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Bass Max or Realist to replace Fishman?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Whit Townsend, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Been using a Fishman BP100 & preamp w/peizos clipped to treble side f holes on my old Supernil strung Kay for years on Bluegrass gigs, run straight thu the board. Not the best, but 15 yrs ago its was about all there was. Really should get something better. Looks like its gonna be the Bass Max or a Realist, with a 2 channel K&K pre and K&K mic to blend in when conditions allow.

    Best sound would be a good mic on a stand, but I move around a lot and also sing some, so I need to be free from a mike stand. We also have a large group w/ a lot of mikes so feedback can become an issue with a clip on mic.

    The way the Bass Max mounts looks shaky to me, like it might easily get knocked out. The Realist looks like a more bombproof setup wedged under the bridge foot. Whatever I get I'll leave it on as I only have one bass.
    Which would be best for a uncolored, old school gut kinda of a sound?
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The Realist works well for all my needs, and since it sounds
    closer to a microphone IMHO on my bass it's probably a option for you.

    Since Bluegrass is a "acoustic" music you probably wouldn't need use the Realist at high volumes, that's a plus as well, since cranking the output from the Realist really isn't it's cup of tea.

    If you think that you will need more volume than the Bass Max would probably work better, since it's capable of doing that.

    Another factor you will have to consider is that the Realist for the most part works better on a instrument that has a great tone acoustically. Some plywood basses don't, so you will have to consider that.

    As I recall Supernill's are nylon synthetic cores, so it's possible that the Realist will work better with those strings. But I'n not 100% sure of that. Just an educated guess.

  3. I have a great sound old Kay. As good as any other I've ever heard or played.

    The high volume thing worries me tho. I'm having to crank the Fishman BP100 to about 85-90% max gain to get enough volume in this band. Its not that were all that loud. Think maybe its cause the board channel I'm in dosn't have much of pre amp or none at all. Its one of them "extra" channels out on the end of the board. Never had to run it that high thru any other board in the past.
  4. mesmithnm


    Dec 10, 2005
    Layton, UT
    My Realist works fine with my Kay (strung w/Helicore Hybrids) and it gets a lot of "thump". It doesn't have as much definition as the Bass Max probably would, but I suspect that's OK for bluegrass where most guys like that old-timey sound. Also, it's likely to work OK straight into the board since they typically seem relatively insensitive to input impedance and they have a lot of output, although all piezo pickups generally will sound better w/a good preamp designed for a piezo.

  5. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Well, IMHO most boards don't like peizo pickups unless you use a DI that has the ability to buffer your Fishman, which likes a to see a load of 1 meg ohm. So that could be the solution to yourproblem. But, if volume is your issue. comming out of the board, I'm not entirely sure that the Realist will work either.

  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    The Realist is the polar opposite of the BP100, its position means mostly body with not a lot of string detail. The Bass Max sort of splits the difference with its mid-bridge position.

    The Realist will likely give you more of a bluegrass-natured sound, and will be ok as long as you didn't encounter any feedback issues with the BP100, as it can be similarly sensitive if you have monitors or amps nearby. However, since you are also proposing mic use, I am guessing that's not an issue.

    I personally use the K&K Mic and Bass Max, and often use an approx 80/20 percent MIC/Bass Max blend depending on the situation. If things are too loud or I'm on the Stage From Hell I'll rely more on the Bass Max; I like the string definition. However, if I didn't often encounter those situations a Realist could be real nice as well... it all comes down to personal taste and needs.
  7. Ric,
    Thinking its more a issue w/ this particular board. Never had to run the pr amp gain so high thru any other board but this one. Running gain on my preamp about 85%+ and same for the board channel gain. That puts channel volume slider at about a normal or slightly elevated position w/no distortion or feedback("unless its a room from hell").
    I have an SWR Workingmans 12 with a DI out, but that dosn't seem to make the situation any better as far as the monitors or mains go.

    I clip the Fishman piezos on the bridge side of the treble f hole, stradling the notches, to get a body sound. Suprisingly,it works ok, pretty even respose across each string. if I had to live w/it on the bridge Ida throwed it away years ago, absolutly hate that sound. A old trick I picked up from a touring player at a festival many moons ago. I keep the pre amp cliped to a strap of velcro on the tailpiec. An idea I stole from your site! Thanks!
    Most of the time feedback is not a prob. But there is the occasional "stage from hell", and it happens a lot more than I wish it would. Usually a cramped situation w/monitors very close by, or a very "hard" room with big time refective surfaces. Best sound of course is a big old large diaphram condenser mike on a short stand, but I don't like to be tied down. Was hoping I'd be able to dial in the K&K mic to some degree on most gigs.

    I never have to compete w/a drummer or electric instrs. But we're a large band, 6 or 7 peices. Our 3 vocalists are all over 6' and 200#.I'm the smallest guy and I play the biggest inst! So we can't really do the single mic bluegrass dance, which I would prefer. Too many large bodies. Hence the pickup.
    So although we don't get real loud on stage, we do use a BUCH of mics and up to 11 or 12 channels, with all the inherant problems that goes with that.

    I dunno, maybe I should just get the blender pre and mic and keep the fishman piezo. But I'm thinking surely after 15 yrs they;'re soon to crap out.

    But thers also that revolution pu, and fishmans new one that mounts in the adjustors.
    Dang this doghouse gear, so esoteric and nowhere to try it out, mail order and hope for the best.
    Guess thats why I'm using the same pu and string brand I started out with 15 yrs ago!
  8. I have both on my Kay, Whit. I prefer the Realist, and am on my second, but either one is pretty good and they both have high output. I use the preamp out of my Contra to the mixer, or David`s Baggs DI. I prefer the Contra.

    The Realist has a bigger bottom and maybe less definition, the K&K more top and upper midrange. The K&K is a much easier installation, and easy to move from bass to bass, and the Realist might make a couple of little circular impressions on your top, under the bridge.

    Oh, and I have a Revolution Solo coming too, should be here today. And i might just get this Audix mike mount worked out pretty soon.

    If I could play as well as you, wouldn`t have to spend all my wife`s extra money on gear.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One big plus to the Bass Max is it's more easily installed than the Realist (and it's cheaper).

    Downsides are it's a bit more nasal and middy (on my basses) and the jack attachment is like the Fishman...it can easily pop off in use.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    My guess is that you're probably right about the limitations of the board,
    but we had an interesting thread going last fall about the limitations of various boards to handle piezos, so you might want to give the buffer pre amp a shot. Maybe you could borrow one from another bass player.

    Doghouse gear is definitely a pain in the backside when you want to test pickups and, unfortunately, that's the only way to tell if they will work in with your bass and P.A..

    The SWR Workingman's 12 is a very nice amp, especially for the price.
    Unfortunately, I believe that you still have an impedance mismatch between the Fishman BP 100 and the SWR since it's got a 500 k ohm input. So, when you send a signal to the board from the DI, it's still problem unless you buffer the signal. Acoustic Image did some tests and claimed recently that the BP=100 was the only pickup that sounded better with a 10 meg ohm input, which is what they had on their old series I and Series II amplifiers.

    I'm thinking that using a Fishman Full Circle or the K&K Bass Max would do the trick for you. Hopefully you can borrow one from somebody first. If you're worried about it coming loose then I'd probably go with the Full Circle, but the Bass Max sounds great and costs less.