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Dual Input or Auxiliary Input?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by 70sJazz, Dec 29, 2012.


  1. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    I'm trying to decide between the Markbass Big Bang or the Little Mark Tube 800. I want to be able to plug my iPhone/iPad (with keyboard for keyboard bass sounds) or a synth (mono or stereo) into the amp simultaneously for gigs, not just practicing.

    Big Bang = aux input without gain control (stereo summing?)
    Little Mark Tube 800 = second mono input with gain control

    Is there an advantage to using an aux input with iPhone instead one side of a splitter cable into a mono input? Is the aux actually a stereo input that sums both sides or is it just doing the same thing you would with a splitter cable into a mono input & only taking one side while the other is disconnected?

    Which is the better method for sound quality of the iPhone/synth, and does it make a difference? I haven't been able to find this information anywhere and Markbass haven't responded to my enquiry.
     
  2. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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  3. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

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    Jul 22, 2007
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    I'd be looking for a small mixer to use in front of the amp, and not worrying about multiple inputs on the amp itself. Unless of course, it's a "mixing amp" like the Roland KC series, which have 4 inputs that can be mixed. A small 4 channel mixer is your answer.
     
  4. rbeard

    rbeard Supporting Member

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    Atlanta, GA
    Just purchased the MarkBass Big Bang, very impressive to say the least. Wow, the head is powerful, punchy, clear and able to produce a wide range of tones. This head is very special. Get it and Get it FAST!!!!!!
     
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  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    If you plan on using a passive bass, like say a 70's Jazz ;), in that setup then passive mixing (summing) is a very bad idea. The loading on your pickups will cause dull, dark tone, and there may be ground noise problems. As mentioned above, use a small active mixer for that.

    While I don't know the deal with the inputs on those specific amps, it is almost a guarantee that if one of the inputs doesn't have its own gain knob, it is connected passively to the other input.
     
  7. KJung

    KJung

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    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    You have a complex situation, so a few things to consider:

    1) Many aux in stereo to mono summing inputs like on the Genz heads and the Big Bang only provide signal to the headphone out, not the power amp and speakers. Not sure if the Big Bang behaves that way (my guess is it does, since those MP3 inputs are primarily designed for practicing with headphones). So, check that out.

    2) I assume the input levels of that type of Aux in is optimized for a relatively MP3 input. Not sure how it would handle more of a line level input.

    3) For your needs, if you are cool with using your synth in mono mode, the LMTube or LM800Tube would work pretty well, since that 'dual mode' second channel input has its own volume control. It is not a true 'two channel amp' though, and each input shares the single EQ section.
     
  8. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    Really? At GC, I tried plugging my iPhone into the Big Bang aux input with a passive jazz bass in the main input at the same time. I didn't notice any difference in tone in my bass, just by plugging something into the aux input. And I'm pretty picky about tone...

    They designed the input to be used this way with iPod, laptop, etc, so why wouldn't the internal mixing be sufficient?
     
  9. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    I tried the Big Bang at GC with my iPhone and the aux input definitely comes through the speakers. So it's good there...

    Yes, that's one of the things I'm wondering about. But isn't line level (synths & so on) close to the same level of an iPod/laptop headphones output turned up close to maximum?

    I don't need separate EQ's for each channel, so luckily either of these heads would work.

    Still trying to figure out whether it's better to have a gain control (but with half of a stereo Y cable dangling there), or combined L+R signals from iPad/laptop to the amp without a gain control.

    I'd rather not use a mixer as suggested, because what I want to do doesn't require mic pre's, extra EQ anything like that. I'd only need to adjust the volume and I can do that from the laptop. It would be one more thing to carry, when these amps already have the extra inputs.

    Unless the mixer is being suggested in order to properly sum the stereo signal into mono...and that's why I considered the Big Bang, because I thought it did that internally.
     
  10. KJung

    KJung

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    Seems like you should be fine with the Big Bang then.
     
  11. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    Yeah that's what I thought, go with the Big Bang, but they both sound great and the LMT 800 has more power. :eek:

    I want to go with whatever is optimal to plug in my laptop into and that's my top priority, but if it doesn't make a difference in the laptop optimum sound quality, then I might go with the higher powered head.

    Decisions decisions!
     
  12. bb03

    bb03 Supporting Member

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    I assume bongo was thinking you meant using a splitter cable to plug both your bass and ipod into a single input.

