Ashdown Engineering

Norman Watt-Roy Pre-DI


Well versed in everything that makes a great bass tone, having provided bassists with the best possible sound for two solid decades; Ashdown go back to their roots with the all new OriginAL range. 

The OriginAL Valve Pre-DI Pedal is a valve driven pre-amplifier pedal like no other - shaping, sculpting and optimising the bass signal before it hits the power stage. Ashdown are proud to have teamed up with bass legend, Norman Watt-Roy for a special edition run of their popular pre-amplifier pedal.

Norman Watt-Roy goes down as one of Britain’s best bass players and has a successful music career spanning over 40 years. Norman is best known for his work as the bass player for Ian Duryand the Blockheads, rising into the spotlight in the late 1970s, during the popular punk and new wave era of rock music.

Norman has a long spanning relationship with Ashdown’s founder, Mark Gooday, going way back to his days as MD at Trace Elliot. Norman has always been a huge fan of Ashdown gear for its reliability and versatility.

Strictly limited to a run of 50 special units, the special edition Norman Watt-Roy OriginAL Preamp Pedal has been tweaked to Norman’s specification. As such, the input sensitivity has been optimised to suit Norman’s unique and lightning fast finger style.

The anodised aluminium front panel of the Norman Watt-Roy OriginAL pedal has been finished in Shoreline Gold to match Norman’s famous 1962 Fender Jazz Bass, known as ‘The Blockhead’, and was his sole gigging and recording bass since the mid 80s.

Each unit will come numbered 1-50 and will be hand signed by Norman himself.

More about the OriginAL pedal…

Like all good pre-amp pedals, The OriginAL beautifully shapes the bass player’s clean signal whilst offering a foot-switchable valve powered overdrive in a single compact unit. Setting it apart from others, the OriginAL delivers superb quantities of both clean and overdriven bass tone, without one feature outshining the other. Crystal clear cleans and powerful overdriven growl – The OriginAL encompasses it all. 

Starting in the top right corner, the -3dB Pad switch determines the whether the pedal is being used with a high or low output instrument and sets a clear signal path to the independent input control. With the signal at its optimal level, you then hit a defined set of features designed to enhance your tone. The OriginAL features a tried and tested, non-gimmicky 5-band EQ, varying the bass, low-mid, middle, hi-mid and treble. 

The ‘Drive Gain’ control lets the player dial in the precise level of gain required, whilst the ‘Drive Level’ knob allows you to decide just how much of it you want. Dependent on your playing style and attack, by tweaking the Drive Gain and Level controls in harmony, you can range from a subtle gritty valve depth that can be used regularly, to a fully responsive bass overdrive for when those moments strike. 

Whatever your desired output, the 12AX7 powered Valve Drive switch can be selected instantly by foot.

The output control regulates the output volume of the preamp pedal, whilst on the rear-end of the pedal, a DI out allows for the pedal to be fed the house, post EQ/Drive. A handy Ground Lift on the front of the pedal reduces the associated noise when connecting two signal paths.

Rounding off the feature-set on the 18-volt OriginAL pedal is an extremely useful headphone socket allowing for silent practice during those late night hotel room rehearsals, whilst the Line Input means you can jam along with your favourite tracks – the perfect practice device.


Power Requirement 15-18V Extrenal power supply centre pin negative
EQ 5-band EQ, bass, low-mid, middle, hi-mid and treble.
Pre-amp Tubes 12AX7 powered valve drive
H x W x D (mm) 56 x 183 x 118 (H= + 6mm for the feet)
Weight (kg) 1.4


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