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What is the purpose of an internal pre-amp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gord_oh, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    I always wondered since I've seen people install their own.
  2. Chinguschild


    Apr 17, 2006
    Chico, Cali
    On a bass you mean? On an amp you need a pre amp to make the signal from your bass usable to the post amp or power section.

    Edit: If a bass is what you mean a bass pre amp usually adds some sort of tonal flexibility and usually makes the output hotter.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Passive basses have cut only EQ. A preamp on the bass, generally called an active bass, gives you cut and boost EQ. And can give more control over the mids.

    Also an active bass also has less loss of highs over a long cable.
  4. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The main benefit is the low impedance output of an on-board, which eliminates signal loss and noise pickup in the cable connecting the bass to the amp.
  5. +1, and it also pretty much eliminates different input impedance issues across various heads and preamps.

    And... most on-board preamps also have variable tone controls, which can be quite handy when playing in a live situation (i.e., allowing for minor adjustments without going back to your amp mid song).
  6. BAW


    Aug 1, 2008
    Long Island
    i saw an interview with marcus miller were he says how session players in NY would use preamps due to the lack of bass maps during sessions. i dont think im saying it right, ill let marcus talk for me,

    he says right in the beginning
  7. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    edit: I meant on board a bass. (sorry)
    so does the amp build in on a bass meant for passive type basses then? since active already gives you the option to cut and boost EQ.
  8. wtf_is_a_bass

    wtf_is_a_bass Guest

    Aug 11, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: PiGLET picks
    If a bass has a preamp in it (meaning you can boost/cut eq), it is classed as 'active'. People put pre amps in their bass either to upgrade or change the one they already have or to make their passive bass active (which i will be doing to my passive sub anytime now :smug:)

    The active circuit in a bass also tends to brighten it up a little, even without touching the eq.
  9. yeah, you need a good map to play bass :) ;)


    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    Come on, now. They call them "grimoires". :D
  11. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008

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