Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1

SansAmp PSA-1, Modelling Guitar Preamp from Tech 21 in the SansAmp series.

Price engine
Classified Ads
  • Increase or decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS

All user reviews for the Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1

  • Like
  • Tweet
  • Submit
Average Score:4.4( 4.4/5 based on 16 reviews )
 8 reviews50 %
 7 reviews44 %
 1 user review6 %
Audience: Anyone
Michele Meekee Crisci11/20/2019

Michele Meekee Crisci's review"ottimo preamp rack"

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
ho comprato il sansamp dopo aver letto in giro parecchio, prima di costruire un sistema rack da usare principalmente in casa. L’ho abbinato con un rocktron velocity 120, tc-g major prima serie ed un dbx 131s, un loudspeaker v30 su cassa thomann.

ha tantissimi suoni, i puliti molto belli e le distorsioni credibili. Garantisce una gamma di suoni veramente ampia e tutti utilizzabili.
La facilità di utilizzo è una delle sue carte vincenti, il midi ed il loop serie/parallelo fanno il resto, al prezzo di un pedale....anche se vecchio ancora valido, poi dipende da che uso se ne fa. Non è un modeling-amp! È qualcosa di diverso ed unico

non ha la dinamica ed il tocco di un valvolare ma reagisce bene al volume della chitarra. se si vuole maggiore fruibilità bisogna aggiungere un equalizzatore. Sansamp consiglia di non usare power amp a valvole, infatti uso rocktron velocity 120. Anche per questo un loudspeaker FRFR dovrebbe essere abbinato per una migliore resa

suona bene ed è divertente da usare, bisogna metterlo nelle condizioni di suonare lo si trova come me a 200€ vale sicuramente la pena provarlo. Fra i migliori preamp in giro a questo prezzo e la sua fama per me è guadagnata. Lo consiglio :bravo: :bravo:

nickname009's review"Great for super clean or modern metal!"

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
This is a pretty nifty preamp rack that I got from a friend, pure solidstate but 100% analog circuitry. It is not discontinued and been replaced with the PSA 1.1, the biggest differences being an on/off power switch, 128 presets as opposed to 99, a master volume control, an XLR ground lift switch, phantom power, midi output and a dedicated headphone out.

Specs (front panel):

Input, Preamp, Buzz, Punch, Crunch, Drive, low, high, Level, down/up for preset switching.

(back panel):

Midi thru/out, Midi In, footswitch, Output Left/Right with -10db pad XLR, output Left/right 1/4" Line with -10db pad, Effects loop with 50/50 Mix, Input 2 with -10db pad.

I should note that this preamp is designed for ONE instrument at a time. Although it has 2 inputs, the 2nd input is not meant for simultaneous instruments. The manual says input 2 is actually disconnected if plugged into input 1 on the front panel. Input 2 is cleaner, and has the least amount of distortion, meant mainly for rack and patch-bay applications. So if you were plugging this in, in a straightforward fashion without extra signal processors just to a power amp or head/combo, input 1 is what you'd want to use.

There are 99 total presets. 49 of which are already made by tech 21 and cannot be erased. The other 49 are for you to store/save/tweak etc. There are many ways one can use this preamp; traditionally with a head/stack or combo, or direct through to a PA or mixer or right to your computer's preamp. The preamp has a built in speaker emulation for direct recording, which gets rid of some of that fizziness found in other preamps.

There are no special effects, just clean and dirty. With the amount of settings available, you can tweak your distortion sounds to go anywhere from breaking up to high gain uber metal. I'm not a huge rack guy so i like the layout, it's one of the simpler preamps I've dealt with. Guitars AND Bass can go into this unit.


Tech 21 has basically nicknamed the basic EQ controls to more confusing ones, I don't know why. But if you read the manual or play around with it a little bit you can get to understand it a bit more. Buzz controls the bass. Punch is like a mid control. Crunch is like the treble. Drive controls the amount of gain. The Low and High are like to extra boost/cut options. And Level controls the overall level of the outputs on the rear panel.
The footswitch option is good too, you can connect something like a momentary single button footswitch to step through the presets. Or you can hook up a midi moose or any other midi controller to select presets.

