1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Avalon U5 for DB

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Big B., Oct 31, 2010.


  1. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I have been looking at getting a U5 because they sound amazing for bass guitar but I was skeptical about how it would work with the old doghouse as I have found mixed reviews with DB. The jazz group I play in also is the band for a local burlesque troupe so we played last night before The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At the moment I have an SWR California Blonde 1x12 combo and a K&K bass max. I ran the U5 in front of the amp and I was shocked at the difference in sound.

    The SWR is a decent sounding amp but nothing to write home about, and while the bass max is a very affordable and reliable pickup I dont think it is the best sounding pickup around. With the U5 my bass sounded absolutely fantastic. I play a nice sounding Solano 5 string and the Avalon brought out the acoustic tone of the bass. Even at a pretty high volume the amp sounded just like my bass. Even better the arco sound was attractive and singing. On the lower notes there was still some amount of piezo "grind" but the sound was very usable.

    Just as a test I pulled the U5 and ran straight into the amp and was immediately rewarded with the same mediocre, dumpy tone that I always fight with. I am now sold. At 500$ to 600$ the U5 is worth every penny. Not to mention that the Avalon sounds unbelievable for bass guitar. Definitely worth a look.
     
  2. Barcza

    Barcza

    May 1, 2005
    Budapest
    Marc Johnson never gig without U5. Since the U5 has 3Mohm input impedance, seems to a very uprightfriendly unit.
     
  3. untitledtopher

    untitledtopher

    Jun 17, 2010
    philadelphia
    Employee, Gollihur Music
    Big B, I fully agree with your experience. i had never played through a U5 until a recording session I was on last month. My 51 Kay was set up with the full circle running through a U5 and a ribbon mic out front. Since it was a live session, with a pretty heavy handed drummer and little isolation, the mic was next to worthless; yet to my surprise the pick up/ U5 combination worked great for the session, very natural sound that cut through the mix well.
     
  4. I got my U5 from a fellow TBer. Sound-wise, this thing is life changing, both for electric bass, electric upright, and double bass :hyper:. I haven't used it with my AMT mic because it's still being repaired (I can't wait to plug it into the U5), but it's been bringing out the best of a Schertler Stat-B. The difference is really noticeably.

    I'd add that a friend pf mine borrowed it last week and used with his piezo-equipped classical guitar and straight into the mixer, and sounded awesome as well.
     
  5. Studiodawg

    Studiodawg

    Oct 25, 2007
    K&K Bass Max into Avalon U5 with large diaphram condenser microphone in front of bridge is a recording signal path that has yielded worthy results for me. I've played a few festivals where I just took my U5 loaded in a rack with a rackmount chromatic tuner and played thru the PA system with fine results. The U5 is a professional piece of gear with people that genuinely care about their products at Avalon.
     
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I've used the Avalon in a recording studio a couple of times. It can take a Realist and make it sound really good. I just don't want to carry around that extra piece. For me, at least the amp and Headway EDB-1 get the job done. But the Avalon U5 is a whole different level of tone.


    Ric
     
  7. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I have an Avalon U5 and a full circle plugged into it sounded great. In fact, just about everything I ever plugged into sounded great. It's big and bulky to tote around, but I never got a better sound.
     
  8. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Very cool. Glad to hear from other people with the same feedback. I have been using this baby all week and now my friend wants it back.:bawl: Looks like its cash money time.

    I hate to make this thing out to be some kind of magic box, and I assure you I dont work for Avalon, but I would say the immediate upgrade in sound was unreal. The U5 made as big a difference, if not more, as switching to a higher quality pickup and amp. Maybe thats crazy to some people but for me it was the truth. I can only compare it to the wonderful headphone sound that you hear in the studio.

    (And did I mention that this guy sounds absolutely amazing for bass guitar?:ninja:)
     
  9. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    This was actually my main concern that I read about online. I found that repeatedly listed as a problem but never actually heard from any one who had had an issue with it. I could not see that it was a problem in my use of it. Perhaps certain pickups would be more sensitive to that but with the Bassmax I have not had any issues.
     
