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APTflex

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Mike Arnopol, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member

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    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Trying one more time---anyone have experience with this pickup? Looks like a Realist but with an entirely different type of transducer.
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

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    Mike,
    I only know of two people on TB that have used the APTFlex. Jonas Lohsee carries the pickup and selles them. Apparently they can't be sold in the U.S. because there to close to the design of a Realist so it would violate their Pattens. Therre is a TB member who actuall owned one his name is Piro Patten.

    Ric
  3. DoubleMIDI

    DoubleMIDI

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    I once played on Jonas Lohse's pickup test bass, comparing the Realist to the APTflex. Only for half a minute on both pickups, but the APTflex had a better sound to me. The output was a bit weak compared to the Realist, but still acceptable.
    But then I got a Shadow Nanoflex used (a lot cheaper than the APTflex new) and didn't felt the need to get the APTflex.
    (BTW, the output signal of the Nanoflex is also a bit weaker than some other pickup's output.)
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm wondering if that's the essential difference between these two different pickup materials. It appears that Piezo film pickups have higher output but lack the clarity and definition that Electret film has. There always seems to be a trade off of some sort. The Ehrlund is also a little different in this regard.

    Ric
  5. flatback

    flatback

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    Hi Mike
    I have an APTflex on my bass right now...I have a lot of pickups and have gone thru most everything...I follow what you have to say here and am looking forward to trying a Big E.
    Here's what I think of the APTflex. It is an excellent pickup when coupled with a good preamp. The pickup needs plenty of gain to power it (much more then the FC) and it needs mids rolled off, but then it really is a great sounding pickup. What I like about this pickup that brings me back to it over the FC, the Erhlund, the realist, and all the others I have is how responsive to EQ it is and how easy it is to dial in a good sound. Whatever it is made out of ( I think the same stuff as the B band) has a lot of potential and what I like about the Aptflex in particular is that the maker isn't trying to EQ it for you. It is just the Raw sound (microphonic and mid heavy) but super responsive to EQ. I use the Headway into a Focus III and wizzys (saving for a Big E)
    The pickup itself is much thinner then the foil Realist (like fabric almost) and sits under the foot with none of the lift off that a realist has. On my bass, a very even and beautiful Tyrolean bass I bought from Larry Grenadier, it is (once eq'd) even in all registers, but singing in the upper and fat down low. It has that high end (as in register not price) mic like sound that contact mics have but roll it off a little and it disappears. The APTflex can have a lot of sounds and I dig it and use it.
    Hope this helps...
  6. iona bass

    iona bass Supporting Member

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    Regarding the electret/piezo discussion:

    I've been using the B-Band D-1 pickup in an unconventional way. It has 2 separate elements/channels - 2 bridge/wing slots and 1 for under the foot of the bridge. From my past experience with the Realist and the previous B-Band Statement, the "foot" pickup/channel never added anything useful on my bass- ( very muddy, no definition).
    With the D-1, I've simply connected BOTH of the 2 bridge elements to the E string side and panned the onboard preamp to activate only those elements. ( I did not even connect the foot element). On my bass, a Juzek carved, even the Underwood sounded better with only the E side element used.
    I'm sending the signal to the Fdeck HPF-Pre, Walter Woods Electracoustic, and finally thru an Eminence 12'' (my design) cabinet.
    I'm rolling off some of the Bass and Treble (and Mids) at the WW preamp.
    This pickup sounds very good - very "warm", very "even"... I wonder why they're not more popular?

    Thanks for your time and interest.
  7. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

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    I bought an Aptflex over the inter webs last year, have not been that thrilled. Much darker than I hoped for, maybe it's my bass, amp, or just me.. I don't get much mids or highs from mine, but it may be useful for blending with another more detailed sound. Really, I hardly use mine and would probably sell it if anyone is interested. Pardon me if I shouldn't say that outside of the classifieds.
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    I just don't understand. It seems that you're saying that the Aptflex, as supplied, is characterized by what is effectively a relatively ragged frequency response. Somehow, the fact that it requires more correction turns out to be a benefit. It wouldn't surprise me that tone-shaping provides more of an improvement than for other pickups because it seems that it starts out needing more correction. The best I can figure is that what you really like are it's dynamic, temporal properties and that once you correct its frequency response, you get a more desirable sound.

