Cheap way to drive a power amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lockout, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Ok. As some of you probably remember, I'm currently saving up for my new Aguilar rig, which will include:

    • Aguilar DB680 pre
    • Aguilar DB728 power
    • Aguilar GS210 speaker cab
    • Aguilar GS212 speaker cab
    I already own the DB728, but I don't have a pre to drive it, and I don't think I'll be able to afford the DB680 very soon. :(

    So, I was wondering... does anyone know of something else (cheap) that I can buy that will serve as a preamp and drive my DB728 to full power to use with the speakers until I can manage to save up enough for the DB680? I'd like it to be something that I will have a use for even after I get the DB680. I'd also prefer to keep it under $200 or so if possible. Does anyone know of something that fits this description?

    Would putting an Aguilar OBP-3 and some active EMGs in my bass give it the ability to drive the DB728 relatively close to full power? I have a feeling it wouldn't, but I'd just like to be sure. :)


  2. ADA MB-1. I got it used for $180 on ebay.
  3. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    My active bass (Pentabuzz w/ Bart pre) can drive my Peavey to full power, so you might do okay with an on-board pre.

    I'd think about a small DI or something that you could use later for recording. Maybe a Joemeek MQ1, or a Fishman Pro-Platinum EQ Bass DI, which has a built in compressor and EQ. I got it for $160 at Guitar Center, and it's a great little unit with some unique and useful sounds from the compressor.
  4. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    You would need something produces a line level output to drive a poweramp.
    Some possible choices:

    The new Digitech Pedals have a line level output that might work to drive a poweramp. The Bass driver has Treble and Bass knobs for tone control:

    The SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a direct box that has some tone control:

    The Bass Xciter Pedal has an DI XLR output that might drive a poweramp. It also has some tone control using the Big Bottom and Aural Exciter:

    The M-80 Bass Direct Box could probably be used to drive a poweramp:

    Used Bass preamps can usually be found for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of new preamps. You might try or ebay for used bass preamps.
  5. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Would the "Instrument Out" on the Aphex be able to drive a power amp? Or just the XLR output?

    Also, how would I go from the XLR output of the Bass Xciter to the 1/4" input of the DB728? Would I need something like this: ?

    One other there a way I can be sure of whether the OBP-3 would be able to drive a power amp or not? I was originally planning on upgrading my bass after putting this rig together, so if it could work as a temporary preamp, I might as well upgrade now and just kill two birds with one stone. :D
  6. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I think it would take the XLR output to drive a poweramp as an instrument level out may be to low.

    A cheap option to drive a poweramp directly from a Bass could be a small mixer such as the Eurorack UB502 for 39.99 :

    It appears to have alot of bang for the buck including a 2 band EQ.
  7. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    You could use a mic one of these:

    or one of these:

    Then it could serve as a backup for your Aggie after you get it, since they're small and would probably fit in your case.

    Not much in the way of EQ, but it's under $100 and could be a good temporary fix. Plus you've got a great onboard pre, so you may not need the redundant frequncy busting...

    FYI I've never actually used this setup, so I'm speculating, but I may get one as a backup for my Dem and test it out, so I'll let you know my results if that's the case.


    EDIT: I misread your original post -- I thought you already had the OBP-3 + EMGs in your bass...if you're unhappy with your onboard setup you might not want to go the mic pre route, since it will not offer much coloration to your signal.
  8. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    Contact Aguilar and ask them. Since they make the OBP-3 and the DB728, you could get the info from the best source.

    You'll probably need to give them the model # of the EMG's.
  9. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Done. :)

    If the OBP-3 can't drive it, how would the Aphex 204 (basically a rackmount version of the Bass Xciter pedal with a few extra features) work? I can get one for $230 new, and it seems like a good investment. What do you guys think?
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Most bass heads made in the last 20 years have line outs that can be used to drive a power amp. Since you wouldn't be using the power amp in the head, the wattage is could even use something like a little 10 watt practice amp!!! In fact the power amp section doesn't even have to work.

    Rather than wasting a lot of money that could go towards the preamp you really want, I would use a head I already owned, or buy a used one cheap.

    Don't overlook cheap used preamps, either. Ashly and Yamaha preamps from the early 80s can be found used for $100 and they actually sound great.
  11. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    brianrost is onto something:

    I see in your profile that you have a Hartke Kickback. Why not use the line out of that combo, and face it towards you for use as your own personal monitor. I think that's what I would do, and save up for the Aggie pre.

  12. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Now there's something I hadn't thought of. Not sure why, but I completely forgot that my Hartke has a DI output. :)

    I would still need adapter like the one I posted above, right?
  13. Daytona


    Apr 26, 2003
    I remember Vanselus saying that he plugged his bass directly into his 728, and that it sounded fantastic.
  14. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    I've actually been doing that, but the current electronics in my bass (passive EMGs/active EMG eq) don't push the 728 very hard, which is why I made this thread. :)
  15. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    oh, bummer -- no effects loop....

    you could *try* the headphone out, but that would mute the hartke's speaker...and, more importantly, it will probably be too hot a signal for your pwr amp, and thusly give you some unwanted distortion.

    Does the DI have a level? If not, this might not be a viable solution (but I don't know DIs that well, so I'm not the man to ask on that...

    It's certainly worth a try.

  16. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    at the risk of promoting my own...

    have you considered on of our new BBE BMAX preamps?

    the BMAX-T is a really great sounding tube bass pre.

    around 500.00 and the solid state BMAX is around 300.00.

    good luck!
  17. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Yeah...the Kickback is a pretty simple amp in terms of outputs/features. I tried the headphone out a few minutes ago, and I did notice some distortion when playing, so that's not going to work. The DI doesn't have a volume control, so I'm not sure if that will work either.

    I got a response from Aguilar this morning regarding the OBP-3:
    Now I'm really not sure what to do. :(
  18. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    There's another option -- i don't think anyone's mentioned it here but it's definitely been posted on -- which is the Boss EQ pedal. I've heard that will give you enough boost to drive most power amps, and that should be another sub-$100 option, and could have some utility after you get your pre.

    just a thought. carry on...

  19. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Does Dunlop still make a volume/boost pedal? I remember at one time, way back when, they used to make a volume pedal that was said to boost your signal by 600% (6x the amount you put into it).

    Something like that might work......if it exists....and you can find it...

    I'll shut up now.
  20. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000