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What does a preamp pedal do for a passive bass? Does it make it sound like an active?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Sean775, Apr 30, 2018.


  1. Sean775

    Sean775 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2015
    New Jersey, USA
    Smooth_bass88 likes this.
  2. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I use the VT Bass with a passive P Bass. The VT gives me drive control, character voicing, and equalization. So I would think an outboard preamp functions the same way as an onboard preamp.
     
  3. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Not really, but depending on how you run it, it’ll make your amp sound a bit more “Ampegish”
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  4. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5

    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    This is why i like using my BDDI. It just makes the passive tone a bit more 'beefy'. I don't use it for OD or heavy drive, but those active EQ knobs are very powerful and i just love what it does to my tone.
     
  5. nolezmaj

    nolezmaj

    Sep 22, 2011
    Europe
    Preamp pedal can bring some of "active bass" sound to passive bass guitar depending on how you use it.

    For me, it is the best of both worlds: you get classic look, simplicity, reliability and a little less weight of passive bass, and flexibility of preamp.
     
    eriky4003 likes this.
  6. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5

    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Agreed, plus you dont need to keep buying them for all your basses.
     
  7. Sean775

    Sean775 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2015
    New Jersey, USA
    So I would be able to get some active sound with this pedal?
     
  8. nolezmaj

    nolezmaj

    Sep 22, 2011
    Europe
    Yes, depending on what you define as "active sound" :)

    I don't have experience with this specific pedal, but in general you could get more dynamic sound and some EQ effect: scooped sound (slap), or grindy mids (hard rock). However, you will not get that extended high-end treble that bass guitars with onboard preamp usualy have.

    Different preamp pedals have different EQ possibilities and "flavours", so this one may or may not be ideal, you need to try it.
     
  9. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5

    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    If you want to keep your existing tone, but have something makes it sound 'better', then i would think a clean preamp like the Q/strip would be better. This has an amazing range of EQ options, but doesn't add its own colour to the tone. Probably closer to an an board pre amp than any of the boxes that add colour.
    I have this and the BDDI, and although the Q/strip is great i do prefer the BDDI as it does add just the right amount of colour to my tone. Its all in the blend knob, and i wouldn't really want to use something like this without that knob.
     
    drumvsbass likes this.
  10. Sean775

    Sean775 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2015
    New Jersey, USA
    Now what if I wanted to make my amp sound more like an Ampeg, and have some minor tone variations, would this be ok?
    Also, would I be able to run this through an audio interface into garageband/logic in order to get the Apple digital amps to sound more Ampeg like?
     
  11. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5

    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Yep, that would all work well. You could also look at the Behringer BDI-21. Much cheaper and very well thought of.
     
    knumbskull likes this.
  12. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    NEW YORK
    Not sure the basses you are using and it may or may not make a difference. But one, I would recommend the Sadowsky Pre pedal. 2 versions, one has a direct out which you may not need, the other does not. The other is an eq dream. The empress Paraeq. Parametric with an amazing tone possibilities. The Sadowsky is simple, Bass-Treble. 40 hrz and 5 k. But the tone is really great. Clean and little to do to get a great sound. The empress involves lots of tweeking but it can deliver the tone you desire. But I cant take away from the Sadowsky either. Good luck with your purchase and tell us what you picked and how you like it. Always can learn.
     
    baTassi and gorneyg like this.
  13. CptRevell

    CptRevell

    Aug 15, 2011
    Maryland
    I liked the Ampeg pre in the SCR-DI, which is basically the same as the smaller pedal. Definitely has some "active" type tones, if by active you mean boosted lows/highs sort of sound. The buttons on it provide some contour that also adds to that typical "active" type sound.

    I have the Sadowsky on board preamp in my Jazz, and while I really like the tone of the boost frequencies in small amounts, I feel like the vintage tone control is crucial to controlling them a bit, but that's just my take.
     
    SoulReflection likes this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It can make it sound very much Ampeg rather than just Ampeg-ish IMO. Especially if you know how to use the ultra hi & lo toggles to best effect.

    I’ve owned and have been playing Ampeg amps for a out 40 years now. And I was flat out amazed the first time I tried an SCR-DI how it got virtually all of that classic Ampeg character no matter what it was plugged into. But I guess I should have known since it’s the same preamp Ampeg uses for its BA series of amps. So what else is it going to sound like, right?

    Props to Ampeg for giving us an honest preamp pedal. Same goes for Mesa’s Subway preamp. Another “close enough for rock” box that captures the mothership’s signature sound.
     
    SoulReflection likes this.
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It’ll make it sound like your bass going through an Ampeg amp. It won’t make your bass sound like something it isn’t. And it won’t emulate the sound character of somebody else’s preamp.

    That said, a passive PB or JB into an Ampeg is about as classic a bass sound as it comes. From the 70s until well into the 80s that was the bass sound you’d hear most professionals chose for their rig.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
    cataract and SoulReflection like this.
  16. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    NEW YORK

    To my understanding the vintage control is just the same as the tone control of a jazz/P passive bass. Its a bass roll off.
    Do you have a different take on it?
     
  17. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    +1. I'm pretty confident that the VTC hits a broader frequency area than either of the boost frequencies on that preamp. The VTC completely changes the character of the bass, then you can fine-tune a little with the preamp.

    The bass where I have a Sadowsky preamp is very bright naturally, so I roll the VTC about halfway down and boost the lows just a little and it's perfect.
     
    CptRevell likes this.
  18. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    There's a lot of "depends" in the answer to this question.

    The sound of a passive bass is determined in part by the impedance of its pickups and circuitry interacting with the cable it's hooked up to. An active bass can have similar loading inside if the designer wants it to, but they don't have to do it that way. With a passive bass and an external preamp, you can have all the tone control capabilities of an active bass, but the cable you use is still part of the sound. If an active bass is designed with loading to simulate a cable (it's a very simple thing to do), then you can make a passive bass sound identical. If it isn't, you probably won't get there. I do a few tricks in my basses that put them somewhere in between typical active and passive basses - the things I don't aren't rocket surgery, but they're bit beyond what most people think to do. They're certainly beyond what I've seen on any production passive bass.
     
  19. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I associate the active "sound" with something other than Ampeg which to me offers the traditional tonality.
    A Sadowsky pedal can get you a clean active setting but not so Ampegish.
    Perhaps 2 pedals or one amp that can cop one sound and 1 pedal for the other.
     
    electracoyote likes this.
  20. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Or kep buying batteries, providing you plug the pre into the wall/use a pedalboard power supply.
     

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