View Full Version : Kala U-Bass, 2012(no pre-amp) or 2013(with pre-amp) model

09-05-2013, 09:00 PM
Dear all,
the Kala U-bass 2013 models all come with on-board pre-amp.
Does anyone know whether it is better than the 2012 model without the pre-amp?
I have heard that the pre-amp in the 2013 models are not exactly very useful. What is your opinion?

I am debating whether I should get the newer model.
Thanks a lot.

09-06-2013, 03:00 PM
anyone has any opinion?

09-06-2013, 07:25 PM
What is a "pre-amp"?

All I know is that the pickup with volume knob requires a is an "active" pick-up; and the other kind with no volume and no power source in the instrument is a passive pickup.

Is a pre-amp the same thing as an active pick-up?

09-07-2013, 12:53 AM
Depends on whether your amp has a built in pre-amp and eq. Passive pickups require some "impedance matching" for many amps and may require an external one if not built into the amp. Many examples of the L.I. Baggs parametric eq have been given for regular ukes, well, there's also one for bass also.
Other brands as well.

09-07-2013, 03:33 PM
I'm not sure if this will be much help, since I have the older type (no controls, just a plug-in), and it works fine with every amp I've used it with. A Roland Micro-cube bass and a Vox Mini3, both battery or AC, and an Acoustic as well as a couple of others I've plugged it into.

When the new ones came out, I first thought "great, now I need one with controls", but after thinking about it, I doubt I'd have ever used them. For multi-instruments, there's usually an equalizer involved anyway, plus the other instrument will usually have a volume control, so you can adjust the amp output to the bass, and use the volume on the other instrument to balance them.

However, I not really an accomplished bass player, so the ability to change volume a lot from the instrument really isn't so important...in fact, I can't think of when I needed it. Better players may need that option, I don't know.

Mine's the spruce top with the stock Pahoehoe strings, which I like a lot, other than they generally need tuning up on a regular basis. I'm sort of glad I got it before there were so many choices, as it works well, and is a lot of fun. Seeing so many solid mahogany ones around made me think maybe I should spend the extra, but since the unamplified sound is irrelevant except for practice anyway, I couldn't figure out why it would really make any difference other than aesthetic or just knowing one had the more expensive model.

There may be other changes, like it looks like they may have done away with the "back door" for string changing (?), but I didn't look all that close. But for just the preamp or controls alone, it would not be a worthwhile change for me.

09-09-2013, 06:23 AM
Dear all, thank you for all your feedback.

Jon Moody
09-09-2013, 06:53 AM
It's really about control of your signal.

With the 2012 models (I had a Hutch Hutchinson sig), the pickup is wired directly into the input jack. This gives you a direct signal, that for a piezo pickup, may or may not be ideal. You can remedy this - to a point - with the EQ on your amp, but like was mentioned above, you're going to need something to match the impedence of the piezos. However, for a doubler (one that plays electric and upright basses, oftentimes on the same gig), having an amp setting dialed in specifically for the U-Bass and then having to change it for the electric was not an option. I went for a preamp for the U-Bass to help dial in the sound well before hitting the amp.

So with that, I'd definitely go for a 2013 model of U-Bass, in order to get the onboard preamp.

King David
09-27-2013, 08:45 AM
Buy your bass based(pun) upon the best pickup, who cares if it's solid or not and the laminates don't require humidification. Only the Kala 2013 "Rumbler" model has the proprietary active pickup - and if you ever plan on running it through a less then ideal bass amp(cheap one) deff go with that one.