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I need an education on active electronics and preamps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bino, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. bino


    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    I'm a newbie with some onboard preamp questions. If you've got a nice bass and decent head, what's the point of active electronics or an onboard preamp other than logistics? I mean, can a 2 or 3 band OBP really shape your sound as well as your head's preamp. Can it offer up a much different tone? I'm talking about heads in the $800-2000 range (ashdown, iAmp, swr, eden, etc.). Or is the voicing radical enough to give you a different sound? Also, do head-integrated preamps give a signal boost like active onboard electronics? Thanks for the education.
  2. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    With passive tone controls, you can only cut (or reduce) a frequency. There is no "boost" capability with passive tome controls. With an on-board active preamp, you can cut or boost the bass, midrange or treble.

    I like the ability to control my tone to some degree at my bass, rather than having to go back to my amp. I set my amp for the room, and use the active controls to make changes for various songs.

    Yes, most active preamps can affect the tone as much as the controls on the amp, and in some cases, even more.

    And yes, the preamp in your amplifier provides a signal boost. That's why it's called a preamp. The power amp needs an input voltage to work, and preamp provides that input signal, as well as providing tone controls. You could havea preamp with no tone controls - just look at many current stereo systems.

    You could not run a passive bass directly into a power amp, but with an active bass, you don't necessarily need a preamp.
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    What jdombrow said. The one thing I'd add is that active basses tend to have low impedance outputs, which allows you to drive very long cables with minimal signal degredation and without hum/EMI interference.

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