It has been many years since I've been on TB but I'm back now at least to share my experiences with some new gear I've been trying out. I've been using my AI Clarus SL with a Ten2 EX cabinet for many years now and have been generally happy with it through a Full Circle. However recently I decided to make a couple of changes:
I started using an ATM-350 mic clipped onto the one of the bridge adjuster wheels and mixing it with a pickup.
I started using a Mackie DLM8. This is not a dedicated bass amp but an 8" powered speaker that only goes down to 65 Hz but I am finding it adequate not only for small gigs but even with a big band. While the AI Clarus SL and Ten2 EX combo sounded good I routinely had the bass rolled off everywhere both on the amp and on the cab (using the Room Coupling Control). It just has that much bass. I'm sure it's great when you want some serious thumping with EBG or for a bass that is not so strong on the bottom end but it was way more than I needed (I'm playing a Shen Gemunder Willow 7/8 with Animas and a Gamut Lyon G).
Even though the DLM8 doesn't handle the low end (65 Hz is C and with my C extension I'm actually going down a full octave lower than that), I find that for all the things I do the combination of the acoustic sound from the bass plus the reinforcement from DLM8 is fine and more balanced throughout the range of the instrument.
I'm able to go straight into the the DLM8 from the Full Circle as the second channel has a 1 Mohm input. Unfortunately although the DLM8 does have two channels with XLR/combo connectors, it doesn't have phantom power so I have to use a small mixer (or I could use a phantom power box) if I want to use the ATM-350 (I'm using a Behringer Xenyx 502). Still, the whole setup is comparable in weight to my old one (Clarus SL was 2.5 lbs plus Ten2 EX at 23 lbs while the DLM8 is 22 lbs and the Xenyx 502 is 2.6 lbs) and the DLM8 is smaller in size than Ten2 EX. Even better, when I need to speak to the audience I can use a dynamic mic (e.g. SM58) straight into one of the DLM8 channels and it even has onboard reverb.
One benefit of using an outboard mixer is that it's easier to change the levels and other settings. The control panel on the DLM8 is at the back and you generally need to be looking at the display to do anything other than change the level of a channel so it's not very practical if, for example, you want to make some changes to the EQ while you are playing.
Some other nice things about the DLM8 are that it can go on a pole mount and you can daisy chain it with other DLM8s (could be useful for big band situations).
The DLM8 has some serious grunt (it also comes in a 12" model) too and the sound is very clear. I'm still playing with it but so far I love it.
The New System's
I have two Walter Woods Amplifiers and various cabinets that I once used, but these days I find that a QSC K8, married to the Headway EDB-2 as the pre amp, will work for the majority of the gigs I play. It's lightweight, loud, focused, and tonally very responsive. So, I think that the newer "bass rigs" for DB are all headed in that direction. The new Flex Pre Amp and Powered Cabinet, is simply a customized system, that takes the powered speaker concept, and refines it, to make an integrated bass system. I like that the Mackie also has a variable EQ section, so you can use it without additional pre amps.
Ric, what you say is indeed very true.
How is ATM350 working out for you?
I am liking the ATM-350. I owned an AMT in the past and while I would expect the AMT to be a lot better with the rejection, I'm finding the ATM-350 blended with the Full Circle does exactly what I want which is to add some warmth and finger and fingerboard noise to the sound. It definitely makes a big difference. I used it tonight for a vocal and bass gig at a house concert. I wasn't sending any of the Full Circle or the ATM-350 into the PA but I did use it for a live recording and the mix of the pickup and the ATM-350 sounded great.
Tomorrow night I'm rehearsing with my big band in a small rehearsal room where the sound will be bouncing around everywhere. I'm planning to take my Mackie mixer again (and not the smaller Behringer) so I can use the outputs to record to my Zoom H4n (while also going to the Mackie PA). The idea will be to listen to how much bleed from the rest of the band is going into the ATM-350.
One thing for sure, the ATM-350 clipped onto the bridge adjuster wheel is a lot less hassle and a lot less of an eyesore than either the AMT body mount or the tail piece mount (I've owned both in the past).
And although I don't own either anymore, I found that I preferred the ATM to the DPA. In fact I really must look out for one again.
A lot of similarities between your gear and mine. I have the ten2ex driven by a clarus and for gigs requiring less stage amplification, I have an Arnopol Crazy 8.
(Spent years on a shen willow too)
My attitude about the ten2ex is ..yes it may be too much bass but at 23lbs, so what? Rolling off a little bass is easy enough and it sounds as natural as any cab I've heard.
I too have an atm 350 and experimented with sending it to the pa while I used th realist on stage. I've gotten lazy about that and have been carrying it just in case the realist fails.
Maybe I'll try to test to see which really sounds better. I really like the sound the realist produces without fear of feadback.
Thanks for your post. Cool to see the similarities.
Clarity vs Amplification
Did you demo the DLM12 before deciding to get the 8? I see the 12 goes down to 38Hz (although I don't know how many -DB it is at that). Even this cab is still only 31 pounds.
Even thought I really like my PJB Super Flight Case I am intrigued by the idea of a full-range pole mounted speaker which I think would lend itself more to mixing in a mic as you are doing (I currently have a ATM35). I just feel I would miss that low end fundamental grunt that I get with the Flight Case.
Anyway, I'll just have to give it a try and see what I think. I'll look forward to reading any further thoughts you have (and whether you did audtion the 12).
PS I am also playing a 7/8 Shen Gemunder and LOVE IT. Mine is strung with Spirocores Mits except for an Evah Pirazzi mit G and I play through a Lifeline pickup.
Rick, I didn't try the DLM12. You can see the frequency response charts for both the DLM8 and the DLM12 here: http://www.mackie.com/products/dlmse...DLM8-12_SS.pdf. I find the roll off quite natural and certainly when I hit my low E I don't feel that anything is missing and that's even true when I hit the low C on my extension. I think this is a combination of both the acoustic volume of the bass and some psycho-acoustics. I just find it totally unnatural to have the fundamental of really low notes just booming at the same volume level as higher notes.
I am certainly loving the compactness and the weight of this baby. At 22 lb it's the same weight as a current model AI Contra and slightly more compact (the DLM8 is 12.3 x 11.9 x 12.1 and the Contra is 12 x 15 x 13).
Just got back from rehearsing with my big band and the DLM8 totally delivered. I had it set to about less than 50% of volume with the Full Circle going straight into the hi-Z second channel. Very focused, very natural sound.
Powered speaker has been something I want to try! Thanks for the info.
This looks like a very nicely featured powered speaker! Where did you pick yours up from, Adrian?
I got mine from Steve's Music.
The Distinct Advantage Of The Mackie DLM 8
I use a QSC K8 with the Headway EDB-2 for most of my DB gigs. The advantage of the Mackie DLM 8 is that it has a 3 band variable EQ built in, so as long as you have the input impedance loaded to 1 Meg Ohm, you wouldn't need an additional pre amp, like I have to use, plus it's lighter.
One other thing I forgot to mention about the DLM is that it has an XLR out as well and a switch that let's you send either just channel 1, which you might typically use for a mic, or a mix of both channels. I think the main reason for the XLR out is to daisy chain to another DLM but it should work fine to a board and I'll be using it to go the house system in a concert tomorrow night.
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