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clunkie66

Amp settings with active bass

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I have an active jazz bass playing through a TC Electronic RH450 head and an RS210 cab.

What should the optimal bass pre amp EQ settings be: flat, same as the head?

So in short, does the active bass tone control the amp, or vice versa.

Apologies if this is a basic question, or if I haven't articulated it properly.

Cheers!

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The thing to remember is the order in which your signal is going from you hitting a note to the sound coming out of your speakers. 

Everything starts with you plucking the note, which is then converted to a signal by a pickup to go through the preamp in your active bass, to the lead, to the eq section of your amp. If you have already eq'd on the bass then any additional eq you add on the amp will be on the already eq'd signal. This is fine, but you have to be careful not to do the same eq twice or in extreme cases, stop you from eq-ing frequencies that you have taken away on the bass. For example, if you scoop the sound on the bass then scoop the eq on the amp you will have probably scooped the sound twice as much as you meant to! 

I hope that this makes sense (someone will come along to say I'm wrong, but I kinda know what I mean)! I would suggest that you get your basic eq from the amp, then adjust the bass to suit the room. I think that is a simpler way to think about it, although there is no reason why you can't do it the other way round and keep the amp flat... 

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Guest Briton
Posted (edited)

?

Edited by Briton

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Personally, I find one of the advantages of an active bass with EQ controls is that it allows you to tweak the EQ between songs (or even mid-song) without having to turn around and fiddle with your amp. I generally set the amp flat and adjust EQ on the bass. That said, I sometimes have to set the EQ on the amp so suit the room (e.g. cut lows to avoid 'boom'). However, one of my favourite strategies is to set everything flat and use my right-hand position/picking technique to change the tone (picking close to the neck for a round bassy tone, or closer to the bridge for a brittle trebly tone).

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17 minutes ago, peteb said:

The thing to remember is the order in which your signal is going from you hitting a note to the sound coming out of your speakers. 

Everything starts with you plucking the note, which is then converted to a signal by a pickup to go through the preamp in your active bass, to the lead, to the eq section of your amp. If you have already eq'd on the bass then any additional eq you add on the amp will be on the already eq'd signal. This is fine, but you have to be careful not to do the same eq twice or in extreme cases, stop you from eq-ing frequencies that you have taken away on the bass. For example, if you scoop the sound on the bass then scoop the eq on the amp you will have probably scooped the sound twice as much as you meant to! 

I hope that this makes sense (someone will come along to say I'm wrong, but I kinda know what I mean)! I would suggest that you get your basic eq from the amp, then adjust the bass to suit the room. I think that is a simpler way to think about it, although there is no reason why you can't do it the other way round and keep the amp flat... 

Many thanks, that makes sense - I thought that was the case

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18 minutes ago, Briton said:

Although I don't have an Active Jazz bass I do use an active Musicman Stingray  with an TC Electronic BH250 amp, and have everything set to flat on the Amp and determine my tone via my Bass and pedals.

Remember to engage the Active toggle on the head when using your Active Jazz Bass.

I'm pretty sure that my amp doesn't have an active/passive toggle. It's an older model compared to yours

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I leave everything on the amp flat and control the tone through the active EQ on the bass.

Not that there's  a right or a wrong way to do these things.

 

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6 minutes ago, Cato said:

Not that there's  a right or a wrong way to do these things.

 

The best comment so far.  Just mess around till you get a tone you like and note the settings. 

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I leave the amp flat and adjust the input gain stage of the pre-amp so that it isn't clipping - I do tone fiddling on the bass knobs.

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2 minutes ago, Twigman said:

I leave the amp flat and adjust the input gain stage of the pre-amp so that it isn't clipping - I do tone fiddling on the bass knobs.

To illustrate the "there's no right or wrong" point, I tend to do the reverse - get the amp as close to the tone I want (and excellent point about clipping), and then use the eq on the bass for fine tuning.

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I'm more passive but i have the option on my Sadowsky and find the knobs on a bass harder to judge and tweak than knobs on my amp sitting in front of my eyeline .Add a active Di box in the mix as well

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I attempt to have gear that is a good match and sounds right when flat. Then I only need minor tweaks after that.

Extreme EQing and many changes usually means I've bought the wrong gear.

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Posted (edited)

When I buy any bass I set the eq to how I like it and this is what goes to the desk. If my FOH sound needs to be changed then that's the job of the mixing desk

Any tweeks that are made to the amp to change my on stage sound to prevent booming etc do not affect what goes out front as I have my amp set to output the DI pre-eq.

