Head and pre-amp ???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lewibassist, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. This may sound like a dumb question but can you have a head and a pre-amp in the same rack.I know that the head has already got a built in pre-amp but if i ran the head through a more expensive high end pre-amp would it work and would it make my sound better

    Lewis :confused:
  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Depending on your amp you have a couple of choices.

    1. Pre Out into the Head's instrument input.

    2. Pre-amp Instrument in and Pre-amp Out to Head Unit Effects Loop Return.

    3. Head Unit Effects Loop Send to Pre-amp In, Pre-amp out to Head Unit Effects Loop Return.

    Some heads won't let you use config #2 as they use a switching jack on the Eff Loop Send that effectively turns off the Eff Loop Return when the unit has no cable in the Send. You could use a shorting plug, but that switching jack is probably there for a reason so don't ... Older Gallien Krugers (like my 400B) are that way.

    You always want to turn on the Pre-Amp, then the Head Unit!

    You always want to keep the gain down on the Pre until both the Pre and the head are on, then bring up the Master Vol on the head, maybe the Gain control (Channel Volume) on the head, then the Input & Outputs on the Pre. Do this to avoid a really unpleasant POP through your speakers (and maybe some speaker damage as a result ...)

    The idea is that you have to balance the in's & out's until you are getting a reasonable amount of volume without over-driving anything. Once you know where the relative gain settings are, it is 'set and forget'.

    One thing that helps is to use your cd/mp3/multi-tracker as a signal source. That way your hands are free while you are playing with knobs. Get the cabling done, jack the player or recorder's line or headphone out into whichever input you are going to try, get it playing, and start bringing up the volume controls as appropriate. If you use the headphone out, keep the volume down there are well. Other than that , put your bass on a stand and use it...

    Just remember to start slow. If you hear distortion, you've gone too far ... and that annoying buzzy sound is you amp telling you to knock it off.

    I'm playing with an ART Phat Boy Pre into a Hartke 3500 at the moment trying to decide which config I like the best. So far it's the Art into the active input of the head. All the combinations I tried sound about the same, the active input seems to be quieter than the others.

    Have fun - go slooww!
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    definitely the best way to go is plug the output of your preamp into the head's effects return or (if it has one) auxilary in jack - that way you bypass the head's preamp alltogether
    one of my rigs uses a demeter VTBP-201 plugged into an eden wt-400's effects return jack
    sounds great
  4. thank you for your help.could you give me some examples of some good pre-amps or say what pre-amp you have got and what it does to your sound

    thankss lewis
  5. I have a GK 700 RB and I looking into getting an Aggie db 659. Can I use GK power amp and turn the GK pre off if I plug the 659 pre out to GK's fx loop return???