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Clarus/Wizzy OR D-Tar/SRM450

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Tom Baldwin, May 25, 2005.

  1. Sorry for all the traffic, but I'm looking to compare these two rigs and the local store doesn't carry one of them. I'm interested mostly in a comparison of sound, as the features are self-evident. The use would be for stage volume with a big band, 75% DB and 25% BG. IOW, there will be additional FOH support if necessary.

    Option 1: AI Clarus head, EA Wizzy cabinet.
    Option 2: D-Tar Solstace preamp/blender, Mackie SRM450 powered speaker.

    Many, many thanks.
  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I A/B'd my Schertler Pub with a Mackie 450 @ Guitar Center prior to purchasing a second Pub.

    The Mackie was not that great for doublebass (with my really good Schertler Pre-AII). You couldn't really push it without the sound becoming artificial.

    Just my .02. I've been curious about the Mackie SR1530. It seems like the frequency range would make it more suitable for bass.
  3. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    I'm using the Mackie srm 450 with a solstice right now and I'll tell you quite honestly that the sound is good, but nowhere near a pub 280. The smaller speaker ( and however it is voiced in the box)in the pub 280 makes the bass sound so much more like itself and less artificial and muddy. That said, I've had a lot worse sounds...
    Anybody got a pub 280 they ain't using?.....
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I A/B'd my Pub with an SRM 450 too and I found the SRM 450 reproduction was pretty inaccurate and unnatural-sounding.
  5. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    I haven't used the Mackie, but Clarus + Wizzy is my main rig. I think it should be plenty loud for a big band, and it sounds really good as well. If it is not loud enough, I say the rest of the band needs to turn down! I also think the Wizzy sounds good with both DB and BG.

    If you are at all worried about equipment going "missing" you might want to check out the iAmp 200 Wizzy Combo. I haven't tried it personally, but I know a lot of people like the EA iAmps and this would give you the same power as a Clarus+Wizzy. I imagine it would be harder to walk off with the full combo than just a Clarus or Solstice.
  6. Thanks for the replies, guys. I had to pull the trigger because the end of the fiscal year is approaching and if the money doesn't get spent it disappears. Unfortunately I made my decision before I got a chance to check this thread. (went with the Mackie/Solstice) Oh, well, if it sucks I might can exchange it. I know the Solstice will be a keeper, but the Mackie I chose partly on specs, and partly because the idea of a pole-mounted speaker for big band seems logical - to get the sound up and over the bass and at ear level where everyone can hear it.
    I don't doubt the Pub sounds better, but 1 Pub IMO will not put out enough for a big band. I believe it's the old accuracy or efficiency compromise. The pub is accurate but inefficeint. The Mackie, I'm assuming is more efficient but lees accurate. Besides, (if Lou actually has them yet) Pubs are $1480 or so.

    Monte, were you using the Stat or the Dyn when you tried the Mackie?
    A-Cho, what were you using?
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Tom, when I tested the SRM450 I was using the AMT mic. I would have to dispute that a single Pub can't handle a big band. I think it depends on the particular band and the music. Recently I have used it for exactly that and am planning in the future to use it for even bigger groups - jazz orchestras which are basically big band + more (French horns, tuba, etc.). What has taken me a long time to learn is that cutting through the mix is more important than just volume but to do that you've got to have the right sound to begin with. For a long time I was trying to get this huge bottom end sound both acoustically and amplified and I realised it just wasn't working for me. I found I got sucked into this idea of trying to get a big warm sound and was really losing the attack and the percussive aspects of the playing which as it turns out is very much a part of the way I play acoustically on gut.

    It's very interesting too when you play next to a tuba and you are playing the same line. Your sound is completely swallowed up and the only way to identify the bass in the mix is the pizz attack of the note. Getting off the Olivs and Eudoxas and onto the Gamut Lyon/Helicore Hybrid setup has helped a lot but (previously), the change from the Coda to the Pub also helped a lot.

    And by the way, the Pub has a pole-mount built-in.
  8. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    ...and you own one already....I second Adrian's assertion that getting the pub up at ear level should make a huge diff.. With a solstice and a pub (in the right spot to monitor) you should be able to get a sound that cuts yet does not over power your band. What will happen with the Mackie is that you will add volume trying to get clarity (at least this has happened to me)
    I really dig the sound of the solstice into a pub (with Velvet Animas for me) and I think that the larger speaker and more power can cloud things.
    What are you using for a pick up?
  9. bassame


    Mar 25, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    This is an interesting insight. I wonder if this might not be the origin of the 80's sound that we associate with NHOP, Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams, Ron Carter? That is, trying to cut through the mix, instead of "the sound of my bass only louder."
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    For me, I still want my bass only louder so I had to change my acoustic sound to begin with but certainly in terms of amplification, I think there is a difference between cutting through and punching through so to speak. What's great about the Pub is that it has great clarity. When I was using the Coda, I definitely felt that the more I increased the volume, all I was really getting was more mud. Nowadays if I am not being heard in the mix, I look for ways to cut through the sound rather than just simply increase the volume or often when I do increase the volume, I roll off the bass a bit too otherwise the bass is just too-in-your-face like some kind of hip-hop or rap bass thing. As to the SRM450, I found the sound quite unnatural but also quite conducive to cutting through the mix but my point about the Pub it is much more natural but I do think a single unit is fine for a big band (of course it depends on a lot of other factors including the overall sound of the group, etc.).
  11. The thing that started my move away from the pub was a gig I had with a big band playing the music of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie. There were 5 tpts and 5 bones (5 saxes), two latin percussionists (timbalero and congas), drumset, piano and guitar. In the rehearsal room the pub was ok. Mind you, the quality of the sound was excellent, but it was pretty much on full throttle. Even then the trumpets, who were separated from me by the drummer, asked me to turn up. The next night in the concert hall, with the 9-foot piano, the pub on a pole mount behind me, and I had trouble hearing myself. There was PA support so the sound out front I'm told was good, but even for stage volume in an ensemble that size playing that kind of music, the pub alone was not sufficient. Other big bands, other styles, and other size halls, and yes the pub might be adequate. However, it's been discussed here many times - the concept of clean headroom - I'd rather have it and never use it, than push that little box to its limit. (There are times when the excursion appears to be about a half inch - whether this is relevant or not I don't know).

