What is with using Mic preamps for bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Yamarc, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Are high-end mic preamps better for bass when recording or playing live? So many people use them, Anthoiny Jackson, etc why is this? What is the difference between a mic preamp and a regular bass preamp? Any benefits for the mic pre? What are some of the best out there? Thanks
  2. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    i dunno why either. so many kickass bass pre's out there... its a low down dirty shame, i say! :D
  3. I would say that mic preamps are more transparents. You can have very good preamps not so pricey (even Behringer as a good one, but the MindPrint EnVoice is sure a good choice). Personnaly, for recording, I plug directly in the board, using the console preamp! And I get the sound of my bass : simple, effective.
    Bass preamps are maybe more useful is you want to color your sound more or less (ampeg, SWR sound ...). But some mic preamps still have tubes or tube simulation, equalizer, enhancer, compressor ...
    Well, is there a big difference? Ah, yes, you maybe not have the crossover stuff, effect loop, "deep" and "bright" pads ...
    And there can be a difference in the frequencies of the EQ, but I'm not sure.
  4. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Both. Plug into one and hear for yourself. The differences are in the level of componentry and design. Try and forget the microphone part, they're just preamps.
  5. I think it is a change in philosophy about the amp in general. Back in the 60's when I started playing bass, the amp and guitar were thought of as equal parts of your sound. The amp was as much an instrument as the bass. Todays modern active bass has more controls onboard than my vintage fender bassman ever thought of. A lot of todays bass players want a transparent rig that just amplifys the sound of their bass and doesn't color it. That is why we are seeing more and more hi-fi cabs and pre-amps. Mic pre-amps have been around for a long time and have always had transparency as their main objective. Are they a better choice than a boutique bass pre-amp? I've heard it said that the Behringer ultra gain pro sounds as good as anything you can buy. As for me, I'm looking to go backwards and get a dirty, noisy, unrelieable all tube head and try and remember my days when I still had hair.....:D
  6. Persuader


    Feb 7, 2001
    Frequency response is an issue also;I have the console from the Grand Ole Opry,
    a '73 Electrodyne in my studio and have done freq resp tests using Audio Precision.

    20 hz - 20k are nearly ruler flat on the old board;transformers and all discrete signal path.

    A mackie or tascam fall off at hi or low,and don't look nearly as good.

    Then there's that vibe or karma with the old stuff ......can't explain that!

    check the studio out at www.arcaneaudio.com
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    alot of great points Ipod,

    [soapbox on]

    but your bass' pickups arent the most audiophile things in the world. IMHO, its akin to running your electric guitar direct into the board. we just happen to be lucky enough that a DI from a bass doesnt quite sound as asstacular.

    its not like those bass pickups are picking up some nuance like an acoustic guitar or upright bass pickup would. if anyone was to go the audiophile route, they best make sure their bass is up to snuff, and that the pickups have a distinct, yet amazingly sweet tone for something only picking up string vibration.

    IMHO, mic preamps might sound fine for the studio, but in gig situations, a guy might need something a bit more versatile to properly get him thru the gig. besides, even in the studio, the engineer using parametrics and other outboard effects up the ying/yang, to tweak the heck outta the bass to make sure it properly fits in the mix. same is true with your bass rig, you need those tools to make sure you fit in your band's mix.

    [soapbox off]

    this is just MHO, so if you wanna go the mic preamp route, then who cares about what i said? ;):D
  8. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    I understand your point but if your interested in reproducing the tone of an instrument (and the pickups are a part of the instrument) and your not interested in amplifier/speaker coloration then fidelity becomes important.

    The more banwidth and fidelity you have on tap the easier it is tho hear and reproduce the differences and suttle nuances of different instruments. For some it's not, "just a bass," anymore. If your having to crank up the volume to cut through then you probably have fidelity and/or headroom issues.

    I'm greatfull for companies like AccuGroove and Bag End for marketing truly full range speaker systems and Avalon, Manley, Mellinium and many more for providing quality front ends to preamplify all the signal that's coming from our instruments. To Carver-Pro for providing the first pro-audio digital amplifier.