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Pre gain & Master volume?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bobostein, Oct 31, 2010.


  1. bobostein

    bobostein

    Jun 5, 2009
    My amp has both,what is the most effective way to use these properly?
     
  2. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    what amp?
    what are your goals?

    need more info to answer that.......
     
  3. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Set the master low, bring the gain up until you get the desired 'crunch' level, if any, then bring the master up to set final volume.
     
  4. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    interesting... the GK MB2 500 manual suggests leaving the master volume at 3 o'clock for "maximum efficiency" or however they put it...
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    and y, that's if you're looking for maximum clean sound with as little balls as possible ;) which, admittedly, some folks are looking for. but i hate to hear amps where the gain isn't running at least a little hot. not for the distortion so much, but just because it adds more authority to the tone. i always keep the master low, set gain to as loud as i can till distortion hits, then back off it a tad. and i never use the lights. lights are for traffic. i can hear what's doing...so can you.
     
  6. bobostein

    bobostein

    Jun 5, 2009
    I dont get it, what is the point of a pre gain?
     
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    again, it depends on the amp, and it's design.
     
  8. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    In most cases it allows you to set the system gain structure for anything from pure clean to pure dirt, and anywhere in between.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    btw, if you use the amp's di on gigs, it's tied to the gain knob, so remember that changes you make with it during a gig will change in the house, too.

    also btw, i'm with you...give me a straight up volume knob and i'm happy.
     
  10. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I always turn up the gain to where the clip light just begins to flicker when I pluck the strings hard. Then I back it off a bit. Then I turn up the master for the overall volume.

    The reason I do this is to give the preamp the maximum clean signal from my bass. I believe that this gives the best signal to noise ratio. By doing the opposite, turning the master all the way up and using the gain control as a volume control, will probably introduce a lot of internal noise into signal.

    I guess that this would be like the manual choke on a car where you try to give the car the maximum fuel/air mixture before you slam on the throttle.
     
  11. erik281

    erik281

    Oct 27, 2008
    TX
    dime the pre gain
    turn the master volume up enough to annoy everyone else in your band
     
  12. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    stupid manual... :scowl:
     
  13. This.
     
  14. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    If one setting was best for everything, there wouldn't need to be a knob. ;)
     
  15. With solid state pre's (at least most of them), it is basically nothing more than a way to get the optimum signal level (i.e., as hot as you can get it prior to the preamp clipping) into your amp, given that basses and players have VERY different output levels. So, as BillF mentioned, for most preamps, set the input gain just below clip (most solid state preamps had a clip light that helps you do this simply and quickly) and then use the master to set your volume.

    With a tube pre (at least some of them), input gain becomes another 'tone control' since the tube being pushed and breaking up gives (for some) a 'pleasant, usable' grind and overdriver distortion. So, most tube pre's don't have a clip light to guide you, since 'clipping a tube can be a good thing. So, as BillF also states in another post, for those tube driven pre's, you typically set the input gain to where it sounds good to you (which will again vary due to the output of your bass and the aggressiveness of your technique), and then again use the master to set volume.

    The pre gain should really never be used to set volume... that's what the master is for.
     
  16. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Just to elaborate a little bit on his first paragraph (good answer, by the way), if this is a SS amp with a clip indicator, set the master volume low and the gain high and turn the gain down until you can't get the clip light to come on even when plucking/picking/slapping your hardest.
     
  17. +1.. and also, recheck it at the gig. It is amazing how much harder you can dig in when really cooking versus what you think are your 'hardest/lowest' hits at home:)
     
  18. If you take anything way from TB today... remember this.
     
  19. AsianVoodoo

    AsianVoodoo

    Jul 23, 2007
    Wow I've been playing for 10 years and I hadn't even thought of this. What does that say about me??
     

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