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Advantage of 18volt?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ZanVooden, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. ZanVooden


    Nov 27, 2005
    Peoria, IL
    I currently have a Bartolini 5.3 Bass Pre-amp to work with my DiMarzio model Js. The pre-amp comes wired with a 9volt connection but also has the option of wiring it with 18volt.

    I was wondering what the advantages of wiring it to 18volt over 9volt are.

    Any help is appreciated. thanks
  2. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    18v can be wired 2 ways:

    The first way would be to give you much longer batterie life, and the second way would be to give you much more headroom.
  3. ZanVooden


    Nov 27, 2005
    Peoria, IL
    What do you mean by giving more headroom?
  4. Supplying the preamp with 18v instead of 9v doesn't increase its output. It lets the preamp handle more signal at its input before clipping. That is headroom.

    As to the post from bass_drum: I think that you are mistaken. You can wire 2 x 9v cells in series to get 18v, or in parallel to get 9v and more capacity.
  5. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    I am interested. I have EMGs with EMG BQC system preamp. I run them at 9v. Their website recommends 18v for the pickups.

    Then my question is; Why do they recommend 18v when their bqc system runs fine with 9? Is there a chance that my EMGs are running too much signal into the BQC system for the system to handle? (I haven't noticed any problems.) I just don't understand it.
  6. I own a number of basses with 9 volt (Celinder, Rob Allen, Sadowsky) and 18 volt (MTD, Stambaugh) preamps and notice no difference in headroom, distortion, output, battery life, etc., etc. I don't seem to ever have 'clipped' an internal preamp. So... it seems like a non-issue to me.
  7. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Thanks Kjung :bassist:

  8. The EMG thing might be a little different, since the pickups are actually active, so both the pickups and the preamp are drawing power. However... if it sounds fine..... it sounds fine!!!!
  9. The active pickups question is different than the original preamp question. Since active piclups have built in buffer/driver circuits they can benefit from the extra voltage for the same reason. And depending on the gain structure it can be more critical in the pickup because any headroom issues are now passed on to the preamp. The headroom issue might not be audible depending on your playing style or your rig. Players who slap or have a heavy clanky style might benefit the most. Those big transients are where the problem will be worst, if it exists at all.
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    It hasn't been brought up yet that there are circuit-engineering advantages to "18 Volt" - assuming that means "two nine-volt batteries in series". This has to do with having a "true split-supply" with a true, low-impedance circuit ground reference (in this case, it would be the connection point between the batteries).

  11. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    What does this mean in practicality? (I am not educated in this field)
  12. For one, you could have a "split rail" setup where one 9V is the + and one is the -, so you get 18v potential between +9V and -9V with a common ground. That is common in both computer and audio, but it requires dual supplies, or dual batteries. For one example, the Raven Labs gear uses split rail supplies and a special trs power plug.
  13. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005

    haha yes I am, sorry about that. I was under the impression he was asking 18v as in 2 batteries but yah...didnt think before I posted!
  14. I actually needed to bump up my emg setup to 18v for the extra headroom. Normal playing was fine, but any kind of strumming or slapping came out clipped/distorted. Shoving a second battery in the cavity was the biggest problem of the whole thing, but the clipping went completely away. i run an emg p/j set with a bts preamp. If it sounds fine, it sounds fine, but id reccommend considering it, for sure.
  15. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    If Bart gave the option of running their pre at 18v why not try it and see if you like it? You never know, it could be a big improvement.

    On pups by themselves, I have one bass setup with active EMG P/J pups running at 18v. IMO, it was a noticeable improvement over running them at 9v. My harmonics now "sing" and it has a little more punch. As to whether or not the 18v mod works as well on other active pups I can't say. What I can say is that any bass I have active EMG's in will be fed 18v from now on. :)
  16. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Is this thing on!? Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I think most preamps (unless it's a cheapie) can be run @ 18v... case in point, my StingRay 5. Taking it to 18v really livened it up and gave me a much cleaner sound. I think it made it a tad louder and a little less sensitive to my playing dynamics, so I took it back to 9v. Now I have 2 batteries so my battery life should be astronomical!
  17. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have 3 basses with EMG's and the BQC pre-amp in them. I run all of them at 18v. I do have one other bass that has a BQC pre-amp, but has a Seymour Duncan pickup. I really have to say that I prefer the 18v with the EMG's. I like my SD with the 9v pre though.