Genz benz Shuttle + fdeck's pre question

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Etienned, Nov 6, 2012.


  1. Etienned

    Etienned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal
    I am using a realist pickup on my DB with fdeck's HPF-pre and a genz Benz shuttle 6. I have issues with the gain stages.

    I am wondering if it would be a good idea (as in not destructive) to skip the preamp section and plug directly the hpf into the receive end of the fx loop. Anyone can help ?

    Thanks
  2. Nate74

    Nate74

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    South Bay of Los Angeles
    I can emulate your setup with my Shuttle 6.0, an FDeck and the realist on my Eminence. I have no issues with getting enough gain into the preamp section. Can you describe what issue you're having?
  3. Etienned

    Etienned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal
    With the electric bass, I usually set the gain and preamp volume at noon. I adjust the overall volume with the master volume knob. I have plenty of headroom that way.

    But, with the DB, I find that I have to reduce the preamp gain and crank the preamp volume and master volume in order to have a transparent tone. If the gain is set at noon, the sound lacks definition and is a bit too dark for my taste. I think its related to how the tube preamp affects the signal.

    Reducing the gain gives me a more transparent sound, but the lack of gain in the early stage seems to force me to crank the master volume. I have hard time being heard in the mix while i have theorically enough watts going into my 212 to be plenty loud. That is why I was considering skipping the shuttle preamp by plugging directly into the solid state circuit.

    Anyway, if you could share your setup (gain, volume and EQ) I would gladly try it to compare to how my rig sounds curently.

    I apologize if I´m not clear here, English isn´t my primary language.
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    The Realist sends a very hot signal, into the input of the amplifier, and it is a darker sounding pickup in the first place, so you may have to change it out for something else, with better definition on your bass.

    I really don't think that the Shuttle Pre Amp is your problem. It has plenty of useful tone shaping controls in the pre amp. IMHO, as long as you have adequate amplifier power, then for most gigs, having lots of power isn't necessary. Tone is really the important factor, in being able to hear yourself. So, I think what you're having a problem with is the Realist. The first thing I would try is to play another bass outfitted with a Realist through you amp. Realists can wear out after about 4 1/2 years on the same instrument. So, if you can compare a Realist that's in good working order to yours, you'll be able to tell if the Realist you own is having problems.

    Interesting idea, but since everyone has different basses, different strings, even with the same pickup and amp, things will sound different. :) :D

    Ric
  5. Nate74

    Nate74

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    South Bay of Los Angeles
    Well, I did some experiments this afternoon with my Eminence, my Shuttle 6.0 and my FDeck. I've only had the FDeck for about a week and this was my first time running it with this particular setup. For comparison, I also have a Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum Bass and a Radial PZ-Pre.

    I have to confess, the FDeck had no where near the output level as either of the other preamps, so I can see how the OP has come to where he's at.

    This was far from scientific so I'm going to have to do some digging into some specs on all of the preamps and see if I can tell why the signal from the FDeck seems so much lower than the others...
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Nate,
    I'd agree with you and OP, as I remember the HPF Pre has a very modest gain of about 2 DB. It's really designed as a 10 meg ohm impedance buffer, with a high pass filter and polarity reverse. It does this beautifully, but it wasn't designed to really boost the signal.

    Ric
  7. Nate74

    Nate74

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    South Bay of Los Angeles
    Good point Ric, and the specs confirm; while my PZ-Pre seems to be +10dB. I wonder if there's a way to get some more gain out of the FDeck... maybe an email to Francis?
  8. Etienned

    Etienned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal
    The Hpf is hot enough in my opinion. The issue seems to lie more on the fact that I had to set the shuttle's gain level way low.

    It would be hard for me to try another DB as I have access only to mine with the realist and my teacher has a full circle. I'm not ready to spend on another pickup for the moment.

    It will be my first full band practice tonight since I got my HPF-pre. I'm sure I will have more volume and thump than before as I have less feedback at higher volume, but the tone coming out the cabs doesn't compare at all with the acoustic tone of my bass. I know this where the crux lies in DB amplification...

    One day, tone, one day you will be mine !

