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Why can't I connect straight into a stereo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AudioDwebe, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. I called both Ted Brown and GC to ask for a mono female 1/4" to a stereo male RCA and was told that I cannot do that from a bass to stereo without some sort of box in-between.

    I don't get it.

    Right now, I'm going straight from my bass to a headphone amp and listening via headphones. I have zero problems. As a matter of fact, I use two different headamps and zero problems on either.

    I've also got a Vox practice amp, which connects directly to a bass with a headphone out. That damn POS sounds so noisy that I don't use it anymore.

    Headphone amps...nice, clean sound.

    I thought it might be fun to listen to my bass through the home stereo (or a tubed headamp which only accepts RCAs I've got sitting around) and figured I could just get an adapter. The dude at Ted Brown was adamant that I cannot go from my bass straight into a stereo, verging on the annoying.

    I call BS on this one.

    This may very well be the case in a live gigging or recording situation, but for practicing at home? I don't think so.

    Without a doubt, by basses sound far superior played through my headamp and headphones than either the Vox practice amp or the SW35 bass amp. Zero comparison.

    I guess this was more of a rant than a question.
  2. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    You can totally connect to any stereo that has RCA inputs (red/white double cable) - all you need is a 1/4" to RCA/component cable and a 1/4" female/female adapter so you can plug your cable in. You'll need to be careful, though, since normal stereo speakers aren't designed to handle a straight bass signal well and will often distort.
  3. You can't connect directly because the output of the bass is so low. The stereo amp is looking for a higher input gain.

    If you connected it you may be able to hear your bass but you'll have to turn the amp all the way up.

    You need a preamp in between the bass and the stereo. A head phone amp would do this, BUT you need to be careful with the volume aqnd EQ of the headphone amp. It is possible to damage the input on the stereo with to MUCH gain.

    Set the head phone amps volume to about 50% and the EQ flat. It's a good place to start. If you hear ANY distortion in the stereo, even when the stereo's volume is low, lower the headphone amps output volume.

    Keep in mind that, although this will work, it's not going to sound great because the stereo isn't designed for live instruments.
  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I forgot about the amplification part. I have connected to a home stereo before but I went through a Zoom B2 when I did it.
  5. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    You can.

    When I first started I didn't have an amp nad that's what I did. I had a passive bass, a cable, and a few cable adaptors.
    It sounds like crap, but you can do it.

    I think I still have a few cassette tapes in a box somewhere that I recorded to by running straight into the stereo. It wasn't even a good sterio, just some battery powered 1992 bedroom radio.
  6. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    You can get a cheap DI box, with that you can then plug into anything. But it still won´t sound great!

    I picked up a Behringer DI box for about 15 euros (it is actually not that bad!), used you can probably get them even cheaper!
  7. wilder

    wilder Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2004
    Denton, TX.
    I don't usually share my end game with the guy I'm buying cables from. For $10 you can find out if it works without his interference. It works, but sounds like ass has been my experience as well. Plugging the output of the headphone amp into your 1/4 stereo to RCA cable and running that into the stereo is probably a better bet.
  8. johng999


    Jul 14, 2008
    I think this article explains it well. It is all about signal levels and low impedance outputs into high impedance inputs. It doesn't mean that it won't work, it just means it may not work very well.

  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yep. It sounds like poo, unless you have some really kick..... uh..... butt speakers. It's just a bad idea. Everywhere you turn there's a practice amp on CL for like $20. You would do well to look into one of those. By the time you pay for all the crap it would take to hook this up (only to sound horrible) you could buy an old Peavey 10W amp for the same amount of money (maybe even less).
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Get a Rickenbacker ... they have a stereo out call Ric-o-sound.
  11. I've plugged both active and passive basses into my portable headphone amps (Headstage Arrow and Fiio E6) listened through some headphones (AKG K550 and V-Moda M80) and have suffered no degradation in sound quality. Rather, the sound quality is far superior this way than when my basses are played through a Vox AmPlug or a Ibanez SW35 amp.

    I wanted to try using either a tubed headphone (el cheapo Little Dot) amp or my tubed home electronics (VTL MB125; Rogue Magnum 99 and Dunlavy SC-IV speakers) to see what the bass would sound like. Basically, I wanted to incorporate some tubes into the chain.
  12. When I was a kid and had my first bass I had no amp for about a year. I used the Y adapter into my receiver. The trick, I went into the phono input (where you hooked up the turntable) - I got plenty of signal. I didn't blast the volume so my speakers weren't destroyed - but you could NEVER play in a group with such a setup.
  13. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    That works because there's a preamp on that input (with a unique EQ profile). Other inputs will need a pre somewhere before it. By the way, what is this PHONO you speak of? I think m uncle still has some of those record things in the attic! :)
  14. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    Dang if your stereo has a 1/4 inch microphone jack that will work too ,, back in the day i used a stereo to rehearse with a band,, buuut the speakers could take it with a gibson grabber no less.
  15. My very first "bass amp" was the chassis of an old mono tube radio. I fitted a jack socket to the phono input (or whatever it was called back in the 50's/60's).

    It was about 12W IIRC and actually sounded half reasonable and got me by rehearsing for a few months driving a homebrew 2X8 cab. I even played my first gig with it. I still have the cab in the garage loft, wish I still had the amp and bass!
  16. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    My first amp was the stereo we had a home ( I was 13-14) I remember pluging it in the mic input.
  17. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    ??? I plug my bass directly into the MIC input on my stereo using a standard instrument cable, set the amp EQ flat (to remove a bit of low end) and it sounds fantastic. I actually have to turn the volume down. Of course, my speakers each have a 15", a 6", and a tweeter.
  18. bill reed

    bill reed

    Apr 2, 2012
    the ric-o-sound is not really stereo as you get a diffrent pick-up on each channel, the Ric system is really good for giving you control over your tone. and i wish other makers would do that too as it not expensive to do.
    have though of doing that on all my basses. fitting a stereo socket with each pick-up wired to each output.
    at the moment I have the mono output of my bass lead going into a splitter box and then into left and right of a Marantz stereo graphic 20 chan eq and that acts like a pre amp then the stereo output into a 6 channel 200 watt stagehand Hughes and Kettner PA, and into 4x12 bass units. i can then set up each channel diffrent on the amp. you can feed a mono output into a spliter box but if putting into a normal stereo then you could damage the speakers in time!
    i also have a line 6 lowdown150 bass amp and pod x3 that i use too as it not so hard to lug about.
  19. I did the same thing but instead of a phono input (which there wasn't on my dad's old Heathkit tube power amplifier I used), I ran into my cassette deck, hit record and cranked the levels into wicked distortion so those VU meters were pegged. Oh, I'm sure it sounded horrible but I was louder than the drummer...!!
  20. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    This isn't about Basses...so I've moved it to Amps.