accoustic bass / sans amp Bass Driver as pre?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by FretGrinder, May 3, 2001.

  1. I'm asking this on the behalf of an accoustic bassist friend (i play electric).

    He has a new double bass and a transducer pickup; i heard him on a gig last night and there was some loud and nasty bridge-popping (loud treble pops) coming through the PA and the signals was weak and lacked bottom end.

    i suggested he try using my sans amp BDDI as a preamp (he has no preamp) ... a few questions then.

    Is the BDDI a suitable pre for double bass?

    Can you use a double bass through a PA with a random sound guy and no preamp (as he is doing) or is this asking for a real bad sound?

    What is the cheapest way for him to be guaraunteed a decent sound in any venue?
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yes, the SansAmp Bass DI has an input impedance of 940K ohms, suitable for use with piezo double bass pickups.

    I suspect that your friend is suffering from an impedance mismatch problem, which results in the thin, bassless sound with brittle highs - not a good bass sound. For a more complete explanation of the effect and reason, see the bottom of my Preamps Page -

    I have taken my SansAmp Bass DI to festival gigs where I ran my Kay/Bass Max to it, and the sound guy took the output and was fine with it, though initially was perturbed when I told him I preferred my DI to his. Of course, I returned his to the signal chain when I left the stage.

    I had previously run the Bass Max/Bass DI through my own PA, set to flat EQ, in a quiet setting, so I could find the best settings on the DI to produce the desired sound, and that way can preset the SansAmp to that reference setting. More frequently I use my own amp and the sound guy takes a line out from the Contra or the Eden WT300C I previously had. I've also plugged my K&K Bass Master Pro preamp's output into a DI, and also direct to a PA.

    The SansAmp is good, as I mentioned, but it depends on the venue. If they have an active sound man, I don't feel uncomfortable with sending my reference sound to them - the volume and tone are their problem. However, if I am gigging where it's our PA, unattended, I do like to have a K&K preamp on my belt, easily accessible so I can easily make volume changes, or even tone tweaks if necessary.

    I will bet if you plug your friend's bass into an amp, and then do the same with the SansAmp in the signal line, the difference (even with the DI set flat) with be dramatic, and you may have to wrestle it back from him. <g>
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Bob - do you use one of these things on your DB gigs where you're playing through an amp?
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    No, never. Only in a situation where I knew I was going to be ampless on a festival stage and wanted to have a fat blues/bluegrass sound. My theory is that if you give the soundperson a good quality sound to start with they are less likely to screw it up -- my hopeful attitude ;-) If I am using my K&K preamp/an amp with a DI I have that control and don't require the SansAmp.

    I've used it with my EUB a couple times when only the magnetic pickups were functional, to warm up the mag sound a bit and also to EQ and let me balance the volume to the electric bass I was using, so my A/B switching was less of a complication.

    I bought it from my bassplayer (electric) son a while back, and we share custody-- right now he has it since his band is currently involved in a studio project. It is a neat box, that somehow can often warm up an acoustic sound or add an electric bite to electric bass. Go fig. Only thing is I wish it had a midrange control in addition to Bass/Treble, though some other mfr. recently came out with what looks like a Bass SansAmp clone and incorporates a mid control -forget who it is though. OTOH, my son has had it since January and I haven't really missed it.

    For the purposes of the inquiring mind, yeah, it's something his bassist friend can try, but unless he needs a DI, a conventional preamp (K&K Sound, Fishman, LR Baggs, etc.) that does the buffering job is usually sufficient, especially if you're not a plotting control freak like me.

    Life is too short for bad sound.
  5. I use a Sadowsky outboard for my pre, and it's a great little box... I'd LOVE to have the K&K Trinity thing w/the little condenser mic someday.