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Absolute Beginner Question: Equipment

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hektik27, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Hektik27


    Aug 19, 2012
    I've been reading stuff on here about bass guitar for a couple weeks now, but I can't find answers here or elsewhere about some fundamental questions I have.

    Is it worth getting an amp or using amp simulator software on a computer?

    What equipment would be needed to use a computer as an amp?

    Is a mixer required to listen to both music and your bass simultaneously while using an actual amp?

    Is a mixer required to listen to both music and your bass simultaneously while using amp simulator software?

    I apologize if this is in the wrong category and forgive me for any mistakes I have made or misunderstandings.

  2. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Welcome to TB.
    Your question is not fundamental. I don't think I understand your goal and perhaps you do not either. If you wish to play with others sometime in the future, then get an amp. If you looking for a practice setup, your computer will work if you have the correct software and audio interface. The answer can get complex depending on your goals.

    There are many amps, practice devices such as stomp boxes that will let you mix external audio with bass.

    I started off with a small amp and a stereo. Your computer can do both and If I were starting today, that is the way to go for practice.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Hektik27


    Aug 19, 2012
    Thanks, bassmon, you're helpful, and regarding my goal, I'm just looking for a setup so I can practice without disturbing anyone, or at least disturbing them as little as possible
  4. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Hello and welcome -

    You could have a long thread on any and all of the questions above.
    There are a lot of ways to get a rig rocking - I don't have the expertise to give you a good run - down of how to do it well, in a fairly cost effective way.

    It's not a brand new idea but it is probably quite tricky to get spot on - even most separate pre and power amps need to be matched carefully.
    Due to the number of unknowns, and multiple standards and such, you will probably need to get deep into the tech to get it all doing what you want . . . I'd be amazed if one could do it without a lot of experimentation.

    Happy searching - and come up with some Ideas, look for working examples - including setups that include all of what you want and most of what you're looking into. It's all useful info. This should give TB something to bounce around and discuss that might help you more... or not :meh:

    Should be interesting!

    EDIT: Hang on... I may have misread the post...
    I use a practice amp and a multi effects pedal with USB (zoom b2.1u). Not exhorbitant but I already had the PC to record etc. on.
  5. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    To practice while not disturbing anyone, it might be cheaper and more beneficial in the long run to get a practice amp and headphones.

    All the equipment you need for com√łuter can be expensivem a lot is cheap though. But you must have a good enough computer to run it.

    And when i say in the long run, if you want to join others, it would be worth having the amp to bring along to rehearsals. No one likes to set up a computer to practice with in a jam room haha (did it once, no other option, was not fun)

    I'd go with the amp.

    When you start getting into recording more, then think about interfaces and software :)
  6. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    You should consider one of these.....


    A hundred bucks. Fits in your hand. You can plug your bass in, plug a set of earbuds or earphones in, and also use an aux cord to plug in a music source (iPod, mp3 player, computer) and play along to whatever you are trying to learn. It's also a tuner.

    And when you do get an amp, it can be used to front end some effects into your amp. Very good bang for the buck, and your neighbors / family / roommates will not be disturbed.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    You'll need more gear (and cash) to run your bass through your computer that just picking up a cheap practice amp and headphone.

    To run it through you computer you will need an interface (and monitors on top of your computer speakers in most cases) the interface will also need a built in pre-amp if you expect to get a decent tone out of it without adding an amp in between the bass and interface... so you'll need an expensive interface. Most interfaces will work as a mixer to blend between input and recording mixes. On top of all this you will most likely need to buy software to get amp models and effects, some have them built in.

    It will be much easier and more practical to get a cheap practice amp and headphones (used for under $100 if money is a factor).

    EDIT: I might be getting one of those little Pandora units myself.... get that.
  8. conqr


    Feb 16, 2009
    All you need is a suitably equipped practice amp to start. There are many practice amps with an auxiliary input for a cd or other audio player, as well as a headphone jack - voila simple basic play along practice. I still have a Warwick Blue Cab 60 but there a lots of others.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm not a big expert on the computer options, but basically: a computer won't give you real amplification. If you go the computer option, it could be fine for playing in your living room by yourself, but if you're ever going to play with anyone you're going to need amplification in some form, even if it means running your laptop into a PA. At the end of the day playing through your computer will mean spending more money than just getting an amp.

    On the mixer question: No. Most practice amps these days (and some bigger ones) come with an input of some kind so that you can run your computer or an mp3 or CD player through the amp. Mine has a set of red/white jacks and I plug my computer into it with one of these cords - http://www.frontx.com/pro/c216_042.html (I don't have this exact product, but the same idea). You simply control your instrument volume on your bass, your device volume on the device, thus creating the mix you want, and the amp's master volume then controls total output.
  10. Airskank


    Jun 17, 2011
    I play through my iPad and iPhone and love it. I can run the amp software in the background while I play along to either real music or tab midi. The apps are cheap and you can get cheap iOS input devices.

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