Bass to mixer = Low volume
What up everyone,
I realize the matter is related to a couple of categories, but it mostly pertains to recording:
When practicing with some buddies, two connect their instruments to pedals then to the mixer, while mine is direct to the mixer. With my bass (RBX 170) turned up all the way, the volume that plays out to our headphones is quite low, when the other two are loud with room to be louder. Connecting it through an old effects pedal makes it louder, so I assume it acts as some sort of supplement amp.
If that's the case, do i really need to have this pedal to amp up my bass? (And if so, what better, universal pedal can I get thats more useful than a multi effect? I mostly play rock like Beatles, Grateful Dead, nostalgic pop songs, etc.)
It sounds like you need to get a direct box for your bass. The box has a transformer built into it to convert your bass signal to to low impedance. You then use and mic cable(XLR to XLR) to plug into the mic input on the mixer and use the mixer channel's preamp to boost the level of your bass. The boxes your guitar player buddies are using may already have a direct box built into them. That's all I can tell you given the information you provided.
Agreed, though it's also the case that adding gain (boost) can make up for a non-ideal impedance connection much better than fixing the impedance can make up for inadequate gain. I know that sounds confusing, but what I mean is that even though Glenn is right about using a DI box for impedance correction, you can get more volume just by adding a pedal with plenty of gain, even if you don't use a DI box. Whereas if you add a simple DI to correct the impedance, with no extra gain, you might not get enough extra volume. In fact with a passive DI you might even LOSE some volume!
The best solution is a box that has both gain AND a DI output. It may be marketed as a "preamp" or as a "DI", but the point is to look for both features. Examples include Sansamp, MXR M80, Aguilar Tone Hammer, Hartke VXL Bass Attack, etc.
You didn't say what type of jacks you are plugging things into on your mixer. From the sounds of it, you are plugging your bass into your mixer using a standard instrument cable. 1/4in jacks. If true, then most mixer 1/4in jacks expect to see a "line" level signal. Approx. 1.0volt. You are plugging in an instrument directly. So, you are plugging in an instrument signal (approx .2volts) into a jack that expects to see 1.0volts. You can see why you sound weak. Your buddies are going from guitar, through pedals. The pedals bring their guitar signal (.2volts) up to closer to line level (1.0volts). That's what the mixer expects to see, so the guitar through pedals sounds normal volume. You, without pedals, are sending a signal that is very low. Now, if you are plugging into the mixer through XLR cables, that's a different story. Then you will need that DI box, as others have suggested. Most XLR jacks, on mixers, expect to see "mic" level signals (.01volts).
These answers are awesome, thank you so much!
Im pretty new to this music thing (how recording is done, instrument setup, related vocabulary, etc.) and whatever is beyond "bass to practice amp setup."
I looked at the MXR M80, and it seems pretty awesome. It's a DI and its got distortion so that's cool. Another thing I found out about playing music is that it costs an arm and a leg for everything! Nonetheless, its something to look forward to.
An extra question: are there any cheap loopers out there besides the Boss RC stuff? dont mind if its bundled with an effect pedal or anything...
Then consider the Zoom B3. It is a very decent DI and it has a built-in looper.
It comes for sale pretty often on classifieds.
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