Here's my setup:
Squier VM Jazz Bass, all stock parts
Ashdown MAG 600H Amplifier Head
Peavey 115 BVX BW 8 ohm

I'm having trouble getting the desired input level on the VU meter of the MAG. According to the manual, the input level should be adjusted so that average playing dynamics read 0VU on the meter. However, even with the input all the way up, the only way I can get the meter to read that high is with a slap or pop.

I can still get a very loud sound, but aren't I pushing the amp harder than I have to?
I'm also concerned that having the input knob all the way up on the amp could cause problems with my head or cab.

Are the VM's pickups relatively quiet compared to other passives? Would changing the stock strings significantly increase the output? Is the only option new pickups?

I am using the high sensitivity input on the amp, and all the knobs on the bass are all the way up.

Thank you very much for the help
try using a pic if you don't. but you're pickups, and strings could also factor in.

Edit:but it might make you have less of a jazzy sound, if you play jazz.
Last edited by selibucaz at Jul 10, 2008,
You're actually putting less stress on the amp by inputting under the maximum recommended input. Remember that's just a recommendation for input levels to get the most out of your amp. If it's loud enough and you're not going into the red you should be fine. I actually like a relatively low input and a higher output. It sounds a bit smoother. It also sounds like you're using the 10dB cut input, so changing inputs could give that touch more of power going in.
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Jul 10, 2008,
I've found this varies between the different series' of MAGs. Mine goes into the red on the input meter very easily, but newer models must have more headroom in the preamp or whatever.

Just to check - you're using the passive input rather than the active one? I don't see the point of an active one on an amp with a preamp gain control.
Yep, I am using the "High Sensitivity" input, which, according the manual, is for passive basses. And I did try the other input just to make sure and I got a lower reading on the meter as expected.
boost some of the EQs, if u boost a bit of the lows and low mids the input levels goes up by quiet alot. the VU meter is pretty fiddly but really helpful to get tones u want so use it wisely......
To be honest I'd ignore the meter and use your ears. The meter isn't that accurate and it's not that important to have it at the perfect level.
If all else fails and you still want higher input levels, you could always do what so many guiatrists do and get some kind of pedal to boost the signal before it enters the amp. I haven't seen clean boost pedals made specifically for bass, but a good DI, active--(powered)volume pedal, or even overdrive pedal would do the trick nicely.

I do agree with jazz_rock though. I personally wouldn't worry about it too much.

Also, simple thing, so ignore me if you've alerady done so, but have you raised your pups so that they are just below making contact with the strings? A quick pup adjustment makes a huge difference in volume. To kind of answer your other question; I don't know if the duncan designed pups on the jazz are more quiet than usual pups, but some quarter pounders (and I'm sure some other pups as well) are certainly louder than usual and would give you more volume... I don't think volume is a good reason to change pups though.
Couldn't it be that hes using a single 8ohm cab when the head has a maximum of 4ohm? So hes not getting the whole 600 watts anyway.

The old ABM300 I use for practice at a local studio is really easy to get the needle in the red, you have any of the volumes past 12 o' clock and it pretty much knocks it in the red and the light behind the VU meter starts to flicker, so I'm guessing that the new ones are made better.

Also +1 to jazzrockfeels comment about having the input lower than the output, its what I always do, that way you can have the input at about 10 o' clock and then the output at about 2 o' clock and you get a pretty good volume and as he said sounds 'smoother'

Musicman SUB 5
Ibanez SRX305
Ibanez GSR200
Ashdown MAG300 C115
Ashdown MAG 210 cab

Soon a Fender Deluxe Jazz V & an LTD 206
Plug it into the low input. The "high" input is for higher output basses such as active ones.
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IIRC the high output knocks the signal down by 15dB

Yeah, it has a higher resistance I believe, to even out the volume differences between active and passive basses so you don't have to adjust volumes when switching basses.
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