Preamp Pedal Hiss

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by b.ionian, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. I have noticed this on both a Hartke Bass Attack DI, which I returned, and the SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver DI I own now. I am able to get a great fat, deep sound with the SansAmp, but when I try to dial in a more trebble sound, using a combination of Presence and Treble, I get lots of hiss. I can back down on either the Presence or the Treble to reduce the hiss, but then I don't the brightness I want. Neither one is turned all the way up. I am playing fairly new DR Black Beauties on an Ibanez SR 485 bass. Batteries are new, and I've had the bass checked out and is fine. I get the hiss through a Peavey TKO 115, as well as a Gallien-Krueger 700 RB II through a Peavey 8x10. Everything is super quiet without the Treble/Presence combination. The hiss is independent of the gain on the SansAmp- it occurs as soon as I plug in the SansAmp, and gets louder if I engage the 1/4" out boost. Any ideas on how to get a quieter background? Currently I have to turn off that channel between songs.

    Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

    edit: Incidently, my cables are new, high-quality bass cables: one Monster Bass cable, and one Planet Waves Uni-directional Bass cable. No problem there.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Hiss is present in pretty much all preamp stages (to varying degrees), and it occupies the high frequency range. Boost the treble, you boost the hiss. The only way I know around that is to use an instrument that is acoustically strong in the treble range, so you don't have to use treble boost.
  3. Hiss is just one of those things, you gotta live with it. High quality cables, when you think about, actually make hiss worse thanks to their superior high frequency response. Use cheaper cables and the hiss might not be as prominent!

    Compressors will make hiss worse, so will all pedals with gain. The more EQ and other processing you use, the more noise you'll get. Try only boosting the treble at one point in your chain, like either on your amp OR the sansamp, not both.

    I used to run a Boss NS-2 but it hasn't been a permanent fixture in years because I now mute between songs instead. If like me it's only in the lull between songs that it bugs you, something like a noise gate or a tuner with a mute feature might be all you need.

    Also, consider this. A lot of treble controls are what we call "shelving" types. This means they have an open ended frequency response. For instance, the filter might be "centred" around 5kHz, but it affects everything from around 3kHz all the way up to 20kHz! That can really make the hiss unbearable. Whereas, if you had a "peaking" type control, you could boost a specific band of frequencies and leave everything else untouched.

    For this reason a graphic or a parametric EQ might be a better option in your case because you'll be able to boost the frequencies that really matter without needlessly boosting frequencies that your bass doesn't even generate!

    See this link for a good visual on the difference between shelving and peaking.
  4. Thanks for the feedback. Typically I would keep all EQ's flat and only use the Sansamp to affect the tone. Tonight I experimented and found a solution that helped a great deal- I reduced the treble and the presence on the Sansamp, kept the EQ's on the head flat, and reduced the hiss. To add more treble back in to get the sound I wanted, I just increased the treble on my bass. That produced a cleaner sound overall.
  5. D-Bone


    Jul 5, 2006
    This is a normal issue with many newer pedal board users. They EQ one pedal, then set the EQ on another, and then try to EQ the amp. Add to that, running an active bass and many end up boosting their already boosted signal over 18 Db over normal.
    First, plug into the active input wheather you are using an active bass or not. This will pad you down about 6-12 Db and help get the hiss out and allow you to add a little more boost from the "gain" pedals. Second, I'd set all but 1 of my EQ's on my other pedals as flat as practical and either EQ from the bass or the Amp. The one pedal that you decide to use for boost/gain can be tweaked, but don't get silly with it.

    Also, you might try to run the Sansamp D/I directly thru the XLR instead of the 1/4. The added ground in the XLR cable may kill alot of the noise as well.

    I also have a Peavey 810TX and the horn tweeter seems to be a bit "hissy" sometimes. Depending on it's mood.
  6. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    From my experience, I don't think the SansAmp was built with tweeters in mind. It may have to do with the fact that the illustrious Ampeg SVT setup uses an 8x10 tweeter-less cabinet.

    Without the tweeter, the sound is more like an SVT rig.

    You could try doing what I do:

    Engage the "Tweeter Cut" on your amp. I personally like my tone better with it engaged, with or without the SansAmp on.

    Everything you're already doing now, I tend to do as well. Overall, it really isn't that noisy of a pedal, but because of tweeters, that hiss is unusually prominent.
  7. Thanks, D-Bone. Some of what you said I had discovered myself- I use the tone-shaping controls on the SansAmp for the EQ, and set everything else flat, except for my bass, with which I tweak the trebble. This reduces the hiss. It feels strange to do this, because the G-K has such great tones available using its own EQ's and voicing filters, but the SansAmp is programmable and I often want different tones within a set. Thanks for the XLR idea- I hadn't thought of that.

    I will check the Peavey cab and see if it has a "Tweeter Cut." One reason I bought the G-K was because of its bi-amp woofer/tweeter. I haven't purchased the G-K cabs yet, but when I do I will have much more tweaking ability here.

    Thanks to both of you for your great suggestions.
  8. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    Umm... not what I meant. The amp itself has a "tweeter cut" button, right by the tweeter dial.

    However, since you're not using GK cabs... the Peavey cab should have a dial on the back to tone down the tweeter, if it's tweeter-loaded.
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