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How do I use a power amp as a setup?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by amoorejr, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. amoorejr


    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm not a pro and I'm old school when it comes to live sound. I always been just simple plug and play in a bass amp. But I caught a deal on a power amp and I've seen some bass players use them before. So whats the usual way these things are set up? Definitely not plugging directly into the power amp right? Help me out
  2. pgolliher


    Apr 27, 2010
    Santa Cruz, CA
    You will need a preamp, even something as simple as a SansAmp bass driver DI first.
  3. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    you need a preamp
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    You will need a preamp.

    To increase the signal level to what the power amp expects to be able to reach full output, to provide an EQ (usually...), and match impedance between the instrument and the amp.

    Preamps can be found in pedal form, rackmount, lunchbox-sized, and other form factors, with prices ranging from inexpensive (as these things go) to no-upper-bound.

    Search the forums for 'preamp' and you'll find lots of good information.
  5. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    The normal way to do it is to get a preamp> you plug your bass into the preamp, then the preamp plugs into the power amp. It's not that simple, of course, but that's the bassic idea. There are many bass specific preamps out there, but it's not necessary to have one for it to work. Did you get a manual with the power amp ?
  6. amoorejr


    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks guys. I just pulled a manual from the website
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I hear you might need a preamp.
  8. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    what about a post-amp?

  9. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    To add to the confusion: you can use your current amp as a preamp.
    Your current amp is a preamp and poweramp in one. Either "effects loop send" or "preamp/DI out" or something like that on the back. You can go from there to drive your poweramp. But as jnexmark said it's not that simple... but not difficult either. You have to know what you're doing and know how your gear works.

    Also vice versa, you can use your bassamp as a poweramp. With a seperate preamp (for example Sansamp BDDI) into the "effects return". (This way you'll bypass your bassamps own preamp, and have nothing connected to the regular instrument input.)
  10. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    A helpful lot, are'nt we ? :D
  11. amoorejr


    Jul 11, 2008
    Lol, somewhat confusing but not really. I just love all the different ideas though. Very helpful! Another reason to love Talkbass!
  12. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    Also: preamp and DI are different things, although many times they are combined into one product. A preamp brings your singal from instrument level up to line-level. A DI's purpose is to create a balanced signal (not brought up to line-level).
    That's just the short story. ;)
  13. amoorejr


    Jul 11, 2008
    René_Julien, But there are quite a few out there that are a preamp/DI combo right? Like Sansamp?
  14. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    For pedal form factor, the Aguilar Tonehammer Pre/DI pedal is a nice choice IMO but there are lots of other choices. I recently got an Eden WTDI which I like a lot. SansAmp stuff is top notch also, IMO.
  15. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    Yup. A lot of units combine them because it's useful to have a unit that can do both. Swiss army knives.

    If you are so far to purchase a certain preamp ask around first to see how you can hook it up to your poweramp.
    We also need to know what poweramp you have and what inputs.

    Yup, lots of great choices for us all.
    OP, be prepared to get hundred suggestions for preamps.
    From cheap pedal form preamps to high quality studio rack gear.

    I personally like the simple Sansamp Paradriver (or RPM which is the rack version.)
    Or an Ampeg SVP-PRO if you can score one.
  16. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    To get really far in school, tools like iPads, or Small PC, and so on, can work as a pre-amp. They can have many presets, control the monitor mix, and let you record parts of songs you want to work on. These are showing up on stages everywhere.
  17. amoorejr


    Jul 11, 2008
    What are some other decent, affordable power amps out there? I know Behringer, Gemini, etc., make pretty powerful stuff is it worth it? I'm not looking to play anywhere like Staples Center but just want a good quality sound without spending all my rent money
  18. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    I'd stay away from Gemini and its ilk (Technical Pro, Pyle, etc). Behringer is not known for its high quality, but my experience with the old EP1500 and EP2500 was good. They are just way too heavy for me though.

    For my money, the Crown XLS1500 is the perfect balance of power, weight, and cost.
  19. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    I can't help you much sorting out different brands, since I personally only got my hands on a few. But obviously the top well known brands are QSC, Crown and Crest. (Maybe someone can list other brands that are in this league I don't know.)

    Of course... they are expensive. Obviously their primary use is in PA. Some people will say it is overkill for a bass amp... others are happy that they have many possibilities changing preamps and other rack gear.

    There is durability to consider, and audio quality. And mostly these go hand in hand and you can only find it in the upper range of poweramps.

    So if you are after economy it might be not that wise to go for a pre/power setup. Unless you find some great deals and find a great middle class poweramp.

    Here is some great reading for you: (I hope bongo doesn't mind linking his article.)

    What amp do you have now?
    And more importantly: what cabs. IMO your cabs and a good DI are the most important part of your bass rig. If you are going to invest my suggestion is to invest in that.

    I have a Sansamp RPM, which is a preamp/DI, but I only use it as a DI next to my bassamp.

    (I also got two poweramps... and several other amp heads and preamps laying around, a little collection building up. So I have many possibilities in the future if I am going to change my setup. But my future investments are going to be cabs and a DI maybe.)
  20. MyMusic


    Jun 1, 2010
    Dover, De
    Crown, Carvin, QSC and Peavy are the power amps that I have seen in use most.

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