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Active pad necessary for passive bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Waspinators, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Waspinators


    Jul 22, 2007
    South Florida
    I've been tinkering with my new GK 1001RB-II, and have noticed that it clips pretty bad whenever I dig into the strings on my passive cheap-o Dean Playmate Edge bass. However, the problem goes away when I enable the -14db pad although I lose some volume of course. Is it normal for some passive basses to have too hot of a signal to be played on an unpadded amp? And can that volume be recovered by turning up the power amp or is it impossible to achieve the same volume level with the pad engaged?
  2. I use the active pad with my passive P-bass and leave it off with my active stingray. This isnt to tame the growl, but to keep live volume even between the two basses.
  3. Yes, the 'active' label is kind of misleading.

    However, prior to enabling that pad, make sure that you can't just turn the pre gain down a bit to get rid of the unwanted clips. If not, then engage the pad and then crank the input gain until it sounds good to you (or just below clip). Then adjust your volume.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's true that some passive basses may have high-enough output to clip the input of the amp, and yes the pad is one good/easy tool to solve that problem. A compressor is another option.

    Any amp is designed to put out its full rated potential with NO clipping at the input; so if you just attenuate the signal to avoid clipping, the amp should still be able to get just as loud as it would normally.
  5. Waspinators


    Jul 22, 2007
    South Florida
    Thanks fellas. I also noticed that there's a slight tone change when the pad is engaged, is this normal or am I just hearing things? It seems like the highs are a bit dulled.
  6. Yes, you are going through yet another circuit (capacitor or whatever). Especially with a passive bass, you lose a touch of high end. That is why I would only use a padded input as a last resort.

    Again, try turning down you gain until the clip only comes on at your hardest hits with that pad not engaged, and then adjust your master volume to get back to the volume level you need. That should work OK.

    If you have to use the pad, make sure to crank the gain to get back up to a nice, unclipped hot signal prior to adjusting your master.
  7. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    Like Ken said, turn down the input gain until it stops clipping when you dig in. Regardless of where the knobs are, your amp will still put out it's full power. Most of my basses had my 1001RB-II running all out somewhere around pre-gain around 10-11 o'clock, boost at 12 o'clock, and master at 11-2 o'clock with EQ knobs nooned and contour off.
  8. Waspinators


    Jul 22, 2007
    South Florida
    Yeah I'm finding it impossible to dig in without clipping (unpadded), no matter how low the gain is. But I've managed to find a pretty tasty tone with the pad engaged after tinkering a bit, will keep twiddling knobs until the neighbors start throwing stuff at my windows.
  9. Nothing wrong with that then. Yes, engage the pad, then make sure to crank the gain, add a touch of treble to make up for the slight capacitance loss (or whatever causes that bit of drop in the sparkle), and then rock on!
  10. dlargent


    Aug 7, 2003
    Carrboro, NC
    Thought about lowering the pickup a bit?
  11. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    +1 thats what I came here to say. Might get rid of some click in your attack
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    That's an easy option to try out, so go for it. I'd still probably disengage the pad and lower the input gain a little.

    Are the strings hitting the pickup when you really dig in?
  13. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    If the strings were hitting the pickup, the issue would be present with pad engaged as well. It was the first thing that I thought of, especially if the OP has to cut the input gain down to nil to prevent the clipping. Secondarily, I do support trying to lower your pickups as a possible remedy.
  14. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Some good suggestions so far, but first things first - you said that your GK 1001RB-II is new. Odds are, you just need to better understand the amp. I have had a 700RB-II for about 6 years - same amp, just less power.

    You essentially have four volume/boost/gain knobs on your amp:

    1. Pre-amp gain on the left;
    2. Boost in the bi-amp section;
    3. Tweeter volume in the bi-amp section; and
    4. Woofer volume in the bi-amp section

    #3 is a separate volume for the tweeter and plays no role in your problem, so forget that for now.

    The pre-amp gain is likely where your problem is stemming from. I generally never have this up above 9:30 or about 20-25% of it's full clockwise rotation. I set it just below where the clip LED comes on when digging in, regardless of the overall volume coming from the speakers.

    Now go to the boost knob. For that GK growl, set it at 3:00 and there's really no need to touch it ever again.

    Use the Woofer as your master volume.

    Hope this helps. The pad switch can help, but it does take some of the life out of the sound. Better to reduce your gain in the pre-amp section. Let us know where you need to set this to avoid clipping (about 9:00???).

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