#1
I know this sounds stupid, and probably should be in another 'room', but can i just have the lowdown on all equipment really. I have been playin bass for a year or so, and have just been playing through a simple 50-watt combo, im in a band and stuff and im thinkin bout expanding my rig, thinkin bout cabs+heads.

So, wat is the difference between a pre-amp and an amplifier and power amp, tube amps and the other one, passive and active basses, Rack mounting (whether its better than pedals and wat sorta stuff wud i need), Ohms, a rundown on FX processors, just stuff like that.

Im sorry asking, im not really a noob, but im just confused

Thanx guys
Quote by IndianRockStar
The bass SHOULD cover the bottom end at the very least.



70's MOD Jazz->
BOSS LMB-3->
Hartke HA3500->
GENZ-BENZ NEOx 2x12->
#2
I'll do as much as I can as best I can. Don't trust too much of it though. Amplifier is what runs power to your speakers, Tube amp is what you already have, a combo, the other one is head+cab, I prefer pedals to racks, Ohms is the resistance of electicity, if you ever taken a course on electricty I=VR, I=current, V=voltage, R=Resitance (Ohms), it's represented by the Greek sign Omega which looks like a horseshoe. Any further detail of that would be pointless. And that's about as much as i've got in that subject. Try searching on google and in the forums, there's probbally alot of info.
#3
^The tube part of that is wrong, i think.

Pre-amp is the part of the amplifier that shapes the sound with the EQ, the Power amp is the part that amplifies the signal from your bass so that you can hear it.

Tube amps have tubes, while solid-state amps don't (i can't really explain it very well).

Active basses require a battery in them, while passive's don't.

Rack mounting is instead of having your effects in small metal enclosures (pedals) they are in a compartment like an amp head, and usually bolted to a rack.

Combos have the head mounted in the speaker cabinet. Seperate heads are placed on top of the speaker cabinet they are powering.

Some of my post might be wrong, but i'm pretty confident it's mostly right.
Last edited by grimreaper65 at Jul 5, 2006,
#4
Quote by FbSa
I'll do as much as I can as best I can. Don't trust too much of it though. Amplifier is what runs power to your speakers, Tube amp is what you already have, a combo, the other one is head+cab, I prefer pedals to racks, Ohms is the resistance of electicity, if you ever taken a course on electricty I=VR, I=current, V=voltage, R=Resitance (Ohms), it's represented by the Greek sign Omega which looks like a horseshoe. Any further detail of that would be pointless. And that's about as much as i've got in that subject. Try searching on google and in the forums, there's probbally alot of info.

no, a tube amp is not a combo...A tube amp is one that uses tubes to supply power, while solid state amps use transistors and are much smaller/lighter than tube amps...You probably have a solid state amp if its a 50W combo....and the only other types of amps are hybrids which use tubes and transistors but I wont get into that...

An amplifier is what sends power to your cabinets/speakers and the preamp section is the tone-shaping/eq-ing section of your amp...In some cases, amps and preamps come seperate but usually an amp head comes with a power section and a preamp section...
this is a power amp
http://www.carvin.com/products/single.php?ItemNumber=DCM2000&CID=PWA
it has no Bass, Mid, Treble adjust knobs like your combo probably has, it does nothing but supply power it does NOT adjust the tone at all...

this is a preamp
http://www.zzounds.com/item--ASDABMRPMEII
it does not supply any power but it DOES affect the tone of the signal it is processing, these are made to work in conjuction with (power) amps for tone shaping purposes...These are usually rackmountable as well, meaning they can fit in a rack case...A rack case is a case that has spaces for (power) amps, preamps, effects processors and whatever else you want to put in them...

Ohms are the standard unit of measure of impedence, where impedence is the resistance to an electric current/signal (I think, dont quote me on that)...This is most important to us in the bass world when we are thinking about matching an amp head with a cabinet or cabinets...

