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Skip the whole preamp thing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by joey_g_funk, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. I was wondering if there was anyone out there that doesn't like the coloration of pre-amps and plugs directly into a mixer or effects return loop (instead of a traditional preamp's instrument input), and then into a power amp and PA speakers or other natural sounding speakers.

    I ask because I love the sound of my bass itself. (G&L-L2500). I love the sound of going through a mixer and listening in the headphones, or playing through studio monitors or home stereo speakers. Very crisp and tight. (Not for a gig, of course) The G&L has a good onboard preamp, IMO.

    Maybe I'm insane, or something, but I like the natural sound. Is there an advantage ($$$) or disadvantage (bad stage sound) to doing this instead of going with a expensive natural sounding amp/speaker (i.e. EA)

    Does anybody have experience with this setup (no preamp) in a gig situation? What is your stage setup? Are you also in the PA?
  2. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    There are many preamps out there that are very transparent and will present the sound of your bass without adding anything extra. Two that come to mind right away are Avalon U5 and Demeter VTBP-210s. I use the Demeter. Its a tube preamp but with a level of clarity that I havent heard in other bass gear. The Avalon is solid state and is even more true to the natural tone of your instruments but with less features then the Demeter. I would highly recommend either of these preamps as they will give you exactly what you are looking for.
  3. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Get a good direct box such as the Avalon already mentioned or one of the offerings from Radial Engineering, (JDI or JDV).
  4. Thanks, that 's good info.

    I thought those were both pretty expensive preamps, list ~$900?

    Do many players use this setup (uncolored preamp or no preamp)?

    I guess I'm looking for a cheap way around the coloration with existing gear..
  5. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    Why buy something that is going to be transparent and give you the exact same sound as your bass? Then you would not need it. I think Brian Barret demos his basses straight through a power amp into the cab. If your bass has a nice preamp then you really should not need an additional preamp except for upright or a old bass without a preamp.
  6. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Look around for used ones. I got my Demeter VTB-201s for 450. And yes it is very transparent and above all smooth.
  7. Chaputa

    Chaputa Bass-Not just fo eatin anymore Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2003
    Between DC & Balimore
    Watching Manring, he just uses a boss VF-1 into power amps. Now the VF-1 can be considered a preamp, but I don't think he uses that box for much other than just straight effects...the rest comes from the hands and the instrument!
  8. brandinstroy

    brandinstroy Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2001
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I Support the following: Fodera, Noble Amps, JHAudio, Trickfish Amplification
    If you were to plug straight into a power amp your output would be very low. Your output does not match the input requirements to get the full output of a power amp. that is the reason for a preamp.

    If you are wanting an uncolored simple preamp look in pro audio. there you will find preamps that are amazing and uncolored. A lot of these preamps only have a input gain and an output gain. I actually use a preamp that is like this. it was made by a guy in this forum who goes by nonsgtr. This pre is just amazing. You hear every little thing your bass and your hands sound like. Contact him. He makes a killer preamp.
  9. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I think Victor Wooten plugs his basses into a mixer then into the power amp (don't know if he runs throught the preamp section of his ampeg heads.

    Walter Harley has designed a bass preamp with no real tone section for the very purpose you describe. The schematic is available at http://www.cafewalter.com
  10. That is EXACTLY what I want.... no fiddling with tone knobs.. that is such a nuisance... let's just make music!...
  11. Wow... I didn't realize there were all of these products out there. I need to start saving!!!!

    This gives me a LOT to think about! Thanks!!!

    What about cabs? For natural, with the pre-post combinations that you guys mentioned, is it more common for bass players to go with PA speakers, traditional bass cabs, or natural-type stuff, like EA or ACME
  12. Chaputa

    Chaputa Bass-Not just fo eatin anymore Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2003
    Between DC & Balimore
    Chimin' in again... I swear by the Acme stuff, but not for all situations. When I'm after the straight tone of just the bass (well, that and the aggie 659), the Acme just shines.

    I recently picked up a Brubaker NBS-1, and through me Eden 115t, it was too altered (too much of a mid hump). Not bad sounding, but not what I was after. Through the Acme, its amazing...

    ...but for a live rock-band rig... the mid is what cuts, and the acme might not be enough(unless you have enough power), so I use an aggie gs112 w/ my b2 for the rock stuff.

    just the b2 for my solo stuff and jazz.
  13. JSCHRO7376

    JSCHRO7376 Commercial User

    Feb 23, 2004
    Los Angeles County, CA
    Owner, Schroeder Cabinets
    Get a very transparent preamp which reproduces the sound of your bass accurately. According to my experience the Demeter VTB201 or the Kern are very capable.
    The best power amp IMO is the Crest CA 6 or CA 9.
    You'll be surprised. Or get a Walter Woods amp and your search is over :D :D :D
  14. That's funny--- that's what I've been looking for. A B-2 and a GS112.

    Have you ever heard the B-2W (no mid or tweet) I was thinking about a B-2 and a B-2W, as an alternative.

    Does anybody know if a Bass Pod's Tube Preamp simulator does well for transparency?
  15. How do Carvin power amps stack up?

    I have a Carvin R1000 head (don't like the preamp) and I am just considering using the power section...
  16. What you're describing is a straight wire with gain pre-amp I've taken my Art 343 duel 16 band EQ, put it into bypass, and used it for a bass pre-amp. I thought it worked great. I even used one of the balanced outs as a DI.
  17. Chaputa

    Chaputa Bass-Not just fo eatin anymore Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2003
    Between DC & Balimore
    I pondered the B2W as well, but I'm glad I didn't. Yes its cheaper, but I use the B2 by itself quite a bit, and if it was just the sub version, I wouldn't have this as an option. Its worth the extra couple $'s and if you don't want the mids and tweet getting in the way from the B2 to the GS112, just turn the attenuators. They work pretty well...
  18. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    While there is merit to a preamp with no tone section I find that in real gigging situations I almost always need some sort of tone control to satisfy room acoustics. My rig sounds different everywhere I take due to the room and thats the case with pretty much any amp. IMO if you are using an amp as your only sound reinforcement on a gig then some form of EQ is necessary.
  19. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I've got to agree with "metron". I rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Besides, if the battery dies in your active bass, you're screwed (at least temporarily). I suppose you could always run straight into a power amp, and keep a preamp on hand for when you need it.

    I have seen other players go this route, and with the right gear it can sound pretty good. In fact, maybe I'll try it tomorrow night at rehearsal.
  20. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I have a Radial JDI and when I plug my passive Lakland Joe Osborne into it it runs directly to the mixer and signal thru to my Walter Woods. It's sound amazing. I never tried it without my amp, because I use the amp and cabs as my stage monitor and front of the stage sound. Everything else is coming out of the PA and I get Kudos for sound all the time. I credit the Jensen Transformer because my Demeter VTBP201S also has a Jensen Xformer and I get the same reaction when using it. I must say the the Lindey Fralin's in a Lakland bass sound absolutley superb, and I know that has alot to to with the finished sound.

    I tried running my JDI after the Walter Woods but the signal was very weak. I spoke with Mr. Woods about that and his explaination was he could not match the specs of every mixer on the market and must be my Mackie 1604vls is the problem. I did the same test with both of my Mackie mixers with the same results. I have not tried another mixer so I can't prove it right or wrong really. Anyway just going direct works great and sounds great, I just don't get my WW sound which is almost totally transparent anyway.

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