Skip to main content

Darkglass Electronics ADAM review

A true tone monster, you won't ADAM and Eve just how good this bass EQ-cum-distortion-cum-compressor sounds

Darkglass Electronics ADAM
(Image: © Darkglass Electronics)

Our Verdict

All the quality you’d expect from Darkglass, ADAM will be the apple of many a serious player's eye with its tone-shaping powers, and those presets sure come in handy when getting a feel for its versatility.

For

  • Completely transparent clean signal.
  • Heaps of tone tweaking options.
  • Quality build.

Against

  • Costly, and that is a lot of buttons.

If you had asked me five years ago to play through any sort of modeling gear, I would have laughed and walked away – but that was before discovering Darkglass. I’ve been consistently impressed by the build and sound quality of their products, which led me to buy the ADAM – and after spending some time with it, I can tell you that the Aggressively Distorting Advanced Machine lives up to its name. 

I ran it through a Darkglass Microtubes 900 head and an Aguilar 412DB cab, and started by doing what I would normally do with any new toy, pressing all the buttons and spinning the five dials – Compression, Drive, Blend, Character, and Level – to see the range of extremes which the unit could produce. 

This turned out to be a terrible idea, because the ADAM allows you to tweak and retweak the tones so much that you could spend hours on it and still fail to dial in the exact sound that you have in your head. Instead, I went back to basics and worked through the three A, B, and C presets that come as standard. This is where the ADAM started to live up to its hype and its price. 

Darkglass Electronics ADAM

(Image credit: Darkglass Electronics)

Preset one provides the perfect amount of brightness, for me, without any of the sizzle or crackle often associated with the high end. Preset two is quite different from that first, brighter distortion: If you like scooping your midrange, you’re in for a treat. 

The third preset is reminiscent of late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton’s sound on his famous solo, Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth), but even more fuzzed out. My clean signal remained completely unaffected by any of these, so much so that I had to roll back the low end on my Microtubes head – I have become accustomed to compensating for the low-end loss I get from my usual distortion pedal by cranking the bass on the head itself.

When it comes to refining the presets, this pedal offers a lot of options – perhaps too many for the average bass player. Most of us will, like me, find a preset that we favor, adjust the Blend control slightly and forget about the rest of the dials. Conversely, if you’re a professional studio bassist, and you have the ear and time for it, you’ll enjoy exploring the ADAM’s virtually limitless possibilities.

Specs

  • PRICE: $499
  • MADE IN: Finland
  • CONTROLS: Touch slider EQ, three dual push button and rotary preset switches, Compression, Drive, Character, Blend, Level, headphone out with independent volume control, ground lift
  • FEATURES: Three presets, DI, USB-C audio interface
  • WEIGHT: 1.5 lbs 
  • DIMENSIONS: 178 x 119 x 58mm
  • POWER: 9 volt, not included
  • CONTACT: Darkglass Electronics