Generally it's very usable. Though not the all-in-one sort of package. FX loop, midi, Footswitch, -10db pad. 50/50 Mix knob is cool too. But then, I mean 99 overall presets of just clean and distortion seems excessive. And no on/off switch? Everything has an on/off switch!


Let me first say, that I am NOT a tube snob. Though I DO prefer tube amps majority of the time. I also like good sounding solidstate gear if they sound great. So most of my judgements are NOT comparisons to tube amps. They are simply a matter of what sounds good to me or doesn't.
For Direct Recording:
The manual has a few suggested settings that you can try, most of which I found were way too fizzy and trebly for a standard tuned 6 string guitar. I've tweaked with the controls quite a lot and experimented using impulses, other preamps, EQs in the loops etc etc. All of which can sound pretty decent if the end result is mixed in with drums and bass etc. The thing about recording is that it's like looking at something with a microscope, everything is picked up and heard. And this unit is fizzy and fuzzy in general. It DOES require a lot of tweaking and external equipment to get it to sound GREAT in a mix. By itself, it sounds average.

The cleans are quite good in general they can get quite chimey.

As for distortion sounds for most genres that require medium gain, or low gain or even high gain but standard tuned metal, it's too buzzy.

HOWEVER, with the type of music out there now a lot of heavy metal/death metal etc bands are using super detuned guitars and 8 string guitars. With that type of genre and those super low frequencies, this preamp SLAYS!!!! It's like instant Meshuggah!!! And since it sounds awesome with downtuned guitars, it sounds great for bass also!! Cleans and dirt! The distortion in general is a stiff sounding distortion with no power-tube sag. Though it's all analog it's still fizzy even with the speaker emulated out.

For Live use:

This is where it shines. It sounds great in a live mix with a full band, all the fizz is gone and the tweakability is nice to have. Depending on what poweramp you're using, it'll sound slightly different. The basic sound is great. Does it sound like a tube amp? There's two ways to think, first: I'd say, with a band, and a crowd of people, playing live on stage. YES definitely. Second: with just the guitar rig, and beside it, another full tube rig. No. This is one of those things most guitar players go through with the mindset. You only really notice the difference if you have something to compare it to. But if you use it in it's context, you'll be takin off!!


Overall, after owning this for nearly a year and using it nearly everyday I've found the pros and cons for the unit which I will sum up here.

- Great cleans for guitar or bass
- AWESOME METAL distortion for downtuned/8string guitars or bass live OR Direct -- better with Impulses
- Reliable construction.
- Horrible distortion sounds for any guitar in any genre other than downtuned metal. Way too fizzy.
- Wish it had at least an on/off switch like the upgraded version. (Sort of seems like they just forgot when they released the first version)
Overall, it's a good unit for certain things and not so great for a lot of other things. Live use is always simpler and therefore sounds great. Also, most of the reviews are dated! Majority of them aren't comparing things to today's new solidstate stuff that sounds better for cheaper. So I can see why a lot of other revews are high. But for recording, and for this day and age with so much new technology and improved solidstate gear. This unit is average at best BY ITSELF. Since it requires, at least for me, a LOT of external equipment to start sounding decent. The old manual still has it's old price, of back when this model was first for sale, $795. And nowadays a used one is at most $300. This unit does not stand the test of time. It's only ok for what it is. Therefore, I'm rating this unit a 5.

moosers's review

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
The Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 is a guitar and bass preamplifier that comes in the form of a single space rack mountable unit. It’s pretty in depth and has a lot to offer on a few different levels. It’s got a variety of connections and options as it’s quite flexible in what it can offer. On the front panel there’s a single ¼” input for plugging in your instrument, but on the back panel you’ll find a whole lot more, including MIDI connections, XLR and ¼” outputs, a second ¼” input, and an effect loops with ¼” jacks for stereo returns and a single send connection. Each of the previous gives you the option to send out the signal at either -10 db or flat. As previously mentioned, it is a rack mountable and will only take up a single space.


