Will Any Bass Knob Work With Any Amp?

Norvan Martin
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Ever had that thought, “Will any old bass knob work just right with my amp?” Well, in this article, we will explore this question in depth. But, that’s not all! We will also discuss what makes a bass knob compatible with different amplifiers and how to ensure that they work together seamlessly in your car audio system.

So, will any bass knob work with any amp? The short answer is no, you cannot use any bass knob with any amp. This is especially true if you are working with bass knobs from amps made by separate manufacturers because most manufacturers make bass knobs to work with specific amplifiers only. If the knobs are from amps made by the same manufacturer and the amps are similar, it might work, but we still wouldn’t recommend it.

There are several other options that you can look at such as an RCA knob or a universal bass knob. Let’s look at these options.

Why Not Every Bass Knob Works with Every Amplifier

Many people ask are all bass knobs the same. In general, the truth is that while knobs from amplifiers from the same manufacturer will often work, another manufacturer’s knob will NOT work in most cases.

For example, you cant use an Audiobahan knob with a Kicker. It simply won’t work because Audiobahan does not use the standard phone jack plugs while most Kicker amps take standard plugs.

Audiobahan knob

There are many other reasons for this. The most important one is that the circuitry and signals passed from the knob to the amp is often the same for the same brand and often have the same physical characteristics.

However, across brands, the circuitry is normally different with different voltage levels, current demand, and different overall logic.

What if you are switching knobs for the same brands? So, if your amp is popular, say for example a  Rockford/JL, then you can probably try a knob off eBay where you will find plenty of them.

However, for a brand that is not as popular, for example, MB Quart, you may have problems finding a proper knob. However, we do not recommend this.

If you try to switch knobs even with the same brand, you might get lucky and it just doesn’t work. However, you might be unlucky and short something out inside the amp and damage the device. The fact is, it’s simply not worth the risk.

What To Do If You Need A Bass Knob?

So what’s your best option?

So is a bass knob necessary? Well, the quickest and easiest solution to this problem is to simply set the gains all the way down. Once you do this, you really won’t have to think or worry about touching the bass knob ever again!

Why?

Because with the gain knob, you’re turning down and turning up just the bass.

1. Use A Standard RCA Level Control Knob

Another excellent option is a standard RCA level control knob. Depending on your budget, you will find the Pac audio makes good RCA knobs, for example, the Pac  lC1 is a very common one and very affordable.

Did you know that some manufacturers such as Memphis use knobs that go through the RCAs as the 3rd party “universal” ones work?

Typically, RCAs will amplify or completely cut off your bass. It’s quite nice and will work with any amp. However, if you decide to go that route, you will need a short RCA cable to go from your HU to the knob. You will also need a cable from your knob to your amp.

Another option is to simply go on your manufacturer’s website and find a dealer in your area where you can purchase the knob.

2. Use A Universal Bass Control Knob

There are quite a few car audio makers out there who have come up with all-purpose bass controls that work pretty well with just about any amplifier you can find.

Now, one of the best universal bass control knobs is the CT Sounds Universal Bass Knob. This little gadget has some seriously cool patented tech crammed into it.

Universal Bass Knobs

The thing is, it does something that many other bass controls can’t pull off – it works smoothly and perfectly with nearly every amplifier on the shelves. This is why it’s a pretty popular and very good choice.

There are other universal bass control knobs on the market, but they normally have issues. The issue I found with these is that they hook up with RCAs to the line-ins on the HU. The problem with this is that I’m still working with my stock deck for a few months. As such, many won’t work.

Best Universal Bass Control Knobs

1. CT Sounds Universal Bass Knob with Digital Volt Meter

The guys at CT Sounds know just how critical it is to monitor your car audio amplifier voltage to prevent damage to all your car audio equipment.

Installing a separate bass knob is a good prevention tactic. The solution to this is the CT Sounds Universal Bass Knob. This device offers remote gain control, a rotary pushable on-off switch, and a digital voltmeter display.

Features:

  • Digital Voltmeter
  • Rotary Pushable ON/OFF & Gain Control Knob for Amp
  • Digital Voltmeter 
  • Compatible with Most Head Units/Amp Combinations
  • In-dash/Under-dash mountable

2. JL Audio HD-RLC Amplifier Remote Level

The JL Audio HD-RLC Amplifier Remote Level is an excellent remote-level controller that works with JL Audio’s HD Series and XD Series amplifiers.

It also works with many marine amps. The great advantage is that you can manage your level settings from the front of your vehicle. So, it controls your amplifier’s level, not its “bass boost”.

In other words, you maintain the same bass quality as you turn the volume up and down. That simply means it acts as an attenuator on the input gain of the amplifier.


My Experience with Bass Knobs

I had a cool little MB Quart amplifier, newly bought. It’s a cool device, you can check it out here. The amplifier was connected to multiple speakers. Anyway, after about a week, the bass knob disappeared. Who knows where it went?

It’s a regular MB Quart amp and the control connects directly to the amp with a telephone jack.

So, I wondered to myself, could I just pick up another knob, say one made from one of my old Rockford or JL amps that has the same telephone jack connection, and use that connection instead?

FAQs

Does a bass knob make a difference?

Definitely, a bass knob does make a difference. A bass can truly enhance your car’s audio experience. It offers the advantage of tweaking the bass output on the go, granting you to fine-tune the sound level according to your preference while playing music.

This fast and simple modification ability ensures that you can adjust the bass response for different kinds of music and personal tastes without needing access to amplifier settings or browsing through intricate menus. It boosts your command over the audio experience and can significantly improve your pleasure of your vehicle’s audio system.

Can you use a different brand bass knob?

No, you cannot always use a bass knob from a different brand with your amplifier because they may not be compatible. Different brands and models frequently have varying protocols and voltage levels for their bass controls.

Trying to interchange without verifying compatibility can result in problems or it may not even function at all. It’s very important to look into the manufacturer’s specifications and suggestions to see if a bass from another brand will function optimally with your amplifier.

In several cases, it’s advisable to use the same brand or models endorsed by your amplifier’s maker as this ensures smooth operation and peak performance.

Can you use one bass knob for two amps?

Absolutely, it’s possible to manage two amplifiers with a single bass in your car sound system. To make this happen, you would generally use a Y-splitter cable that breaks the bass output into two distinct signals, each directed to its own amplifier.

This configuration can be helpful if your objective is to maintain uniform bass control for several subwoofers or speakers that are powered by varied amplifiers. This enables you to tweak the bass volumes concurrently. It’s crucial though, to check that the specifications and impedance of the bass align with both amplifiers’ requirements to ensure top-notch performance.

What does a bass knob connect to?

A bass knob is linked to the amplifier of your vehicle’s sound system. More precisely, it is associated with the amplifier’s subwoofer or bass output channel. This link allows you to effortlessly tweak the strength of the bass output.

The knob can be used to adjust the bass level directed towards your subwoofer or speakers, allowing you to personalize your vehicle’s audio experience based on your music tastes and surroundings.

Utilizing a bass knob gives you the benefit of making instant changes without having to modify amplifier configurations, resulting in greater management of the sound output.

 

Conclusion

So what’s the bottom line? Will any bass knob work with any amp? Can you take another manufacturer’s bass control and add it to another amplifier?

The answer is no. However, for amplifiers of the same manufacturer and of similar power capacity, this may work. However, we certainly don’t recommend it.

Simply put, if you can’t get the same exact knob, then get yourself an RCA level control knob, a universal bass knob, or just set the gain knob instead!

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin