I am finally getting around to writing about the pickup I've been using for several months now. I always tend to get excited about the sound of new gear and always think it's "sooo much better" than what I was using before, but alas, the glow tends to wear off. I'm pleased to say that I am still very excited about this Ischell contact mic. I haven't seen much about it one the site so I thought I'd do a write-up.
I play in a band with an acoustic guitar player who likes to play very loud. He was using a schertler pick-up for a long time, but he was having too many feedback issues and he tried out a new pickup by this French maker. His sound was noticeably better right away, and the feedback problems were gone. I got curious if this would be better than all stuff I've used in the past (underwood, realist, full circle, mics), and decided to try one out for the bass. A mic isn't really an option for me in this particular band because of very high stage volumes, and a very loud drummer, and I have always hated the nasal, rubbery sound of the piezos. About the pickup
Attaches to the top of the bass with a little bit of putty in circle, leaving a little bit of air between the bass and the mic. Has a 9V battery pack that velcros on the back of the tailpiece. 1/4" output that attaches with a removable adhesive that I put also on the back of the tailpiece. Pros
- Sound is gorgeous. The soundclip shows this a little bit, and it's even better through an amp. Full and woody.
- Placement of the element greatly affects the sound. If you're willing to play around for a while, you can get different sounds out of the pickup depending on where you place it. You can tailor it to your ears. Depending on where you place it, how much putty, etc, you can make it bassier or treblier (is that word?), more or less airy, etc.(See also cons)
- I haven't had any feedback issues, despite very high stage volumes
- Can be taken off and put on other basses Cons
-Placement of the element greatly affects the sound. You have to be willing to spend a little time trying to find the right spot for you. The recommended spot works great for me, but I still messed around with it for a bit. It's really not a problem, but some people want 100% hassle-free.
-Expense. Almost 300 euros. Worth it, IMO, but everyone has different budgets. Overall
I am LOVING the pickup. Does it sound "exactly like my bass, but louder?" No. Nothing does. But it does sound awesome. I used to really hate ever having to play with a pickup. Now, I actually kinda like it. My bass is woody and full, but also loud. I typically play through a GK150, directly into the amp. Sound clips
I recorded a short clip of a walking bass line using three outputs at once - a mic, the Ischell, and a full circle. Unfortunately I don't have another contact mic to a/b it with, but listening to the piezo is instructive anyhow.
Geek info for the recordings:
-All tracks recorded direct through a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 to
Cubase 6.5 at 24bit 44.1khz.
-No EQ was used on DI pickup and piezo tracks.
-Mic track was recorded with CAD 189 Condenser Mic.
-50hz High Pass Filter was applied to the Mic track on Mixdown.
Bass is an Upton "deluxe hybrid" that was made for me in April, that I have put a fair amount of miles on. Spirocores. Ischell Full Circle mic