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Aguilar Tone Hammer
Overall Rating
Submitted: November 25th, 2008
by Rodrigo Lara
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Sound Quality
I have a custom made Zaganin bass (Zaganin is a great custom shop in Brazil) that has a distinctive sound and the more I play on it the more I enjoy its sound. So, I wasn't happy anymore with my Sansamp RPM. It is great to make bad amps sound better, it had a parametric mid but its distortion circuit was not letting my bass' true sound go through, so I wanted a cleaner sounding preamp/DI. Then I tried the Tone Hammer. Through this preamp my bass sounds really beautiful. It is hard to explain because the tone is basically the same, but somewhat fatter, richer without being muddy. The eq is outstanding, the selected frequencies for the bass and high knobs are really perfect - I cannot get the same clean, crisp sound from my Sansamp, even with the blend knob on zero (which lets the tone of my bass to go through unaltered). Hard to explain, but that's undeniable. The tone I get from it is really beautiful. The Tone Hammer also offers a very interesting saturation circuit. The first time I turned it on it produced an ugly, clipped sound. But by playing with the EQ I found out that the saturation circuit interacts with the mid knob so it is possible to dial many different tones out of it, from just a lightly, very usable distorted tone to a fully saturated, synth like sound. I'm very happy I can dial a beautifully growling sound (think Tim Commerford) that suits perfectly the kind of sound I play. I've already tried many distortion/saturation circuits such as Boss Bass Overdrive, MXR M80, Fulltone, Sansamp but none gets closer to this one. The AGS circuit allows you to get a lot of very usable tones. The other effects and preamps I tried/had are by no means as versatile as this one. Of course it is not perfect, it will not replace a USD 1500 amp head but for less than USD 200 this is a real bargain!
I only have this one for a less than a month so I really don't know how dependable this one is. But one thing is sure: this is REALLY built like a tank! You'll be surprised to know how have this unit is.
General Comments
It is still soon to give it a final evaluation but I'm impressed. Beautiful sound, very versatile, well built, Aguilar seems to take care of its customers... what else can I ask for?
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