Using the Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 isn’t all that difficult, although there is a lot you can get into. I’ve mostly just scratched the surface with this device, which is easy enough to do. The front panel gives you parameters for pre-amp level, buzz, punch, crunch, drive, high and low EQ controls, and an overall level knob. If you’ve used other SansAmp products before like their plug-ins, these parameters will seem pretty familiar to you. There are some more in depth features available with the PSA-1 if you so choose to use them, like using it with software and it’s MIDI capabilities, but I haven’t used it in this capacity as of yet. If you’ve just purchased this, it’s probably a good thing to have the manual around as it will give you in depth explanations on everything here.


Although I’m usually weary of devices like this where you’re replacing a real amplifier, the Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 sounds quite good for both bass and electric guitar. There are all sorts of presets for different styles and even for artist presets, like those for Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and more. It’s great that you can save your own sounds in here, as you’ve got the best of both worlds with an analog sound and digital controls. While I don’t think that I’d prefer this to a real amp, it’s definitely got it’s own sound and can be helpful in tandem or in place of an amp…


If you’re doing a lot of work inside the box, the Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 is a great tool to have around to warm up your guitar sounds a bit. Again, I don’t believe that it’s a replacement for a real live amp, but can help in getting a variety of sounds in one place. It’s somewhat reasonably priced, but it’s not cheap enough where home studio owners on a budget can add it cheaply. It’s definitely something worth looking into for home studio owners more than anyone though…
MGR/R. Wharton11/04/2001

MGR/R. Wharton's review"Tech 21 Sansamp PSA 1"

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Bought to satisfy my versatile needs. £460 UK (ex-shop demo)

This is a one unit guitarbass pre-amp with 49factor presets and 49 user presets. The psa is described as a 'tube emulator' but it is of such qaulity that I see it as an amp in it's own write. Unlike the popular 'Amp Emulators' (Pod etc) this unit is not made up of an amp select, cab select, drive and eq controls. It is made up of all parameter controls which are tweaked to make it sound like you want it (like another well known amp for instance) there for it is extreamly versatile compared to other emulators out there.

Err i like everything thats there, but to add bad points id have to say:

The lack a detachable power chord is a minus and also in-built reverb would be nice

The PSA is built like a really well built err...thing. Shallow 1U rackmount

I have no bad opinions of what IS there just the lacking features i mentioned. If this was stolen, id have to replace it ASAP.

This review was originally published on

MGR/Anonymous's review"Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1"

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Purchased from the Rock -n- Rhythm department of The Woodwind and the Brasswind ( for approximately $550 in summer 1997. I wanted to divorce my sound from dependency upon tubes, and the PSA-1 had the best sound among the available non-tube pre-amps.

Stores 98 MIDI-switchable presets. Very easy to edit & store. Exceptionally good tone. The device is a pre-amp which emulates various tube amplifiers (e.g., Fender, Marshall, Mesa), both in their pre-amp and power amp characteristics. Even tube enthusiasts are stunned to discover that the PSA-1 has no tubes.

The effects loop is either 100% in or 50% in. I would prefer a continuously variable mix control. In practice, however, I can control the overall effects mix from one of my other processors.

Very sturdy, single rack unit device.

I have never been disappointed with this purchase. I still think it is the best sounding pre-amp I've encountered.

This review was originally published on

xbassman_K's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
The characteristics of this preamp was quite detailed in previous reviews, I think it is useless to go on it. So I'm going to say what I think ... But I put a 8/10 for the general characteristics of this rack because it is very comprehensive, serious and well made, but I am not the maximum score for 2-3 little things that annoyed me. I explain it further ...