If you adjust the settings on your bass during the gig then you are changing what comes out front. Unless there is something specifically wrong with your FOH sound which cannot be fixed by adjusting the settings on the desk then you could be messing up the balance that you got when you did the soundcheck.

Edited by Delberthot

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I seemingly do the opposite to most here, I keep my preamps flat and EQ on the bass head.

It makes sense to me as I'm not a massive fan of the Bartolini preamp in my Flea bass (bass doesn't have any width and the treble Freq is far too high for a graphite neck bass IMO). The TC BH550 I use has superb and well thought out EQ points (it cuts and boost different frequencies on each tone knob, which is also a boon).

All amp for me!

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I set my amp up to get the sound I want from the bass with the most ‘limited’ onboard EQ - my passive Fender P.  Then if I do switch to an active bass I have plenty of adjustment to tweak it however required.

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I have a hartke lh500 which has the usual 3 nobs bass,teble,mids and I use a Ibanez sr500 which has the same active pre-amp nobs. so in essence I have 2 eqs.

As MrDavethe bass said you can change eq mid song if needed. it took me a while to fathom that out

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Amp flat for me too most of the time.  Only exception is for 2-band EQ where I might give the mids a tweak if needed.

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Posted (edited)

I start by setting the input on the amp to avoid clipping other than on absolute peaks - usually between 9 and 11 o clock dependent on the overall output volume I want - output usually set somewhere between 9 o clock and 12 o clock also, bass guitar volume about 75% (leaving some headroom). The output settings are also influenced by whether I'm using one or two speaker cabinets. 

Amp starts flat for me also - slight tweaks to suit the room/hall if necessary - final tone controlled from the bass - either EQ or playing intensity/position. For 3 band EQ I generally do fine adjustments using the mid range control and with 2 band EQ sometimes boosting mids on the amp a little.

I have sometimes cut the bass on the amp and boosted bass on the guitar (very effective with EBMM 2 band where the sound of the bass EQ is v nice!)

Edited by drTStingray

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On 5/16/2018 at 14:29, Briton said:

 

Remember to engage the Active toggle on the head when using your Active Jazz Bass.

 

I would not worry about that. It's merely a pad switch. The label seems to imply active = higher output, which is simply not true. Active and passive basses come in all sorts of outputs and there's no hard rule about it. For example, my Stingray is not particularly high output, it matches a passive Precision / Jazz quite well...  G&L L2000 in passive mode is one of the loudest things on  Earth,, louder than any active bass I've ever owned. Neodymium Entwistle pickups make any passive bass scream... etc. Of course, if you boost the low end control to max on active basses, you're probably going to overload a normal input... In other words, it's not active/passive... but down to individual designs and what you do with them too.

I always try the passive option first, and only if it overloads the input I switch to 'active' input. Engaging the 'active' input never sounds as nice, if the amp can take your bass in the 'passive' input, in my experience.

I prefer amps with simply an input gain control (many these days)... then you simply adjust the input gain to suit.

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 15:15, Cato said:

I leave everything on the amp flat and control the tone through the active EQ on the bass.

Not that there's  a right or a wrong way to do these things.

 

 

That's my approach too... but as you say, it's just what *I* do, not the right way. There is not right way but the way that works for you to give you the sound you want.

I tend to leave the amp flat, and use the onboard preamp to get me the sound I want to produce. I only adjust the amp controls to EQ for the individual environment (boomy stages? room characteristics if I'm not using PA support... etc)

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5 hours ago, mcnach said:

 

I would not worry about that. It's merely a pad switch. The label seems to imply active = higher output, which is simply not true. Active and passive basses come in all sorts of outputs and there's no hard rule about it. For example, my Stingray is not particularly high output, it matches a passive Precision / Jazz quite well...  G&L L2000 in passive mode is one of the loudest things on  Earth,, louder than any active bass I've ever owned. Neodymium Entwistle pickups make any passive bass scream... etc. Of course, if you boost the low end control to max on active basses, you're probably going to overload a normal input... In other words, it's not active/passive... but down to individual designs and what you do with them too.

I always try the passive option first, and only if it overloads the input I switch to 'active' input. Engaging the 'active' input never sounds as nice, if the amp can take your bass in the 'passive' input, in my experience.

I prefer amps with simply an input gain control (many these days)... then you simply adjust the input gain to suit.

 

agreed, it's largely just a pre-set level of gain adjustment, and really the only issue is the output level from the bass, and the fact that an active bass can boost it's level.

If I'm switching between active and passive basses during a set (tends not to happen very much these days) I tend to compensate elsewhere, usually an MXR Micro Amp in the chain to boost the passive signal.  The least fiddling that I have to do with the amp the better.

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