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Avalon Ultra 5 DI/Preamp for Rickenbacker

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by snakesandarrows, Oct 20, 2009.


  1. snakesandarrows

    snakesandarrows

    Oct 12, 2009
    So i'm considering buying the Avalon Ultra Five Direct Box Instrument Preamplifier unit for my 1974 4001 Ricky bass. (my fender p-bass as a secondary bass) I'm saving for a nicer tube amp, and figured i could use one of these in the mean time, and use it later with my tube amp. Hopefully this isn't too stupid of a question, but are these things tube? analog? digital? I couldn't find much info on it, but does anyone have any personal experiences with these things that they would care to share? Thanks.
     
  2. TrooperFarva

    TrooperFarva

    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    AFAIK, it's all analog, and has no tubes.

    Since it costs $500+, why would you get it if you're still saving for a tube amp? I'd say your money would be better spent on a Radial JDI or a Countryman 85.
     
  3. snakesandarrows

    snakesandarrows

    Oct 12, 2009
    Not if I can get it on eBay for $350-ish... and from what I hear it will even improve sound out of a tube amp, so i can use it later too. I'm an active, gigging musician, and i need something to use for the next few months before i can get a tube amp b/c i just blew out my combo amp.
     
  4. naturalkinds

    naturalkinds

    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    Don't think U5s are too bass-picky. The purchase depends on whether you'd like the character of the pre. Check out some of Arcellus's Youtube vids. He uses one.
     
  5. The Avalon is pure class A analogue... no tubes. It's tone is studio clean and supposedly uncolored (assuming ur not using the presets) kind of the opposite of tube head sound IMO
     
  6. Just get a VT pedal instead.
     
  7. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    +1 This comes from an ex-U5 owner. ;)
     
  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    The Avalon is a GREAT sounding unit, as a pure pre-amp. It is also a totally different animal from the Sans Amp VT. If your looking for a pre-amp, what it will do is open up the sound of your basses. Everything will sound a bit bigger. BUT, it is not a great package for live use. They don't have a lot of EQ flexibility and the aren't configured for us as a live pre (outputs on front). They also are not going to give you a tube sound or a SS sound, what they do (set flat) is send the best possible signal of your bass to the board or power amp. They are designed as studio machines, and really not made for live use unless your running a big rack set up. They are actually bigger then a lot of the good amps on the market. If you just want to send a good direct sound to the board a Radial JDI will do the job just as well in a lot more portable package.
     
  9. snakesandarrows

    snakesandarrows

    Oct 12, 2009
    Not great live? even if paired with a tube amp?
     
  10. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Why would you want a seperate preamp, if the goal is a tube head, which would also have a tube preamp built into it. This idea seems a bit misguided to me. That's alot of money for something I'm not sure you really have a use for.
     
  11. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    I use my U5 in live situations and get nothing but compliments. It really brings out the unique characteristics of the instrument you're using. I run it through a Rane DC-24 dual channel compressor, and out a nice clean power amp. It is a bigger package that way, but I love it for when I need a lot of power and a good clean signal to the board. In addition I can pull it out of the rack and take it to the studio (if they don't already have one) or use it for usb-interface recording.
     
  12. snakesandarrows

    snakesandarrows

    Oct 12, 2009
    I have heard of many bassists using this in pair with tube amps. Jared Followill from Kings of Leon uses one with his Ampeg SVT-CL. and Guy Berryman of Coldplay uses one with his Hiwatt amps. Also, a lot of people have mentioned using them with tube amps, and how well it enhances their sounds.
     
  13. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    I've read that Pino Palladino uses one as well in his rig (at least with the John Mayer Trio.)
     
  14. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It looks like a U5 perched on Wilkenfeld's stage rig w/ Jeff Beck. What you're hearing of her bass likely begins with that U5:

    If you haven't played through much well designed solid state gear, the U5 won't be what you think of as a "solid state" sound. It sounds like money.
     
  15. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Nathan East also uses one of these in (at least some) live settings, feeding his stage mix as well as sending a signal to FoH. His sound - like I'm saying something we don't already know - is amazing. Some cronies of mine were recently on the same bill as when

    This is a really cool pre. My experience with it is in a recording environment. It does a magnificent job of capturing the sound of what's plugged into it.

    For a live rig, it's certainly an option, but as mentioned above, it's not going to offer a lot of EQ functionality. I think I'd explore it along with a number of other options, including the tube amp you mentioned in the original post.
     
  16. batman1

    batman1

    Sep 14, 2007
    go with the avalon, and invest in a decent power amp as well!!:hyper:
     
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have to disagree a little bit. They aren't really "packaged" for live use, but boy do I see a lot of them in live shows. Lots of stage rigs have 1 or 2 of these in them - bass, guitar, keys, all kinds of people.

    They aren't intended as a preamp, but if you don't do lots of knob twiddling, they work pretty well if you can live with one of the presets EQ curves. If you like the sound of your bass, you can just bypass that part of the U5.

    It is almost as big as my Shuttle Max 12 and weighs twice as much. True. If you want juts a clean DI, get a Radial JDI. But if you want some of the magic "pixie dust" than you need a U5. Nothing is the same. I Eq'd my Max 12 to sound similar to the U5, but it isn't the same.
     
  18. bigbajo60

    bigbajo60

    Nov 7, 2003
    Laredo, Texas
    I had a rig built around a U5 that kicked major booty, but when I got my Rickenbacker C64S... I noticed that it wasn't as "perfect" a match as with the rest of my basses. It was a very sterile sound.

    IMO, Ricks do best through amps that provide "tube character" to one degree or another. I can tell you that the sound I liked best out of the Rick was when I ran it through a Mesa 400+... with my current Walkabout rig a close 2nd! As usual, YMMV.
     
  19. IntrepidCellist

    IntrepidCellist

    Sep 10, 2009
    Manhattan
    ^ +1

    Ricks really like a bit of warmth and grind in my experience. But then again, I'm primarily a rock bass player.
     
  20. StephenR

    StephenR

    May 21, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    If you want the sound of a tube amp through a U5 you can run the speaker output into the U5 and send that to the FOH.

    I am liking my U5 and finding it very versatile. I have hooked it up in a number of ways using different basses/amps and it always sounds great. Very warm sounding and other than presenting a solid signal that responds real well to touch/dynamics it doesn't change the sound of my basses unless I mess around with the tone shaping presets. I don't use them much but have found them to be a nice option to have on board. If I have to crank all sorts of knobs on a preamp to get a good sound out of a bass then I don't want to own that bass.
     

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