The configuration is very simple, and you do not really need to limit the manual. The presets are pretty good too, except for a handful of them that are fairly anecdotal. But the presets are often very useful as a starting point when looking for a sound. I use it exclusively in my studio, never live. And this is my first review that is: no on / off switch which in my opinion is essential in the studio, all the rack generates a hum (probably the transformer) quite audible and unpleasant. Otherwise the connection bloated and quite pro is more than welcome in the use of studio ... I put 7/10 because of the switch and the noise!


The possibilities are many, almost infinite ... But usually we see still some "signature" sound everywhere. Is not it more embarrassing, because anyway the sound output is good, especially as I use it in conjunction with a formidable speaker simulation (Redwirez) which changes the situation quite a bit (or complete rather ...). Everything that goes crunch to heavy distortion is downright perfect, amazing even. However, I am not completely satisfied with this rack to make her beautiful clear, is a real amp is miles ahead. Or not completely convinced to use the beast with low also because it lacks a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to illusion, I much prefer in this case use a real bass preamp with real lights in (an Ampeg in my case) ... Otherwise he likes with all kinds of guitars (he has seen dozens ...), do not worry on that side then. I put a 9/10.


I received this rack as a debt there are more than 10 years! It was not new when I gave it, but in a state of nickel. There has never been a failure, although these days it tends to be a bit lazy (knobs and presets inactive for a few minutes after powering up, then everything falls into place ... weird). I put a 8/10 still missing due to the switch, noise and clear sound that could be better ... I would do surely experience, as it is now equipped with an on / off switch, but the question is if not a little outdated, and as the competition is tough and its price is not cheap, I would certainly listen competition before making a decision ...

HardBlues's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Excellent"

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
All analog FET.
Side connection is complete:
- Two input jack, a front panel and a rear panel with the possibility of attenuation 10 dB
- An effects loop one input and two outputs with a switch to mix 50%
- Two output and two XLR jack with switch attenuator 10db
- A jack for a footswitch
- Taking Midi In and Out / Thru
There's also the next settings of the world
- Preamp Drive and saturation levels for the preamp and amp
- Buzz, Punch and Drive to define the grain (Marshall, Fender others ...), each of these settings acting on a specific frequency range.
- Low and Hight to refine
- Level

What more?


The configuration is simple, but given the number of knobs and large operating ranges there is a way to spend time.
The manual is clear, but there is a priori in English ..
The factory presets are excellent.
Easily obtained dozens of good sounds!

Only downside for recording the simulation HP is a little light so I complete a Palmer "The IDPs Junction".
At the same time the fault is probably the quality that allows it to be equally at home plugged into a power amp with HP.


I use it with my Epiphone Les Paul, 50's wiring and pickups Classic 57.
It is perfect for my style of music (Blues, Rock and Hard Rock), but also many other styles I'm sure.
Very nice clean sounds Fenderien changing a little factory presets (less successful than the Marshall and Mesa I think)
Next we will crunch the more subtle, which manages the attack, more cantankerous with a range of impressive grain.
Being focused on little big distos I will not pass judgment the above but there obviously what it takes ...


I use it for a month, and I tried kilos of gear (amps, pedals, numerical simulators, software) before finding my happiness.
What I like the most? Everything!
What I like least? the absence of on / off switch but ...
Used for € 220 the price is unbeatable, if I had the choice again I would not hesitate one second

Tobias72's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Pr-amp transistor 100% analogue

Connections: complte
- 2 inputs (front and rear) with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- An effects loop (mono send, return Stereo) with slecteur mix (50%, 100%)
- 1 output jack Stereo 1 / 4 "with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- 1 x XLR Stereo (never used) with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- Ports MIDI (In, Out / Thru).
- Possibility of Midi mapping (basically call her on 32 pdalier can match any of pRSET pramp)
- Slecteur patch DOWN and UP
- Backup Button (prvu to click with a mediator). This button accder to special functions (mapping, dsengagement of potentiomtres, reversing mill sites / users, etc.).

