Using a car amp/sub as a bass amp.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Snorbz, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. Snorbz


    Mar 27, 2005

    i'm new to bass and im after an amp. unfortunatly i just bought a nice 12" sub and car amp and now i cant afford a bass amp.

    so, i was thinking i could temporarly use the car amp and sub.

    i can power the sub in the house, no problems....
    but im unsure how i'd put the signal into the amp. It has a high imput plug and a low input with left and right rca plugs.

    if i plug the guitar into the low input on the amp would i blow somthing up?

    and if anyone has tried this before id like to know how bad it sounds....

    i also have a house amp and 2 speaker boxes each with 12" drivers + tweeters, but i figued that would be worse.
  2. The use of a sub woofer is not really a goer. They have a freq range of only a few hundred Hz at best. For bass we are looking at more like 50-16,000 Hz.

    A cheap practice amp is maybe the best option. There is a few good ones around. Not to stir up another major debate but there is a Behringer that sounds good for the dollars. I think it's about 60W and is a combo. It's the easy option.

    If you more inclined to build one,

    There is a realy good power amp that you can build. It is at

    The cost to build is very cheap but it will knock you off you feet in terms of grunt per dollar.

    400W RMS @4ohm, 240 @ 8ohms. and very reliable.

    I have a stereo version of this that I built for bass and it did a fantastic job. It can very easily be bridged. I now use it for a mixer amp. The PCB can be bought from Anthony at that web site for about $30 US. The rest of the parts can be purchased local. Anthony gives you detailed instructions on building.

    You can then simply use an external pre amp that are cheap. You could even use a valve preamp. Match this up with a 2x10 and you'll annoy any neighbour.

    You will find with a reasonable cab you are NOT compromising in any way but didn't have to spend much money at all.
    This is what I did to get around the budget issue myself. It helped me continue to play bass and be happy with the sound without spending a million on gear. More on the bass itself.

  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    This has been asked on a number of occassions and a search will provide more response but historically audio equipment is not designed for musical instruments. Newer stuff is more tolerant for sure. But produced music is refined and the response from something like a bass guitar is a relatively radical. I did read an article by a guy who used a peerless speaker for a small homebuilt bass cab once cause he couldn't find an instrument speaker that met his parameters - but that was for coffee house play.

    You'd could probably get away with it is using the correct input at low volume - but don't be suprised if the speakers eat it. Also the inputs marked hi and low may be hi gain or low gain or for instruments with hi gain or low gain. In other words you need to know which it is cause they're opposites. If it's for hi gain instruments it's actually a lower gain input. But if it's actually higher gain then you'd want the low gain input.
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Car subs are typically very low sensitivity.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    It'll work...probably sound pretty dark...

    The RCA inputs are for a line level input, a much stronger signal than your bass will put out. The input impedance might be low too, loading down your instrument and making it sound even darker.

    Give it a's unlikely that you'll hurt anything.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yep. In a band context, they would be inaudible.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    This would probably sound better than the car sub, but is not a good idea. You would destroy those speakers, if you play with any volume at all.
  8. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Welcome to TalkBass Snorbz.....

    So, can you sell your home/car audio gear? If you are going to take bass playing seriously, you need the proper gear. Your idea just won't work. Sorry, I tried it too. I went to Car Toys and bought a couple subs and thought I was getting one over on all these guys here at TB.

  9. Snorbz


    Mar 27, 2005
    thx for the advice.

    i'll give it a try and see what happens.

  10. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hey, i'd be interested in making something like that to use the amp for band pracs. Where do I go on the site? Construction manuals and then just choose the 400 or 800 watt amp? Is that the one you were talking about?