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Avalon U5 DI

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bassturtle, Apr 27, 2004.


  1. bassturtle

    bassturtle

    Apr 9, 2004
    I've been using one of these for my electric bass for the past couple of years now with terrific results. I started using it with my upright, loaded with an underwood, tonight and am loving the sounds. Anyone else using one of these? Using it just as a DI or as a preamp with a power amp? Any advice or favorite settings? Just curious about other people's results.
     
  2. bassturtle

    bassturtle

    Apr 9, 2004
    No? So I'm a trend-setter? YES!!!!! :p
     
  3. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    Hey I just wanted to post saying that I use a Demeter tube Direct DI and I run it thru anything from a GK150 to a PA and it always adds a phat warm bottom to the fundimental and gives an almost mic sound with just a pick up (realist) Usually I go in flat and it sounds great
     
  4. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I recorded several tracks over the winter for a guitarist using two audio technica compressor mics into a u5. The sound was unbelievable ! I've never used one on my electrics but i definitely echo your enthusiasm in regards to upright sound reproduction
     
  5. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    This week, I recorded a bit with a different Avalon unit after not being happy with the sound from my amp's DI. This was with my Bugbass EUB. It really thickened the sound and it had plenty of punch, too. But then, that model has a street price of $2k...better sound good, huh?
     
  6. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I've been using a U5 to run my Smith 6 into a Stew 2.1 and into an assortment of Epifani cabs for the past few months.

    Clean, pure, thunderous (especially with EQ curve #2) and soooo very "plug & play"

    I gave up an Alembic F1x and SF2 combination and don't miss them. I recommend the U5 to lots of folks that just don't believe that a simple DI can give that much tone to a live set up outside of the sutdio.
     
  7. bassturtle

    bassturtle

    Apr 9, 2004
    Dang it! I thought I was the only one ;) hehehe

    Yeah, I've had good luck with #2 on the eq settings as well. Actually, that's what I use for both my electric 6 and my upright...really seems to smooth things out.
     
  8. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    wanted to bump this back to the top by saying that recently i saw marc johnson playing through one if these with a full circle and it was the best live tone i've heard yet. (not his old italian bass either). so huge and full and warm and not the "electricish" sound some people associate him with. i'm really not a fan of the full circle either, but if it can do that to that piezo then i'm assuming it can have amazing affect on all piezos... i'd love to run one of these through some sort of eq, then a power amp... where can i try one in person? are they common in the stores? (do they make a stereo one for blending 2 pickups?)
     
  9. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I use an Avalon U5 with both electric and upright--it's my opnly preamp. i love the thing.It just always sounds good.

    On electric i use either flat, (no eq), or curve #3. on upright I often end up using #4 or #5, but I often go flat. Currently using a realist pickup

    I've been plugging the U5 for a while now. It's a really great piece of gear
     
  10. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    the only thing i'm concerned about with the U5 is that the input is only 3 mega ohms, and they usually recommend 10 meg for piezo pickups...
     
  11. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Yeah, I wondered about that too. I did a comparison between the U5 and a couple other preamps I have--a Raven labs PMB-1(10 meg ohm); a Fishman pro eq platimum bass (10 meg ohm); and a sansamp paradriver (4.7 meg ohm). The Avalon (3 meg ohm) sounded significantly better than any of them and I could not hear anything that suggested an impedance mismatch. There was a thread here a while ago about acoustic image--all the new AI amps have an input impedance of 1 meg ohm. Apparently they feel like it's not necessary to have more, that pickups have gotten better and more than that does nothing. I'm no expert, but it works with the Avalon.

    The Fishman is a good unit and sometimes I use that if i'm feeling really lazy. But the Avalon just clearly sounds better to me
     
  12. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    ok, i also have the raven labs (alittle harsh sounding unless i roll off all the highs, but the mids still arent where i want them to be) the fishman B2, 10 meg, but doesnt sound good at all, and the sansamp para driver, which is my number one unit. love everything about it. i use a shadow, which is an underwood copy and sometimes believe it or not, a fishman b-100. the sansamp para driver can actually make it sound darn good. the only reason i'm even looking at the U5 is because i was so blown away by the fullness of marc johnson's sound. he was using a full circle.. is it possible that the full circle doesnt need 10 meg to sound good? how much do underwoods and/or fishmans need? (i know his bass sounds great without the U5, but so does mine, so i'd like to be able to reproduce that...)
     
