Bass with an AC Adapter?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mediamecca, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. mediamecca


    Aug 18, 2006
    So -

    I've been playing a lot lately - and my Ibanez bass - as much as I love her - has been eating 9V batteries like a bad case of the munchies.

    It occurs to me last night - Why don't bass guitars have an AC adapter? I run a wire to my amp - why not have another wire for power?

    Off I go to the local electronic surplus store, come back with some wire, an adapter, a cool blue LED, and a few other components.

    Long story short - I got it to work - and work REALLY well. In fact, I noticed a more consistent signal out of the bass.

    Anybody else seen this or done this?

    Or am I just scratching my head wondering why no one else does this?
  2. bassplayer347

    bassplayer347 Guest

    Dec 24, 2003
    I wonder why there aren't any AC adapters for wireless transmiters? They eat alot of batteries too. :bag:
  3. dude, patent that idea and sell it, i can see a lot of people likeing that idea.
  4. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Your bass shouldn't just eat batteries like that. 3 of my basses are active, and I get months and months out of a single battery. Are you leaving your bass plugged in when you're not using it? The preamp is turned on when an instrument cord is plugged in. As for why more people don't use a 9V adapter, I'd guess it's because it's another wire hanging off of the bass. I know it'd bother me. There are some basses that use an intermediate box, between the amp and the bass, that connects to a power adapter and an instrument cable, and then only one cable, usually an XLR, goes to the bass, delivering power and an instrument cable in one. And I think there are some basses that run from phantom power from the board.
  5. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    This is weird that you post this because just the other day i was in a situation where my battery ran out and i needed to find a new 9V. and for a laugh my friend said, why dont you just get an a AC Adapter for it?

  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    My JAF has a built-in rechargeable battery.

    Since you're into DIY, here's one for you : Shortcut the battery plate with a dummy, plug a stereo cable to the bass, make a box with signal from the amp on tip, +9 V on ring and then of course ground.
    You're done.

    The X-Bat is built exactly on this principle, it would be dead easy to use it with your regular power supply.
  7. hahaha, thats insane, wont it have a shortened life span after a while?

    my mp3 player went from 15 continues hours, to half an hour of play time in less then a year...

    edit: i just noticed, why is the instrument cable jack on the back?
  8. Thats an OK idea, but, what ive always thought would be better.

    Make basses that use XLR jacks, and let the preamp run off phantom power? (i know there are many XLR basses out there, but the phantom power thing could be an idea, unless they already do that?)
  9. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Thats very cool!
  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Alembic have been doing this for decades.

    Besides having no issues about batteries failing on you whilst playing, it gives rise to a lot better sounding preamp options that are more current hungry and/or run on higher voltages, say +/- 20V.

    Only real hassle is if you want wireless.
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Although Alembic basses have a single cord system to carry signal and power, they generally don't use XLR.
    Or does yours ? Never seen that.
  12. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Back in the 70's I had external power supplies which required special cables,costly cables that would become damaged over time.

    Now i use two 9 volt batteries which last well over a year. Whatever circuit you are using is draining the batteries. You need to upgrade the chips etc. with more effienct components.
  13. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    i get 8-9 months out of one single 9 volt.
  14. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    It uses a 5pin, and carries the +/- rails on seperate conductors on the cable. A couple of caps and bleeders will allow it to run on a 3 pin.

    XLR is a generic term for that type of connector to me irrespective of the number of pins, and as the OP is talking about a custom, why not do it the best way, and run seperate conductors for the power? I don't (usually) like using non-standard configs, ie power down a 3 conductor mic cable that varies from the std phantom connection, as otherwise someone will accidentally plug it into the wrong device and possibly do damage, though I have done this myself whilst experimenting and had no 5 pins handy.
  15. mediamecca


    Aug 18, 2006
    Thanks for the great info guys!

    It also makes me think that the real question is that there are actually better/more efficient circuits out there for preamps for the bass.

    I'm pretty careful about not leaving the bass plugged in, but I guess what started this whole AC adapter thing is my bass's preamp not being real efficient with it's power usage.

    I'm curious to know what models of basses you guys get 'long 9V life' out of.
  16. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    i'm pretty sure EBS amps will phantom power your active bass if you use a TRS cable
  17. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Better, ie more sonically transparent, yes. Easily. Are there are better circuit topologies available too.

    As for Garry's comment above about expensive cables, not if you DIY and manufacturers such as Bayou are very reasonable for this sort of work if you want someone else to do it. And as they're cheap, and you make them, why not have a couple of spares? They're also no less reliable than any well made multicore or snake type cable especially if you use quality cable from a reputable manufacturer such as Belden, Mogami or Canare (amongst others), and most importantly, you take care of your leads.
  18. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    The reason for the 5-pin hookup on the Alembic Series basses is because they are stereo, with each pickup having it's own output.
  19. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    I'm aware of this (I have an S1), but regarding the power supply application, it's beside the point. With a mono output, you'd still need 4 conductors to run seperate V+/V-, signal and earth.
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