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To dB or to to dB, that is the question.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Skeeter1, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Skeeter1


    Oct 24, 2012
    To -db or not to -dB that IS the question. (damn auto correct)

    While I find that most active basses require the -dB pad to be engaged, I have two basses with active EMGs and unless the battery is fresh I find that they will not push some amps to clip if I forget to turn the -dB on. I usually use the pad as in gigging situations I usually have good FOH and I get adequate stage volume with it on.

    What are your thoughts on this solid state amps and tube. Also I know there is some vintage stuff out there that doesn't have an input pad. What is your experience with those?
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I never ever use the input pad and I play active basses almost exclusively.
  3. There is NO need to use the "active" input with active basses.

    In fact, there are MANY passive basses that have a hotter output then actives.
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013

    The only reasons to pad the input are:
    1) You can actually overdrive your input section into clipping.
    2) You prefer how the amp sounds if it's gained up some.

    So there are 3 variables in the equation:

    Your bass
    Your amp
    Your ears

    Do what sounds good and call it a day.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Open up you bass and see if there's a trim pot inside.
    You can use this to match levels with the first thing in your signal chain.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've been using actives and high output passive basses on and off for close to 30 years, and the number of times I've needed to engage the active cut is 0.
  7. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Yeah I have never used a pad on an amp with any combination of amps and basses.
  8. Skeeter1


    Oct 24, 2012
    That was my perspective too but then I encountered the Music Man bass and seems like I start to clip every SS amp I plug into. Maybe I need experiment more with the Pre-amp. Coming to the conclusion I'm more of a one tone pot kind of guy.
  9. will33


    May 22, 2006
    For whatever reason, to my ear, using the input pad instead of just turning the gain down has taken "something" away from the tone in every amp I've ever had. Never been able to figure out just what it is, but it's always seemed like something was lacking other than just having lower volume. That's happened with every bass and every amp which adds up to quite a few from a handful of different companies and I still don't know what it is, but I just turn the gain down instead.

    The only times I've ever used the pad was when pressing an amp into service for something it wasn't made for, like running a hot output from a keyboard into the front end of a bass amp to be able to use the preamp and eq on it. Been a couple times there where there wasn't any useable range of control in the volume knob at all without using the pad....otherwise, I never use them.
  10. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Your active might have a trim pot/screw on the circuit board inside the control cavity you could adjust to lower the output a little if need be.
  11. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    i never use the "active" circuitry at any time. I've never had an issue with overdriving the amp's input.

    Edit: If the OP is having problems turn the volume on the bass down.
  12. Same as Will with my Trace, active bases only need the input backing off full, but my EUB sounds more natural backing off at the instrument instead.