Toneport UX2 or Sansamp Tech 21 Bass Driver?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by jimih, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. jimih

    jimih Guest

    Hello everyone; first post here. Nice forums with lots of great info here!

    I'm looking for opinions on my question about recording bass. I'm looking to record simple blues with drums, bass and guitar. I'm using sofware for drums, but want to record both bass and guitar into Adobe Audition on a PC.

    I have been digging around for quite a while trying to decide what box to get.
    I do want the ability to record both the direct signal and a signal miked from an amp, which, according to a few gurus out there, gives the best way to end up with a decent bass track.

    From what I have seen so far, the Tech 21 box get high marks almost everywhere I look, but it is a specialized box for the bass. The Toneport is new and doesn't have a lot of history, but it claims to work for guitar and vocals also, which makes it more attractive, at least on paper. However, at 45 people gave the Toneport a rating of only a 5.4 out of 10 vs. a 9 out of 10 for the Tech 21 DI box.

    Please help me decide! Thanks.
  2. GregP

    GregP Guest

    45 people are idiots, then. ;)

    Well, not really; I'm just kidding. However, I think that maybe they just had strange expectations for their $200. Everyone I've talked to (including myself) says that it's the best value for money (emphasizing that 'value for money' is different than raw quality level) they've come across with regards to such things. Here's my opinion:

    Tech 21 makes awesome gear. The build quality is great, and there's a lot of care and attention put into what they do. The bass driver, in particular, is legendary for DI'ing a bass. If you need a combination bass and general-purpose DI, that you need, and nothing more, I'd go for the Tech 21. It's a truly "quality" piece of equipment.

    Then there's the TonePort. The downside: build quality is weak... it's not a quality-control issue, it's just the materials used: fairly light plastic instead of rock-solid die-cast metal. The other downside: Line 6 insists on treating their software as though it's hardware, and some really silly limitations then crop up (ie. no internal signal path for re-amping).

    The upsides are many, though, and if you're planning on using it for more than just bass and 'pure' DI, I think the value factor outweighs the overall "quality" factor of the Tech 21:

    - The included bass models are really good. There are 5 bass amps, plus "pre-amp" models for more DI-type sounds. I've easily gotten good bass sounds out of it.

    - The included guitar amp models are exactly the same as the PODxt/Live (ie. not ALL of the POD's models are included, but the included ones are identical) They're pretty much industry-standard for amp sim, with most people seeming to prefer them over similar hardware OR software (ie. Guitar Rig) models.

    - The DI signal is very clean. Line 6 doesn't seem to publish SNR specs, but everyone seems impressed with the TonePort.

    - It's a standalone audio interface, as well, giving it more flexibility for digital recording situations than the Bass Driver, which is a direct box and not an audio interface.

    - Vocal pre-amp models are good, and the UX2 can supply phantom power.


    There are other advantages, but there's no point listing them all. The main point is that I really think the TonePort is awesome value for money, particularly if you're happy with the included models and don't go hogwild with add-on packs. The Bass Driver is arguably and subjectively "better" at what it does, but it does less-- and in terms of the subjective "better", I know at least one user who still prefers the TonePort (being an owner of both) even for bass sounds, and has relegated the Bass Driver to simply DI device only.

    Hope that helps.

  3. jimih

    jimih Guest

    Greg, that's a lot of help. Thanks for taking the time to write all of that...much appreciated. I had a sneaky feeling that the pile of features of the Toneport would be hard to igonore.

    One question though; will the Toneport allow me to record both a DI track and a miked track from an amp at the same time? I would like to be able to do that. Thanks again.
  4. GregP

    GregP Guest


    In what was Line 6's most glaring oversight (IMO), you cannot record both the dry and wet at the same time, right out of the box.

    Instead of waiting for an update that will never come, I bought an ABY (ie. it's a switcher OR splitter) pedal that I use in conjunction with a mic preamp that accepts Hi-Z (to match impedance).

    So, from the splitter I have one signal going directly to the instrument input. From the other signal of the splitter, I have it running to the preamp for impedance matching, then to the mic input.

    With that setup I can do 3 different things:

    1. Amp switching with the pedal's A/B function
    2. Vetta-like 2-amp sounds with both signals enabled
    3. Wet/Dry tracking with both signals enabled.

    If you don't need the "switchability" of the pedal, you can get something like a Behringer DI100 for $30 and have 2 "always-on" impedance-matched signals, using the TonePort software to enable/disable instead of using the hardware pedal.

    If only Line 6 would have included the functionality built-in, I wouldn't have had to explain all that. ;) (but I'm glad to help)

  5. jimih

    jimih Guest

    Greg, thanks again; much appreciated.

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