1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Preamp or Amp Head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by togril, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. togril


    Jun 29, 2012
    Darwin Australia
    As someone who records a lot at home and doesn't gig (yet?), I am trying to decide on the following to get a really nice recorded tone I am wondering which would be best:

    A good Preamp? or a Head with a line out?

    What do you think?
    I play a lot of styles and have an Ibanez Active 6er, Active fender and a passive fretless.
    Note: There's a lot of "prog" in there.

    So what do you think?
    I probably have about a $600 to spend. I like Aguilar and those sorts of amps. Even a TC Electronic (?). But some of those preamps seem quite special too.
    I WOULD like to end up with a rig one day though. To play with real people!

    All Help taken Seriously!
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    togril likes this.
  3. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I recorded through the DI of an Aguilar TH500 going into Logic and that was the amp I gigged with. Sounded pretty good but I think a lot of that was my Lull bass.

    Until you know you are going to gig, for recording I'd just get a good DI.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
    togril likes this.
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Depends on a few details in my book, namely if the pre/DI that you end up favoring has an amp version available, and what the price difference is between the two.

    If you have any desire to gig in the future, going the amp route, if the price increase for a full amp isn't much more, will get you that much closer to being gig-ready when the time comes - and could potentially be the most efficient use of funds in the long run.

    I'm personally a big fan of being ready for unexpected opportunities, but you know your personal situation better than anybody.

    Tone wise it just comes down to whichever you prefer - the format really doesn't matter unless you find that the tone you like can only be had from an amp, or vice versa. Good luck!
    MobileHolmes and togril like this.
  5. Reddi di. And when you’re ready to gig you can use it live also.
    togril likes this.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Personally, I would invest $100-200 in a good DI (like Radial or Countryman) for recording purposes, and save the rest in an "amp fund" for once I joined a band and knew what my power requirements would be.

    (The exception would be if my audio interface already had an excellent instrument preamp. Then I might not even need the DI.)
    togril likes this.
  7. togril


    Jun 29, 2012
    Darwin Australia
    I wont quote you all - but you ALL bring up good point's thanks - exactly what I wanted to hear really.
    One thing this has me thinking about is thinking further ahead - It might be prudent to be looking at something that I can easily reproduce when amplified - so that my "sound" remains pretty constant throughout. Point taken about the REDDI and Radial too - Sound Logic there.
    My interface at the moment is an focusrite 18i20 - so ok but not brilliant pre's. This might change to an RME or UAD twin (specifically for the plugin at preamp stage). But I would rather not rely on interface pre's.

    Thanks for these ideas - more options now (Doh!) but I am a bit more focused.
    ps: nice avatar Kro.
  8. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Many you of the preamps you would be looking at, whether it be pedals like the bddi, rack like a Presonus Studio Channel, or even a modeller like the B3.n would be able to drive a power amps such as QSC or others if and when it came time to gig.

    That might be an option to buy a good preamp now and then save (what in the UK would be a fairly cheap £200 or so) to pick up a power amp later.
    togril likes this.
  9. togril


    Jun 29, 2012
    Darwin Australia
    Yes - I am definitely looking at this route. Keeping consistency of sound and future expandability.
  10. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    You might consider the Tech21NYC Ged-2112 preamp. It has two channels plus an unaffected out that you could use to lay down three tracks simultaneously, so you have the option to blend clean/dirty and reamp if you so choose. Super flexible in terms of tone plus a nice bit of speaker sim baked in. Very easy to add a power amp and make it a rig later.
    Stumbo likes this.
  11. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    There's always the amp modeler route, as mentioned before. The beauty of them is that they're a relatively small package, and you can use them on stage (through the PA, Active Monitor or a dedicated amp) as well as for recording. They also come loaded with effects, so you can add more texture into your songs.

    Currently using a Line6 HD500x, with the HD Bass pack installed. IMO, a great sounding piece of kit. They can be bought both new or second hand, as it's still a current model from Line6. If you wanted to go further into it, you could look into the Helix / Axe FX / Kemper, but you would still need to look at some sort of amplification for stage use (PA / Active Monitors / etc.). Or you could look at the Zoom B3 or the new B3n.

    There's always the dedicated Pre-Amp pedals, like the Tech21 SansAmp, Aguilar ToneHammer, MXR Bass Pre-Amp, and many others.

    If it were me, I would go down the modeler/pre-amp route (I did) rather than an amp at this stage. At least with a modeler/pre-amp, you can record whenever you want and not disturb anyone else while you're working.
    togril likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.