Yes, I was not trying to bad mouth Fender, or single them out, I was saying the industry in a whole. I think they know the average player is confused about watts and ohms and dbu and all that stuff, so they slap a 200 on where 140 would do just as good if it were industry standard to advertise and name product like that.
Sorry to keep asking dumb questions…
Would an active bass serve as the pre amp in this setup?
Yes, technically. But it would be very rudimentary. If you have a 2 band eq on your bass, you can control bass and treble (and a volume knob). But a preamp (built in to your amp) or a standalone preamp (like a pedal) can give you much more tone control, as you could imagine if say your preamp has a 9 band eq built in or something.
You’ve probably seen amps with 400 knobs on them for tweaking everything under the sun. That’s your preamp.
Almost. The active bass may not be hot enough to drive the amp to full output level if you are operating loud. It may also drive the amp so hard when you are operating at home that you need to keep your bass level set microscopically low. This can be solved by going to a pedal with a gain knob and then to the power stage.
This is an interesting and informative thread. Thank you @eric.kiser
There’s certainly no ignorance in this! I only write the tech things that I do in case someone wants to think about it that way. From a practical standpoint, very little of it is necessary to understand to be successful. I’ve had 30 years of practice understanding nothing but this topic and that’s only because I have to say how many and what size amps and speakers are going to be there on opening day before the building construction has started.
In reality, you can just keep adding power until you have what you want. A lot of bass cabinets are rated in the 350-500 Watt range and that’s conservative. So, it’s easy to buy 350-500 Watt amp head and be just fine. The only thing to really realize is that you need a 4 Ohm cabinet to get all the power out of the amp. The only reason to buy an 8 Ohm cabinet is if you plan to run two cabinets off the same amp.
Not dumb at all. This topic is pretty dense to get through.
If someone were willing to volunteer, I would be interested to hear what would happen in two situations.
- What happens if you plug directly from an active bass to the FX receive on the amp?
- What happens if you plug headphones directly in to an active bass?
I use my headphones directly in my pre amp peavey fury. And its great for practicing without the need of a power source outside of the 9v battery.
But i am buying a portable amp similar to the vox to get a bit more tone control and volume as without it the bass is a bit farty sounding, not that your really trying to put a show on for yourself its just a nice benefit to have a bit more clean sounding tone + volume.
Also plugging directly into FX In doesn’t really do much other than plugging into the preamp or normal input. not quite as loud but overall sounds fine to me.
@Mao Would you classify it as usable but not optimal? Or is closer to useable in the sense it works when you don’t have anything else?
I would say usable and viable in a " I’m home alone noodling" sense. But i wouldn’t try to gig with it. at least not on a rumble 25.
Cool. Thank you for checking that out.
@Mao Whoops I posted this while you were posting the other. This question was more about how it worked with headphones.
Definitely useable. like i said its really farty, especially on the B string. But if you just want to sit out on the back porch and practice its better than going without anything. But i definitely think if you are doing ear training., of any kind at all, grab a rushhead max or Nux headphone amp. Then again it could be my headphones. I have the motorizers and i cant vouch for them being the greatest headphones on earth. @eric.kiser
One of the main reasons I was asking this was because we have so many people that start out wanting a headphone amp for practice. It will be nice to be able to recommend this as an option. If nothing else, they can try it and see if it works for them before dropping money on something else.
Thank you. This is getting its own thread.
Let’s nail some terms down.
Instrument Level - a voltage and impedance range output by passive musical instruments like electric guitars and basses with passive pickups and some active pickups.
Line Level - the standard voltage and impedance ranges used by audio equipment, including digital musical instruments and amplifiers, and some active pickups. Sits just above Instrument Level with maybe a little grey area (not actually sure of the specific voltage ranges).
Preamp - a low-power amplifier circuit used to convert one power output to another, in our case usually to amplify instrument level to line level or to change levels within one of the ranges. Sometimes they may not be changing power output much at all (i.e. they have a line level input and a line level output).
Power amp - a high power amplifier that takes a line level input and outputs speaker level.
Active Bass - this has two commonly used meanings:
- A bass with Active EQ but passive pickups; i.e. a preamp on the bass. The output level depends on the preamp; many manufacturers match active/passive levels.
- A bass with active pickups; the output level will be in the range from high instrument level to line level.
So, back to your original question, yes, your active bass may have a preamp on it, but it may or may not output at line level, and it may output at line level without a preamp if it has active pickups; it depends on the bass, the pickups, and the preamp. Basically “Active Bass” is a terrible term commonly used
In general - I would never want to run an instrument of any kind directly into a power amp without a separate, dedicated preamp. Never.
I guess those power amps take a line-level signal so, yeah, you need something (let’s call that a preamp ) between the bass and the power amp.
Not to muddle the discussion further, but hopefully just for clarification: is this what is referred to as a “unity gain” pre-amp? A pre-amp that mainly takes care of tone coloring and, in essence, doesn’t really amplify!?!
Unity Gain simply means that for whatever piece of equipment you are using, you adjust the output level while active to match the output level while bypassed. It’s possible that a preamp could be configured this way acting as a fixed buffer, but there’s other ways to buffer, and in general, you will usually see a way to adjust level on most preamps.