You see, amps deliver different amounts of power at different impedences, lets say you have a Hartke HA3000 amp head, now this amp head delivers 200 watts of power at 8ohms and 300 watts at 4ohms...Makes sense right?...A higher impedence (resistance to a current) means less power being transferred (watts)...So with this Hartke HA3000 you can use one 8ohm cab and pump 200 watts into it (cabinets will specifically state their impedence somewhere on them, usually near the 1/4" input)...You can pump 300 watts into one 4ohm cab OR two 8ohm cabinets...Two 8ohm cabs yield a net impedence of 4ohms so the amp head will deliver 300 watts into those cabs, half to each cabinet, so its 150 watts to one cab and 150 watts to the other...There is a technical explanation to two 8ohm cabs forming a 4ohm load but I want to keep this brief so as not to confuse you...Just know this, hooking up two 8ohm cabs to one amp will yield a 4ohm load, while connecting two 4ohm cabs will yeild a 2ohm load...(unless wired in series but thats usually not the case since amps/cabs have parallel outputs for connecting cabinets)...BTW yes, some amps operate at 2ohms but most dont...

hope you're not too confused
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
Last edited by XeNoCiDe730 at Jul 5, 2006,
#5
Quote by FbSa
Tube amp is what you already have, a combo, the other one is head+cab


What the hell?

There are two main ways to amplify a signal: tube and solid state. Tube amps (which I doubt he has) amplify the signal from the bass by building wattage through a series of vacuum tubes. Solid state amps use sveral step up transformers to amplify a signal.

Member of UG's Keyboardists club. PM 4string-tsurigi to join.

Jimbo Wallace of the Godlike, Archaic, But Sexy Instrument Players. PM me to join.
#7
Quote by metalstillsucks
There are two main ways to amplify a signal: tube and solid state. Tube amps (which I doubt he has) amplify the signal from the bass by building wattage through a series of vacuum tubes. Solid state amps use sveral step up transformers to amplify a signal.


You sure?

Transistors amplify signals; transformers just change the voltage - but if you increase the voltage with a transformer, you're still going to have the same power output (ideally - it'll be less in the real world). But this isn't an electronics forum, so I guess it doesn't matter.


Xenocide, if you care:
Impedence and resistance are actually two different things. Resistance is what you'd expect, but impedence takes into account the resistance AND capacitance AND inductance of the circuit, and it depends a great deal on the frequency the current is alternating at. In practice though, impedences can be handled the same way as resistances in a lot of situations, and especially for just bass players the distinction doesn't really matter.

But just in case you're curious, ya know.
Computer programmers are loopy.
- That's one of my own!
#8
several of these posts are partially correct. i suggest you search for any post by
John Swift, aka, Sir John Swift. any post will do. click on his name, and choose, show all posts by John Swift. he has explained all of these questions accurately. he is the Bass Forum Jedi Master. long live John Swift, amen.
#9
Quote by Junkstuff1
You sure?

Transistors amplify signals; transformers just change the voltage - but if you increase the voltage with a transformer, you're still going to have the same power output (ideally - it'll be less in the real world). But this isn't an electronics forum, so I guess it doesn't matter.


Xenocide, if you care:
Impedence and resistance are actually two different things. Resistance is what you'd expect, but impedence takes into account the resistance AND capacitance AND inductance of the circuit, and it depends a great deal on the frequency the current is alternating at. In practice though, impedences can be handled the same way as resistances in a lot of situations, and especially for just bass players the distinction doesn't really matter.

But just in case you're curious, ya know.


I meant transistors. Damn. sorry about the wrong terminology . According to the dissassembled amp on my floor, there is a transformer before the series of transistors, though.
Member of UG's Keyboardists club. PM 4string-tsurigi to join.

Jimbo Wallace of the Godlike, Archaic, But Sexy Instrument Players. PM me to join.
#10
pre-amp is the EQ on your bass, for the most part. You can buy another pre-amp to install on your bass or perhaps even one that goes in line before your amp, but the idea is it controls tone before it hits your amp.

An amplifier is the "head", or the head part of the combo. It's where you plug into and the part that turns the signal your bass puts out into noise. It's the part that says you have X amount of watts coming out.

A power amp isn't like a head in that it can't recieve the signal without a pre-amp, but if you put it with a pre-amp (like a direct inject) or even a head, it can boost the power.


Tube amps are a certain kind of amp. Tubes give amps a warmer sound and are typically called louder. Scientifically, they're TECHNICALLY not louder... but because they sound louder... they're friggen louder lol. To keep that simple, they're louder.


passive basses don't have a pre-amp or active pickups because they don't have whats called an "active EQ" (which is basically, a pre-amp.) If you have knobs that control lows, highs, etc., than you have an active pre-amp at the very least.
Active basses have either active pickups or an active pre-amp, or both.

