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Best arco sound

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Nigeldoublebass, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Nigeldoublebass


    Nov 29, 2008
    Although mostly an orchestral player I do play a little jazz and also with a a tango group playing predominantly Piazzolla. This group has started to get a few gigs where we need to be amplified. My current set up is very old and although just about acceptable for the couple of jazz gigs I do a year, is horrible when used to amplfy arco. I do not earn much money with the group so do not want to buy anything too expensive and I also suffer a lot with back trouble and so weight is an issue.
    My conclusion after much investigation is to buy the K&K Golden Trinity Bass Max Microphone & Pickup System in conjunction with either Phil Jones briefcase or flightcase.
    Can anyone offer me any advice on which option would be best or if another set up completely would make more sense?
  2. Peder Waern

    Peder Waern

    Feb 17, 2009

    While I cannot comment on the K&K , both pickups that I have used recently have worked really well for amplyifing arco on my bass. The first one was the Fishman Full Circle, it gave a fairly natural amplification of the bow,and the one I'm currently using is the B-band D1, a really good pickup IMO. There's not much info about bband here on talkbass but you can check out http://www.b-band.com/ for a little info. To this point this is the most natural sounding pickup I've tried. I didn't have much trouble with feedback on either of these pickups. Neither of them is terribly expensive (don't know the current price level) and if you have a couple of gigs amplified they are easily worth it vs. having a less "natural" sounding pickup (stay away from the Fishman Bp-100):rollno:...

    I'm sure other people can comment on other setups and microphones, but these worked good for me,and obvously work for pizz stuff too.
  3. Dave Whitla

    Dave Whitla

    Apr 25, 2006
    What is the ambient noise level of the gigs you are doing? Presumably in a tango group there is no drummer... So if there is not generally a lot of background noise when you are playing you could probably use a mic instead of a pickup. The arco sound will be better than any pickup. SD Systems make a very reasonable condenser mic that I have used both on its own and with a pickup using their blender. The Audio Technica ATM 35 (I think it may have been renumbered to ATM 350, or something) is also a very good mic that mounts nicely on an adjustable bridge wheel.

    Lately I haven't been bothering with the mic/pickup combination much because I switched to the Upton Revolution Solo II pickup and the arco sound off that is pretty good if I stay closer the the fingerboard with the bow and don't put too much weight into the string.

    A couple of years ago I got an AI Coda amp, which I am delighted with. Some people don't like the indirect sound of the down-pointing main speaker, and they are more expensive than some amps, but they weigh less than 9 kilos! I like the sound very much. Gallien Kruger make a nice, light combo amp that is very popular, too.
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    If if you're only using amplification occasionally, then you might be able to just use a mic. Dynamic mics are less expensive and feed back less. I would think that since Tango is an acoustic music the P.A. might be a better option. Using an amp on the stage changes the relationship between the other instruments quite a bit. It works for Jazz, Latin, and
    Rock but Tango to me is more subtile in it's nature.

    When I think Tango I think Bow! If you already have an adjustable bridge then I'd recommend the Fishman Full Circle or it not, then the Realist has a nice bowed sound. Both pickups are very reasonable, at least in the U.S. .
  5. bassist14


    Oct 17, 2005
    very similar to me
    ok, that is a problem, for my recommendation

    ok, that is no problem, for my recommendation
    my conclusion was (after trying realist/FC/RSII/wilson/ etc.pp.)
    the DYN B + PRE A
    + its the only system i know without any volume-difference from arco to pizz
    + it sounds great with my micromark, my GK150MB, my clarus sl + 1x10yamaha cab/GK neo112 cab

    edit: i know it´s expensive, but if add the money i have spent on all the others pickups...
  6. Actually, I believe one can have a decent arco sound with almost any pickup, including the generally hated BP-100.
    The tricks are: to really produce nice arco sound acoustically and to handle the particular pickup properly.
    In the case of the BP-100 this means to use a 10Mohm preamp AND a massive treble cut. On my Markbass combo, there is a filter which does exactly what the BP-100 needs and the result is unbelievably good.
    Just my experience.
  7. hensonbass


    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I played an Easter gig at a big church where they mike every instrument and the bass parts I played consisted mostly arco passages. I have a Vektor pickup w/ its proprietary preamp installed on my bass (essentially a microphone that wedges in between the top plate and the bridge. I ran this straight into a Radial DI out to the PA and it sounded great. I even played the gig with earphones in as a monitor and with that much detail it sounded very natural.



