Tech21 Sansamp PSA-1 by gward
I picked up four of these when Sam Ash stores were going out of business for $150 each. I had wanted to pick one up for a long time but was a little put off by the retail price and this deal was too good to pass up. After having used it for a couple of years, here are some of my thoughts.
This is mostly promoted as a guitar amp simulator. I have heard guitars through it that I didn’t like the tone of and I have heard ones that I loved. It kinda depends on the player and guitar but I would say in general that in the hands of a accomplished player that you can get some very convincing
“amp” sounds out of it. It tends to be a little noisy at higher gain settings but so do real amps. One thing that I discovered helps sometimes with the guitar tone is I run it into my Vintech X73i after it and use the eq and transformers in the chain and that tends to do away with any elements of tone I dislike.
For bass, I love it. If I had to only record bass direct through this, I would be fine with it. I have had many bass players agree with me. I especially like the Ampeg SVT presets on it. Once again, sometimes it’s nice to follow it with an analog eq.
It is interesting on synths, drums, acoustics, and vocals. On synths I have gotten some cool pseudo guitar tones out of it and assigned the patches to midi so when I changed patches on the keyboard the PSA-1 changed presets as well. I have even on occasion used it as a eq (albeit with distortion).
Things I dislike about it are the fact that there is no compare function for when you are working on a sound so you have no way of flipping between the preset and your edits. Also, sometimes the knobs make digital clicks if they are left in between settings. This can easily be solved by moving it slightly, but it is annoying. Overall, I would recommend this preamp on the basis that it is a great tone-shaper, distortion piece to have in the studio, regardless of what instrument you use with it.