Xotic Effects ups the headroom as it gives its Bass BB Preamp pedal the V1.5 treatment

Xotic BB Bass Preamp V1.5
(Image credit: Xotic Effects)

The Xotic Effects Bass BB preamp pedal was an excellent pedalboard option for bassists looking for extra presence and to add a a musical, amp-like grit to their tone – and the good news is that it has just got better with the V1.5, a refreshed unit that offers a few choice improvements on the original.

The first noticeable difference is cosmetic but welcome nonetheless as Xotic Effects bringing the Bass BB Preamp V1.5 in line with its current range and decks it the enclosure out with high-contrast white ‘top hat’ dials. 

It is a small thing but in the muted light of the stage every little helps. Also, the power connection has moved to the top of the pedal, which might help if you’ve got a crowded ‘board. 

How the Bass BB Preamp V1.5 handles power, however, is the big news, because Xotic Effects has remixed it so that you can run the unit at 9V or 18V, and that, allied to the considerable tone shaping powers from the 15dB of boost and cut under the Treble and Bass dial respectively, makes all the difference.

Running it at a regular 9V, you’ll hear your bass guitar’s signal compress more readily as you crank it up. Run it at 18V, and it’ll be wide open, with more headroom and a slightly different dynamic response. 

Other controls include Gain and Volume dials, with the former dialling in a gain that can take you from “pristine clean boost” to a “hard overdriven distortion”, which like its predecessor, is fairly hot and gnarly without turning fuzzy. 

The idea here, as with the original, is that this is a bass preamp pedal for bassists of all persuasions, applying a boost to sit better in a mix, or as an overdrive pedal that doesn't compromise the low-end or string articulation. 

You can set Gain and Volume at noon, pump the bass past three and have the treble on one for some SVT-style overdrive, or keep it warm, clean and plummy with the Gain down at nine o’clock on the dial, Treble at noon, with Volume and Bass lightly boosted, which the good people at Xotic describe as having an Ampeg 'Flip-top' B-15 Portaflex vibe. 

You can run this off a 9V battery but a quality pedalboard power supply will let you take advantage of that 18V operation. The form factor is pleasingly compact. The Bass BB Preamp V1.5 is available now, priced $180 street. For more details, head over to Xotic Effects.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.