  8. Bassus


    Jul 10, 2008
    I have been a pickup junkie for years and if you need to switch from pizz to arco and do not want to deal with the extra electronic fuss of using a good condenser mic, then I recommend the Gage Realist. Sounds good with any amp, equal volume arco/pizz, no harshness when bowing, unobtrusive on the bass, competitive pricing....no brainer on this one, I've owned many, this is the one I use almost exclusively. When not bowing at all, for sheer power and volume (pizz only!) I use the Pierre Joseph String Charger which is really a favorite of soundmen for its strong clear signal and no feedback problems.
  9. arseniotall


    Dec 24, 2005
    ahhh the B BAND. I did a gig last year in sweden and the bass had this pickup on it. It sounded incredible. Its like the realist and underwood combined, but u can mix how much of which you want. WHERE DO I GET ONE IN tHE U.S.?
  10. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Nigeldoublebass I have no advice but wondered if you mind telling me a bit about the jazz/music scene in Spain. My son is finishing up his jazz studies and plans to do his final semester in Barcelona.

    If you prefer feel free to PM about it.
  11. I have the new adjustable Vektor pickup and it is by far the best arco sound I've heard with a pickup. It's actually a contact mic so it sounds really natural. I've heard the dyn-B is good too, similar idea, but the Vektor is a bit cheaper I believe.
  12. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    The best arco Pickup I know is the Bassbalsereit Studio. It has an phantom powered preamp built in the XLR Plug and sounds extremely natural, almost like a microphone.
    There may be many pickups that sound nice arco, when you cut the treble -or when the pickup itself does it for you, like the realist- but a natural arco sounds need some treble. It's not only the overtones, that color the sound, but it's also the sound of the hair on the string that probuces a natural arco sound. You also get a great pizz sound that can get extremely loud, without feeding back. There are many pickups that sound "natural" at low volumes, because there is no treble, so the real sound of your bass masks the amp signal. But when you get to a volume, where you almost can't hear the acoustic sound, most pickups sound terrible. The Bassbalsereit doesn't. It sounds -almost- like your bass, with any technique, at any volume. But it's expensive; there hab to be something.
  13. igor kondur

    igor kondur

    Jul 28, 2004
    And what do you think about bassbalsereit standard pickup?
  14. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    I think it's very good pickup. I really like the flexibility of it. You can really adjust it to your signal chain Playing Style->Instrument->Amp->Speaker->Room by rotating it a few degrees. What I liked especially is the dynamic. There is very little compression and if there is, it is very well balanced over the whole overtone range. Although I think it is a very good pickup, there were moments I was dissapointed with it. These were:
    1. I heard a live recording of me, playing with a big-band and the sound guy just took my DI signal. I don't know how the sound was in the hall, but on the recording the sound was awful. This was a professional radio broadcast, so the guy knew what he did. But if time is short, the first thing these guys do is DIing the bass.
    2. I was on a recording session and wanted to use some FX on a few tracks, but when I listend to the material in between tracking, I decided not to do it, because, well, my old Standard Balsereit pickup - as good as it is- sounds like a pickup.
    The Balsereit Studio almost doesn't sound like a pickup to me. The sound that comes out of the amp totally blends with the instrument, but not because of lack of treble or lack of definition! The Studio has TONS of definition. It really almost sounds like a mike, but without feeding back and picking up the other instruments (wich is a pain in the ass, when using FX).
    So: the Balsereit Standard is a great, great pickup Quote: "...the most reliable and easy to use pickup I know." (Herve Jeanne) But the Studio is, what I thought was impossible.
  15. I play tango too and use a realist. It's the best i'd heard from pestering bassists i'd seen with pickups and having nightmare times with mics for ages. I really like it, it's easy to put onto the bass, sounds looooovely pizz and arco. I'm a complete technophobe and really want the minimum of hassle so it suits me fine. And yes, nigel, where in Spain are you?!

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