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jezzaboy

On board pre amp

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So I recently bought a Fender Player Jazz. Until Monday I had only used it in the house with a mixer and a small powered speaker. It sounded ok but when I played through an EBS head and Ampeg 6 x 10 at the rehearsal studio the sound was, uninspiring is the best way I can describe it, not punchy at all (I`m rubbish at describing tones btw!).

I could have put it down to the gear in the studio but I had also brought along a Ibby SR300 with the powerspan 3 band eq. With the settings the same on the amp (everything flat, bass and treble boosted slightly), using the active eq to give a bit of bass boost, the sound was so much better. Even the guitar player commented on the difference in the sound between the 2 basses which has never been known.

The Jazz - £615, was well and truly spanked by the SR - £232. I realise they are 2 completely types of  basses and I love the Jazz in every other way but it`s just not doing it for me sound wise. I have owned a couple of stand alone pre amps in the past (EHX Battalion, Sansamp) and I always moved them along and much prefer having the eq on the bass.

I was thinking of adding a East J tone pre amp at £150 which is a 2 band eq simplified J Retro with a passive option. Does have any experience with the East pre?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I spent a lot of money over the years chasing tone in different instruments. I think it’s a fool’s errand, to be honest. These days, if it does’t sound good with everything flat, I move it on. The EQ should be there to enhance an already fundamentally strong tone, not to try to hopefully uncover a silk purse, if you know what I mean.

Just a quick observation on your settings as described, you boost the low frequencies on the bass and the amp? Punch comes from mids and boosting lows is, effectively, turning down mids in the way the amp will try to make the sound and how your ear will effectively hear it. Try setting everything flat, everything, and adjust EQ according to the sound you want. I’d wager your Ibanez has a stronger mid presence than the Jazz, especially if you were running both pickups together which is a naturally mid-scooped sound anyway, and that’s why it felt like the Ibanez had more punch.

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I bought an American pro jazz about 18 months ago and was disappointed with the sound. However at a jam night recently I lent it to a mate for a song or two and in a band setting it sounded awesome! Since I bought it a number of people have commented on the great sound it makes and I thought they were mad but I began to realise that maybe I was looking for that magic tone that doesn’t really exist. Sometimes what we hear close to the amp is different from the sound ‘out front’

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The fundamental issue with active basses - well for me at least - was that the signal chain got muddied; you're piling an active signal from the bass into an amplifiers pre-stage, which is adding more tonal characteristics to the signal path, before you're actually amplifying anything.  By virtue of what the active bass does means you simply don't dial up everything to 100% like you would a passive bass.

I've owned two active five strings...a Streamer and a Bongo, plus a Fender Jazz with a John East fitted.  When I was recording, these had a nice tone straight into the desk, but in a live/rehearsal environment you just end up tweaking and tweaking until everything was full on and it's just mush.   Irrespective of whether it's bass or guitar, god knows how people run mutli-FX/boards into the front of a head and wonder why it sounds awful; I played with a guy once, nice guitar into a Fender Twin Reverb.  He bought a processor of some kind, Yamaha I think, and ran an overdriven sound from that into his already overdriven amp and he went from great to horrific in one jam.  He just could grasp that distortion into distortion just didn't work..

Its really a case of less is more...small tweaks; it's a fine balancing act.

 

Edited by NancyJohnson
I must stop replying to threads on the mobile.

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I wouldn't even be worrying about the active preamp. A 'good' preamp won't fix a bad sounding bass (and I am not a believer in that much of a difference in preamps, but that is because I play flat) and it sounds more like the pickups are uninspiring.

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24 minutes ago, skidder652003 said:

Try changing the strings before you spend serious money.

Yep, I love pretty much everything Fender aside from the stock strings that come on their basses. First thing I do with a new Fender I’d swap the strings and the bass then comes alive.

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I wonder if it is just a Jazz bass thing, I find a Jazz very uninspiring sounding when I am close to the amp, yet I hear one at normal gig listening distance and it is a different beast all together, I pretty much never gig my Jazz as I am not confident I will be able to hear it onstage unlike a Precision, but on the rare occasion I have gigged it people have commented on how good it sounds.....does that make any sense?

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9 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Yep, I love pretty much everything Fender aside from the stock strings that come on their basses. First thing I do with a new Fender I’d swap the strings and the bass then comes alive.

Spot on Lozz. I put a fresh set of Ernie Ball cobalt strings the first day I got it. I`m going to live with the Jazz a while longer and at the first chance I will stick it through my own rig and take the advice re the mids. Thanks for all the advice!

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I'm guessing Berkeley by the gear description. 

Out of curiosity did you change the active / passive switch on the amp when changing basses from passive to active.

If not you might find the amp was being driven harder because of the active circuit. It gives those EBS heads quite a kick when playing like that.

Dave

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Correct Dave, Berkeley it was indeed.

When I plugged in the Ibby, I just turned down the gain until the red light was only going on at the loudest point.

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