Sterling Ray 34CA Pre-Amp suggestions?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TjMetalhead, Feb 12, 2018.


  1. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    So I got a newish Ampeg BA210v2 combo today, it sounded great in the store when I tried it out with a Sterling SUB. I got home and plugged my Sterling Ray 34CA in and it still sounded fantastic but only when I had the -15db switch disengaged. When the -15db switch is engaged it's super quiet. I almost have to turn the volume knob past 12'o clock to get any real volume out of it. I know it has to be the pre-amp and possibly the pickup. It's not the ampeg because I've noticed this with other 34CA's before. I've heard of other Sterling users here on TB changing out the pre-amp and pickups with great results. I've been looking at the Seymour Duncan SMB-4d. It sounds great and is perfect for my style (Iron Maiden, Rush, prog rock). I don't know much about pre-amps though. What do you guys recommend?
     
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  2. qersty

    qersty

    Aug 15, 2012
    Sweden
    Why not run without the pad? There is a sticky on the forum about musicman pickups and pres with lots of great suggestions. John East makes a really neat preamp that replicates the old musicman 2-band preamp with the addition of a quasi-parametric midrange control.

    I suggest you change the preamp before changing the pickup if volume is your issue. It's not the same as swapping to hotter pickups on a passive bass since you hit the onboard preamp before the amp pre.
     
    TjMetalhead likes this.
  3. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    The -15 dB pad is there for when you need it; looks like you don't need it in this case. Simple!

    Play it for a while without the pad (it's just a tone suck, anyway), and if you still find something lacking...although (if I can interrupt myself), I'd be surprised if the bass is lacking; it's an overseas copy of the Music Man pickup and circuit (as opposed to the Ray4, which is engineered to a price), and by most accounts comes quite close to the real deal. Just don't use the pad, and you should be set.
     
    qersty and TjMetalhead like this.
  4. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    I just wanted to be sure I wouldn't be running too much volume into the amp since the bass is active. Though it doesn't have as much volume as other active basses probably since the CA series is basically a 70's reissue. Just took a look and the prices are better than SD. They're sold out of the classic 2 band pre-amp, I can wait until it come back in stock lol.
     
  5. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    Sounds good to me then! I just get a little paranoid because I don't want to blow up the head from running too much juice into it. It happened once a few years ago, I let a guitarist I was jamming with borrow my Marshall valvestate combo, little did I know he was running active pickups into it and blew up the head. Never offered to replace it or pay for it. Needless to say I don't associate with that person anymore.
     
  6. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    While active basses can be hotter than passive, that's not a given. For instance, at a show it was my turn to soundcheck with my passive Hofner after a guy with an active Fodera. I played one note using his settings and we both dove for the SVT to turn everything down!

    And just to clarify, most active basses are active because of the preamp, not the pickup, which is the case for a Stingray: a passive pickup feeds an active preamp.

    Bottom line, if the amp isn't clipping, you're not overdriving it or putting it at risk. Your bass is fine as is--there's no point in increasing the output (which the SD preamp likely won't do, anyway) just so you can use the -15dB pad.
     
    TjMetalhead likes this.
  7. 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.

     
    May 21, 2022

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