Ehrlund, Schertler or DPA
Hi everyone. I recently purchased a new (to me) bass and am considering upgrading my 'pickup' to something better for arco. I really like having the option for playing arco with a few groups I play with but with a piezzo such as the Planet Wing pickup that I am using now it sounds (as expected) awful. I am looking to upgrading to a microphone/contact mic/transducer. There are a couple options out there and I am having trouble narrowing down which is right for me.
I know there are separate threads for a few of these but I'm hoping someone out there has tried multiples and can help me compare/contrast them.
Here is what I am considering so far:
Ehrlund: I've heard lots of good things about this pickup, great arco tone, natural pizz tone. Perhaps might take a little fiddling around to get the right spot? Feedback is somewhat of an issue since you are basically puttying a microphone to the top of a natural amplifier.
Schertler: I would probably go for the Stat-b Vint. I have heard that this one has a much fuller sound than the normal Stat-b (which is surprisingly cheap on amazon at the moment). I think there is less concern about feedback with this pickup but it perhaps doesn't sound quite as good as the other two options. I also think I have heard some mixed feelings on this one, people either love it or hate it?
DPA 4099b: Very natural arco and pizz sound. Again, feedback can be an issue.
I need something that is quick to install and remove (I think all of these are)
I don't particularly play a lot of really loud gigs but I sometimes play some really live rooms. Even with a piezzo I occasionally find myself needing to muffle my strings when not playing to prevent feedback - so feedback is somewhat of a concern.
I also love the way my bass sounds naturally so I don't want anything that will color that much.
Any thoughts on these would be greatly appreciated.
From my experience, adding a second Stat element just adds an out of phase effect to the sound. It does not add fullness. I think the Stat B is excellent for pizz and arco. You may need to adjust tone when switching according to what you want to hear out of the amp.
Feedback is rarely a problem for me and I've cranked it pretty good.
I read here that the Erlund is a piezo, not a mic.
Unfortunately I have no experience with the Ehrlund or Stat-B-Vintage, however I have used the Stat-B-Select and the DPA 4099 quite extensively.
I had feedback problems with both. More-so with the DPA.
If you think feedback may be an issue for you in the types of venues/rooms you generally play, I would immediately end your interest in the DPA.
Don't get me wrong, the thing sounds great and I achieved a beautiful arco sound from it, but in the end I gave up trying to fight with it's desire to feedback in almost every situation where I was on stage with other instruments. It just became completely impractical.
The Stat-B-Select I used for some time.
The arco sound was excellent, and I know Barenaked Ladies' double bassist, Jim Creeggan up until recently also used one of these Schertler's for many many years on tours throughout the US, Canada, and the UK, solely for its impressive arco sound, but it can also be prone to feeding back somewhat, and I found the pizz sound a bit flat and lacking enough about it for me to really continue working with it.
I wanted something with a bit more punch for pizz work, so got shot of the Schertler Stat-B after 18-24 months.
I now have a Wilson K4, which for my bass, is just outstanding. Not once have I ever experienced a single element of feedback with it, and I get a sweet pizz sound. The arco sound is not quite up there with the Schertler or DPA, but is still more than capable of delivering to a great level.
Creeggan has also notably switched to a Wilson K4 for both pizz & arco.
I hope that helps somewhat :hmm:
Pickups are pretty cantankerous when it comes to the particular bass and setup they are on. We each have our individual ideas of what "sounds good", too.
I like the schertler dyn-b for an arco pickup that also has great pizz response. As with any bass you will have to experiment to see what sounds best and that can get expensive very quick.
Can you give us more details about the ensembles in which you play? (i.e. style and instrumentation)
As far as piezos go the Ehrlund is the most faithful reproduction of an acoustic bass IMO, the compromise being consistency and high volume feedback. That being said, I have mine in the first place I mounted it and I use it with a less than sensitive big band with no problems.
You may want to add the Lifeline from Gage to your shortlist. I thought the Lifeline had all the simplicity and volume capability of the Full Circle but a rounder note and a much better arco tone.
As others have said, the DPA, as awesome as it sounds out front, doesn't work that well for backline amplification. The Troll is probably more suited to that.
As far as the groups I play with there are three basic configurations I play with.
1.) Small jazz trio
2.) Flamenco Group (2 guitars, bass and percussion)
3.) Jazz septet
I'm not too worried about feedback in the first group. The other two groups sometimes play in _very_ live rooms with monitors. That is where the feedback happens. Usually from another instrument in the monitor making my bass resonate and that being picked up and thrown back into the system.
I think i'll be crossing the DPA 4099b off my list. I would just rather not deal with the feedback. However, I know some guys (Phil Palombi) swear by it in all situations and seem to have no problem.
It's also good to hear such good feedback about the Schertler. The Stat-B is ~360 on amazon now - can't beat that compared to the price of the others. I am still entertaining the Ehrlund. My teacher has both the Ehrlund and the Stat-B and he prefers the Ehrlund in most cases.
I used the stat-b for years. I thought the "vintage" stat sounded much better than the single element model. My 2 element stats both eventually broke down. I think one had the serial number 400 something and the other was 800 something. They were pretty old. I never had any experience with either version feeding back. They can be a bit tricky to find the best fit.
I thought it was the pickups. Since I had 2 complete sets, I had 2 different preamps to use. There just seemed to be a deterioration of sound quality. I replaced them with a single element one but I never did like it. I eventually switched to a Barbera then. I thought I was going to have to get rid of the Barbera when I got a new fingerboard. I tried the stat's in case I had to get a new pickup. I still didn't like the single element, and the double one sounded ok but the output was so low. I would like to try a new vintage stat sometime. I have always been interested in a Wilson since my favorite European players use them.
You might want to try the pickups with a new preamp.
Hell yea they are old! My new single stat has the new preamp. My old models of stat has the old preamp that accepts 1/4 inch plug. One has the psychedelic blue swirls and dog on it! My first one I bought used around 98. I have two with the serial number less than 1,000! I was loyal to shertler for a long time.
I'm using stat b since 16 years old, and between a lot of differents picks-up, mics, always to go back to the stat b, simply of use, no feed back and great sound Pizz/Arcow.
It's not the best for a "pure acoustic sound" but i think it stays a very good challenger to do the job, in any situations "like a mic".
I discover the last year the preamp : LR baggs, Gig pro, it gets a best sound, more rich, full tone etc.. than the original Schertler.
Maybe you can consider the "ischell contact mic" existing a thread about this.
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