Rupert Musical Instruments, with a little help from Lehle True Sound Technology, aims to address every possible bass application with its toneful, artfully constructed RMI Basswitch IQ DI pedal.
By Chris Loeffler
While bass players typically have less tone shaping tools at their disposal than pedal-head guitar players, the sheer amount of signal routing and processing flexibility required of them is staggering. That’s the role many bass players fill… leaving the showiness and sonic freak-outs to guitarists so they can focus on solid tone and driving the music. Similarly, the RMI Basswitch IQ DI is more concerned with being solid, toneful, and reliable, from the quality of the components to its understated, elegant design, than it is in flashiness.
At its most basic, the RMI Basswitch IQ DI is a preamp, signal router, and DI tool in a floor-based pedal format that runs on 9-20v. The pedal features 4-band EQ, an adjustable A/B switcher, two effects loops with phase inverters, a clean boost, and a DI output to run direct for live or recording. Although the sky is the limit to possible applications given the sheer number of routing options, the Basswitch is most at home as an A/B switcher, a boutique preamp with parametric EQ, an FX looper, a clean boost, and a DI box.
What You Need to Know
- The tone of the Basswitch IQ DI is warm and high fidelity. It doesn’t strive to color the tone or sound like “X” amp… it beefs up the bass and adds harmonic complexity to the input signal. It excels as cleans but has a pleasant tube quality to higher gain applications.
- The A/B switcher has two applications; the first being connecting two instruments and switching between them and the second being routing a single instrument between the two channels of the pedal. Channel A has an impedance switch to accommodate piezo equipped basses and is routed through the EQ chain. Channel B bypasses the tone stack entirely and goes straight into the preamp.
- The 4-band EQ includes control over Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, and Treble. The Low (100Hz-500Hz) and High (840Hz-5.4kHz) Mid controls are semi-parametric, featuring a control to select a frequency within the parameters range and a control to adjust the amount of the chosen frequency to be added or cut. This gives an amazing amount of flexibility to players looking to precisely dial their place in the mix or tune around speaker honk or fret buzz.
- There are two FX loops included, a passive serial loop and a switchable buffered loop that can be run in serial or parallel with the first looper. An included phase inverter switch proves a life (or at least a tone) saver when running murkier analog time-based effects in the second FX loop. Included in the second loop is a built in clean boost, essentially doubling the loop as an effect all in itself.
- The Basswitch is one of the most beautifully designed and constructed pedals around. There’s nothing flashy about it, but every curve, switch, and knob is so perfectly thought out even the most jaded gear head will be impressed. From the feel and reliability of the foot switches (actuators, technically) to the raised bar sheltering the knobs from accidental shifting by errant feet, it is clear utility and functionality were as important as the quality of tone when this pedal was created.
- The foot switches are flat buttons sitting on a spring. There is enough of a gap between the button and the pedal that a stray power cord or the like could keep the button from depressing enough to activate the switch.
- The pedal doesn’t ship with a power adaptor. Its amazing circuitry can handle anything within the range of 9v-20v and normalizes it to 18v internally, but it is a bit odd a factory adaptor isn’t included.
The RMI Basswitch IQ DI is a pedal that oozes quality. Like a sleek consumer electronic home stereo piece, the design is entirely about understated elegance and high quality construction. It sounds fantastic and has so many applications, it is easy to see how the designer saw this being the heart of any bass player's rig. Extensive routing and looping options, a top-shelf preamp, tried and true DI, and dual instrument inputs make for excellent control in the heat of the moment, and may just solve the "multiple rig" dilemma.
RMI Basswitch IQ DI Product Page (MRSP $799.00, Street $599.00)
RMI Basswitch IQ DI US Distributor (DanaBGoods)
RMI Basswitch IQ DI Features
RMI Basswitch IQ DI Preamp Stand Alone
RMI Basswitch IQ DI EQ Walkthrough