Do I need a preamp??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Melanie, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. Melanie


    Jul 14, 2003
    I just recently perchased a dcm600 with RL115 and Mp210T cabinets. I was told that I need a preamp?? But then I talked to some one else and they said that my preamp was built in to the bass itself? Help!! Can I use my system or not??:bassist:
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Only very few internal bass preamps have such high output that they can drive a poweramp.
    In 99% you need a preamp or some FX unit that puts out line level (in the area of 0.7-1 V).

    But you can even get by with a BOSS EQ stompbox. A teacher I know does that.
    But a good preamp is a good investment.
  3. Did you get this rig off ebay, for around 600? Anyway, I recommend getting a preamp, it'll give you eq options, volume control, and possibly the ability to bi-amp if it has a built in x-over.

    I have one of those boss eq pedals. I haven't tried it as a preamp but I've heard that they do work.
  4. Melanie


    Jul 14, 2003
    I got it off ebay I was told by someone who knew about amps that it was a steal? I didn't realize I couldn't use it just like that?? What kind of preamps would you suggest
  5. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    If you look at the preamp shootout over at you'll find that some preamps are in fact pedals (such as the SansAmp Bass Driver, which is a darned nice preamp, actually).

    I do recommend getting a used preamp... that way you can sell it later for what you paid up front if you decide to try something different.

    SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Listening to the clips of the Basstaster's Preamp Shootout will probably make you believe that you cannot live without an Aguilar 680, which just happens to be incredibly expensive.
  6. That is/was a steal ! I almost bought it just for that reason.

    As far as preamps go, it's really a matter of personal preferance and how much you're willing to spend. It's too bad Carvin no longer makes preamps, that would be great with your rig.

    What kind of sound are you looking for? And what type of music do you play?
  7. Melanie


    Jul 14, 2003
    My band is kind of punk, kind of emo, kind of rock... alot of stuff. But I don't use distorted I just usually use clean. I don't like alot of distortion or effects I just like it clean. So a preamp is like a petal?? Would a Behringer bass v amp for like 150 be a fair investment or not?? I don't know the beginning of any of this...:meh:
  8. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Yep, you need a preamp. Some pedals will get you by, but they're not necessarily ideal. If you can find a used SansAmp RBI rackmount preamp, that might suit well; I've seen them for 200-225 used, and you can get them new from Musician's Friend for $299, which means you ought to be able to get them for about the same price from Guitar Center (since they're the same company).

    If you don't mind used gear, besides eBay, you can look at the For Sale forum here, or on, or on

    Also, Carvin used to make a standalone rack preamp called the PB-15. If you can find one, it ought to be pretty cheap (<$150) and decent.
  9. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Don't think of it like that. Preamp does not equal pedal. You CAN cram all of the electronics that make up a preamp into a stomp box, but that doesn't mean that a preamp is the same thing as any other stomp box. For example, if you went out and bought a chorus box, you would not get the same function as a preamp.

    Here's the simple version: When you to into a music store and look at an instrument amplifier, like a guitar amp or a bass head or a combo, you see a bunch of knobs with labels like "bass," "treble," "master," etc. That's the preamp part of the system. It controls what you sound like.

    The power amp is just the part that makes lots of watts and causes your ears to ring the next morning. In a combo amp or an amp head, you don't see the power amp at all.

    So, a combo amp is a preamp plus power amp plus speakers all in one box. A head is a preamp plus power amp in one box... you add a speaker cabinet to it. What you've got is part of a component system, which is a preamp plus power amp plus speaker cabinets, but all in separate boxes.

    They all do the same thing. It's just that they're packaged differently.

    What you've got is a power amp and speaker cabinets, but no preamp.

    Does this make sense?
  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    SW, OK
    Whether you need a preamp or not depends on the output of your bass guitar's preamp and the input sensitivity of the power amp.

    Hook it up and give it a whirl. You won't damage anything as a result of not having sufficient output from your bass to drive the power amp.

    [The only thing to be careful of is the same thing to be careful of if you had a preamp and that is don't go below your amp recommended minimum impedence with your speaker load (i.e. if the cabs are 4 ohm apiece, you probably can't bridge the amp into both cabs running hooked up in parallel.]

    With everything hooked up correctly, if the resulting sound is plenty loud, you're cool.
    Adjust your tone from your bass and groove on.

    My power amp (QSC PLX1602) takes a higher than average amount of voltage to drive it. I plugged my bass (SR5) direct to the power amp just to see how loud it would be and what it would sound like. It is probably loud enough to use it that way at a small, quiet jazz or folk gig and it sounded really clean and toneful. Made me wish I had the input sensitivity modified to use with a low voltage signal.

    P.S. You could definitely use a SansAmp BDDI pedal in place of a preamp as well.
  11. Your rig came with the DCM600 power amp. This is rackmuntable. I recommend a rack mount pre-amp and put them both in a rack case. This way everything will be easier to transport, and you'll have a faster set up time.
  12. Pick up an old Yamaha PB-1 rackmount preamp. They go for 100-150 and are great.

    Cheers rOdy
  13. Melanie - welcome to TalkBass

    I think the rest of the guys have pretty much got you covered. Yes - you need a preamp to go with your new rig. The guys your side of the pond will keep you right with something nice, and within your budget!
  14. Melanie


    Jul 14, 2003
    Thanks everyone for your input on things. It's helped me alot. I'm pretty sure I know alot more than what I started with. I"m definetly going to come back here with any questions.
  15. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
  16. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
  17. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    You mean I can live without mine???? I have been had!!!!!!

  18. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What are you using right now when you practice with your band. If your current amp has a Line out, you can use it as a Preamp into the poweramp.

    Many combo amps have a line out. Most Bass Heads have a line out and some have separate outs for High and Low frequencies - very helpful if you want to send your lows to the 15 and highs to the 2x10.

    There are a number of good used preamps on the market. I usually buy used gear through as they are a chain of music stores that test the gear before they list it.

    Do you currently have any affect pedals? Sometimes you can chain effect pedals together to get the same features available in a preamp.
    I know I guy that uses just an EQ pedal and a Compressor pedal directly into his poweramp.

    Some of the newer pedals on the market can drive a poweramp directly (such as the Digitech X-Series pedals).

    A rackmount preamp would be ideal since your poweramp is rackmountable.
    I look for 3 things in a preamp -
    1) tone control (Knobs such as Low, Mid, High or Graphic EQ)
    2) compressor (to help protect speakers)
    3) crossover (split signal into low/high)
  19. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
  20. mastadulog


    Jan 13, 2003
    NYC fo sheezy
    when you refer to line out, does an effects loop count?