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Plugging bass into my receiver

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Valerus, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Hey guys,
    I'm off to college tomorrow and I wanted to bring my bass.
    But, I don't really want to bring my amp, cause it takes up too much room.

    So I decided to bring my receiver, with my two nice speakers (small but have a heck of a punch).

    So can I connect my bass to the back of the receiver (which uses white/red rca inputs) with an RCA to 1/4" cable?

    I found this on the Radioshack website, but it is only a mono output.
    Would this cause the bass to come out of only one speaker?

    Any suggestions?

  2. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
  3. Sure you can do it, I use to do it all the time. Just don't turn it up too loud.
  4. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    that's the thing, I don't want to bring an amp if I have a choice.

    I have a small amp that I can bring but if I don't have to, I don't want to.
  5. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Good advice.

    I did the same thing when I was in college many moons ago. Back when the Large Advent speakers were the schniz...they also had a policy of free replacement drivers for life...I went through 15 woofers and 33 tweeters before Jensen bought them out and ended the policy. Then I had to get a bass amp :rolleyes:

  6. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    So when it goes through that one rca, does it come out of both speakers or just one?
  7. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    It's possible, but I wouldn't do it. Hifi systems can't handle the dynamics and power needed to play a live bass instrument. Most probably, the amp will destroy itself and/or the speakers will tear itself apart or die of too much heat.

    You can buy a small cheap bass combo for under $200.
  8. Stereo systems are designed for clean, highly compressed signals. I think your bass would probably be fine at lower volumes. But if you play too loudly, or if you do a bunch of heavy duty slapping and popping, it could EASILY add some permanent distortion and/or other unwanted noise into your audio system. If you really value your receiver, don't do it. But if your stereo system isn't worth much and you don't care whether it gets trashed at some point, feel free.

    EDIT: Also, if you're going to do it, don't spend $35 on that Radio Shack cable; spend $30 or $40 on a cheap Behringer mixer that'll convert your signal to RCA stereo outs, plus it'll allow you to plug in a microphone or two, or it'll allow you to play along with recorded tracks on your iPod or whatever. Check Musician's Friend for details.
  9. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Crap ones perhaps. Play a symphonic work from a good label and highly compressed is the last thing you'll hear. The dynamic range will be enormous.

    If you're just practicing at respectable levels, the stereo will be fine. I use an old Yamaha hifi amp with my spare rack pre feeding it and driving a 70's Celestion speaker, rated according to the rear at 15W. No issues at all. If I bump something or get silly whilst practicing, it'll distort long before it breaks, so I just back off a bit. Use common sense and you'll be fine. Before I got this bedroom practice rig, I used my Pioneer HT receiver and my KEF 104/2. Now I use that as a source for music to play along with and plug the bass into the other rig. Practice rig cost me about $A40.

    Now, plugging a passive bass into the relatively low input impedance of most domestic hifi gear won't sound all that great, It'll take off the top end and a bit of signal level. If you're active, it'll probably be OK. If passive get a Behringer BD121 and a Y cable to run it to both channels.
  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    I was going to mention a small mixer in my previous post when I saw yours. Something similar would be fine and you can plug your CDP / Ipod in as well to play along with. The one you posted doesn't have a high impedance instrument input, so you need to find one that does to plag a passive bass into it.

    Also, if you don't have any headphones, get a cheap set for odd hours practice and listening. Senneheiser HD201's are my rec, very good sounding, and about $US20-25.
  11. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I won't play it loud at all.
  12. [font=comic sans ms,verdana,arial]

    Most everyone here is on the right track. You’ll have to keep the volume low to keep from destroying the speakers. And you’ll need some kind of pre-amp between the bass and receiver. Vandelay’s recommendation for the Behringer is good, or maybe an instrument pre amp.

    Keep in mind that good stereo speakers are designed to be as flat as possible, which is a considerable contrast to your standard bass amps, which get their signature sound via “coloration” - i.e. clinically inaccurate frequency response. So, expect the sound to be sterile and uninspiring.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  13. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Wayne is correct especially the last part, but it might not sound 'tonally bad'. However, it should be a lot clearer which is a big benefit when practicing.

    Just ran through the Behringer mixer range, and none of the small ones have a high Z instrument input. Maybe something else like an old yamaha (etc) secondhand off ebay, or the mixer above, with the BD121 inserted before it. Just don't want to suggest spending more money that you need or might want, but both of those might be useful to you later.
  14. This sounds very similar to somethign I did awhile ago, althoguh I plugged my bass into a car stereo.

    For the cord you need a 1/4 to dual mono RCA, it has to be wired such that the mono signal from the bass goes to both the RCA pluggs and not one. You will get a mono output but it will come out of both speakers.

    The small mixer is a way to accomplsih this if you can not find the right cable. I had butch at bayoucables.com to make me mine.

    This may be true and this may not. I plug my active bass into the AUX of my car stereo and it amplifies it fine BUT that is because the active bass has a built in preamp which seams to do the job. If you use a passive bass you may need an external preamp but it is possible your AUX-in on the reciever has a built in preamp, I know I have had one before with that.

    As for the sound... I will venture out and say it's a crapshoot at how well it will sound and what kind of volumes it can handle. Personally I think my car stereo sounds much much better than my Ampeg rig for bass. I do however have 2 12" subs that handle the low's well. If you have a 5.1 surround stereo with a crossover and sub I'd imagine you could get good sound. As for a small stereo system I don't know.

    Lastly, will throw it out there that if you have a computer with decent speakers you can probably get away with plugging your bass into the mic input in your computer adn use that. I think you will eliminate the need for a preamp doign that.

    Good luck and have fun.
  15. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Gain probably won't be an issue, but most stereos have a <50k (usually around 20k) input impedance. Using a Y cable to plug into the L+R of th reciever will halve that and make things worse. An active should be fine though.

    Most MI amp inputs are >500k ohm.
  16. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    okay so this is what I will do.


    1/4" to mixer to rca's in the back of the receiver.

    Is that good?
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  18. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    good deal. thanks guys.
  19. Rockman


    Mar 2, 2006
    It will come out mono unless you have a stereoizer(?), i did this a while back with the standard plug, and a quarter inch adapter, but it will only come out one speaker unless your bass has a stereo output.

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