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Is this an AMP or BASS problem?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Pedro Pasquini, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
    I do not know where to post this: Amps or Basses section. (Because i don't which one is the problem)

    Recently I had an oportunity to test my amp with multiple basses (something i should`ve done earlier).
    I had my Ibanez SR500BK (Korean Made, from 1994, active 4 strings) plugged into a Bass BDI 21 (Behringer pre amp stompbox) and i was using a Behringer bxl3000 amp.
    And my friends bass was a fender squire he bought last year. (Our bands were playing a gig...)

    So, my bass had it's regular sound with a bit of improvement (because of the pre amp we borrowed) and i could get the amp to play the sound a bit louder without distortion.
    The problem is, when i plugged in the fender squire i could get a louder sound than my bass.
    **I know loudness isnt the most important part but it kinda suprised me, the sound was a lot clearer than mine too.**

    And here is my question, is the problem my bass? its coils? the amp is "more suitable" for his bass than mine? my bass just sucks? is it too old and needs electronic maitenance? (Change electronics parts...)

    I just felt a bit weird because his bass was a lot "lighter" than mine and it was also cheaper....

    Sorry for my bad english..


    PS: I wrote coils because i forgot the english word for PICKUPS. Sorry lol
  2. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    There's no reason your bass shouldn't be able to achieve the same volume out of the amp, even if it does have considerably less output which currently appears to be the case.

    A fresh/clean set of strings and new battery for the active electronics might/should help clean up your sound, but most importantly you'll need to dial in additional input gain before the signal hits the amps power section; that allows you to maximize the signal to noise ratio that is effectively being amplified.
  3. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
    I see, the problem is my bass is active and his is passive... (the batteries have a month or so and the strings have like 6 months, lol)
    But I don't know, could it be i just don't like how my bass sounds?
    The age of my bass doesn't matter then?

    About the volume couldn't it be that my bass has more "low" output than his and my amp is not "as good" for these frequency range?
  4. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    The active bass is usually louder. I've had a few Ibanez Soundgear basses and also a few Fender and Squier basses. My active basses are loud and I usually have to turn the volume down if I'm switching back and forth from active to a passive bass.
    Do you leave your cord plugged into your bass when you're not using it? If so, you are using up the battery even if the amp is off. Make sure you unplug the cord when you're not using the bass. So perhaps the battery is used up if this is the case.
    If not, then you may have a problem with your electronics- could be the pots (volume dial), the preamp or maybe even the pickups. If so, you should have it looked at.

    Silly question, but what model Squier does your friend have? It could be that it's also an active bass. Your bass has a jazz bass pickup and a p bass right?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  5. Sounds like you are unhappy with your bass and are trying to make a "problem" out of nothing. Your bass has a lower output than the Squier, and by the tone of your post you seem to like the tone of the Squier better.
  6. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
    @Maxdusty Yeah, i think its called P J pickups. I'm sure his bass is not active.
    I have this bass for like 10 years and i never did a checkup and i dont know if the previous owners did it too...
    So could be a problem in the pickups or the electronic part then... I was thinking about buying some EMG pickups and change all electronic parts, but im a bit short on spare money...

    @PortlandBass77 well i've had this bass for 10 years or so, and i only had this one, i might have had enough of it already lol....
  7. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    One thing I can suggest is perhaps selling the bass and buying one that will work for you. replacing pickups, pots and preamp can be a little pricey. If you replace them with good parts that is. You can sell the bass, and buy a good used bass with the money, it's very possible you'll end up paying less out of pocket replacing your bass than trying buying the replacement parts for it - also, you've had the bass for 10 years and probably would want to try something new. Used Squiers are priced pretty low but if you want a powerful loud bass that's inexpensive, there's always the Sterling Sub Ray.
  8. chargerbandit


    Jan 1, 2014
    It really depends, I have a cheap P-bass that is ridiculously louder than my active Stingray, which is crazy because I have to reset the EQ everytime I play it.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Different basses have different output - some electronics are "hotter" than others. That's nothing wrong with the instrument, it's just how it is. Active electronics are OFTEN hotter than passive, but there's no reason that they have to be. My Yamaha BB415 is passive but its pickups are very hot. Also, the height of the pickups is adjustable, and if your friend's Squier's pickups are set closer to the strings than the pickups on your Ibanez, they'll pick up a stronger signal.

    Ultimately - your amp has a volume knob. Adjust it to get the tone you want from the bass you're actually using. If you have quiet pickups, just crank the amp an extra notch.
    lz4005 likes this.
  10. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
    @hrodbert696 The problem is that when i was playing with my bass the sound started to get "distorted" sooner than with the other bass (looked like got distorted with less volume), that's why I thought the problem could've been my pickyps sending a signal that was already distorted... Are there transistor inside a bass? (transistors distorts signals)

    So this bass can be sold for what? 400U$? 300 U$?
  11. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I'm not familiar with the amp, but some have separate inputs for passive and active basses (or a push-button to change between the two).
  12. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
  13. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    You could be increasing the input level too much at the stomp box, which in turn overdrives the input of the bass amp. That might explain why your active bass distorts at a lower overall volume.
  14. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand

    Again, that's why amps have input gain knobs on the preamp stage: to optimize the signal to noise ratio that it being amplified, as electronic basses can have a huge difference in signal output.

    Dying batteries however will cause you to send a weak and or distorted signal.

    Change your batteries, and use the MarloweDK method to freshen up your strings:
  15. Battery
  16. Pedro Pasquini

    Pedro Pasquini

    Jun 28, 2014
    @DigitalMan Thats look rational, thanks man!

    @MDBass hahaha thats quite a tip! I will never buy strings again! hahaha

    Anyway thanks everybody for the replies, I'll save money to buy another bass for sure but in the mean time ill try to replace batteries in a month or less and "refresh"(or even change) my strings more often...
  17. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    Were both basses running through the Behringer pedal?

    When was your bass last set-up? Pickup height could be an issue.

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