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Thread: Preamp too powerfull?

  1. #1

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    Preamp too powerfull?

    Hello everyone. I'm a Stingray 5 special HH from 2018 owner and I have a question regarding the overall sound of the bass.
    When I plug this bass whether in my amp or worse in my audio interface with a DI, the sound of the "bass", I mean the low frequencies is WAY TOO powerfull. The bass knobs are all in the "neutral" position right at 50%. It's not a problem for the mids, the treeble are a little too high, but it's probably how the stingray should sound but the bass... even at 50% it's already way too powerfull.
    I have to well cut it 100% on the bass or almost cut it 100% on my DI to have a decent useable sound.
    Did I do something wrong? Is there a problem with my bass, or is it the way the new stingray is supposed to work?

    I ask this question cause I own another bass which is an active jazz-style bass, and I can totally do what I want with the preamp without blasting the headphones.
    I can't even imagine boosting the bass with the know on my stingray...

    Thanks for the help

  2. #2

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    They are powerful, that’s the nature of the beast especially on the newer 18v pres.
    Check your pickup height, there is factory spec as a reference point but I generally set mine a tad lower, (especially the neck pickup) and never dime the volume pot. 65-75% is max.
    Nice bass btw

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005.LE
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    Bongo 5HH. Firemist Purple. 2019
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  3. #3

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    Welcome to the Stingray!! The E/A strings will always overpower the D/G strings. It's got power and I'm pretty sure it's designed that way. It's that low end punch that is the "sound" of the SR.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    I see, so it's very different from an active/passive bass where the active switch doens't change that much the sound before messing with the knob.
    I realise that my HH configuration was a bit too high, especially the neck pickup, i'll check that first before doing anything else.

    The bass itself is sounding great, I was just a bit surprise how loud and powerful it was with just "the neutral 50% position". It seems it doesn't really apply here where turning the bass know lower than 50% won't make the sound "hollow" or empty like my other basses.
    I just have to get over the fact that I'll probably have to set up my amp/preamp DI a different way when I use this bass

  5. #5

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    This would be one reason why a compressor is really popular with bass guitars. The thicker strings, especially above the 5th frets, can put out a HUGE amount of signal, which can overload things down the line.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMStingray View Post
    The bass itself is sounding great, I was just a bit surprise how loud and powerful it was with just "the neutral 50% position".
    Both my Bongos are the same. The 4H took me a long while to get my head around the set up of not going much further than centre dent. There is a lot on offer

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005.LE
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    Bongo 5HH. Firemist Purple. 2019
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  7. #7

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    And they toned DOWN the preamp, fearing that people would always want to turn them up to 100 percent and knowing that would cause rioting and so on.

    Active basses are very different from passive basses and Music Man basses are about as active as they come.

    Learn to love your knobs and as has been said before, don't dime them all at once if you don't want to kill Godzilla.

  8. #8

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    The big surprise for me was being comfortable with the Stingray, then getting my first Bongo (4H)-- That thing was so hot I thought something must have been wrong with my amp, or my Ray LOL!

    Only real downside is once you get the hang of it, all your passive basses will feel lacking
    “Most of all, play with joy. Therein you'll find the Way.” ~Philip Toshio Sudo
    Stingray Special 4HH Aqua Sparkle (2018)
    Stingray Special 4HH Black (2019)
    Bongo 4H Firemist Purple (2018)

  9. #9

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    I have a 3-band on my Stingray and it took me a long time to finally figure out that it's about the furthest thing possible from the typical Baxandall circuit, where centered = flat (no boost, no cut). You have to sweep aside everything you know about typical cut/boost controls, and start again with a fresh mental slate. If you don't, you're going to wind up with a tone that's driver-shredding muddy, along with lots of high-mid and treble glassiness and zing.

    The secret, for me anyway, was to cut, not boost. And by "cut," I mean severely cut.

    This is my personal baseline, for an HS with all coils active:

    Treble: full CCW (counter-clockwise)
    Mid: 10%-20% up from full CCW
    Bass: 10%-20% up from full CCW

    For the past few days my settings have been, again with all coils active:

    Treble: full CCW
    Mid: full CCW
    Bass: 10% up from full CCW

    Sounds great in a mix, and needs almost no external EQ. Now obviously this is not the signature Stingray sound. It's more of a commercial/general-purpose sound. But it's also proof that double-pickup Stingrays can do pretty much anything.

    Off topic, I think EBMM could do the community a huge service by publishing the EQ curves of older and newer preamps at various tone settings -- 10 degree rotation increments for example. In my opinion, keeping it some Inscrutable Dark Secret all these years hasn't done anyone any good at all. What it has done, however, is generate frustration-driven sales on the used market, and I know that for a fact. Every one of those sales was a potential purchase out of New Stock.

  10. #10

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    There’s something about “cutting” that goes against the grain, makes you reluctant to do it, does anyone REALLY do it ? I mean, set everything from centre dent and it’s always ADD something rather than subtract something to meet something else. It’s just human nature, well bass player nature

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005.LE
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    Bongo 5HH. Firemist Purple. 2019
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  11. #11

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    What you say is so true.