Trs not simple (as a bit rough at the display) but the manual is very well done.


Setup is simple, the programming ease.
Again: Refer to the manual.

The factory presets are well done trs (mention spcial sounds Boogie & Marshall), and are the basis for user presets.

The name and function of potentiomtres can Drout, but once understood philosophy (thanks to the manual, dcidment ...) it's pretty simple.


Ideal for live, but also for saving models (used in recording all that evidence).

It is also powerful in big crunch that trs saturations (Try the riff Sludge Factory (Alice in Chains) in Dropped D on preset 24, you tell me the news !!!), and allows ventail sound variation on a pretty amazing (the old to Boogie JCM). The clean sounds are a little behind, but with a good amplification lamps high volume, the ct attnue a little "bridquot;.

Try the riff Sludge Factory (Alice in Chains) in Dropped D on preset 24, you m'endirez news!

I personally use a Mesa Boogie Fifty / fifty and Quardaverb GT for effects, and all registers around (Hard Rock, Blues, Funk, Pop), the prampli proves extremely efficient. I jou before on JMP1 well, but much less versatile.
My Mesa Boogie Studio sounded much better in clean, but had neither the flexibility nor the versatility of the Sansamp.

Unlike what I read sometimes it fully respects the grain of the guitar (my strat diffrent, my Les Paul Jr. or my Sheraton), and very well gre volume knob at the crunch.


I use it for 10 years now ... and I see no reason to change!
The Sansamp is the most versatile prampli I used good, just the derrire Triaxis, which is typical even a notch above.

The report qualitprix is ​​unbeatable.

If you have a choice, turn plutt to version 1.1: an on / off switch, headphone jack and more. I have not changed because mine is a limit SERIES ... Pink!

zingzing's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Prampli a transistor which despite its price is really high quality trs of mine must have between fifteen and twenty years he has served under all of the amps slipped and fell on sc or I do not know what else msaventures together ...... not a single potentiomtre not spit or no contact dfectueux!
The output level is lev it never grows to a full-stroke potentiomtre certainly in use guitar amp.
the connection is complte trs: - faade Input / Input 2 (back) / three outputs 4 db,-10db, with a trim XLR / Footswitch / and a bypass loop that allows INTERESTED cr e line with other effect that begins when it is cut pramp sharper than just a bypass can not play too pedals live and practice it pro. It is also equipped with a switch-LIVE-probably a phase inverter but the sound is compressed ........ trs is effective.
On the line of control rglage found that I could do without:
PREAMP-to amplify the inter / BUZZ-PUNCH-CRUNCH for saturation respectively mdium bass and treble of the (very effective!) / LOW-HIGH for eq / LEVEL for output.


The config is very simple and the sound is right now, you just learn to assay the guitar distortion, especially low beyond a certain level they are ..... but it is invasive vritablement not a problem.
But pramplis in practice is not limited at all the guitar and I recommend it widely trs gnral for the studio.
For my part I use it wherever I need pramplifier a mono signal is perfectly usable in clean and offers many variations of grain and tone in distortion. The careful handling of its rglages can do without compressor.


Sound or music plutt grains are large and deep drawing as well as compact and tight .... etc.
RSID principle in the division into three channels of parallles pramp for the Bass and Treble Mdium.
The good ide to 21 tons of tech cre pramps 3 trs diffrent texture to these three records:
The Buzz is very serious, it produces a distortion type Subfuzz whose nickname Defines the texture perfectly ..... a serious buzz on the guitar to the keyboard via voice and especially the bass.
PUNCH is the guitar above all, distos hendrixiennes or AC / DC as the guitar or if you play in the registry is made clear trspchus jazzy sounds that build on the buzz pais ... a marvel.
For other instruments it will have on hand lgres rglage which efficiently compresses the saturation ... but hey we do what we want to even when.
The CRUNCH is the top of the spectrum that we can simply delete or inject carefully to give the outline and then we lche you push a bottom and there electrocution guarantee .... the sound is a bestial scream every instrument Tolra pramplifier not be at this point in this spectrum must be sources of good quality. A telecaster is well balanced rgale of such treatment, the rhodes and sparkles with a microphone sm57 basic type by cutting the buzz is made of the votes Lo-Fi grain electric and exhilarating ...... In short I love it.


