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A recent discovery with my Ampeg SCR-DI and Markbass 801 amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SactoBass, Mar 27, 2020.


  1. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Hey gang! I've had an Ampeg SCR-DI for a couple of years now. I have always used it for silent home practice with my Sony MDR-7506 headphones and my mp3 music source. I love the way the SCR-DI imparts that nice Ampeg tone. IMO, the SCR-DI is a *phenominal* gizmo for silent home practice.

    I also have, for low volume (non-silent) home practice, a Markbass Micromark 801 amp...the cube-shaped amp with the 8" speaker and 60 watts of power.

    I was never really overly enamored with the tone from the 801. As you may know, other than the volume knob, all it has for tone shaping is the VPF knob. It does not have the more common bass, mid, and treble knobs that many amps have. So tonal adjustment is quite limited. All five of my basses are passive (two P basses, two J basses, and a Ric), so I don't have the flexibility to adjust those tonal parameters like I would otherwise have with a bass that has a built-in preamp with bass, mid, and treble adjustments.

    Well, today I tried something. I plugged one of my basses into the SCR-DI, and then ran a cable from the "line out" 1/4" jack from the SCR-DI directly into the front-end input of the 801.

    SHAZAM! There it was! The yummy tone of the SCR-DI coming out of the 801.

    Why I didn't think of doing this before is a mystery that I will never understand. I guess my 63 year old brain just doesn't think as quickly as it used to. :bag:

    And now I have lots of tone shaping options at my fingertips for the 801 by using the knobs on the SCR-DI. :)

    It turns out that the "line out" 1/4" output of the SCR-DI is not as strong as many typical line-level signals. In this case, that's a good thing, because the 801 does not have a power amp in jack or an effects loop (with an effects loop return jack), nor does it have a pad adjustment for the input for signals that are too hot. All it has is the single 1/4" input jack by itself. I was initially concerned that the line out signal from the SCR-DI might be too hot for the 801's front end input to handle resulting in ugly sounding distortion, but such was not the case at all. As long as I don't crank the volume knob on the SCR-DI too far, it won't overdrive the 801. AWESOME!

    Of course, the *XLR* output jack from the SCR-DI is hotter than the 1/4" line out jack (6db hotter to be exact, per the manual). So for those of you who want to use the XLR out to go from the SCR-DI to the mixer board, no worries.

    I am very pleased that I am now able to get a nice Ampeg-like tone at bedroom volume levels (and have lots more tonal adjustment capability) using the SCR-DI as a preamp running into my Markbass 801 amp. :thumbsup: saWEET!
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  2. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    The Markbass Micromark 801 does not have an effects loop.

    That's why I never thought of using the SCR-DI with the 801, because the only option I had was to have the SCR-DI feed a signal directly into the input jack of the 801. The point of my OP was to share the info with TB'ers that doing such a thing works perfectly! The 1/4" line out jack from the SCR-DI is not "too hot" to run in front of an amp! :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
    TN WOODMAN, dkelley and Kubicki Fan like this.
  3. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    Not surprising. Markbass amps which are inherently flat are a great platform for external devices.
     
  4. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    For me, the "surprising" part isn't related to the amp, because just about anyone could do this with just about any amp. For me, the surprising part is that the 1/4" line out jack from the SCR-DI isn't "too hot" to run in front of an amp. I had assumed that the 1/4" line out jack from the SCR-DI would be the typical line level signal that you find with most gear, which would typically create a signal that is too hot to feed the front end of an amp (like having a preamp feed another preamp). But in this particular case, it works perfectly. I share this info on TB in the event anyone wishes to use their SCR-DI in front of their amp, regardless of amp brand. It works!

