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Stereo Amplification - Why?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by g4ui83tp2, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. I've searched around the forums but haven't found an answer to what is a simple (and probably stupid) question ~ other than amplifying a stereo bass or bi-amping to split the signal between different speakers is there any reason to use a stereo amplifier?

    I hope someone out there can provide a simple answer for a 'bear with no brain'.

    Many thanks,

  2. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    one side dry, the other wet.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    BFunk is referring to using stereo effects.

    Another reason might be to use mismatched speaker cabinets (with a stereo amp you can balance the volume levels) or to use more cabinets than would be possible in mono due to impedance limits.

    There's really only one true 100% stereo bass amp out there (Walter Woods), most "stereo" bass amps are mono preamps driving a two-channel power amp section that can be run in stereo, biamp or bridged mono.
  4. AFAIK, the Woods is not truly stereo either. If it were, each channel of the preamp would go to one side of a stereo power amp. But unless I've been misinformed, it doesn't work that way. My understanding is that it's a discrete two channel preamp feeding a mono power amp. Somebody here can certainly correct me if I've misremembered this.
  5. Guys, many thanks for the responses. These help. I suppose my curiosity is about the use of the word 'Stereo'.

    Google comes up with "A method of producing sound where the audio is mixed in two different channels. This is so that the human ears can detect direction that the sound is coming from. Usually it is used with music to give a fuller, more natural sound. It has two separate audio channels." as the first available definition. The "3D" soundscape was my primary understanding.

    With bass amps the issue seems to be primarily 'degrees of separation' of various elements of the sound (e.g. frequency ranges, effects/natural sound, even strings). In this context the chief advantages of a 'stereo' amp seem to me to be cost and the number of boxes you have to trail around. I did once (back in the early '70s) have two WEM 15" cabinets which I placed on opposite sides of the stage in an attempt to create a true stereo sound, but they bit the dust when I blew both cones out of the front of the cabinets during a gig! With modern matched cabinets and reasonably high end amps (I'm using Epifani and Euphonic Audio at the moment) I seem to be able to get reasonable separation of frequency ranges and effects (although obviously not 'stereo' effects) in what amounts to a mono stack. I supopose I was wondering what I am missing.

    Unfortunately being U.K. based all the wonderful U.S.A. made kit costs about twice as much for us Limeys ~ Walter Woods is a bit beyond the current budget and I can't easily get to try it out. It's so tough being a European!

    Anyway, thanks again for the info ~ all the best,

  6. well, like BFunk said, one wet one dry, thats a good idea, I know Tim Commerford does that for if effects in RATM and Audioslave, I like my stereo setup because i have a ART Nightbass SE preamp and it has stereo outs, and it also have stereo effects like delays,choruses, and flangers that sound great stereo. delays are really cool to have stereo because than you can do things like have the undelayed note come out of both and then have the first delay note come out the right, than the second out the left and so on. its pretty cool. other than biaimping it i don't know about anything else.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Walter has offered true stereo amps for many years in addition to the mono models.

    The stereo amps add a panning control to each preamp channel in addition to having two power amps. They are easy to spot as the top cover plate is red on stereo models.
  8. Ah, I see. Thanks. I'd forgotten about the stereo models, mainly because so many people around here rave about their Ultras (thereby unfairly making me drool excessively ;)).
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The power amp I use, the Stewart World 2.1, is called "dual monaural" rather than stereo. For most bassists, "dual monaural" is more accurate than stereo because not many of us use true stereo.

    One big reason I love the Stewart is because it really is dual mono. Each channel can be powered on and off separately, so it's like having two separate amplifiers in one box. For many gigs, I use just one channel and leave the other powered off. It's kind of cool to have a backup amp: chances are that if one side failed, the other side would not be affected.

    As for stereo amps in general: as mentioned, I like having more options for powering cabinets. Many stereo power amps have the capability of running "bridge mono". So, at a gig I can do the following:
    1) Use just one side of the amp
    2) Use both sides
    3) Use both sides together in bridge mono (provides the greatest amount of wattage to the spkrs)
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    The only bass player that I know of that uses a stereo rig is Jimmy Haslip. He uses a chorus pedal with stereo outs and goes to two different amplifiers that go to different speaker configurations. This allows you to use different size speakers while eq'ing them seperately.

    Also as an effect, using the chorus or a delay, you can send the signal to one cab a minuscule moment behind the signal of the other. The speakers shouldn't be that far away from each other or the effect doesn't work. This will make the sense of stereo even greater.
  11. Pete


    Jan 3, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    There are quite a few true dual mono amps out there. I use a Carver PT2400 (for sale PM me) that puts out 1200w @4ohms & 1500w @ 2 per channel for PA use. There are two transformers and two power cables and each channel will draw 15amps if you let it. Not tomention it's 80lbs.

    QSC MX series amps are true dual mono too along with some stewart and EV's. The cost of dual mono amps are greater because of the added compnents but are very reliable. Stereo amps are just as good in my opinion. Since most program material is about the same going thru either channel then what's the point of having two isolated channels?

  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Correct me if I'm wrong here, I think you need a stereo bass (like some Rics) to run true stereo. Otherwise your'e not seperating your signal (pups).
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    You're not wrong, but you're not completely right IMO: stereo can be done with effects. John Entwistle pioneered the use of stereo for huge bass tone: separate amp stacks for clean and distorted tones. Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Billy Sheehan and others have used this technique.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks for all the info, Pete. Regarding your question: perhaps the advantage isn't that great because amps these days are so reliable, but I'm a freak about backups (I bring a backup bass to every gig), so I like the idea of two separate amps. Well, my Stewart 2.1 has only one power cable, but aside from that I believe the channels are independent. I often use just one channel and leave the other powered off... as backup!
  15. While it's not exactly "stereo" per se, I like having seperate volumes for each cabinet. In the case of me, I had a 4x10 and a 10+15+horn. The 4x10 was rated to take more power than the 15, so I liked running more than half of the volume that I was running thru the 4x10- even tho I preferred the tone of the 15 cab.

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