hi, can someone tell me if i need a bass pre amp or a bass amp to plug into a cab. or are they both the same thing? the way i understand it is the pre amp plugs into the amp and the amp plugs into the cab? is this correct or do you plug the preamp directly into the cab. thanks
A preamp just helps you shape your tone. It doesn't provide any volume. If you were intending on using a separate preamp, you would have to get a poweramp as well.
An amp head is what you need.

a preamp slightly amplifies the signal and also has the eq functions on it.

a power amp just boosts signal to get your full volume.

an amp head is a preamp and a power amp put together in one unit.

If something is simply referred to as a bass amp(and has no speakers of it's own built in) you can be pretty sure it's an amp head.
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Thought it was the pre amp raises a low level signal to line level and can provide tone control and then the power amp delivers the power for the loudspeakers.

Anyway, as said, if your looking for a bass amp the chances are really high that its gonna be a pre and power amp. You can definitely still use something like a Graphic EQ along with that though but youve got the idea.

If you plugged a pre amp into a cabinet it would be really quiet ... dont know if anything else would happen though.
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