    Today I played outside with my Focus/VL208 rig, and I was truly pleased. I am having a lot of success with the Focus, and different cabs depending on the requirements of the gig.

    Hunchback, I'm not sure who you were asking, but I'm using a Realist and an AMT. The Solstice/Mackie rig is potentially for my sudents at the university, who will have a variety of pickups. The pub is beyond our budget anyway. Have you checked with Lou Roten to see if he actually has them yet?

    I'm going to give this Mackie a test run this weekend, and then you can all tell me you told me so! ;)
  12. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    OK, you didn't say Latin Big Band :) Yes those kinds of things can be truly loud. In particular, I was going on before about the attack of the sound, well against all that Latin percussion, you lose that edge too so you are fighting. I would imagine that a Focus/VL208 would be good for a gig like that.
  13. I guess the real question at hand is, would I be better off with a Solstice into some other $609 (or less) bass combo like the Fender (250W, 2x10) or Ashdown MAG (300W, 2x10), or would the Mackie be superior?
  14. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    well I have been using the Mackie for a while now and it does have a lot of headroom.With the Solstice it makes a very versatile yet simple rig...and its better then soooo many amp head combos I've tried. It has a certain presence in the mix thats nice.
    I'm just pining for a pub 280 (but it, like the housing market has gone thru the roof in price) I used to see them for five bills used and now you can only get them new and they sell for $1400. That is too steep for my blood.
    Any way i'm tired of trying to get this whole bass only louder trip happening. I'd love to hear my bass present and not obnoxious and save the rest for a good studio mic.
    I played in a quartet the other night ( I was playing vibes) and the bassist had this AMT into a walterwoods and a EA with 2 8in speakers or something really small. When he was warming up I thought it was nirvana, It sounded great. then we started to play and I couldn't hear a damn thing he was playing. As the soloist I wanted to HEAR him clearly so i could get carried away improvising and yet keep checked in with where he was at. But it took me a couple of beats to check in with him cause the sound was getting to me so diffused. (course it it could of been all sorts of other factors...but) I was really supprised at the difference between the solo and band diffusion of his sound.
    Anyway this is my rationalization for keeping a pick up going...I think the velvets with a pick up can sound not too bad...
  15. It's a good point about cutting through. I remember reading Harvey's mega recording techniques thread (ask DURRL for the link) about how with acoustic guitar, for example, it's often necessary to mic and EQ it in such a way that it would actually sound terrible by itself, but allows it to be heard and sound good in the midst of drums, keyboards, and whatever else. On the other hand, John Hollenback's point about the bass not always being audible at all times in a big band is also food for thought...

    As with most things, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
  16. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes the perception (by the bassist, the rest of the band, the listeners, and the recording equipment) can all be very different. I'm still coming to grips with those things. That time I played with the tuba that I mentioned - when I had to switch to arco and we were doubling the same line - I couldn't hear myself for peanuts. I was right next to him mind you and now we're separated by about three or four seats. Anyway, I could not intonate at all because I couldn't ear myself. Yet he said he could hear me perfectly. And there are a couple of times when I thought the bass could be hear and people in the audience thought so too but a mic at the back of the room couldn't pick it up very well. But actually that happens not just with the bass but with other instruments too sometimes.
  17. OK. So the Mackie didn't really do it for me. I returned it, and as I reported in the other thread, wound up with a floor model SWR 2x10 combo, and to stay within budget had to swap the D-tar for a Fishman Pro Platinum EQ.

    The Mackie actually sounded killer for BG, but switching to DB required pushing buttons on the back for low cut (on) and contour (off). And even then the sound was just not stellar.

    With the SWR combo, there's power to spare, and the 10s have a little tighgter response which should be good for DB. With the Fishman preamp, I can essentially have the tone set for both axes, and just rotate the effects blend to switch from one to the other. The depth knob on the fishman gives me a variable low cut which is handy. The DB with Realist sounded pretty good even without the preamp. I think it will serve us well.

    I didn't get to try the Clarus/Wizzy rig. I have no doubt that it would have sounded great, but it was out of the price range and would have necessitated the fishman or other preamp in addition for convenient doubling.

    Thanks to everyone for your input!
  18. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Which swr did you get? I have a super redhead that works very nicely. I typically just cut some mids and leave the rest alone, and run the horn at about 50%...

  19. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I use an EA Wizzy Combo, and I dig it more every time I use it.

    As a doubler, the Wizzy combo works great for me. Even though about 90% of my gigs are straightahead jazz on upright, my Lakland Bob Glaub sounds really nice through it too. The amp has a really remarkable mid-range precision, excellent EQ section, and most of all a nice, warm sound.

    I don’t know t-bal if the Wizzy combo would have worked for you. Sorry I didn’t chime in sooner.

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