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Pre-amp/Power-amp level question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ivanthetrble, May 20, 2004.

  1. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    I have always wondered about this so I thought I would bounce it off ya'll. I'm using an Aguilar DB680 pre-amp. It has a gain knob and a master knob. I know what the gain knob is for so no questions there :) . My question deals with the master knob on the pre and the master knobs on my power amp (Stewart World 2.1). Would it be better to dime the power amp and set the over-all volume by using the master knob on the pre-amp? Should you dime the pre and use the level knobs on the power amp to control the overall volume? Somewhere in between? I have found that I like the tone a bit better with the master on the pre-amp at about 2:00 to 3:00 and then I control the overall volume with the power amp. I know there are issues such as s/n ratios that come into play and you need to get a certain level of signal coming from the pre to maximize the power amps capabilities. Thoughts? Anyone? Beuler? Beuler?
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I recently purchased a Read Purity and Stewart World 2.1, both from Jack Read and e-mailed the exact same question to him. He replied by saying there's no *single* right way to do it, and recommended I experiment to see what I like best. He then admitted he tends to crank the volume on the power amp and control the overall volume with that on the pre (IIRC).

    I personally use a combination between the two. But, what I've found is the tuner output seems to be affected by the amount of preamp volume, which means for the tuner to receive adequate signal, it's in my best interest to dime the pre and control the volume on the power amp.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Many preamps... especially tube preamps... can be overdriven when you turn 'em up. In those cases it's best to set preamp level for desired tone/warmth, then control master volume with the amp.

    However some preamps have enough headroom so that you can get plenty of gain when running either a clean or dirty signal. In that case, it's probably best to use the pre to control master volume and leave the amp wide open.
  4. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    That is pretty much the conclusion I have come to. I like things a bit more on the warm, clean side. The more I turn up the pre-amp master the more grind I get. Makes more sense to adjust the pre-amp to the desired tone and them control volume with the power amp.
  5. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    I run a db680 and a qsc plx. I use the gain to taste, about 11:00, the power amp full and adjust volume with the master on the pre. Works for me.