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18 volt vs 9 volt question

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Josh Emmons, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. sooooo. i have a very nooblike question... i am wondering, what is the difference between 9 volts and 18 volts? and would it be worth it to get the 18 volts on my warwick thumb NT bass? :confused:
  2. cashhere


    Dec 3, 2005
    E-Town KY
    I was told by Dave @ Audere it is mainly a battery life issue, don't know for sure. I do know I cannot tell the diff between my 18 or 9 volt as far as any thing particular.
  3. korchm


    Jul 17, 2003
    toronto, canada
    from what I've read, its basically more headroom. higher voltage will give you more bass/treble/mids as opposed to the lower one.
  4. ok. so you do have an 18 and a 9 volt bass? if so, that would give me my answer. thank you, that reply actually helps me! but for the rest of you, do you know any diff. and any tonal diffrances?
  5. Although Mike Pope thought this wasn't quite possible, this is indeed what Audere claims and seems to be unique to Audere. I'll be getting a 18v 4 band in about a month or so, so we'll see how long it lasts.

    This is generally the accepted rationale. Some also have more or less output than others. A lot will vary among the different preamps on the market.
  6. cool! do you think it would be worth it to get this on my NT thumb? :confused:
  7. korchm


    Jul 17, 2003
    toronto, canada
    actually my Toby 6 runs on an 18volt aguilar preamp. and i also used to have an active ibanez with a 9 volt preamp.

    tonal differences cannot be concluded between these two basses since they have very different build(woods, pickups, etc.) but I do find the 18volt aguilar has a lot of bass/mids/treble to spare if ever needed. This was not the case with the ibanez...of course it could also be the pickups and preamp.

    If anyone here has two similar setups but differing in voltage, maybe you can throw a bone here?
  8. I believe some preamps may be that way, but usually 18V does not allow you any more/less boost/cut from the EQ.

    9V versus 18V is strictly a matter of headroom.
  9. throbgod13


    Mar 26, 2005
    i had a problem with distortion on low notes on my Charvel 3B.. the preamp is a JE2000, the stock preamp and pickups.. i added a 9V to it, and the distortion on low open notes disappeared.. and the overall boosts increased.. it went from being a decent bass, to massive/concussive.. i am very pleased with the difference it made..

    depending on the preamp, it could make a difference.. some preamps it will only extend the battery life, others will have a change in gain..
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm glad someone asked this question, as I have just gone from a bass using 1 battery to one using two. As expensive as 9V batteries are these days I'm interested to know if people think they're getting their money's worth soundwise by doubling up or not.
  11. I never did understand the argument that batteries were expensive.

    You should only have to change the batteries every six months to a year at the very least.

    So if I have to double my battery costs, I'm spending what?, a few bucks a year to keep my bass up and running?

    FWIW, I've got three batteries in my bass for 27V operation.
    I doubt it if there is any difference in headroom between that and 18V operation, but what the hell, I saw no disadvantages in doing it this way, so I just went for it.
  12. No quibbles on more headroom, but headroom is only useful if it's usable. With a 9 volt pedal downstream mightn't a 9 volt preamp be a better option, since you'd be less likely to clip?? (I'm asking, not claiming.)
  13. Why would you be less likely to clip with a 9V preamp than 18V?:confused:
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Three batteries? Is that a custom build or a mod, or are there basses sold off the shelf that way?
  15. Bass signal swinging 18 volts feeding a pedal with a 9 volt supply. Unless you hit non-active components first to drop that swing down to 9 volts, that's going to clip inside the pedal.
  16. What? It doesn't work that way.

    The voltage that runs the preamp applies to the active components of the preamp only, not the output signal.
    There should not be a DC voltage present at the output, and if there is, you can block it with capacitive coupling on the input of the pedal.
  17. I'm not aware of any 27V basses on the market, though Alembic and some others run on a 36V external power supply.

    Mine is a Warmoth bass that I had my luthier do additional routing on to accept a preamp and three way blade switch as well as the batteries.
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Correct as far as it goes. But the AC cannot swing wider than the DC voltage. Ignoring losses or charge pumps, a 9V pedal can only provide a 9V p-p swing in the AC.

    Because of this, an 18V preamp can easily overpower a pedal. Let's face it, most basses put out 3-4V p-p at most, so this is what pedal manufacturers are expecting.
  19. I'm afraid that I still have absolutely no idea what you two are talking about.

    Generally speaking, a higher supply voltage for a preamp means that the preamp can handle a hotter signal from the pickups without distorting/compressing.
    The idea is that the preamp should be as "transparent" as possible in passing whatever signal that comes in to the output.
    If the signal at the output gets too hot and distorts a pedal, it's not the preamp's problem, it's a problem with your pickups/playing dynamics/etc... being too hot for that pedal.

    Also, if you start to push the amplitude too high for anything in your signal chain, would you rather that a pedal start to distort, or would you rather that the signal start to distort at the preamp, before it can even reach the output jack? That pedal can be taken out of the chain, but aside from going passive, you are stuck with your preamp and whatever headroom it can handle.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The output from the pickup is 3-4V P-P. You definitely don't need 18V for that. What you do need 18V for is if you want a huge boost.

    IMHO, saying you need an 18V preamp for headroom is snake oil for all practical applications except driving a power amp directly. Saying you want the extra battery life makes sense.

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