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Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2 review

The latest evolution of the touring bassist's best friend puts functionality and great tone at your feet once more

  • £329
  • €379
  • $329
Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2
(Image: © Tech 21)

MusicRadar Verdict

The SansAmp Bass Fly Rig V2 is super tough, well laid out and offers a range of superb tube amp tones that make going direct a soulful, musical experience – and of course convenient. It’s a compact powerhouse.

Pros

  • +

    Compact and rugged build.

  • +

    Industry-standard analogue tube bass amp emulation.

  • +

    Logical layout makes accessing features and tones easy.

  • +

    Quality effects.

  • +

    It's just so convenient.

Cons

  • -

    Cheaper units can be found for the casual DI user.

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2: What is it?

The Tech 21 SansAmp has grown arms and legs since its invention by the Hungarian musician B. Andrew Barta in 1989, revolutionising the idea of direct recording, and surely hugely influential on the guitar and bass amp modelling technologies that followed.

For bass players, going direct through a Tech 21 Sans Amp variant has become a go-to tactic for stage or studio, and Barta’s concept has proved to be ripe for rediscovery and redesign over the years. 

The Fly Rig v2 looks to update the design and once more convince bass players that carting their bass amp and cabinet to the gig is an unnecessary feat of heavy lifting. Just throw one of these in your bag and you’re good to go. That’s the idea. But the Fly Rig v2 expands on the theme.

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2

(Image credit: Tech 21)

Firstly, it should be noted, that this thing feels indestructible; road-worthy for sure. And it doesn’t lack for features. There is an onboard compressor, Octafilter, fuzz and chorus complementing the tube amp emulation circuitry, and offering a whole lot of tone-shaping options from a sturdy foot-long unit that weighs under a pound.

Tech 21 has organised this into four sections, using simple signal chain logic. Your bass signal goes in and meets the compressor first. This feeds the tube amp emulation section, then your signal is fed through the Octafilter – essentially an octaver effect – and fuzz, then chorus and tuner. With colour-coded LEDs, it’s easy to see what’s going on, even in low-light stage conditions.

All the essentials are covered. There’s a pad switch for pairing the unit with active or passive basses, an effects loop for inviting your pedalboard to the party, and the all-important XLR output. 

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2

(Image credit: Tech 21)

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2: Performance and verdict

One of the great things about Tech 21’s SansAmp designs is that they make your life easier. You have two channels to choose from, allowing you to switch between clean and dirty tones. There is a tantalisingly titled Character button, which accesses the tube bass amp sounds of the SansAmp Bass Driver DI or a VT Bass DI that edges towards classic Ampeg sounds. There’s a Bite switch, which best be renamed Presence by deed poll. Both channels share three-band EQ, plus controls for Level and Drive. 

Also consider...

Tech 21 Geddy Lee SansAmp

(Image credit: Tech 21)

Tech 21 NYC Geddy Lee Signature SansAmp YYZ
Playing through this pedal is a bit like having a tiny Geddy Lee, perhaps half an inch in height, living inside the unit and tweaking the controls from within. We can’t think of a better way to put it.

Ashdown Ant & Tone Pocket
Two very attractive options for the bassist on the move, Ashdown's Ant is as portable as bass amps come, while the Tone Pocket's double life as an audio interface and headphones amp makes it a very attractive practice and recording tool.

 

Specifications

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2: Hands-on demos

Tech 21

Andertons

Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Fly Rig v2: Specifications

  • MADE IN: USA
  • FEATURES: Analogue SansAmp tube amp emulation circuitry (two modes), 2 x Drive controls, 2 x Level controls, Bite switch, active post-EQ (+/- 12dB), compressor, Octafi lter, Fuzz and Chorus controls, chromatic tuner, 0.25” 4.7megOhm input, input pad for active basses, XLR out, 0.25” low impedance out, speaker simulation defeat switch
  • POWER: 9V DC power supply (included) with interchangeable international plugs
  • DIMENSIONS: 12.5” (L) x 2.75” (W) x 1.3” (D) / 318mm x 70mm (W) x 30mm (D)
  • WEIGHT: 12.5oz
  • CONTACT: Tech 21 (opens in new tab)

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