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Darkglass Electronics Unleashes Super Smart Adam 'Nolly' Getgood Signature ADAM Bass Preamp

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2021GPXDarkGlassADAM700.jpg

As a strictly non Bass Guitar owner/player I rarely feature specifically Bass gear, and when I do - it is typically from Darkglass as I really admire what they do - in terms of their signal processing, aesthetics, and smart modern technology and interfaces.

 

I have not seen any guitar demos of this unit yet - I don’t believe any are official yet, while Darkglass say it’s great for Guitars too - but this was obviously developed very specifically for Nolly - for his own preferred Bass Guitar tones. Everything on this pedal has been honed to Nolly’s specific requirements - including the 3 default presets, Drive/Distortion Voicings and onboard IR Cabs.

 

It’s quite evident that the ADAM (Aggressively Distorting Advanced Machine) borrows quite a lot from its cousin the Quad Cortex - as made by Sister company Neural DSP. I believe it shares the same format of IR’s for instance, and the ADAM is just the second pedal to make use of those exclusive smart rotary-actuator footswitches. which were developed for the Quad Cortex - and which I’m still trying to champions / coin as ’RotoStomp’! It also very much has Bluetooth connectivity too - which I believe should really be standard on all these sorts of pedals by now.

 

The ADAM combines Compression with Drive/Distortion, Dry-Blend, 6-Band Graphic EQ, and CAB Simulation / Impulse Responses. It has 3 presets - as activated by each of those 3 Footswitches - which also double up as rotary mode selectors for Compression Ration [A], Distortion Mode [B], and Cab Sim / IR’s [C]. There are also some smart combination presses on those footswitches in that A+B is the On/Off/Bypass, A+C is Interface Lock, and B+C activates a Chromatic Tuner - which utilises the 6-Band EQ Touch-Sensitive Display.


I will break this pedal down into its 7 main functional Sections/Areas here - while I have of course made the above visual as self-explanatory as possible, as is usually my way :

 


COMPRESSION

 

Essentially we have 2 controls for Compression - The ’Compression’ Knob determines Degree, while the Rotary Actuator on Footswitch [A] allows you to select 5 Compression Ratios - 4:1 | 8:1 | 12:1 | 20:1 | All In - if you keep rotating, all the LEDs will go out meaning Compression is then bypassed - same as per the other two actuators. Obviously there are more parameters to Compression - speed of attack/release etc - these are all set in the back-end as such and can be access via the Darkglass Suite App - configurable by Bluetooth.

 


DRIVE / DISTORTION

 

There are 3 Controls for the Drive element - including also the stand-alone ’Character’ knob which determines brightness of effect. You obviously have a Drive knob to set Degree of Distortion - and then 5 different Distortion Modes courtesy of RotoStomp [B]. Those Distortion Modes are all uniquely crafted by Nolly and not taken from or based on any other pedal. They essentially ascend in gain structure from Mild to fully Wild.

 


BLEND

 

A classic Dry/Wet Mix Control which all Bass Players have to have / use to get the right degree of definition and articulation.

 


6-BAND EQ

 

6 really smart Touch-Sensitive virtual sliders give you ±12dB across 6 frequency bands - Low Shelf | 250Hz | 500Hz | 1.5kHz | 3.0kHz | High Shelf. Those 6 LED Displays are also used for the B+C Tuner.

 


CABINET SIMULATION / IMPULSE RESPONSES

 

As with the Distortion Modes, Nolly has crafted his own 5 preferred Cab Settings - applied across those 5 settings available on RotoStomp [C]. You can obviously load your own IR’s here, and I believe those are fully compatible in format with the Quad Cortex ones - so in theory you can bring those directly across if you have worked on some previously.

 


PRESETS

 

As befits the theme - the ADAM comes loaded with Nolly’s 3 favourite Presets - which are selected via stomping on RotoStomps A | B | C as appropriate. The 5 top knobs have LED illuminations which indicate where the preset is currently set. You can of course ’Audition’ changes by tweaking the controls - if you want to save the new settings - you simply Press+Hold on the appropriate RotoStomp Footswitch.

 

 

BLUETOOTH / APP

 

A significant bonus is core Bluetooth connectivity - just like with the Quad Cortex. Here you connect with the Darkglass Suite App - which allows you to access all those settings in a highly user-friendly fashion - along with a whole number of parameters that cannot be accessed via the surface controls on the pedal. You need this to load IR’s and the like - while there is also a USB-C connection on the rear of the pedal.

 

 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

 

The ADAM retails for the following approximate values across Europe, USA and UK - €509 / $499 / £469. Several dealers have them in stock already - while for others stock seems to be imminent - so generally available already I would say.


Demos and Sound Samples

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Final Thoughts

This is actually a pretty incredible box in what it delivers and how it delivers - while it is of course almost entirely DSP which may not be to everyone's liking. Obviously a close cousin to sister brand Neural DSP's Quad Cortex - and borrows a fair amount of goodies from there.

 

I see this as an amazing all-in-one Bass Preamp - as the core of an essential Bass Fly-Rig. There is so much smart functionality here - the only downside really is in the area of back-end additional parameters and functions - many of which can only be set on the Darkglass Suite App which sort of process I've historically had problems with - and the Box actually has a pretty substantial footprint - making it the central and core component of a rig rather than an add-on or auxiliary.

 

There's no doubting Nolly's mastery of this area - both from his days in Periphery, and his extensive Studio Productions - this is one guy that really knows his way around Bass. In fact if I was thinking of taking up Bass - I would undoubtedly plump for one of Nolly's Signature Dingwalls - my favourite Basses - even though I never have and never might.

 

So for Bass Players who admire Nolly's Tones - this is a perfect box of magic on that theme. While it might also fall a little foul in being overly slanted towards the one player - which a lot of signature devices can be guilty of.

 

I think this could work really well as a Guitar Preamp too - but you would need to change out the defaults and presets to something which is more honed towards those higher Guitar frequencies. I feel to do it proper justice Darkglass will need to have both Bass and Guitar editions - with the appropriate tones and presets for each.

 

What say all of you?

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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