    I think it's a mindset thing. It often helps to think, "What do I want LESS of," rather than, "What do I want MORE of."

    I used to fight these battles all the time with incompetent sound-reinforcement people. In almost every instance their curves were all boost, and the Qs far too narrow, the result looking like a ripsaw blade and the result sounding super notchy, with some notes on the fretboard jumping out like firecracker explosions and other notes (nearby ones, too!) totally absent.

    Unless you're "pinking out" a room, it's all about wide Qs and cut-only. (Well, for the most part. That's if the room HAS already been normalized). But it goes so opposite what people are used to doing, they just won't listen. I mean, perish the thought they should try something new and learn something. O the horror...


  12. #12

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    It doesn’t make logical sense really. The general inability to cut in order to boost.
    Say you have a passive bass, completely remove the volume pot and wire it straight, pickup to jack plug and it’s set to maximum output. The addition of a “dial” is to be able to turn it down not up, that’s the mechanics of it. Mentality of it is to number it 1-10 and turn up !?!?
    I have to remind myself of this as turning something down to turn something else up, in the heat of it all it’s never my first thought

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005.LE
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    Bongo 5HH. Firemist Purple. 2019
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  13. #13

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    Me too. But I have this almost rabid desire to understand where "true flat" is on anything I have to deal with.

    For instance, Gallien-Krueger amps. Backline 600 flat settings are, left to right (i.e. treble, hi mid, lo mid, bass): 10:00, 1:00, 11:00, 9:00. MB800: 11:00, 1:00, 1:00, 10:30. Set all those controls to noon (which one might assume is true flat), and you get a major mid-scoop. An MB200 with all its tone controls set at noon gives a 10 dB (!) boost at about 70 Hz with a Q of about 1.4, with a 0 dB reference point of approximately 700 Hz. That's a huge, narrow-bandwidth boost. The same setting also gives an 8 dB boost at approximately 9 KHz with a Q of about 1.1 -- still narrow for a tone control, not to mention that a 9 KHz center frequency isn't of much use in the bass guitar world, even for slap.

    And then of course there's the typical Fender tone stack, where one is likely to find true flat with the mid control dimed, the treble control completely off, and the bass control just barely up from full CCW -- I mean no more than maybe five degrees of rotation. Lots of amp manufacturers use some variant of that passive scheme. I had a Hartke LH500 in for a flaky input jack repair. The guy told me he planned to sell it as soon as I fixed it because he just couldn't get the sound he wanted from it. I told him to start at 0-10-0, then turn the bass control up just a smidge. He kept the amp and is still using it.

    I've bought BBE B-Max preamps for almost nothing because, again, users just couldn't wrap their heads around where true flat is on Fender-scheme passive tone circuits.

    But, back to EBMM... I've seen so many SRs "wearing for sale signs" simply because the owners were shy about running the tone controls down to nothing. They loved the construction, the hardware, the playability. But they just couldn't get a generic commercial tone out of the things. For H models, of course I can understand; there's only so much you can do with a PU mounted that close to the bridge. But HH and HS models... There's so much untapped potential and flexibility in those instruments. Damn shame, really.

    Today I've been running my HS with all three tone controls full CCW. Man, what a nice, balanced sound. And you don't really appreciate it until you play along with music. That's another point I wanted to make: You can't really judge an instrument's tone absent the context in which it typically operates. For instance, I have three Precisions that sound slightly crap when soloed, even after the mods I did. But put them in a mix, and suddenly there's magic. Same thing with the HS off-off-off tone setting I've been using today. Sounds sort of dull and lacking character all alone, but start the music, and... Oh yeah! Fills lots of space, the harmonic structure is perfect re. placement and breadth, but at the same time the instrument doesn't disappear into the mix and become invisible.

    And, for MMStingray, the average output of the instrument drops by at least 50% (swag).

    Cheers!

  14. #14

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    That’s a lot of interesting reading!
    Centre dent, Flat spot, it’s just the reference for, in my understanding, A good place to start !

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
    StingRay 4H. Buttercreme. 2005.LE
    StingRay 4H. ”SunBlue”. 2005
    Bongo 4H. Sapphire Black. 2005
    Bongo 5HH. Firemist Purple. 2019
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE amps...

    https://www.facebook.com/DanSmithBassist/

  15. #15

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    I am so thankful to find this thread. I bought two SRSs, one H the other HH (sold the H eventually). The HH is amazing but then I shredded my 2x10 and blamed the hot signal. I then bought a passive 5 with single coils and felt I solved the problem. But then I bothered to research the point of such a powerful preamp and eventually got to this thread. So helpful.

    This video below is also super helpful for perspective on the SR's active and passive sound ranges. Basically the guy suggests that a tone resembling passive basses arises from a third of of zero on the EQ knobs, on his particular vintage SR. So flat on his SR is still a much stronger signal than his passive signal (he installed a passive switch). Imagine what it must be on the new preamps....

    How to find a neutral 2-Band EQ position on an old Music Man StingRay Bass which equals passive mode - YouTube
    Last edited by acolwe; 05-10-2021 at 08:34 AM.

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