Review: Radial Bassbone V2

November 10, 2015

Radial’s reputation for products that boast durability, transparent sound, and clever engineering has made it an industry standard. The Bassbone V2 is Radial’s second take on its popular Bassbone, released over a decade ago; it incorporates a few new features based on response from its big pro user base.

Radial calls the Bassbone V2 a “Bass Control Center.” In essence, it’s a two-channel preamp and DI with a whole bunch of bells and whistles. It’s an especially potent A/B box for someone doubling on two electric basses on a gig. It also offers unique features for compatibility with piezo pickups for upright/electric doublers. For players using a single bass, the Bassbone’s separate preamp channels can be used to generate two wildly different sounds with the press of a footswitch. Finally, it’s an intriguing solution for the ever-growing crop of players doubling on bass and synth.

For electric doublers, the Bassbone makes switching a snap. Simply plug each bass into one of the two inputs, and use the select switch. Input 1 is the pedal’s more basic channel, offering the player control over output volume and a flat setting or two preset EQ curves (tone a & b), designed to add a more modern vibe to darker basses. Channel 2 is the more thoroughly spec’d-out signal path, integrating a level control with a powerful 3-band EQ. Additionally, channel 2 offers a highpass filter with two switchable cutoff frequencies, primarily designed to eliminate the low-frequency rumble that can plague an amplified upright. The system worked beautifully, but I had one beef: The standard input impedance for both inputs is 220kΩ, which will reduce the high-frequency response of a passive instrument. Says Radial’s Peter Janis: “We did extensive listening and chose 220k because it sounded closer to reality when playing bass through an amp. It’s the same impedance as the J48, which by all accounts is the world’s most popular professional active DI box.”

The Bassbone’s magic lies in its extensive tone-sculpting and general utility. The EQ is wellvoiced, and the ability to use the select footswitch as a channel switcher with a single bass meant I could get seriously different sounds from a single instrument. The dual-purpose boost switch is a cool idea; a side-mounted recessed switch changes its function from a variable boost to a mute. The mute is especially useful given that the Bassbone offers a q" tuner out. I also greatly appreciated the Radial’s effect loop, which includes both a wet/dry mix (pretty much a crucial feature in a loop), an on/off footswitch, and the ability to assign the loop to one or both channels.

The Radial’s steel chassis screams rugged, and the powder-coated graphics will be around for the long haul. Out on the road, I never worried about it, although I did not like the required 15-volt DC power adapter, given that it’s unusual and would be hard to replace on a gig. Radial chose tone over convenience, given the improved headroom over a more conventional 9-volt unit.

I used the Radial with two basses, a bass and a synth, and (at home) an electric and an upright. I also made extensive use of its XLR output, blessed as it is with an impressive heritage. There’s not much to say other than the Bassbone worked flawlessly, doing exactly what I needed of it without a hiccup. Its features are well integrated and genuinely useful. It’s really an A/B/Y box of sorts, given its recessed blend switch, which activates both inputs simultaneously. While this may not be a use-case they had in mind, this was an essential feature for me on gigs where I needed to have a synth’s output audible while I played bass. It was the Bassbone’s ability to adapt to my somewhat unorthodox needs that proved, to me, its mettle as a “Bass Control Station.” Rather than restrict you to the manual’s beautifully illustrated depictions, the Bassbone just wants to be there for you. It’s on you to figure out how.

SPECIFICATIONS

RADIAL

Bassbone V2
Street
$290
Pros One of the most featurepacked channel-swtiching DI thingamajigs you can get
Cons Input impedance on the low side for passive basses; unorthodox 15V power supply makes on-the-gig replacement impossible
Bottom Line The Bassbone is laden with nearly every feature you could possibly desire—and then some.

SPECS

Preamp topology Discrete Class A FET
Frequency response 20Hz–18kHz
Input impedance Input 1, 220kΩ; input 2, 220kΩ/10MΩ
Gain Unity gain except BOOST (0dB– 25dB)
Tone control Interactive tone stack; LOW: ±12dB @ 75Hz; MID: ±10dB @ 470Hz; HIGH: ±16dB @ 5.6kHz
Highpass filter Cutoff at 35Hz or 60Hz (6dB/octave)
Power +15VDC @ 400mA (AC adapter included)
Construction 14-gauge steel, powder-coated
Weight 2.5 lbs

Made in Canada
Contact radialeng.com

Keep up-to-date on the latest news
Get our Free Newsletter Here!

COMMENTS

comments powered by Disqus

Search Gear

Reader Poll

What's your take on keyboard bass?


See results without voting »