Product Review: Trace Elliot Transit-B Bass Preamp

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine, Issue 8

Authored by Platinum Viking

I, for one, am very glad to see Trace Elliot back in the saddle again under U.S.-owned Peavey, after such a long hiatus, with the rollout of this well-designed, practical piece of equipment. It was THE brand back in the day, and I even owned a hefty Commando FET Bass Combo for use in my jazz projects. As part of their re-emergence, the Transit-B Bass Preamp was rolled out at NAMM 2017 and seemed to offer all the functionality and routing options of a full rig but in a portable floor unit with plenty of high-quality front end processing power in an easy-to-use setup, so I was very excited to try it out.

I took both a passive Fender Jazz Bass and an active Music Man StingRay 5 Bass and plugged into my Markbass Little Mark III (with no additional effect pedals) for this trial run. The first thing I noticed was how well made and sturdy it was and featured some very well-thought-out, sensible design choices. The single row of illuminated, color-coordinated according to function footswitches of Mute/Tune, Drive, Compression, Equalisation, and Pre-Shape are well suited for a dark stage and function intuitively. The Mute/Tune functions as both an onboard mute switch and an accurate tuner with light up moving green into red when in tune. With the Compression feature, I was able to fine-tune my high and low frequency compression levels, and with the simple but effective 5-Band Equalisation feature, I could easily change my EQ levels on the fly. The Drive feature gives a rich and smooth but still well-defined distortion that can be dialed up with its own Level and Blend controls.

“I really had a lot of fun with this little unit and would recommend
this for any bassist from beginner to the modern pro-touring musician.”

My favorite feature was the Pre-Shape option that immediately engages that classic Trace “smiley face,” distinctly contoured full sound with a bite that I have enjoyed for a long time and come to love. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to dial in my tone and easily explore the many others it offered, and in fact, I never really found any bad ones. There’s even a separate Bass Enhance switch for a nice little bass boost, Ground Lift switch, and DI Pre and Post among the many other useful features this offers.

I really had a lot of fun with this little unit and would recommend this for any bassist from beginner to the modern pro-touring musician. Adding a high-quality preamp into my everyday, every gig, must-have equipment staples was the best decision I ever made. The Transit-B offers the player all the sweet comforts of the familiar AH Series amps and the distinctive meaty Trace tone but in a portable, competitively priced solid option with onboard DI capabilities. As I’ve recently found myself traveling lighter and lighter these days, often flying from gig to gig, I definitely rely on preamps (along with a pedalboard setup and high driver IEMs) to ensure I get my same sound and tone consistently for each show. The Transit-B does this solidly well and then takes it to the next level for a great value well worth taking a look at.

Price:
MSRP:  $399.99
Street price:  $299.99
TraceElliot.com

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