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Preamps, part 2: I am thoroughly confused!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by General Smooch, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. General Smooch

    General Smooch

    Mar 22, 2019
    Part 1 here

    Warning: long post. If you read it in full, thank you!

    Jazz Bass -> Preamp -> [eventually some sort of FX] -> SVT-7 Pro -> Eden 410 XLT

    After reading your excellent advice on preamps (thank you!), doing additional research and borrowing a Darkglass B7K to demo... I am SO confused!

    Firstly, why on Earth does the Darkglass not provide the full volume of a preamp? When plugged directly into the power amp input of my SVT-7 Pro, I get much lower signal than when plugged into the preamp input. If this thing really is a "preamp," why isn't it outputting as much volume? That said, it sounds fantastic through the front of my amp and I have no qualms with that.

    Can I expect the same from other preamp pedals?

    Secondly, I am kind of perplexed that there is no *simple* multi FX pedal that I can plug into an FX loop without fancy amp modeling, tuner, etc. Maybe I am missing something. I know I can turn amp modeling off, but it seems ludicrous to have to pay for it when I don't count on using it. Am I totally off on this one?

    (Oh, look! This has turned into a multi FX thread!)

    While I'm at it... What is your experience with bass multi FX? I mainly want it for the kind of stuff that's usually expensive (envelope filter, delay, etc.) so are they worth it, or should I go with individual stompboxes?

    Thanks folks!
  2. Wretched Banana

    Wretched Banana

    Mar 7, 2020
    MA, US
    HX Effects is HX Stomp without the amps+cabs but with more foot switches, if you must absolutely have a multifx with no amps. But given that boxes like HX Stomp and Boss GT1000 Core cost about 2-3 stomp boxes and offer a bazillion effects, I can't quite relate to your concern of paying extra for amp sims. If Zoom B1 Four is more your thing, we're talking $100 territory, at which point all cost/value discussion is moot! There is also plenty of other less popular & smaller multifx stomps.

    Given that you like the B7K going to the front of your amp, again, I don't understand why you want your multifx without amp sim. Maybe you'll find plenty of other sounds you like working in tandem with your physical amp.

    Let me know if I'm missing something obvious here.

    B7K and most preamps have plenty of of gain and volume on tap, and can do unity or better. Maybe if you tell us more about how you dial it in or post a picture of pedal & amp settings we can help troubleshoot. You might be doing a weird gain vs volume thing.
  3. Wretched Banana

    Wretched Banana

    Mar 7, 2020
    MA, US
    To answer the final question:

    Everything I've listed above works perfectly at gig volumes, and effects range from okay to excellent when doing critical listening with headphones. Plenty of threads with sounds samples here. HX Native has a free trial to try out the effects on your computer, check it out.
  4. General Smooch

    General Smooch

    Mar 22, 2019
    Thank you for the detailed response!

    I am mostly confused about not getting full preamp levels from the B7K. I don’t have a picture handy but I’ve drawn out an approximation of the settings. Even with this setting I was getting quite a low volume compared to plugging straight into the SVT preamp. On the SVT I just left everything at noon except compression was at 0.

    I kind of agree with the whole amp sim argument about having access to more sounds as well as the cost argument. I like the idea of multi FX, it just seems like overkill to have all the extra stuff in there. But maybe that’s just me being OCD.

    Attached Files:

  5. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    Is your FX loop in/out at line or instrument level? If it's expecting line (like a rack unit) you may not be able to bypass your preamp the way you're trying to.
  6. General Smooch

    General Smooch

    Mar 22, 2019
    I guess maybe that’s it.

    If you look at the rear panel of an SVT-7 you’ll see that “Power amp in” and “FX Return” are two different plugs. I tried both, but the FX Return on its own didn’t give any signal. I assume there must be a killswitch in the FX Send.

    Related: do any preamp pedals offer Line level output? I haven’t taken note but I’ll look.
  7. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    I wonder if you can use the DI out and an XLR-to-quarter inch cable and run a phantom plug in the fx out (and the main in?).
  8. General Smooch

    General Smooch

    Mar 22, 2019
    That would probably work but I would lose the DI out... Anyway, I like the sound coming through the Ampeg preamp. But if I understand correctly, these types of pedals are not actually “preamps”, more of a glorified EQ/drive...

    anyway, more testing is called for. I’ll update you when I nail down a solution!
    Swimming Bird likes this.
  9. OP,

    Not all preamp pedals are going to have an output level needed to drive the preamp. Very common. Be aware that if the B7K has a cab sim like the Vintage Ultra Deluxe, then the internal memory from the cab sim program can adjust output. Not knowing if you may have picked it up used. Look into getting the Darkglass Cab Sim program downloaded and get things back to a factory setting OR set up a hotter output signal in the memory.
    bongomania likes this.
  10. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    One issue with output on a pre like the B7K is that all of the boost available is from the dirty signal, so if you blend in any clean then you will be limited in output because the clean only goes just above unity gain. You should be able to get a significant output boost if you leave the Blend all the way dirty and crank the Volume control, you just miss out on the clean blend which I find integral to my favorite tones on the B7K. The B7K Ultra makes up for this limitation by including a Master Volume control that allows you to boost the entire signal (clean included) above unity. Either pedal is a preamp by definition, just perhaps not amplifying enough for the sensitivity of the particular power amp you are using.

    Many power amps require line-level input, while the 1/4” out of a B7K is intended to plug into the front of an amp (instrument level). The FX return is likely the same on your amp. Most stand-alone power amps will have some sort of input sensitivity control and may work well driven from the balanced XLR at least (though even then some amps will require a hotter input signal).

    For my uses I’ve found the DG pres to sound best into the instrument input of an amp, where you are able to get more control of the tone than the limited onboard EQ allows.
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Preamps Explained

    Unfortunately there is no standard for what a preamp "is" or "does", so we can't expect the "preamp output" of any one device to work well with the "preamp input" of any other device. Yes there are preamp pedals that can drive a power amp, but NO there is no expectation that any of them will, just because they are some sort of preamp.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 27, 2021

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