Recently we took delivery of a Brace of Traces - the tiny new Trace Elliot ELF bass amplifier, and the Transit B pre-amp, and we passed them to Gaz Williams for him to check out.
He shot a preview piece and has since used them in various scenarios, including a couple of live gigs, so we went to visit him to get the low-down on how he found them both.
The ELF - I think it's fair to say Gaz was pretty impressed.
The form factor is undeniably standout. If you'd said a few years back that the behemoth bass rigs of the day could be shrunk to pocket dimensions, I think there'd be more than a few raised eyebrows, but despite the micro size, the ELF can hold it's own in many live situations.
That's not to say it doesn't have it's limitations, of course, and Gaz managed to push it just about as far as it could go, but it takes quite a bit to floor this little amp.
Even as a spare amp you can fit in your guitar case it'd be worthwhile, but it's more than capable of both rehearsal and on-stage use.
Price: 249 UK
Form factor is almost unbelievably tiny - so easy to transport and store.
The heritage 'Trace Elliot sound' is very much there.
Powerful enough for small gigs on its own (with suitable cabs, of course!)
Limited controls (understandable given its size)
DI is post-EQ only.
Might run out of headroom if you really hammer it at maximum-everything.
Bright sound, maybe not the best option for 'dub'-style girth.
Now The Transit B - is useful both stand-alone, and as a front-end to the ELF.
The controls on the ELF are basic; understandable, given the lack of real-estate to fit anything more, so the Transit B offers extra dimensions of sound and control.
The form factor is designed for ease of use, with several footswitches and buttons, and coloured indication of active features.
Gaz is a pretty 'active' performer, and I think he found the footswitches a little bit close together for his stage use, but for most purposes it's gonna be fine. In fact, he reckons it could do with more switches if anything, as some functions controlled by buttons would be nice to have stompable ;-)
For the ELF it certainly enhances, but it works completely stand-alone too - it can be thought of as some pretty decent pedals all rolled together in one handy (or footy) unit.
Price 349 UK
Really enhances the capabilities of the ELF.
Solid metal constuction - road-ready.
The 'Trace Elliot sound' is present, correct, and there are additional controls to sculpt it.
Comprehensive connections; both Pre and Post DI, and both Instrument and Line level inputs.
Multiple foot controls to enable sounds to be easily changed during performance.
Supplied PSU was a little noisy when the Transit B was paired with the ELF (fine when PSU was changed).
BigFoot might switch 2 controls at once inadvertently.
Occasional 'ringing?' with Pre-shape selected.
2hp seem to keep packing a load of features into their tiny little modules