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active preamp straight to PA

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by soontobedead, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. soontobedead


    Jul 14, 2005
    Hi there. I have a question. I remember hearing/reading somewhere that if a bass has an active preamp i would be able to connect it directly to a PA speaker without a head. Is this true? Would it fry my preamp? Would it make any sound at all?
    Second to that (and if it's possible), my friend is selling a 400W PA speaker, but if i buy it from him, i won't have money for a head till sometime next year (specially one that can handle that much wattage). If the above is possible, would you advise me to buy it? or would getting a good tone out of it be impossible?

  2. telekaster


    Feb 14, 2005
    San Diego
    I don't think you can go directly from a bass w/preamp to a speaker. You need something to power the speaker (power amp). I guess you may be able to get sound out of it but it might not be loud, sound bad, or drain your battery in a hurry (or all 3).

    It's common for any bass, be it active or passive, to go direct to the house's PA totally bypassing your bass amp. This leaves your bass amp as merely a personal stage monitor. This method is OK. But of course the house's PA has something to amplify those PA speakers (power amps).

    About that 400w PA speaker... It almost sounds like your friend is trying to unload something on you that doesn't even really fit your needs. It would be completely uselss to you as you describe. You need to amplify the speaker somehow. Even if you decide to buy PA head, you might as well do it right and get a real bass amp. I've found it to be the most economical in the long run to get the right gear from the get go. Experimenting with patchwork equipment is sort of fun, but wastes time and money along the way. Hope that helped.
  3. You can go directly into the PA through a mixing board.
    However, you would then need to have your signal put through
    the monitors for you to hear it. It would be able to be heard
    in the main speakers, but for you to hear it on stage you would
    need it to be in the monitors. All of which (main speakers and
    monitors) are powered by power amps in the PA system.

    So... you either need to get a power amp and an active bass,
    or a power amp and Pre amp(my personal choice), or get a
    dedicated bass amp head. You could of course get a combo
    that has the amp and speaker all in one.

    It depends on what kind of playing your going to be doing.
    If your just going to be playing at home or with a few friends,
    then a combo might be a good choice. If you're going to be
    gigging then you might want to have a bit more power.

    Either way, I don't think the PA speaker is really what you're
    looking for. As stated above, you'd need to power the signal
    somehow, and for that you're going to have to get a power amp.

    I'm sure there are other more qualified people out there who
    can explain it better than I have here, but just remember that
    your signal has to be amplified before going out of a speaker,
    otherwise you'll get next to nothing, or more probably nothing at all.
  4. soontobedead


    Jul 14, 2005
    priceless info, guys... thanks a lot :bassist:

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