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Preamp advantages?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bjazzman, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    what are the advantages to adding a preamp to a passive bass like a fender 5 string or lakland or similar? Is it that you just get more volume or are there many more tones that you can get? And does it stay true to the original tone of the bass?
  2. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    It depends on what kind of preamp you add.

    If it just boosts the signal, it will fatten up and define the tone a bit more. If it has an EQ, it will do the above and expand your tonal range. Think of it as "enhancing" the original tone of the bass.
  3. I have a 3-band Audere (the same one reviewed in Bass Player a few months ago) in my Bacchus J-Bass clone and it gives me a wide variety of tones. It has treble boost/cut, mid boost/cut, bass boost/cut and an active blend control on 2 stacked knobs. There is also a master volume and a 3 position mini toggle that controls the "Z-Mode" which gives you the choice of a beefed up bass sound, a more or less stock sound or a somewhat thinner sound. It sounds complicated but it really intuitive...even a 59 year-old "active bass virgin" can handle it. :D
  4. Jarno


    Jan 27, 2005
    The main advantage of a neutral bass preamp is to make your sound independent on the cable you use, also your volume pots are useable again, without high roll-off when rolling them back.
    I think no bass should be without a preamp! (man on a mission)
    Off course, the preamp can also shape your sound like the excellent offerings by east and audere, I still want to try these out.

    Best regards,

  5. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    are there any preamps that can be bypassed if the battery fails?
  6. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    Audere and John East preamp have a passive switch on the preamp. When the battery dies out, you can flip the switch and get you out of trouble.

    The battery usually last ages on these preamp. Had mind for couple of month and the battery still full
  7. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    I've had active basses, didn't change the battery for over a year on either... Just change it once a year...

    As for a preamp, the Audere is relatively inexpensive and doesn't colour your tone too much... good place to start.
  8. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Any bass with passive pickups can in theory have a passive bypass by switching the signal from the pickups directly to the output jack. It's a pretty easy option to add when you're doing the install. Some systems rely more heavily on the preamp for gain boost and/or tone shaping - in such a case the passive signal would not be so desirable.

    I prefer to have a passive bypass but I don't require it. IME active basses with no bypass are acceptably reliable. I've only ever had one die on me at an awkward moment (thank you, backup bass!!) but it was my own fault for neglecting to change the battery for way too long.

    +1 replace the battery yearly. Test or replace before an important gig. And always carry at least one spare 9V.

    I love the simplicity, reliability and old-school vibe of a good passive bass. But an onboard pre w/ active EQ can be very convenient. For certain sounds, it's pretty much essential to have that higher fidelity signal coming right out the cord.

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