Rack mounting I never was a fan of. It's basically like, lets keep my things, but instead of actually using them, let's throw it on a shelf. That's basically how I see it, Im not a fan of rackmounting but I do see why some people prefer it.


Ohms... so hard for me to explain since it took so long for me to understand on the smallest level. It's a measurement of electronic resistance. The more cabs you put to a head, the resistance will change; and some cabs are only designed to handle one resistance. Because of this, you have to be careful with how you set up heads & cabs when your first starting out. I mean, it won't matter if you just buy a GK 8x10 and put a 200 watt head in... cause c'mon. That's insane. But it'll be a bit different if you buy a 400 watt head, and then buy a 1x15, and then buy a 4x10, and want to know if you're safe or if you need a new head or how to setup your 2 cabs.
Quote by casualty01
the RIAA can't shut us down, interpol can't shut us down. the U.S. gov't can't shut us down and CERTAINLY not YOU can shut us down.


BA in Music theory
MusicMan Bongo, SUB -> Orange Terror 1000 stack

Quote by waterproofpie
it's a UtBDan sandwich. Awwww yeah!
#11
Active Pickups also have less winding that a passive pickup because of the higher (9v upwards) current that runs through them. passive Basses run on the 1v (??) supplied by the amps input. there are what could be called 'hybrid', where there are the same windings as a passive version but when put into active mode (toggle switch or push/pull pot generally) the signal is buffered to give the same (or very similar) output.
Cort lover of the Bass Militia. PM Nutter_101 to join.
On cheating in a relationship...

Quote by metaldud536
If he doesn't use a gameshark, it's not cheating.




I'm a non-regular regular old user.
#12
A head or just simply an amp actually has two sections - a preamp section and a power amp section. Any single-piece head has both built in.
Computer programmers are loopy.
- That's one of my own!
#13
Quote by UtBDan

Tube amps are a certain kind of amp. Tubes give amps a warmer sound and are typically called louder. Scientifically, they're TECHNICALLY not louder... but because they sound louder... they're friggen louder lol. To keep that simple, they're louder.




could I be a real bitch and I ask you to explain what the hell you're on about
Gear

Fender Geddy Lee Jazz
Fender MIA Precision
Musicman Bongo
Boss TU-2
EBS TD650
EBS ProLine 2x10 x 2
#14
^I have another weird metaphor for that. Imagine a fuzzy, soft blanket. It makes you feel warm. Now imagine a scratchier blanket. It makes you feel warm, but it doesn't feel as warm as the fuzzy one. In reality, they are both of equal warmth.

Thats kind of like tube amps. The warmer sound makes it sound louder, even though it really isn't.


Dictator For Life of the fIREHOSE fANCLUB. PM Me, Tedrick, or Yertle to join.
#15
Quote by Forcemaster
could I be a real bitch and I ask you to explain what the hell you're on about



I can't explain it really well, but its like, they sound louder (which is obvious), but, TECHNICALLY, they are at the same decibel level. The amp puts out the same volume either way, but one sounds louder.


But, because of it sounding louder... and louder being based on sound...


**** technically. Tube amps are louder. It is basically what Incubus said, although much MUCH more complicated.
Quote by casualty01
the RIAA can't shut us down, interpol can't shut us down. the U.S. gov't can't shut us down and CERTAINLY not YOU can shut us down.


BA in Music theory
MusicMan Bongo, SUB -> Orange Terror 1000 stack

Quote by waterproofpie
it's a UtBDan sandwich. Awwww yeah!
#16
I try to keep it simple.
Quote by IvanMike of TB

Tube Amplifiers are a different animal, and many have switches to match the impedance of the cabinets to be connected to them. A given tube amp might be able to send a 400 watt signal to an 8 ohm, 4 ohm, or 2 ohm load, but the switch on the back must be set to the load being used). Generally it?s safe to be up to 100% off on the load hooked up to a tube amplifier from where it?s selected. For a tube amp set for a 4 ohm load that would mean that you could run it into anywhere from an 8 ohm load to a 2 ohm load and still be reasonably safe. The important difference between tube amps and solid state ones is that it?s dangerous to run tube amps above their impedance rating!! Running a tube amp set at 2 ohms into an 8 ohm load can dangerously raise the plate voltage of the amplifier and ruin it. Also, while most solid state amps will do ok with no speakers plugged into them (infinity ohms), tube amps need to have a load connected to them, or they will generally self destruct.

