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How much benefit is there in using a preamp? power amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Josh Pelican, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. I don't want to sound silly, especially since I've been playing bass for a good eight or more years now, but I've never tried using a preamp or a power amp! I've definitely read up on them, but I want to hear first hand what the benefits are!

    My current bass setup is an Ampeg full-stack. Ampeg B2RE head with an Ampeg Classic SVT-810e. If I were to add an Ampeg SVP-Pro preamp to it, what can I expect? What if I upgrade the head to the SVT-4 PRO (which I intend on doing some day)?

    What if instead of the preamp, I added the Ampeg AP-3550 power amp?

    Which one would give me the most difference? The most power? Can they be used together?


    Dec 27, 2007

    (calls the search police)
  3. SORRY.

  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Essential, it is exactly the same thing, except in two boxes instead of one.
    A head such as your ampeg contains both a preamp and a power amp.
    Some people like two separate boxes so they can mix and match.
    That's it in a nutshell. :)
  5. WookieeForLife


    Sep 30, 2008
    Just to feel superior? Instead of bashing, lets help him.

    No offense :ninja:
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    How satisfied are you with your tone?
  7. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    If you like the sound you are getting out of your all-in-one head why bother? I messed with it for a while and got tired of shuffling a heavy power amp and a preamp in a rack. Now I have a LMII head that weighs 6 lbs and can be carried around in a small gig bag! Not to mention its the best bass tone I've ever had IMO!
  8. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    To the OP: A Pre/Power component setup can offer a lot of flexibility due to the ability to change preamps and use different speaker cab setups. I currently use three cabs, something I couldn't do with a mono bass head.

    However after having my rig for about five years I do finally see the appeal in getting an all-encompassing bass head, as the pre-amp and power-amp are optimized for each other. My next bass amp will most likely be a head, and not new components for my rack.
  9. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    Sometimes pre's have more features that you won't get in a head. A GOOD power-amp can offer the kind of clean power that few heads can match. A lot of people get nice preamps and then really cheap power amps. Kind of pointless if you ask me. IMO, unless there is a particular preamp that you just have to use, there really is very little compelling reason to go with a setup like this. Chances are there is a head out there that has the tone and features you want. But if you just HAVE to have a preamp (Navigator, BBE, whatever) then get a good power-amp that doesn't mess it all up.
  10. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Preamp + poweramp is something I'd recommend when:

    1. You hit the point where you want to experiment with different preamps.
    2. You want massive power.
    3. You stumble into a great deal on a preamp or poweramp and then build a rig around this purchase.
    4. You want to put together a huge sounding rig for the absolute lowest cost, and are willing to tote heavy stuff.

    At the risk of being harsh, the current trends are towards the purchase of lightweight heads, and pre / power racks are kind of out of vogue. There are some great deals to be had, but beware, the stuff might be heavy. And might be hard to part with later.

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