Okay... just got back from a very informative trip out to visit Steve and Jill Azola. I promised a follow-up to this thread where I asked the following question: If you've in a situation where you've gotta use an amp (and a piezo) to be heard, what will perform better: (1) an URB (2) a solid-body EUB (3) a more URB-like EUB (i.e. semi-hollow, floating top, etc) Luckily, I live in San Diego, 50 minutes from the Azolas. Here's what I found about each of these three options: (1) The Azolas (who are fabulously nice people, by the way) encouraged me to bring my bass and rig up for comparison purposes. I have a ~50yr old carved German 3/4 with a Fishman Full Circle, and a Euphonic Audio Iamp-800 combo. Amazingly, Steve spent 30-40 minutes working with me on the amplified tone of my upright. He ended up *giving* me a leather/velcro strap that wraps around the strings to eliminate irritating string overtone noise, and a foam block that keeps the tailpiece from vibrating at high volumes. These simple modifications elminated some of the problems I consistently experience live. While it "damps" out some of the natural acoustics of the body, it makes the bass more controllable at higher volumes. Fortunately, it takes about 5 seconds to undo these mods when you're playing "pure". Very cool stuff. (2) I switched from my URB to a solid-body EUB -- the "lightning bug". The small (really really small!) body takes some getting used to. Workmanship is fantastic. Tone is very good, but I'd say noticably different from my acoustic. Not better or worse, but it's got different characteristics, most notably attack and sustain. The low end was much more manageable, however, and the string-to-string balance was more consistant than on my URB. Also, the lightning bug has an on-board 3-band EQ, which is *very* useful, and can dramatically change your tone on the fly. Very practical, very useable, and very close (but not quite) to an URB. (3) Next came the high-end: the Azola Eurocoustic baby bass. This is a fully carved cello-sized instrument. Beautiful! Stunning! Gorgeous! Feels comfortably familiar right off the bat, looks like a "real" bass violin. Plugged it in, and wow -- this thing is the real deal. Easily as good or better than my upright into the same amp. I was struck that, while it took me months and hundreds of $$$ to come up with my current bass-string-pickup combination, here was something you could buy right off the shelf and know it'd sound great into an amp. I switched around numerous times, but these initial impressions stuck. I talked with Steve about them -- he noted that he didn't think it would be possible for him to make his solid-body EUB's sound much better than they already do -- there are just too many differences between a big hollow instrument and a sold plank of wood. What he was shooting for with the Eurocoustics was (in my words) enough URB-ness that a piezo would be fooled into thinking it was on an URB. Based on my experience, he's absolutely achieved that goal. Conclusions: 1. The Azolas are just fantastic. They took several hours out of their Saturday to chat with me (and my wife). Steve worked as hard as he could to make my bass work well, doing his best to make me not have to buy anything from him. Wow -- that's confidence in one's product! 2. Piezo pickups (in any form) just can't match an acoustic bass' natural sound. So if you're able to play without an amp, or with only partial "reinforcement" from one, more power to you. 3. If your audience is hearing mostly the signal from your piezo, and you are playing a Eurocoustic baby bass, I VERY seriously doubt that anyone (including you) could tell the difference between it and a good URB, even with a stellar sound reinforcement system. 4. If you are in a loud band, or playing places with less than stellar acoustics, and you're hearing mostly piezo signal, I VERY seriously doubt that anyone (including you) could tell the difference between a solid-body Azola and a good URB. 5. Feedback/extraneous noise issues on a piezo-equipped URB in louder environments can be substantially reduced with a foam block between the body and tailpiece, and a string damper. 6. All of these conclusions need to be weighed in conjunction with size/transportation/cost issues! The lightning bug comes with an 54x13x8" ATA flight case for $2k. The Eurocoustic baby is cello-sized, and $3.5k. Your URB is huge, and probably very expensive. Hope this is helpful. I feel like I have a much better grasp on the problems of URB amplification after talking with Steve for several hours. Please respond with comments or questions, via PM/e-mail if need be. Thanks!