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Sansamp PSA-1 preamp


The Change


How would I describe this unit without taking too long? Well, let me inform you that I used to have a large pedalboard with a dozen pedals, and when on stage I had to learn to tap dance to get the sounds I wanted. Then I got this preamp, and now I have a midi controller, a wah, and a tuner in front of my feet. No more tap dancing. No more noise and muffled tones from all the pedals. No more cable problems. No more hum. Well, we,ll talk about hum later.


The sounds


From my intro, you can imagine that this unit is capable of replacing an entire pedalboard of overdrive and distorsion pedals. From Fender cleans to Mesa distorsion. Although it does all that extremely well, I tend to reside in the light overdrive part of the spectrum, and play with different colors of sound, from Fender to Marshall. There is a seperate knob for overdriving bass, middle and treble part of the frequency range, and this is just a brilliant concept not seen anywhere else. It allows you to alter the sound in ways no other overdrive does. This is exactly why this unit is so versatile. The circuitry is 100% analog but with a digital  

The G Major 2 gives me the space I want, and the tube power amp gives the volume to fill any stage I've been to. If it's an open air venue, a nice little SM 57 mic in front will put me on the P.A. 

I use this exact same setup in the studio, except I like different mic

combinations, mostly condenser mics. Some settings must be tweaked in the studio because, as you know, the gear sounds different at stage volume than at room volume. I found that the direct out sounds dry for my taste so I like to mic up my amp and get "what you hear" on the record. Although this unit is equiped with speaker simulation on main outs, I find that it sounds much better in this combination.


This unit sounds very good at stage volumes, and that is the biggest plus to me. There are a lot of digital modeling preamps on the market today, and most of them can sound decent in your room, but when you get on stage, they sound terrible, like toys. The Sansamp PSA 1 sound professional in any situation.


Taming the Beast


This unit has analog signal path. This means that it behaves as any other analog equipment. When you dial in hard distorsion, you get noise, hissing, and feedback when not playing. Amateur players might find this as a problem, but there is one very important fact that begginers don't know about playing live. Stage behavior. When you're on a large stage with a powerful P.A. there is no room for noise from your guitar. This is why it's very important to turn your guitar volume off every second you are not playing. At first this sounds like a lot of work, but when you practice this behavior regularly, it becomes part of your person. 


Another very important part of gear when using distorsion on high volumes is a noise gate. I use the built in noise gate in my G Major 2, and it takes care of any hissing you might experience when the guitar is turned all the way down. To end this rant, this unit is not noisy if you know how to use professional equipment and if you know how to behave onstage.




The best preamp on the market in my opinion. Prior to using it I also used their GT 2 Sansamp pedal, which is the same quality of sounds, but without the presets. If you need a lot of ready to use onstage presets, this is the unit to buy. The 50 factory presets are a good place to start your discovery, and with minimal tweaking, you get best sounding guitar tone. If you don't need it, there is a bypass preset, and your dry signal goes straight through. Well done Tech 21.


section reserved for storing presets. Now you can save anything you dialed up with 2 clicks. I this video I'll show you just what I mean.


How I Use it


I got this unit specificaly for live use on stage, because of the analog overdrive and digital presets. I use it in a combination with a TC electronics G Major 2 effects processor, and when it comes to tone versatility, the sky is the limit. I connect them both in an effect loop of my Fender Blues Deluxe combo amp. My signal chain is as follows: guitar - tuner - wah - Fender Blues Deluxe preamp on clean - Sansamp PSA 1 - G Major 2 - Fender blues deluxe power amp - speaker. I found that this unit sounds best in this exact spot. The tube preamp on clean gives me that tube dinamics I like. Then the Sansamp gives me all the versatility I need in any situation.