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Leveling the volume between basses?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Nick man, Feb 9, 2004.


  1. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I have 3 basses with differnt output levels and I want to level their volumes so that when I switch in the middle of a show I dont need to move knobs.

    Would something like this work?

    Step one:
    I get my passive Jazz bass (lowest output) and played with it at full volume gradually turning up the gain on my amp untill I see the clip light turn on.

    Step two:
    Switch to another bass, and with the same settings on the amp play, gradually turning up the volume on the bass untill I see the clip light turn on.

    Step three:
    Measure the resistance on the volume pot with the knob where it was.

    Step four:
    Buy a small resistor of aproximately the same value as the readout from the volume pot and install that in series with the output.

    Step five:
    Turn up instrument volume to max and play.

    Now, would this give me the same level from my basses if I did this? Is something like this safe to do with active basses?

    Im also thinking I could make short cables for each bass that would have the resistor built in so I wouldnt have to tear up my basses.

    Your opinions, expertise?

    Peace
    Nick
     
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    seems like it would be 5 steps easier, take a lot less time, and cost less to just.... uh...... turn the volume control when you plug it in???
     
  3. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    Indiana
    Another solution would be to look into the Raven Labs MDB-1. It is a mixer/preamp/direct box that has 3 inputs, and a level control and in/out switch for each channel. You can set the level as needed for each bass to adjust for the differences, then the output level from the box will be consistent.

    They run $209 new.

    Here is a link: Raven Labs MDB-1
     
  4. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Its kinda hard to get good levels when Im switching between 3 basses (different tunnuings) a set, especially when you consider that in Miami's small rock scene, unless you are headlinning, your set is about 30 minutes. If you are headlinning you have 45 minutes, an hour if you are very very lucky.

    Its also lame when the sound guy insists on taking a signal direct from the bass so while you are adjusting stuff on stage the whole crowd hears you. ::boom boom::

    Peace
    Nick
     
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I forgot to mention that a small mixer is out of the question since I use a wireless system.

    Cables are out of the question because Im tired of them, and Im happy with the sound of my Sennheiser digital wireless system.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  6. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    C'mon now, Nick Man.....3 different basses for a 30 minute set? What are you, my guitar player???? :p

    DD
     
  7. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    No, we just play a couple covers that are pretty much impossible to do in anything other than drop D, and for most of our origionals I tune down to DGCF, and then there is one song that I need the five string for. Yes, it definetly is excessive. =P

    Peace
    Nick
     
  8. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    If your basses have preamps, they may already have a mimi-pot that will allow you to pre-adjust the overall output of the preamp. Roscoe basses have this feature for this very reason...so you can adjust the overall output level of your instruments to match for easy changes on-stage. That's what the little hole in the backplate is on a Roscoe. You can adjust the "gain" of the Bart preamp. Check it out, and good luck. ;)
     
  9. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Sadly, neither my Valenti Jazz or G&L have that. :(

    I think Im gonna ask Nino to install something like that in the naxt bass he makes me.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  10. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Simple.

    Use a Boss LS2 Line Selector.

    Use it = 3 inputs and one output.

    Set to A->B->bypass.

    Use the gain pots on A & B to set the level for
    instruments 2 & 3 to unity gain with the instrument plugged into the 1st input.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Again, I would just use a mixer, but I use a wireless.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  12. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Seems like you need to install a voltage divider (L-pad?) in the two 'hot' basses. I don't think a resistor wired in series will help.

    The easiest way to do it is to buy a potentiometer and wire it as a master volume. Adjust it once and then leave it in the control cavity.
     
  13. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Do you know where I can get small pots like that?

    Isnt a pot just a variable resistor?

    Thanks

    Peace
    Nick
     
  14. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Pots can be found from music stores and electronic parts suppliers.

    Pot is not the same as a variable resistor. A pot has one resistor of, say 250kOhm or 500kOhm value and a turning blade that touches the wirings of this resistor. Connect one end of the resistor to the pickup output and the other end to ground -> the output level of the blade varies between full output and zero when you turn the pot shaft.
     
  15. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    But doesnt output very because of the change in resistance?

    I dont mean to argue, Im just trying to learn.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
  17. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
  18. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    Does your bass get fed into the monitors? If so, just leave your rig at home and let the sound guy deal with it.

    As long as you start off with the lowest output bass and move hotter, you won't have to worry about the sound guy turning the second bass down and then forgetting to readjust for the third bass....assuming that they even realized that you changed instruments in the first place.

    How about readjusting the volume knobs on the hotter instruments so tha they look like they're on 10 when they're really not... I think I read that Stevie Ray Vaughan's tech did that kind of thing to him without mentioning it so that he would stop blowing his gear up.
     
  19. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Usually not, its fed through the FOH by an idiot most of the time.

    Besides that I want to have the same level driving the front end of my pre-amps and I want to be able to switch between basses without having to shuffle to adjust the sensitivity on my wireless system would otherwise be badly overdriven.

    Again, the soundguys Ive had experience with for the most part are terrible. I remember asking one to cut my lows and bring my mids up after terrible sound the last time I worked with him. I also remember him complaining he had too much lows feeding into the mics so I figured he'd apreciate the request. All I heard the whole time was a nasty thud clank sound Id get from nasty scooped mids.

    Im not sure I understand. Could you explain?

    Do you know if my origional idea would work?

    Peace
    Nick