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Thread: What to avoid in an amp, when one has a preamp (LR Baggs Venue)

  1. #1

    Default What to avoid in an amp, when one has a preamp (LR Baggs Venue)

    I tried looking but was unable to really get a grasp.

    If one has a high quality preamp with good EQ and feedback killing tools, like the LR Baggs Venue, does the investment sort of save money in another place, when buying an amp? Effects and loops, several channels etc. are another thing, but are there other things one could do well to avoid, in order to buy a simpler, sonically higher quality amp with the same money, as opposed to an amp with more properties? Any examples?

    I mean, it has to be a combo amp anyway, right? And possibly doesn't have to have massive EQ-capabilities, right? Anything else? Something power-related?

    To put it another way, what benefits are there in plugging an uke though such a preamp into an acoustic preamp that would welcome high-impedance signals too? Of course, to have EQ beneath your feet (or the tuner or the boost of the LR), but ignoring that. Being able to use a longer cable (preamp -> amp)? To have a close approximation of how your uke needs to be EQ'd with any acoustic amplifier you come across?

    I suppose the issue is different with (electric guitar,) bass and keyboard amps (that some people like, at least as a secondary choice), since they're not meant for high-impedance outputs, and couldn't be used without the preamp very succesfully anyway?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't think about it in terms of what to avoid but in terms of your particular needs and preferences. You can go out from the preamp into an acoustic combo amp, a standalone amplifier (which then goes into a separate speaker cabinet), powered PA speaker or mixer/PA combo. It sounds like you're looking for simple no-frills, high-fidelity solution, so your best option is probably some sort of powered PA speaker on a stand. Which speaker best suits your needs depends on several factors:

    1. What is/are your venue(s)? Size, headcount, type of venue, etc. are all relevant factors.
    2. What unique aspects of your rig does your speaker solution need to accommodate? Additional instruments (including vocals), specific input channel requirements, etc. need to be considered.
    3. What do you desire the audience to experience? What aspects of the sound of your instrument(s) are most important to your music?
    4. What is your budget? PA loudspeakers range in cost from $200-$4000. Knowing your budget can help narrow the field considerably.

    Once you know the answer to these questions, I'd be glad to share some specific recommendations.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  3. #3
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    The LR Baggs Venue DI (I own one) helps with input to the amp only. In other words it helps to correct the deficiencies of the pickup and electronic sound coming from your ukulele. The Venue DI does not have any enhancements like reverb, chorus, delay or compression. A good acoustic amp has some or all of those.

    Think of it this way with a home stereo system. It doesn’t matter how good your receiver is if you have crappy speakers you get crappy sound. I own three amps of varying sound quality , Blackstar Fly, Yamaha THR 5A and Fishman Loudbox mini. Same uke, same Venue DI the Fishman gives better sound by a mile.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  4. #4

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    Put it this way: are there amps designed for preamplified and EQ'd signal? I guess I'm imagining two amps: one having a (complex) EQ, one not, otherwise quite similar, but they cost the same. Where has manufacturer of the EQ-featuring amp cut costs? Or is a (complex) EQ such an expensive thing to build in an amp anyway? Or a notch filter or a phase switcher or a high-quality high-impedance input (though they are quite standard, unless I'd get a keyboard amp?), for that matter?

    Or is it that money can buy mainly those effects mentioned? I'm not saying I would mind joking around with them, and they are something the preamp can't do.

    I really don't know much about amps.

    My needs are not for big venues, smallish rooms with a band, more like.

  5. #5

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    I imagine an amp review that says something like "good price, good build quality, good acoustic sound, (good effects), but EQ/notch filter/phase switch/high-impedance output is bad/useless/missing", and I would be like "I've got those covered, I can live with that."

  6. #6
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    Sounds like the OP wants a powered speaker or powered extension speaker. It's a rare beast but they exist. I have a Trace Elliot Power Cube designed for input from a preamp/direct box and indeed it sounds great with direct output from my Trace TAP 1 or Fishman Aura.

  7. #7
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    I think I follow your question.......if I spend money on a complex expensive preamp/DI like the Baggs Venue will it allow me to buy a lesser expensive amp and get great results. The answer is maybe but not really!!! What ukulele do you own and what pick up is in it.

    A preamp helps with eliminating certain frequencies or enhancing others. Certain types of pick ups have inherent flaws in sound quality. A piezo can sound quacky, a sound board transducer can sound muddy. A preamp can cut and boost certain frequencies to improve the signal going into the amp/speaker. But it is the amp/speaker that ultimately produces the actual sound.

    Get a Behringer Acoustic ADI 21 preamp/DI for $30.00, I own one and use it more then the Venue. The $270.00 saved can go towards an amp/speaker of your choice.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  8. #8

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    I have Flight Juliana, a full acoustic concert without any pickup. I liked the sound way more than any other uke I tried at the local shops (at least under 400€). I have a KNA UK-1 pick-up for it, so I can get away cheap, simple and not get intrusive. Contact mics seemed worse, uglier and stickier, and I'm a bit too afraid of other instruments feeding back to the kind of clip-on mics you can install inside the uke. Not sure if a notch filter or a phase switch can deal with that either, since they come from different sources? They're clearly more expensive, too.

    With the preamp I kinda went the easy-but-relatively-expensive way out: a highly-praised, sturdy thing with a gain display and all, easy enough to operate for a newbie. A boost pedal and everything. And if I get off sounds here and there from my pickup, there's many choices of getting rid of them.

    The powered speaker is probably the thing I am looking for, thanks for verbalizing me, gochugogi! But if they are such a rare species, maybe the larger supply of acoustic combo amps makes them cheap in comparison, on the other hand, overpowering the money saving aspect? Probably the amps are also lighter and smaller and have less components to break too, but I wonder what the real choices are. At least the mentioned Trace Elliot seems to have discontinued their line?

  9. #9
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    I am sorry I did not know you already bought the LR Baggs Venue DI, it’s a fantastic unit. Powered speakers are plentiful, go to Sweetwaters website and search them. I think gochgogi was referring to powered extension speaker as being rare, his second recommendation.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  10. #10

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    Just to be clear: The powered speakers we're talking about here are a different animal than Genelecs and the sort one uses for home stereo system, for example? At least we're talking about a single unit, with a sturdy box and such, and are the impedance/voltage things also different?

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