Sadowsky outboard Preamp/DI with active basses?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Son of Bovril, Dec 19, 2013.


  1. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

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    Feb 16, 2005
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    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Everything i read compliments how this pre makes passive basses sound great, but will it have the same effect on an active bass or an active bass in bypass mode?



    I'm sure guys must have tried this, just can't find any specific info on it?
  2. Matt Lake

    Matt Lake Supporting Member

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    Sep 7, 2010
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    Osage Beach Missouri
    I'm interested in this too. I want to try it with my passive jazz bass but I've also got an active Yamaha TRB 1005 I'd like to try. The Yamaha output is not very high even though it's active. Some passive basses are louder than this active Yamaha but I don't want to fry the pre-amp if that's possible.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

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    Jan 21, 2006
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    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    One can certainly use any outboard pre-amp with an active bass as long as you are not overdriving the input of any pre-amp down the chain. Clearly running an active bass passive would be optimal.

    All that said, I'm not inclined to believe you will get tonal magic from the Sadowsky outboard. I love my Sadowsky, but other active basses can sound much like a Sadowsky with the right mids in the EQ.

    With a passive Fender, it's a different matter.
  4. Hudsobass

    Hudsobass Supporting Member

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    East Lansing, MI
    What Dr. Jim said plus, I would be hesitant to use the Sadowsky outboard pre-amp with an active bass because of the tonal outcome - too much hot-ness and likely inadequate warmth. I have used the Sadowsky outboard pre-amp with several of my passive basses (P, J, Yamaha etc.) and the additive effect is great. Not sure I would want to do it with active basses because I'm afraid it would be too much rather than a useful addition.
  5. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

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    Feb 16, 2005
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    Johannesburg, South Africa
    So an active bass in passive mode should yield good result, better than an active bass with the eq kept flat...

    I assume active pickups would also diminish the effect of this preamp?
  6. lefty007

    lefty007 Supporting Member

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    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    I've used the Sadowsky preamp for 10+ years, usually with passive basses, and to me, it does magic. But I have also used it with some active basses that had weak preamps, for example, a Yamaha TRB, a Korean MTD, and Ibanez. You just have to watch your levels and don't be boosting like crazy on both preamps. I'd usually leave the bass preamp flat, and EQ at the Sadowsky preamp. A little boost on both the highs and the lows it's all it takes with the Sadowsky preamp to make you sound like a pro, bro. Worked great because the inboard preamps were weak and had low output.

    It certainly won't hurt to try it with any active bass, but it probably be overkill if the bass already has a competent preamp in it. But if the bass has a bypass, then you are game and can't go wrong. Try it both on and off and see what sounds best.
  7. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

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    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Thanx Lefty007 :)

    I have a Warwick thumb 5 NT with a lame preamp and a Pavel Aryel that are both dying to be tried in passive mode with the Sadowsky!

    I agree with what you are saying about keeping the gains in check and only using one set of eq between the active bass and the pedal, makes sense and if used subtly it shouldn't cause the signal strength to get out of hand...

    The real issue with the thumb is that I don't like the eq centers of the onboard MEC preamp, specifically the 100hz bass knob, so if I can still run it in active it gives me both the thumb and sadowsky centers to work with, so basically a 5 band slightly overlapping eq
  8. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

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    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Anyone tried the Sadowsky with a Warwick or more specifically a thumb bass?
  9. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

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    Nov 29, 2008
    Not to hijack but what the Sadowsky pre would add that I could not get tonally from a good amp (SVT or 7-Pro in my case) other than adjustments on the fly?

    For that matter, what does it offer over other outboard pre's?

    I'm good with "some kinda mojo that you can't get with an amp" but I wonder how true that is for most folks.
  10. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
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    Johannesburg, South Africa
    ^ The biggest part is that it is sending the preamp's sound to the desk while in my case the amp is just a big ass expensive monitor. If you run your DI out the back of your amp set to pre, then whatever you eq on your amp doesn't go to the desk anyways so it may only sound good on stage for your own private listening experience while the desk is getting an entirely different tone...

    Now you could of course run your DI send post eq but your cab/rig does not sound/react the same as the PA to your eq adjustments, so any adjustments you make to get your sound onstage might be adversely affecting the signal the engineer is trying to work with at the desk

    The Sadowsky pre does not offer anything that significantly different in theory/on paper to many of the other pedal preamps out there but the reason it is sought after is the specific tone it has...

    kinda like the specific sound of a P vs a jazz bass kinda thing... its got a particular modern sound that people want and thats what they pay for
  11. Son of Bovril

    Son of Bovril

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    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    So I asked Roger if it could drive a poweramp directly and he said it is line level at the xlr... But that doesn't necessarily mean it can drive a poweramp right?

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