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Aguilar Tone Hammer
Overall Rating
Submitted: September 21st, 2008
by Gary-IeVDf
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Sound Quality
I mainly use house P.A.'s and use this as a preamp/DI, in this application it works great. Of course, each house system places different requirements on a combination DI/Preamp. The Tone Hammer has done an excellent job on the "lesser" systems I have to work with. The PA's with great subs are cake. Versatile Aguilar tone with lots of headroom! Very strong as a DI and virtually silent unless irresponsibly pegged! To me it sounds alot like a Db 924 but tighter and with a sweepable mid, which that unit badly needed IMO. I don't really use/like much distortion on bass. I prefer to get "tube warmth" or the term I use is I like my bass to sound "grumpy". However, turning up the gain with the "Engage" button on doesn't seem to add much "grump", but the tone is warm and organic. To get any edge you need to hit the AGS button. Then the overdrive is controlled by the gain knob. From virtually none to all the distortion you could ever need. I have found that I have to boost the Bass knob a little when I use the AGS feature. But I like huge bottom and mids. Personally, I like the both the Engaged and the AGS tones. With the AGS I keep the gain @ about 9:00. Other preamps I own are Sansamp RPM, Line 6 Bass Pod XT Floor, and the DB 924, and an Ampeg SVP-Pro that I use in my amp rig only. I like the Tone Hammer better that the first three by a good bit. All I use the Line 6 for now is floor tuner, dual compression and effects as the Tone Hammer's sound is much richer and warmer. The Tone Hammer can do Motown, Clssic Rock, Gospel, Christian Contemporary. I'm also sure it could do Indie and Metal(although I can't say firsthand). If you're looking for a Bass distortion stomp box/ or a Bass preamp/ or a Bass DI or want all three and want to spend under $200. I highly recommend this!
Reliability/Durability
I've only had it a couple weeks, but have used it almost daily and giged with it. Sadly, I e-mailed Aguilar with questions before I bought and got no response. But it's an Aguilar, so I'm not worried about it's dependability.
Price/Value
General Comments
I'm in my early 50's and started playing when Jimi Hendrix was alive. I currently use a Lakland 55-02, Darryl Jones 5 and a Hollowbody, along with a Fender Jazz and a PJ with EMG's. If lost or stolen I'd buy another right away. I like it's versatility and awesome tone(s)! Better preamp that the ones I mentioned above PLUS a DI. Did I mention that it can run on phantom power and save on batteries? What I didn't like is the manual is tiny and doesn't get very specific.
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