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help with input/master volume balance

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ras1983, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    I use a bongo 5, which i run through a GK1001RB-II and a Labsystems 1x15 cab(its a local brand). the cab is rated at 400W@8 ohms, and the GK is rated around 460W@8 ohms.

    basically, when i dig in hard the cab farts. but i'm not sure if its the cab or if the input stage is clipping on the GK when i dig in hard.

    my question is; how am i supposed to balance the input and master volumes to ensure the cleanest possible sound?
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Here's my take on this.

    There are three general sources of distortion... overdriving the pre, overdriving the output of the amp, and overdriving the speaker (I guess you can also overdrive the EQ section also, but that's usually not the problem).

    To set your input gain optimally (assuming you don't have a clip indicator light on your pre stage), turn the master volume very low (i.e., so you are sure you are not overdriving either your speaker or the power amp portion of your head). Play very aggressive, loud, low notes (i.e., really lay into the E string at the 'hardest plucking level' that you would ever use). Keep turning the preamp up until you start to hear distortion. Again, keep the master low... so the sound isn't actually loud. So, set the preamp gain so that it's just below where it starts to distort.

    For most active basses with 'moderate technique... i.e., not a 'gorilla touch' with your plucking hand', this will typically be between 11 and 1 o'clock using the passive input (assuming you have active/passive inputs). For a passive bass, it will be much higher. If you have extremely aggressive technique, and or an active bass with very high output, you might need to use the active input, which pads down the signal prior to the pre.

    OK... now that you have that set correctly, you can start turning your amp up. If you still hear distortion at loud volumes, my experience is it's usually the speaker being overdriven, but there's no easy way to determine if it's the amp or the speaker. The only way to find out is to borrow a 'better/larger' speaker and see if that cleans up the sound at the same amp volume setting.

    Hope that makes sense and helps.


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