All The Gear, No Idea: 18 Months With The Noble Preamp

Having previously documented my struggles with gear addiction (the post on my issue with hoarding equipment can be found HERE), I’ve decided to make 2017 the year that I do something positive with the numerous bits of kit that I’ve stockpiled over the last few years. It seems that the most pragmatic approach to neutralising my urge to buy shiny new gear is to actually sit down and make full use of the things that I already own – I’ve definitely been guilty of testing new pedals for the first time on a gig, which is something I’d suggest that you NEVER, EVER do (my bandmates are very long-suffering).

Here’s my first attempt at an in-depth gear review. I chose to start with the Noble Preamp DI, which has been a staple of my setup since I bought it 18 months ago. It’s probably the piece of gear that I get asked the most questions about from other musicians, sound engineers and producers whenever I take it to a gig or record with it – which is pretty much all the time:


Built like a tank and with a number of very practical features for the working bassist, the Noble is by no means a ‘magic bullet’ but definitely falls into what I’d term the ‘Swiss army knife’ category for gear; it cuts down the time that I need to spend thinking about what gear to take on a gig, and actually reduces the number of items that I need to pack in the car or lug on public transport.

Noble Preamp Pros

  • Rugged construction (bonus points for the light-up power button and logo)
  • High impedance jack input handles electric and upright bass equally well
  • Extremely clean, noise-free xlr out signal
  • Simple but musical (and useable) EQ controls
  • Individual power supplies for up to 6 pedals
  • Analogue warmth provided by two REAL TUBES


  • Only for sale direct from Noble – hard to try before you buy
  • Price tag represents a fairly serious investment for most players


Interested in finding out more about the Noble Preamp? Visit the Noble Amps website or feel free to ask me a question in the comments section.





  1. Where does the Noble sit in your signal chain? I use a RMI Basswitch IQ DI that I would hate to give up. Jack suggests that the Noble should be “last in the chain”, the easiest way for me to do that is to run the 1/4″ line out of the Basswitch to the Noble. But then it will be getting line voltage instead of instrument voltage. Have you tried any arrangement that sends line voltage into your Noble?

    1. The Noble is the last thing between my bass and the amp (or the desk if I’m not using an amp). I haven’t used the Basswitch, but I’d imagine that it gives you a lot more tonal flexibility than the Noble, which is more a one-trick pony (I just happen to really like that trick!). I’ve only ever run the Noble with instrument voltage going in – it might be worth asking Jack to see if he knows of any other players who run both and how they route their signal.

  2. Hey Tom,
    how would you describe the EQ on the Noble? Are there similar products etc?
    In terms of tube DI power im all set with the Audio Kitchen The Small Trees, but I am still looking for some EQ to put before it.
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hey David, I would describe the EQ on the Noble as ‘musical, but limited’; you only get the choice of boosting bass or treble and adding a lo-cut via the toggle switch, so there’s not that much room for really shaping the tone via the EQ. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you like the sound of the DI already and don’t want to alter things that much. If you already have tubes in your signal chain then the Noble isn’t a great choice as a standalone EQ option. There are other outboard preamp DI pedals around by companies like Fodera, Sadowsky, Aguilar etc that might be looking into instead. I’ve heard very good things about the Two Notes LeBass and the Nordstrand Starlifter but don’t have personal experience with either. Let me know how you get on!

  3. Hi!

    Thanks for awesome website. I’m killing for the best DI to work with my P-bass and reading online everyone praising the Noble. My problem is that I actually dont hear any real difference when listining on youtube. (I use studio headphones). Is it youtube or is it just my ears that is the problem?

    Mats Larsson

    1. Hi Mats, glad to hear that you’re enjoying the site! Unfortunately, YouTube is one of my least favourite places to go for gear demos because I don’t think that the audio truly reflects how the equipment sounds compared to when you’re in the same room. The best option would be to find a bass player who lives near to you who owns a Noble and try theirs, although I understand that this might well be impossible!

      I bought mine blind, as I think I was one of the first in the UK to buy one; my plan was that if I didn’t like it, then I could always sell it on a forum and make most of my money back. I realise that my opinion is biased, because I’d look stupid to spend $1000+ on a DI that didn’t live up to the hype – all I can say is that on the majority of gigs and theatre shows that I play with musicians or engineers who I’ve never met before there’s usually one person that comes over and says ‘what’s that black box? The bass sounds great!’

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