    And I agree with your comment about Markbass amps in general. Years ago I had a Markbass Jeff Berlin combo amp with the NY 151 ext cab. I found the tone to be very average. That's why I ended up selling it and told myself "no more Markbass amps for me." So I actually surprised myself when I recently bought the Micromark 801 for home practice. The main reason I bought it was due to the physical form factor. It fits nicely on one of my shelves in my music room. All I can say is, thank goodness running the Ampeg SCR-DI in front of the 801 works, because for my ears, it made a *HUGE* improvement in tone quality! :thumbsup:
     
    bigbottomend, 40Hz and SJan3 like this.
  5. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    I have a LittleMark lll and it has the same front end as the Jeff Berlin. I use a Sadowsky preamp in front and it sounds fantastic!
    That said, with a P Bass, the Markbass preamp delivers what I want to hear. Sometimes we resist turning knobs but there's a lot of tonal flexibility in there.
    Not so much with the 801.
    I would imagine the SCR-DI would mate nicely with the LittleMark format.
     
    Socobass and SactoBass like this.
  6. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Excellent! That's the way to do it! :thumbsup:

    I wish I would have thought of doing that back when I had the Berlin combo/151 stack.
     
    SJan3 likes this.
  7. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    I really believe in Markbass Amps. You can always get another.
     
    SactoBass likes this.
  8. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Not to derail this thread too much (as it was meant to focus on the usefulness of the line out feature of the Ampeg SCR-DI rather than the amp), I will say that I'm a big tube amp fan which is why I have a Fender Bassman 100T and a Fender Super Bassman. Me likey! :)
     
    Moosehead1966 and SJan3 like this.
  9. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    Sorry, didn't mean to deviate from your point. And I get the tube amp love. I just don't want to lift anything heavy these days.
    I'm glad the Ampeg SCR-DI delivers the tone you want.
    And very light weight!!
     
    SactoBass likes this.
  10. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    I don't like the weight (of my tube amps) either. But that TONE! And I will say that even though the 300 watt Super Bassman amp weighs 65 pounds, it feels like a featherweight compared to the 85 pound SVT's that I used to schlep. DANG....those were heavy!!! :eek:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
    rodl2005, Moosehead1966 and SJan3 like this.
  11. byacey

    byacey

    May 16, 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    I don't think Marbass has a whole lot to do with it. It's all in the Ampeg EQ curve that the SCR can provide. There will be some variance, but any bass amp and cabinet that can be set reasonably flat will reproduce what the SCR passes through for amplification.
     
  12. Run it into the pwr amp in, or effects return. Dopeness
     
  13. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Thanks! But the Markbass Micromark 801 amp does not have a power amp in jack or an effects loop. (See posts above.) :thumbsup:
     
    dkelley and Helix like this.
  14. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    I totally agree. The fact that the amp I'm using for home practice is a Markbass Micromark 801 is mostly irrelevant. The key point that I wanted to make, and the real reason I created this thread, is to share with TB'ers that using the Ampeg SCR-DI's "line out" signal into the front end of an amp works great and sounds great! :thumbsup:
     
  15. byacey

    byacey

    May 16, 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    I have an SCR, and I've been toying around with the idea of building up a class D amp in a single 12" speaker box driven by the SCR. This would be a practice / small venue rig.
     
    dkelley, spvmhc and SactoBass like this.
  16. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    That sounds *very* cool! :thumbsup:

    Please note that I have read in other threads on TB that the 1/4" line out on the SCR-DI was not hot enough to drive their power amp. I suppose that would all depend on the input sensitivity of the power amp being considered. The SCR's XLR out would certainly be hot enough as it is 6db hotter than the 1/4" out. So whatever power amp you decide to use for your project, be sure that you set it up so that the SCR's output can drive the power amp to its full power rating.
     
  17. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    Well, not necessarily so. My Sadowsky preamp doesn't play as nice with my Tonehammer 500 as it does with my LittleMark.
     
  18. Cutter8

    Cutter8 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    Georgia
    The only way I’ve ever used my SCR-DI is running the 1/4” line out into the front of an amp, whether it’s my micro cube practice amp, a Phil Jones Briefcase amp, or my Magellan 800. I always thought that was the standard way of using it, but I’m new to and admittedly not very knowledgeable about preamps, pedals, effects or electronics in general.
     
    soulstew and SactoBass like this.
  19. Blasphemy!
     
    Spidey2112 and SactoBass like this.
  20. byacey

    byacey

    May 16, 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    Reasonably flat amp / speaker is the key. Once you start stacking EQ upon EQ, any results aren't very predictable.
     
    SactoBass likes this.

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