I purchased about 13 years ago for 1300 Francs in the era dpart becaufe I had a bad amp and can not afford to do better so I think that to have a good pramplis allow myself to have her around ...... the bte went much further than a.
It is a set trs homogne and effective, it lacks a single BMOL SETTING THE medium in the EQ for the guitar does not pose a problem that is why n 'there are no other sources but with it t would welcome.
The report qualitprix is ​​just incredible and I looking for a second Stereo inshallah ....

kaktus666's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1
Amplification Type: 100% prampli transistor.
Connections: complte
- 2 inputs (front and rear) with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- An effects loop (mono send, return Stereo) with slecteur mix (50%, 100%)
- 1 output jack Stereo 1 / 4 "with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- 1 x XLR Stereo (never used) with slecteur level (0dB,-10dB)
- Ports MIDI (In, Out / Thru).
Rglages: y 'has a herd ...
- PRE-AMP -> saturation of prampli (roughly simulates 12AX7)
- BUZZ, PUNCH CRUNCH -> roughly rglage rate low, mid and treble in their level of saturation (Premire gives color to the sound, but it is not an actual equalizer) ,
- DRIVE -> saturation of the "Days of Power" (well, of the formulation)
- LOW and HIGH -> 2-band equalizer,
- LEVEL -> ben is the output volume
- Slecteur patch DOWN and UP
- Backup Button (prvu to click with a mediator)


Configuration: To put it in a rack. In this rack, have taken a multi-rack with on / off, because the PSA1 there's no on / off button. MIDI programming has the benefits of its inconvnients. It RSID in "you sound RULES, and you click two times." When one changes the rglages a patch exists, by two small blinking LED indicates the remoteness from the rglage in memory. When we changed several rglages is a little mess in the flashing, but it is
In "mode I switch my patches and I play hard", disable the rglages (inhibit the knobs). With the vibrations, a knob can "just move" and change the sound dramatically Anyway, I know many who mucking their sound in the middle of a set
Sound: Ben rings. Honntement, to understand a little about how the walk portards and APRS, we get sounds fabulous. Compared to the new simulators, I have not had the opportunity to try. It makes me not want to try other ... The factory presets are good, and are a good starting point for a sound (the opportunity to learn to use the knobs).
Trs good or good clean sounds, crunch, saturated, but as with any simulator unexceptional
Remember that all simulators as they are, this will never be REAL amp lamps. And it's not a few hundred dollars that will s'quiper with 12 million potential amplifiers. But does his office.
Manuel: It is clear, complete, but in English. He would have earned be in French.


For my music, it gives me (with the help of some friends) the sounds I want. I use it (attention, has become complicated in the effects loop of a Marshall JMP1, itself in the loop of a GX700 (multi effects Boss), which attacks a Marshall 9200 (2 x 100W ). and rang. It is unconventional as to fawn, but I use the 2 pramps (in SERIES). The JMP1 gives it a nice color supplmentaire. It is said that should not the bulbs plug into an amp that sounds a dgueu (supposedly by the manufacturer), well be changed ear ...
I get good sound, they are clear, jug or saturated, I play standard tuning or LA ...


I use it almost since it came out. As JMP1. RPET, concerts, studio, he told me never lch.
What I regret is the lack of on / off switch, but still anecdotal.
I just tried JMP1 before, but I took the PSA1. Since even if I use it with a PSA1.
As I said above, for a few hundred euros, are acquired "almost" a list of legends amps. And that price is an excellent qualitprix.
With the same budget, I think I do it again this choice. But with the budget adquate, I'll see all of the heads of ct lamps, high-end (so much as trs)