Initial impressions are that this is a well-built piece of kit, the rugged housing feels incredibly high quality and like it will survive years of being kicked around in a gig bag.
Flexibility is something that any professional musician will tell you is key in their working life, if you’re not adaptable then it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong and catches you out. That’s where the MXR M80 Bass D.I.+ comes in, this direct box could quite reasonably be called the Swiss army knife of direct boxes.
Whether you’re using it live, or in the studio, this pedal has everything the average bass player could want to take total control over their instrument.
You can use the 3 way EQ to sculpt the tone to perfection, then build upon that by enabling color or distortion options to take the creativity of your instrument even further.
The inputs and outputs are great for anyone running a multi-amp setup. We get a single 6.3mm input, one 6.3mm output, one 6.3mm direct output and a single XLR based parallel output.
A designated 3 way EQ lets you dig into the specifics of bass, mids, and treble. We found that the knobs were sensitive enough to get really precise results from the EQ.
There’s a high level of control over distortion through a dedicated section of the front panel, you can really play around with the options here to create a truly unique sound. You can adjust volume, blending, trigger, and gain.
While the box runs off a standard boss power supply MXR have been generous enough to include the option to run it off optional phantom power. A real lifesaver in some situations.
MXR have really understood the needs of bass players with the controls on this DI box, we love how every option we ever needed was laid out for us exactly where it felt intuitive for it to be.
There’s a specifically assigned clean volume dial, with an optional color switch located right next to it. a 3 way EQ panel allows for granular adjustment of bass, mid and treble with dedicated dials for each channel.
Dedicated buttons for effects and distortion allow you to unlock the additional capabilities of the box.
The distortion section of the unit offers a dedicated volume dial, blend adjustment, trigger adjustment, and a gain adjustment dial. There is also a noise gate switch to help prevent those annoying amp buzzing noises.
Finally, there’s a switch for that optional phantom power we spoke about earlier.
When you’re talking purely about sound quality, this is one of our favorite bass preamps, audio is simply amazing out of this little unit. There’s a reason so many professional bassists have one in their kit bags.
The Color option adds a certain quality of thick richness to the tones, primarily in the low end. It’s an analog, almost vintage sound. We really dug the quality it imparts.
Distortion is amazing, it does lack a bit of that retro charm but don’t let that put you off. You can really dig into the settings here with a high level of detail in order to achieve that perfect crunchy bass sound.
One thing we found frustrating with the M80 was the fact that you can’t enable distortion without also enabling the color circuit. It doesn’t matter if the color switch is on or not, enabling distortion will turn it on.