    The need for a good pre-amp is not surprising. Electret microphones usually are paired with matching powered pre-amps.
  9. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

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    I really dug this pick-up when I was using it. I took the time to dial in a basic eq setting on an LR Baggs PARAcoustic DI through a PA and then only had to fine tune from venue to venue.
    then I broke the wire...
    then I settled on the Troll mic...
    If I can find someone to repair the APTflex I'll use it as a back up for sure. It definitely needs a quality EQ/preamp but, IMHO, it's a more usable signal than most piezo elements.
    -J
  10. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

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    It seems weird but I think this accurate. I found the signal more usable and amenable to EQ than the Realist. The Realist sounds better out of the box but the APTflex responds little better to tweaking. The lower physical profile is also a benefit if you don't have adjusters.
  11. flatback

    flatback

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    Ya know I dont know all the ins and outs of it but I have and have had a lot of pickups and what I like about this one is the versatility of the sound.
    I have never had another pickup that responded so readily to eq. Right now I run it into a EDB1 and then into Focus 3's power section. I turn the low mids and mids back nearly to 9 o'clock. Flat gets you A LOT of mids. Its kinda nice with the highs still in but also kinda nice with the highs rolled off. The thump at the beginning of the note is thick. You can get this pickup to sound terrible...for sure...run it flat. On a trebly chinese bass....Personally I am finding that almost all of my pickups can sound really pretty good thru the EDB1 (on my bass) this one just sounds fatter and quicker and with a minimum of dial turning can change character (I sometimes add a little more mids if the room needs it.)
  12. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member

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    The ONLY thing I like about the Realist is the initial thump which to me, emulates that portion of the note most important to me. Unfortunately, everything else about it makes it unusable to me. If anyone has read my posts , I'm an eq maniac. With double bass, if you aren't adept at eq than you're not getting the most you can out of your rig. Too many quirks. Funny thing is that I eq electric much less. On electric it's just tone shaping where on DB it's major surgery.

    How is the initial thump on the Aptflex as opposed to the Realist?
    That's the weakest part of the FC for me. I can really get it to sound like my bass. I just have a harder time getting it to feel like my bass.
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    I take it you mean that, with the FC, you can get the sustained portion of the note to emulate pretty well the sustained sound of your bass. The issue is the front-end "thump." As I've posted many times, that front-end thump is the temporal attack profile. If the pickup doesn't get that right, then no amount of (steady-state) tone-shaping will help much. Again, as I've posted elsewhere, once it was understood that the temporal attack/decay profile contributes as much or more to the identity of instruments than does the spectral profile, the quality of synthesizers really took off. (More info here). It's crucial to get the temporal profile right. Other than a mic, the Ehrlund does that better than any other device I've used. I think that's a result of the design of the device itself and it's location on the table. I don't think any bridge-mounted or bridge-foot device will ever capture that important aspect of the acoustic pressure-wave experience by listeners because it simply isn't there.
  14. Don Sibley

    Don Sibley

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    Mike, since the FC is working pretty well for you and you are only looking for something to use on quiet gigs, why not skip these piezo based systems and go right for the Troll mic with the Fethead and something like the EDB2? (although I just added that up in my head and may have answered my own question)

    If you're still not into the mic idea then I have to chime in with DrUrb and recommend the EAP and preamp. It is finicky but once you get it dialed in it's 95% the "sound of a mic" with 100% more gain before feedback.
  15. flatback

    flatback

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    just my opinion of the Erhlund which I owned for a while....and the reason I sold it.
    The sound of the pickup fails with a drummer. The EAP mushes out for me. I much prefer a real mic and a real pickup with a mix knob...although lately I've just been using the pickup. But Brandon has a Troll for me and I love using that mic on quieter gigs....
  16. Don Sibley

    Don Sibley

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    If you still have your Doubler sitting around you could use that to power the Fethead and wouldn't need an extra preamp.
  17. Don Sibley

    Don Sibley

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  18. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    For sure, this is a case of YMMV. The Ehrlund's sound can vary dramatically as a function of its position. In addition, some experienced folks, such as yourself, have reported less-than-ideal results even after fiddling with it for a while. For me, the Ehrlund excels in terms of cutting through because of the way it reproduces the attack. Just shows that, as usual, no pickup is right for every bass/player combination. We do what we can. :)
  19. flatback

    flatback

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    interestingly I still like the sound of the Vektor contact mic better then the Erhlund. Nathan just asked me if I wanted to sell it and so I dug it out to try and remember why I keep it (or why I kept it and not the Erhlund) I like that the Vektor's compression against the top can be adjusted (kind of a mis statement because what I mean is either fairly loose against the top plate or just snug but never more) but the sound is more controlled and focused. The thumb position of the ektor just sounds really sweet too. I A/B'd the Aptflex against the Vektor the other day and mixed them too....Still like the Aptflex for daily use and I am really itching to get back to the Troll which is killin. (although I dont use that for loud drummer gigs either) But because I have a double cable (xlr and 1/4in) and always use the EDB1 into a Focus it is almost no effort at all to have a mic and pickup if it calls for one or the other or both. The Troll when I had it covers more for mic only then any mic I own and the Aptflex while still a little pickupy (if you are in a room that you have to dial the mids back in) still sounds better to me (on my bass) then the FC and is way easier to EQ. I dont like the over live sound of the FC if the wheel is slightly turned wrong and I really like the fancy titanium adjusters I use.
    Anyway it would be nice if there were some more Aptflex pickups around...I'd like to hear others opinions
  20. igor kondur

    igor kondur

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    I use APTflex on my rental upright basses, sounds great!)
    The man who makes this pickup lives ab 10miles from my home in Moscow district(Russia)
    www.nspickups.ru

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