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tube preamps = woo woo woo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by K Dubbs, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    I've been using an ART tubechannel microphone preamp as a bass preamp in my rig for a while now. I recently plugged a gibson 335 into it, followed by a fender strat. The tones coming through weren't bright and crisp, regardless of EQ. They made a woo woo muffled kinda tone like when you hear someone blasting music from a closed room. We then plugged my guitar buddy's guitar head into my cabs and it made a normal crispy tone.

    What would be making the tone of my bass/guitars sound so....woo woo? Is it the preamp circuitry? Perhaps the 12ax7a's need to be swapped out?

    Or should i just give in and use a bonified bass preamp?
  2. There are a few things to consider here, not the least of which is the frequency response of a guitar vs a bass or human voice. There is also the issue of impedance matching the instruments to the preamp.

    I've used an ART Mic preamp from time to time for a little fatness, and it works fine for my basses. I've never thought of trying a guitar through the setup - I'll check it out at our next rehearsal.

    It won't hurt to change the tube - for $10-12 it's worth trying, but I'm not sure that will change the response for a guitar

    Were you happy with the rig sound with your bass before trying the guitar through it?

    Also, I think the ART is fine as an instrument preamp (a la active onboard preamps like the Aggie OBP1), but not to replace a real preamp section in a rig. It doesn't have the level to drive a power amp IMO.
  3. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Hey BLG O, thanks for your input. I'm not sure if you knew which unit i meant when i said the tubechannel, but the tubechannel is the rack unit with eq and compressor. The levels on that thing can take my input signal to my dcm 1000 to way way above clip level. The ART unit seemed great for smooth sounding "lyrical" work on a bass, but i never felt it had a bonified "bass amp" sound to it.

    I also have an aphex 204 in my setup and my bass carries an onboard OBP-1. I've been tossing around the idea of plugging the bass directly into the aphex unit and using the bass's preamp for the preamp function and the aphex to keep levels high enough for my poweramp.

    Anybody tried this/have any comments?
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    the amps can make all the diff.

    remember that electric guitars are notoriously "lofi", which havent changed all that much since the '60s.

    their pickups only amplify and accentuate certain frequencies that are akin to electric guitars. and electric guitar amps only amplify those particular frequencies for that "guitar" sound. its not like an acoustic pickup or bass pickup which are MUCH more fullrange.

    OT: thusly, electric guitars need much LESS wattage to push the equal amount of volume for a gig. this vs. bass' or PA setups where their more full range and require MUCH MORE wattage to push the same volume.

    that's why your guitarist only needs 50 watts for the gig, while your bass rig may need 350 watts.

    also, keep in mind, mic preamps are literally more suited to what else? the human voice! tho, they maybe full range, they're not exactly tuned or even equipped with a versatile enough EQ to properly handle the low end in a fashion that befits a bassist.

    bass preamps, on the other hand, are tuned to make your bass sound its best. their EQ knobs are centered and tuned specifically for getting the punchiest, clearest, most focused bass tone possible.

    besides, did you try playing with the guitars' tone knobs?? :meh:
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The unbalanced input has an impedance of 1 MegOhm, so no worry there.

    It's most likely the tube(s).