Theres a little tube amp impedence information incase you are interested...


Dictator For Life of the fIREHOSE fANCLUB. PM Me, Tedrick, or Yertle to join.
#17
Quote by Junkstuff1

Xenocide, if you care:
Impedence and resistance are actually two different things. Resistance is what you'd expect, but impedence takes into account the resistance AND capacitance AND inductance of the circuit, and it depends a great deal on the frequency the current is alternating at. In practice though, impedences can be handled the same way as resistances in a lot of situations, and especially for just bass players the distinction doesn't really matter.

But just in case you're curious, ya know.

Alright, thanks for the correction, its always good to know my mistakes before I go around giving false info...So, yea I do care, lol...But in the bass world its not really wrong info though, like you said the two can be treated as the same thing...

And I dont think I will ever become an electronics expert but this was very helpful info nonetheless...

And to contribute to the tube amp argument, tube amps use tubes to create power and these tubes add a certain harmonic distortion that adds to the percieved volume, so what Dan is trying to say is the the percieved volume of tube amps is louder than SS amps even though the decibel level may be the same...I think...
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#18
I have no idea exactly why tube amps sound louder - I've never been in a position to compare them anyway. But maybe this could have something to do with it:

A given sound most likely has a great deal of frequencies associated with it (and, of course, this is the case with a bass). Each frequency has its own decibel level; that's the basis for the operation of equalizers - you boost one frequency with respect to the others. The overall SPL, I think, is some sort of average of the SPLs of each individual frequency.

Also, the human ear is not equally sensitive to all frequencies.

Put those two together, and you may have an answer. Maybe it's just that what a tube amp imparts into the sound of the bass is such that the human ear detects it better. That is, it boosts frequencies that the human ear is more sensitive to. This would be detected as an increase in volume.

Try this - boost the mids on your amp all the way up. Now try the same with bass and treble. Play exactly the same thing each time. Which one sounded the loudest?
Computer programmers are loopy.
- That's one of my own!
#19
Ok, so i kinda get what your all on about.

I was playing a Ernie ball S.U.B bass, it had a 9v battery pack on the back and alot of tone knobs- Is this an active bass??

Right, i get all about preamps and amps now, except, which has the 'input' and 'output'?

I think i will stick to using pedals lol.

Thanx guys, all help is appretiated.

P.S: I get that thing bout tube amps, i just wanna compare between the two.....
Quote by IndianRockStar
The bass SHOULD cover the bottom end at the very least.



70's MOD Jazz->
BOSS LMB-3->
Hartke HA3500->
GENZ-BENZ NEOx 2x12->
#20
yes, the SUB had an active pre-amp. I had one myself lol. For some reason they really don't make passive SUBs anymore... I mean they do but they're harder to find.
Quote by casualty01
the RIAA can't shut us down, interpol can't shut us down. the U.S. gov't can't shut us down and CERTAINLY not YOU can shut us down.


BA in Music theory
MusicMan Bongo, SUB -> Orange Terror 1000 stack

Quote by waterproofpie
it's a UtBDan sandwich. Awwww yeah!
#21
Quote by pandathe3
Ok, so i kinda get what your all on about.

I was playing a Ernie ball S.U.B bass, it had a 9v battery pack on the back and alot of tone knobs- Is this an active bass??

Right, i get all about preamps and amps now, except, which has the 'input' and 'output'?

I think i will stick to using pedals lol.

Thanx guys, all help is appretiated.

P.S: I get that thing bout tube amps, i just wanna compare between the two.....


Without anything like effects, it goes bass >> preamp >> power amp >> speakers.
Computer programmers are loopy.
- That's one of my own!
#22
Ok, So with an active bass, i wouldnt need a preamp, but could i have one?

EDIT: So the preamp has an output which goes to the power amp, right?
Quote by IndianRockStar
The bass SHOULD cover the bottom end at the very least.



70's MOD Jazz->
BOSS LMB-3->
Hartke HA3500->
GENZ-BENZ NEOx 2x12->
Last edited by pandathe3 at Jul 10, 2006,