    If the Bigbang works like a Genz (which is how ALL aux-ins should work:)), the aux will come in just before the master, This way it's not affected by the pre-amp (so your bass's tone settings don't change the aux's sound), but the aux and your bass are both controlled by the master volume. This way, once you match the volume of your aux device to the volume of your bass, both inputs stay equal at any master setting.

    The other big plus for the Genz aux-in is that it works through both the headphone jack AND the speaker-out. I have no idea why some manufacturers only let the aux work through the headphones (Ampeg micros/TC RH heads). Must be some sort of engineer common sense..."why would anyone want to hear their bass AND ipod (or drum machine) come through the cab...if you're practicing, you MUST do it through headphones only!" :rollno:
     
  13. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    bb03 just raised a good question here about the aux being blended in before the master.

    I didn't think to check if the EQ on the Big Bang affects the aux input signal or not. I know that it does on the LMT 800.

    If the aux works the same as my Minimark does, then the EQ does affect the aux.
     
  14. bb03

    bb03 Supporting Member

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    This would be ideal...two separate inputs/channels of EQ that can be run at the same time :

    http://www.markbass.it/product_detail.php?id=68

    Unfortunately it's discontinued. I'd love to pick one of these up, but they're very hard to find on the used market.
     
  15. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    Thanks KJung, the tonality of these amps is something I was considering as well. I own the F500 and have been gigging with it for about 2 years so I'm very familiar with the sound of that head as well. But as you know I'm enticed to move to something with a second input for my laptop.

    I A/B/C'ed the F500, Big Bang & LMT 800 for about an hour at GC set flat most of the time with about the same volumes. The Big Bang seemed to have a little more depth (more round & fat) than my F500 and took more abuse before it sounded strained at higher volumes even though it's the same wattage and I'm not sure why that was, the class of the amp? The semi-parametric mids on the F500 seem to have a higher Q, where the mid controls on the Big Bang are a little more broad, not to have the center frequency jump out as much. I thought the Big Bang sounded slightly warmer and open than the F500.

    Yes, the tube/SS blend is quite subtle but I do hear the effect (minus the change in volume). I thought the LMT800 sounded slightly clinical while in solid state mode compared to the Big Bang and I couldn't imagine ever using the 100% SS setting. :confused: But in tube mode with the knob past noon, the tone was quite close to the Big Bang, almost to where I couldn't tell the difference. It's strange how you have to use the tube to get the amp to sound like the Big Bang which is a SS amp.

    One thing I noticed about having more wattage is that the tone of sustained notes seemed to hold out a little more at a high volume, instead of dropping down a hair after the attack. But that was pretty subtle as well.
     
  16. KJung

    KJung

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    +1 You can actually get that front end with the MOMARK system, and actually choose the 800 watt power module if you want. That might be a very nice option for the OP.

    It is a shame that the Genz Shuttle Max heads don't have the ability for separate, switchable inputs to the 2 preamp channels. Not many two channel mono heads out there. Of course, there is the Walter Woods, but that is stupid expensive.
     
  17. KJung

    KJung

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  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Almost--I was responding to his question about whether the aux input would be the same as using a Y cable. I did not know whether that particular extra input was just a second front panel jack, or a post-preamp insert point. I was just warning against the first one. :)
     
  19. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Gold Supporting Member

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    +1. I got one of these for about 50 bucks and it's faaaaaar better than any amp's aux input since it has it's own master and individual channel volume controls with plenty of gain if needed, as well as 4 inputs. It can be used as a headphone amp as well. Now I can leave several sources plugged in without switching cables or fumbling around the back of my head. I can also easily equalize all the volumes with zero hassle.
     
  20. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

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    Anyone know if the Big Bang has an analog or digital power amp section? It doesn't say on the website, and this is one of the factors I'm considering as well.

    My guess is that the Big Bang has an analog power amp section while the LMT800 has a digital (class D) power amp section and that would explain the tonal difference between them. It seems you're dialing in the tube preamp on the LMT800 to get back some of the warmth you lost by going to a digital power amp.

    In the Momark series any of the chassis above 500W are digital power amps. So if I went with the Momark series and wanted to stay analog it would be larger & heavier for the same power rating just to get the modular/flexibility.
     
  21. KJung

    KJung

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    The Big Bang is a class D amp (which is why it is so small). It is technically the replacement for the F1/F500, which were also class D, but were warm and fat sounding. I would NOT in any way make my descision on power amp topology. As you heard, the Big Bang and F1 and F500, while class D, sound more like the LMIII than the LMTube800 to me.

    Yes, the Momark would be larger and just a bit heavier, to get all the added capabilities and modularity.
     

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