  13. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I'm using a realist at the moment, I used a full circle before on my englhardt, with the avalon, and the Avalon sounded better with both it's all subjective, of course, and all these preamps are good, but I'd say each has some deficiencies--strictly my subjective opinnion

    Raven labs PMB-1--kind of harsh sounding, eq not well voiced for bass

    SansAmp para driver--sucks mids if you turn the blend up, tube emulation is good ( I used a sans amp RBI for a long time) but to my ears it has a grainy, irritating top end and even with the mid control, a mid-suck

    Fishman Pro-eq--good but kind of generic and electric-bass sounding

    The avalon has deep, full bass and a sweet top end; there's nothing harsh about it. I don't miss the eq at all. With other preamps I'm alwasy trying to dial some deficiency away, but not with the Avalon
     
  14. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    and i guess you could always run the avalon through some sort of EQ before you put it into the power amp if you felt like you needed to...

     
  15. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    The Avalon sounds like it generates a nice, smooth sound as the notes sustain I'm guessing.

    But how does it treat the initial hit on each note?

    I gave up on a Gigpro preamp because the long part of the notes sounded sweet, but it sucked too much out of each pluck and the initial attack.

    I wasn't hearing or feeling the energy of the initial hit of each note. I also felt I was missing something in the change in the shape of the envelope or the "bloom" that immediately follows.

    I'm hoping that the U5 preserves all that character instead of smoothing it down.
     
  16. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    well, when i heard johnson, none of those things you mention were a concern...
     
  17. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I realize I sound like Johnny one note on this thing but I can't find anything wrong with it, except that it's bulky and pricey for what it is. I've been gigging at least once a week with the U5 for more than a year now--electric gigs and double bass gigs. It doesn't seem to introduce any sonic problems at all. To my ears, for example, the Fishman preamp smooths down the notes and gives them what I hear as kind of an electric bass character. The U5 doesn't.

    With other preamps I'm always tweaking to eliminate something or other--too boomy, or the treble is harsh, or the mids are scooped, or to present, or something. The Avalon I just plug in and it sounds great. It's like using a really good studio preamp. I apologize for being so enthusiastic about it, but in my experience it always sounds great
     
  18. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    yea who do you think you are sounding so enthusiastic. This ain't a place for showing enthusiasm, we just tear **** down here...
    ...but seriously, what does the TONE knob do exactly? Is it a bass/treble thing ? it has consecutive numbers so it don't look that way.
     
  19. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I just mentioned the one year thing to prove it's not "new gear enthusiasm"at work. Been guilty of that in the past. The avalon really works for me.

    The tone knob is a set of passive eq filter presets. Since it's entirely passive, it cuts different frequencies at different settings. Setting one is a fairly deep but wide slope mid cut, setting two is a really steep mid cut at around 800 hz; setting four has a notch at around 8khz that's really good for filtering out piezo-ishness and it rolls off some low end boom. for upright, i use setting four a lot of just run it flat; for electric I use setting three a lot or just run it flat. If you have the tone knob engaged, you get a volume drop, because it's all passive. With setting three, for example, the volume goes down a little but if you turn the level up, in effect it sounds like a low mid emphasis, very ampeg-ish

    The presets are really useful--they obviously reflect a lot of experience live and in the studio. Below is Avalon's chart of what they do and whhat they recommend them for
     

    Attached Files:

  20. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    IMO my Solstice is an example of a preamp that doesn't smooth out (in a bad way) the initial hit of each note too much. I think the character of that hit and that attack are really important in helping me define the pulse, and in communicating it to the rest of my bandmates.

    So PB+J I think you're saying that the Avalon does convey each pizz pluck effectively and convincingly, with a natural sounding hit and bloom. That's really what I am trying to get a feel for. Thanks for all the info so far.

    P.S. Small world. I went to Kenmore in Arlington. Back then, they called it a "junior high" school!