Newbie questions and thoughts on preamps

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by FeltTipPen, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. There are some preamp/DIs (Aguilar Tone Hammer, Trickfish Minnow, Mesa Subway and others) I am interested in trying out and had some questions/thoughts.

    -My amp is a Genzler Magellan 350. I assume whatever preamp I plug in would not be affected by the tone of the head (guessing since it is “pre” the amp), it would be the tone of the preamp.

    -When would I ever consider a power amp if my regular amp does the above? Is there a difference beyond power (my amp runs 175 watts at 8 ohms)?

    -A preamp/DI seems to be a good setup if I ever wanted to play/record through an interface and computer and speakers/headphones (I don’t have any type of setup for computer recording FYI).

    -When things get back to some normalcy some of my playing future will be through IEM/monitors.

    There seems to be a bounty of good preamp/DIs out there. I wanted to look into this option as I didn’t want to have more than one or two amps and I enjoy playing a wide variety of styles.

    Thoughts and information is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  2. Think of it this way: your head (or "amp") consists of a preamp and a poweramp. Anything you plug in will affect the tone. Plugging in an external preamp means you will be running two preamps in series. This can work, or it can be a muddy mess. If you know what you're doing with your eq's the one preamp can compliment the other.
    If you plug your external preamp into the fx return/poweramp in on your head, you will bypass the onboard preamp, and will (more or less) only get the tone of the external preamp and onboard poweramp.

    Regarding using an external preamp and separate poweramp, I advise against it. While cheaper, poweramps are typically larger and heavier than similarly rated class D heads, but the main thing for me is when playing live, more often than not the soundguy will take a DI before your signal reaches your head, so if he needs you to change the eq/sound from your preamp, what he needs at the board might not be what you want to hear on stage, if you're using a bass cab as a stage monitor. I switched from a massive, 20kg poweramp to a 2kg GK MB800, feeding the soundguy what he needs from my pedalboard, and tweaking the amp to what I need on stage.
    Ymmv of course.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
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  3. From what I see on my amp it does not look to have an FX return so it looks like it would run both preamps.

    Also I didn’t think a power amp would be practical either but just needed clarification/reinforcement.

    Thanks for your input Hypocrite, really helpful!
  4. No probs, happy to help! Just take what I say with a grain of salt, there are plenty of dudes here who swear by their pre/power setup, it all comes down to what you need, and what works for you
    FeltTipPen likes this.