    Thanks guys for the insight!
  9. Nate74

    Nate74

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    South Bay of Los Angeles
    Hmmmm... I follow a little better now, though I'd personally still like more gain out of my FDeck. Tone is such a subjective thing that it's tough to really say do this or do that. I myself am in the middle of a cabinet search, not just for tonal reasons but for size/weight reasons. I also play my Eminence EUB more than my Shen so "close enough" tone is what I shoot for sometimes.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Nate,
    Good observation, I believe that the HPF works so well is due to the fact that it doesn't boost the gain, like other devices do. It was really designed to be a "transparent" device, that took care of low frequency feedback and boom, raised the input impedance to improve tone quality, and allowed you to reverse the phase of the pickup, in relation to the amp. It does all that perfectly well. Other boxes like the Headway EDB-1 provide a different feature set.

    Ric
  11. Nate74

    Nate74

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    South Bay of Los Angeles
    As I experiment with various basses, amps, preamps and cabs, I'm realizing something else; my Realist seems to have an extraordinarily low output compared the K&K on my Shen and the K&K on me other self-built EUB (also with a K&K Bas Max).

    I've read about them going bad and mine has been on and off a few times over the past month or so... could it be dying? I've been toying with going with a Full Circle for a while on it so maybe now's the time.

    Any way to check output on the Realist?

    BTW - here's the self-built EUB I referenced.

    [​IMG]
  12. ricosego

    ricosego

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Nate, that is BEAUTIFUL! Nice job! I play an Eminence, too, and I'm totally drooling over your project ;-)
  13. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Nate,
    Several years ago I started a thread about the Realists longevity. Here is what Sam Findlay of David Gage said.

    "First, we’d like to make clear that the vast majority of our clientele DO NOT experience a drop-off in sound or response from The Realist. That being said, we do recognize that The Realist, after 5 or so years, will start to degrade gradually. As some of you have said, the pressure applied by the bridge feet is substantial and over time, it can take its toll on piezo ceramic elements. We have also decided, however, that the realistic sound the pick-up produces is a result of the unique combination of piezo size, quality, and the specific stimulation the element is afforded because of its placement under the bridge foot. –For us (and most of our customers, it seems,) the sound The Realist has become famous for is more important than durability beyond 5 years.

    Why does it drop-off or degrade? Most of the evidence we’ve gathered is simple and empirical. It seems that certain bridges wear the element more intensely than others. We suspect that taller bridges, bridges that press with greater force against the top, wear the elements at a greater rate. Beyond that, we are not sure what the exact cause of the increased wear is, so we asked a couple of experts.

    Rich Brooks, a piezo engineer at the American Piezo Coorporation, says, “there is a logarithmic deterioration or amelioration of a piezo’s properties over time.” Mr. Brooks says that there are many different reasons for this. He says, “[Deterioration] will be mitigated by the effects of temperature, other materials and mechanical interface.” He agreed with what we had hypothesized and didn’t see any way of avoiding the drop-off without substantially changing the element, an action that would alter the output and clearly diminish the true value of the pick-up.
    "

    Around that same time, as I recall, the Realist began carrying only a 1 year warranty when they changed the jack and redesigned the piezo element.

    Ric
  14. kerrycares

    kerrycares

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    I just played my carved bass with realist pickup through a shuttle 6.0 and 12" ext cab.
    Sounded great. Amazingly the best sounding bass rig I've heard in a very long time.


    http://youtu.be/JA8K-UXuAh4
  15. kerrycares

    kerrycares

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    I'm comparing the HPF, Fishman Platinum & the Acouswitch this week with my Genz Benz 9.2 Genz Benz STL-12 David Gage Realist and carved Romanian bass.
  16. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have had zero issue with Realist - Fdeck - Shuttle 3.0 8T. Been using this set up for over a year with zero problems.
  17. kerrycares

    kerrycares

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    Here are my findings
    HPF $55
    Fishman Platinum $165
    Acouswitch $599.00

    By far the simplest and best sounding unit was the Fdeck pre.
    One knob,one phase switch great sound.
    With this unit there was minimal adjustments that I had to make with my amp.

    The other two units required endless balancing acts between the amp and the pre and I could not dial in a really usable sound.

    I really loved the features and design of the Acouswitch as it is a really feature rich eq /di in a sleek package, beautiful.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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