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Gain vs Main Volume


xhawk4

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How can I set my gain and main volume for clarity and headroom and not distortion? Is it volume up high and turn gain til it hits clipping? Or is gain til I hit clip then tweek up the mains??

Thanks,

Hawk :thu:

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I put my preamp gain at 12 or 1 o'clock. then I set the master volume at the needed level. generally I don't think it is best to put preamp gain at more than 1 o'clock. use the master volume or poweramp volume to get it louder after that. but if you have to turn it more than 3/4's or to near clipping you probably need a more powerful amp.
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The level of the pre amp gain will be entirely determined by the size of the output of your bass and what you do in the eq section on the amp. Set the pre amp gain to the point where it clips only if you really lay into the note. Then set the master volume to the desired level.

 

Someone on the forum can feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but the pre amp gain, actually sits after the eq section. (It does on my amp anyway.) In effect it will act as a "make up" gain, that you might see on a compressor. Excessive cutting and dicking around with the eq can have an adverse effect on the strength of the signal.

 

Don't be concerned if you have to have the pre amp gain up quite high. It may be that your eq settings are sucking signal strength. Or it may be that the signal coming from your bass isn't huge.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Originally posted by Jay J.:

I put my preamp gain at 12 or 1 o'clock. then I set the master volume at the needed level. generally I don't think it is best to put preamp gain at more than 1 o'clock. use the master volume or poweramp volume to get it louder after that. but if you have to turn it more than 3/4's or to near clipping you probably need a more powerful amp.

There really isn't any basis for this. If you have a quiet bass with a low output feel free to crank the gain up to max or until you hear it clipping. If you have a tube preamp you might like to turn the gain up to you get a bit of tubey clipping which tends to fatten up and compress the sound. If you've got a loud active bass you may have to set the gain at barely above 0 to avoid overdriving the preamp.

 

Originally posted by NickT:

The level of the pre amp gain will be entirely determined by the size of the output of your bass and what you do in the eq section on the amp. Set the pre amp gain to the point where it clips only if you really lay into the note. Then set the master volume to the desired level.

 

Someone on the forum can feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but the pre amp gain, actually sits after the eq section. (It does on my amp anyway.) In effect it will act as a "make up" gain, that you might see on a compressor. Excessive cutting and dicking around with the eq can have an adverse effect on the strength of the signal.

 

Don't be concerned if you have to have the pre amp gain up quite high. It may be that your eq settings are sucking signal strength. Or it may be that the signal coming from your bass isn't huge.

The preamp gain is usually (always?) before the EQ section. However if you have a signal strength meter (as I do on my SWR GP) that may be after the EQ section so by cutting or boosting the EQ you'll change the level going into the power amp.

 

If you want a really clean sound turn the gain up until you hear clipping on your loudest notes and then turn the gain back down a little. And as Nick said, you may need to have the preamp gain quite high - it's not dangerous to turn the gain way up, you won't damage anything and it may be what you need to be able to drive the power amp to decent volumes without loads of hiss.

 

Alex

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I play in a LOUD blues and funk band. I treat my GK1001RB like a PA set up. I crank the master volume on max, and vary the gain control between 11 and 1 o'clock to get the perfect range of volume I need.

 

This gives me gobs of clean volume and headroom through my SWR 4x10 cab.

 

At the last gig we played, a sound guy who happened to be in the audience, came up to the stage after our sound check and was staring at my amp. I said hello and asked him what was up, thinking he had heard something he didn't like, and he just said... "nothin's up, I was just checking out what the hell you're using to power your bass cab".

 

:thu:

 

P.S.

 

I'm running a single 8 ohm cab, and my EQ is set pretty much flat right across, and my boost and enhance controls are at 12 o'clock.

 

If you try this with a 4ohm cab and/or lots of boost in the EQ, you will probably clip and distort.

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Originally posted by NickT:

Set the pre amp gain to the point where it clips only if you really lay into the note. Then set the master volume to the desired level.

 

Bingo. This is my method, and I'm sticking to it!

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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If you're thinking like PA man, you should adjust your rig for the best possible gain structure.

 

What this means is that you want to amplify the SIGNAL as much as possible, and keep NOISE (hiss, hum, etc) as unamplified as possible.

 

Example: If you set your bass volume very low, your input gain really low, and then turn your master volume up really loud to compensate, two things happen...you don't hear the whole dynamic range of your bass, and you end up amplifying a LOT OF HISS.

 

Here's how I do it: I turn my bass volume all the way up. I then adjust my input gain as high as I can without clipping (unless I'm going for an overdrive sound). Then I set my master volume to the absolute maximum amount of level I want to have on a gig.

 

After that, I rarely adjust my volume for dynamics, I just play lighter or harder.

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Basically two roads to the same path.

 

I have my bass volume controls maxed, the master maxed (because I am competing on stage with a loud drummer, a Laney, and Mesa Dual Rectifier), and I generally adjust the gain to the mid-point.

 

It's loud, clean, and no clipping lights a flashing.

 

:D

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Originally posted by Edendude:

Basically two roads to the same path.

 

I have my bass volume controls maxed, the master maxed (because I am competing on stage with a loud drummer, a Laney, and Mesa Dual Rectifier), and I generally adjust the gain to the mid-point.

 

It's loud, clean, and no clipping lights a flashing.

 

:D

However, I suspect that you can only do this because both your bass and preamp have nice low noise floors. With a cheaper set up you'd be likely to encounter problems doing this because by not raising the gain much at the preamp stage and thus leaving a relatively small difference between the signal level and noise level the amount of noise coming out of the power amp will be much greater than if you raised the preamp level well above the noise floor and then amplified that to a lesser degree with the power amp.

 

I (sort of) do the same as you but have an extra stage (or two) in my setup. I set the gain on my SWR GP on the edge of clipping, turn my Mackie M1400i to max and then use the master volume on the SWR to control the level. (And then there's the always on compresser before the GP whch has its own gain and master controls)...

 

Alex

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Here's how I do it: I turn my bass volume all the way up. I then adjust my input gain as high as I can without clipping (unless I'm going for an overdrive sound). Then I set my master volume to the absolute maximum amount of level I want to have on a gig.

 

After that, I rarely adjust my volume for dynamics, I just play lighter or harder.

I do this, basically, then for better headroom, I go into the Low Gain jack of my Peavey TNT115. I get my overdrive/distortion sounds from either the DigiTech BP200, BOSS HM-3 Hyper Metal, or my Ibanez TS7 TubeScreamer, depending on the music. My Peavey's no good in the overdriven dept. Likes to play clean.
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C...

 

Yes, that's true what you're saying about gain-staging, but in my set-up, when I run the pre-amp gain at around 1 o'clock, I'm just starting to see clipping, so in actual fact, my gain-staging is pretty much optimized at between 11 and 1 o'clock on the pre-amp side.

 

I think the main thing that allows me to run the power amp of the GK1001RB on absolute max, is the fact that I'm going into an 8 ohm 4x10 cab. If I were running a 4 ohm nominal load, it would all be a different story.

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