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Aguilar DB 925 Bass Preamp review

Aguilar celebrates 25 years in business with a quite fantastic update to the DB 294 preamp stompbox

  • £195
  • €199
  • $198.99
Aguilar DB925
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Compact, built to last and easy to use, the DB 295 offers quite dramatic low and top-end tone sculpting, and once it's in the signal chain you won't want to take it out.

Pros

  • A Wonderfully intuitive tone-shaper.
  • It's a pedalboard space-saver too.
  • Well constructed, solid steel enclosure.

Cons

  • It's a premium item, so it's pricey.
  • Small controls make it hard to see where you are setting it.

What is it?

The DB 925 is a discrete all-FET broadband bass preamp pedal built to commemorate Aguilar's 25th Anniversary celebrations.

It presents a micro-pedal update of the much-loved DB 294, with a minimalist enclosure featuring a footswitch to turn the unit on or bypass it, and two small controls for bass and treble. 

Right away, we hear you: there are two immediate benefits here. One, the enclosure is small, meaning more room on the pedalboard for everything else. Second, well, it's simple, isn't it? Switch it on, and tweak away with the 2-band EQ, et voila! The DB 295 will hit the front end of your bass amp with 18dB of broadband boost from the bass (40Hz) and treble (4kHz) controls. Lovely.

Aguilar promises that it will add "body and weight to your low-end while opening your high-end," and with that in mind, what's really interesting is how those EQ controls affect the frequencies around them. 

Turning the bass up also brings to the fore some more lower mids, while the top end at large is given a little more juice as you turn up the treble.

Performance and Verdict

The DB 295 strikes us as an always-on tone sweetener, just the sort of pedal that you use once and become totally reliant on it. There are no fancy dip switches or functions to distract from its mission.

Even at more subtle settings, you can hear it work its magic. Dial-in a little bass and in those lower-frequency notes will bloom and widen, the scale of the thump appreciating. The effect on the frequencies adjacent to the 40Hz is quite something, musical, useful, inspiring.

It's the same deal with the treble. It just adds some sheen. You can find some lovely sharp and crisp articulation to really bring out the nuances in your playing. Indeed, the treble has a restorative effect, too, breathing clarity into dead strings.

Also consider...

(Image credit: Thomman)

• Two Notes Le Bass
You might miss the simplicity of the DB 295, but you'll find more features on the Le Bass. It's a practical pedal for bassists that can offer a wide range of tones for recording and live performance. 

Trace Elliot Transit-B
Trace was one of the first to select EQ frequencies specifically for bass guitar, and the EQ on the Transit-B is perfectly suited to its job. It's not cheap, but for a tricked-out option this could be the answer to your prayers.

The DB 295 is a real boon to passive basses, giving a vintage Jazz Bass an extra bounce and harmonic effervescence. Active basses may reward a lighter touch on the dials, but there's no question that used in conjunction with your bass's active EQ there is plenty of new tone frontiers to conquer. 

We love that proximate frequency response of both controls. Perhaps if you were looking for something to forensically refine your midrange, Aguilar's Tone Hammer would be more your speed.

Otherwise, this is a no-brainer. It's exactly the sort of pedal that goes on the pedalboard and never leaves it. Sure, you might get more bells and whistles elsewhere, but this is a set-and-forget box of magic. They don't come along every day.  

MusicRadar verdict: Compact, built to last and easy to use, the DB 295 offers quite dramatic low and top-end tone sculpting, and once it's in the signal chain you won't want to take it out.

Hands-on demos

Aguilar

Sweetwater

Specifications

  • Made In: USA
  • Features: Broadband Bass (+18dB @ 40Hz), broadband Treble (+18dB @ 4kHz), 1/4” in, 1/4” out 
  • Dimensions: 95mm (3.74”) x 42.5mm (1.67”) x 50mm (1.96”)
  • Power: 9 volt DC power supply
  • Contact: Aguilar