Hotone Audio’s new B Station was announced earlier this year, but is only now just becoming available. This combination of bass DI box and preamp housed in a pedal could be ideal if you’re looking for a compact, portable solution.
The B Station comprises a drive effect, an optical compressor and a 3-band EQ section. It has controls for Volume, Treble, Middle and Bass, Drive knob, Compressor and Blend. There is a footswitch to engage the pedal and another footswitch for engaging the drive circuit.
On top of the input and outputs on XLR, 1/4-inch jack out and a 1/4-inch parallel out, you also get a headphone output and a dedicated effects loop as well. You can run the B Station form either a 9V battery or an external 9V power supply.
On paper this is a well-specified and nicely laid out preamp/DI box that appears to cater for most situations you may encounter. I really like that the whole pedal is pretty compact and yet Hotone haven’t cut many corners in terms of functionality, cramming in a crop of useful features.
Hotone have a reputation for making fairly cheap effects pedals. This pedal was announced at the end of 2016, but is only now – nearly half way through 2017 – starting to appear on dealer sites. So were there production issues? Or has it just taken the best part of 8-9 months to get it ready? Either way, I have played a few of their effects pedals from their Nano series and also the Skyline pedals, they were all well built and also stupidly compact.
Could this new model will be a hit with bass players on a budget looking for a compact portable bass rig and one that will easily fit into their gig bags? The price is ridiculously cheap for what you are getting. If it sounds good then these could be a hit, as it is far cheaper than many of the other bass preamp solutions out there, like the MESA Subway and the Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver pedals. Not to mention the likes of more boutique preamps like the Darkglass Electronics Vintage Ultra bass preamp, but then I suspect that unit is in a different league, tonally.
But if you are on a restricted budget and need a portable bass rig solution, then you should put these on your list to try out. There is an official demo video review below and a few review sites have got their hands on the B Station and so I have included what I feel is an honest review from Bass Weekly, so you can get an idea of how it sounds.
RRP GBP £129.99 / USD 169
Hotone Audio B Station product page