your board, along with the handy dedicated Direct Out if you want to send it to a mixer or recording unit. With EQ there are Bass, Lo Mids, Hi Mids and Treble controls, with the Mids (Lo and Hi) having an additional toggle switch for targeting more specific frequencies. Master, Level, Blend and Drive round out the top row of controls with two more toggle switches marked ‘Attack’ and ‘Grunt’. Attack deals with the amount of Treble whilst Grunt handles low-end – more on these soon though. So there are plenty of options on-board and seemingly enough to let you suitably shape your bass tone. And of course (as with everything from DG) it looks super slick. A modern colour scheme and choice of fonts all clearly marked and in a tough housing that will handle plenty of gigs.
As a clean tone shaper, the Vintage Ultra has plenty of EQ options, adding some top-end sizzle to a round sound or adding some extra thump. The Mid controls are gradual and effective with the toggle switches allowing more intricate equalising. You can get mid hump honk or more scooped aggressive tones. The low-end seems natural and musical – not too fat and warbly but also not sterile. Then for all of those wanting some edge, you can add Distortion, with its separate on/off switch letting you get a little warm and fuzzy right through to razor sharp zing and growl. The Level and Drive controls are good for balancing how in your face you want your sound and the Blend control mixes your clean sound with the distortion. Master then lets you set your overall level making it easy to balance the Vintage Ultra and really turning it into almost two channels of usable sounds.
GLASS HALF FULL
Man, the Vintage Ultra sounds good. Really good in fact! I’ve heard many people say the Vintage Ultra has taken over the mantle for the go-to, all you need preamp in a pedal, and I tend to agree. It’ll suit a wide range of styles as a preamp thanks to its musical EQ range and then has the addition of a fine sounding (switchable) overdrive. Studio, live, small gigs, home practice, straight into a mixer, interface or to the FOH; the Vintage Ultra delivers in a big way. It’s easy to see what all the Darkglass fuss is about!
For more information, visit basscentre.com.au
Hits and Misses
Plenty of EQ options
Did I mention how good it sounds?
Hard to find any faults in this one