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I used an Avalon U5 with a K&K and it worked great. I wish we could get Avalon to re-think the chassis. It is a bit bulky and heavy.
     
  11. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    If it was more convenient to haul around I'd still be using it. Avalon made it extremely rugged--I gigged with it all over the place, and it worked flawlessly. But it's sitting in my closet because most of the time, while I could hear the difference in sound, it was just so much easier to haul a single AI clarus head. Compromise.
     
  12. Studiodawg

    Studiodawg

    Oct 25, 2007
    ...I am with you regarding convenience (GK MB212), but in the studio, I always go to my Avalon U5 first!
     
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    This, and I am usually the only one who notices a difference in tone and often - in a live setting/bar/club - the difference is negligible unless the PA is really nice, and even then maybe not. Makes it a lot easier to use the DI (which is quite nice) from my Genz Benz combo - which is only slightly larger and heavier.
     
  14. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    True that
     
  15. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    i have one of these. even though the sound difference when used live is subtle, its still enough for me to notice (even if no one else does) and the tone difference, to me, affects the way that the bass feels and responds in my hands. it affects my playing in a positive way. i dont bring it to gigs often because its as big as my walter woods, and every time it do people ask what i need it for, but every time i bring it i always say to myself "i need to take this thing out of the house more." also, if you want another very subtle variation, but significant enough to make a positive impact on my playing and my touch, instead of using the 1/4' out to your amp, take the line out the back and use a 1/4' adapter to go into your amp's input for active basses (or some kind of padded input). you get even more avalon color from that output and to me thats a good thing. id love it to sound "like my bass only louder" but we're dealing with piezo's. i definately dont want to hear how a piezo interprets the sound of my bass. i need the warmth and color.

    also (i probably shouldnt give this trick away!) alot of people's main criticism of the avalon is that it doesnt give many eq options. but you dont need to use the u5 instead of a preamp. you can use it with a preamp. i run a preamp with eq (a small one) before the avalon. its no different than plugging in an electric bass with active electronics. just running the signal through the avalon gives it some added color and dimention. for me its worth it, although there are many gigs were i dont feel like carrying it. i think maybe ill start bringing it more
     
  16. Hello,
    can anybody compare these two units in terms of how it changes (improves) the sound of piezo pickups?
    Reid Anderson wrote somewhere that he used the Para Driver in studio, so I'm wondering...
     
  17. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    para driver is good but it gives off a nasty hum. if you use the para driver and then run that through the u5, the u5 will improve the sound over the para alone. having said that, i personally never use the u5 alone either. i just think that whatever signal you run through it will be colored by it in a good way.
     
  18. 61pollmann

    61pollmann

    Apr 30, 2005
    Wisconsin
    Recording engineers love the direct sound from my Pollmann Bass/Full Circle/Avalon U5 signal chain. I prefer the sound from my vintage ribbon mic, but there are times when a little direct signal added can help in the mix. The U5 is a fantastic piece of equipment. I used it on gigs for a time, but amplified sound in a club is not comparable to a recording studio. It's bigger and heavier than my Acoustic Image amp.
     
  19. riimodar

    riimodar

    Aug 5, 2006
    I have never tried U5. I own Para Driver and I do not think it can IMPROVE the piezo sound. I have "drive" and "blend" (valve simulation) always turned all the way down, i.e. I use it as a clean semi-parametric EQ only. It is a handy tool anyway (XLR output, switchable output level, parametric mids), but I do not think it can remedy what we do not like about the piezo sound.
     
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    rlimodar,
    Well the Avalon just has a tone selector switch and a boost switch but my oh my the 6 settings on the tone shaping control sound quite different from one another. If I were in the market for this type of box I'd probably get the Summit Audio TD-100 with the variable impedance loading. Just my opinion though. I try to avoid extra boxes and with the pre amp on the Walter Woods my bass and pickup they aren't something that I really need.

    Ric

    Ric
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.