Thought I'd start a thread on a topic that might be of interest to folks.
Lots of people ask about what amp/combo to get for home playing and occasional bedroom playing or maybe even for recording bass - it's popular on here with guitarists looking to put real bass down on recordings at home.
Thing is, I haven't used a real amp for a long time now. For bass, both at home, and gigging, I use a small pedalboard with a Preamp/DI pedal on, and then:
Gigs = Preamp/DI -> FRFR (QSC K10.2) -> FOH
Home = Preamp/DI -> Helix -> Phones or Monitors
TBH you could use anything to convert the DI out into sound either through phones or monitors so the Helix is irrelevant - I effectively use it as an audio interface USB'd up to the Mac and then either XLR to the monitors or Phones out. It lets me use the whole range of helix effects tho.
I personally think that a Preamp DI pedal is a better option for home use compared to a combo amp. So I thought it would be nice to have a thread to share experiences and collect thoughts over the good/bad/indifferent choices out there.
Preamp DI's I have:
Dr J Sparrow
Dave Hall Amps VTI-EQ-DI-Std
The first 4 are transistor based, and the Dave Hall has a tube in it for Preamp - it's a 12AX7 (ECC83) and I have to say, this is the closest I've ever got to that full on Ampeg tone - I dunno what he does to them but it just sounds unbelievably natural, growly, thumpy and creamy and it's really changed my opinion of how to get that classic tone (if that's what you are after).
Ironically, I've just ordered an Ampeg PF-20T to sit in the studio on top of my Barefaced Compact for recording - and it will be an interesting comparison, but so far the Dave Hall really is delivering the vintage tones that I've been looking for - it will be live gigging choice number 1.
I'll share my thoughts on the others below - and I'm planning on getting a couple more Preamp DI's to go with it.