Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Controlling pesky piezo pickups...

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by JazznFunk, Dec 10, 2004.


  1. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    Hey all, I have a short question to throw out.

    In dealing with the whole mic vs. pickup quandry on a gig (or combination of the two), I ran into a situation the other night that I need some input on. It was a sort of bar gig with a stage that tended to really resonate and exaggerate the bass frequencies, not to mention having the drums, a guitar, and two horns in the mix. The stage wasn't very big, and I had my amp behind me, facing a bit away from me, with my body between the amp and the bass. I barely had any gain on the mic to start with, but had a pretty good thing going before the band started playing. Once the band started, the mic had to go because I was starting to feed back if I turned up too much. I had the gain about 1/4 of the way up, but the volume was a bit higher. I switched over to mainly the pickup after that, and fought the whole night with a sound that felt uncontrollable to my ears and hands. Way too much amp and too much to deal with in terms of hearing what I was playing clearly. It just felt like mud onstage. Now, when I tune up an amp to deal with a pickup-only signal, I tend to roll off a ton of the treble (almost all of it) and roll back the midrange a bit to smooth it out. Aside from that, what adjustments can be made to make the signal a little bit more natural? I know that what can sound like crap on stage sounds good out front, and judging by what the audience said, it did sound good. I'm not into a pickup-type sound though, and I really can't think clearly onstage and articulate ideas when I'm dealing with too much amp and too much pickup sound. Aside from asking the band to play quieter (which I did), what do you guys do to cope with situations like that? Here's the equipment I tend to use in given situations...

    Mic/Pickup or Mic Only Gigs-
    SWR Workingman's 12 (occasionally w/ extension cab)
    K&K Bass Max + Golden Trinity + K&K Preamp/blender

    Pickup Only Gigs-
    Same as above for amp, or a Fender BXR100 15" (works really well for preserving a deep low-end)
    K&K Bass Max + Sadowsky Outboard Preamp (a little smoother than the K&K for the pickup only)

    My bass is a Kohr K64 carved-top with Kolstein Heritage strings. Again, if I know the drummer and the circumstances surrounding the gig, I'll plan as much as I can for the equipment, but sometimes I just don't know. In those cases I go with the most flexible setup, which is the first one.

    Thanks in advance... sorry for being long-winded.
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    IMHO it's necessary to have highs and especially mids in higher volume situations. That's what keeps it from sounding like mud. However, I think that a more sophisticated EQ device would have helped you. There are a couple local places here that have "the stage from hell" and really requires more precise signal massaging in order to get a decent sound. I always carry a little Bass EQ pedal bandaid in my gig bag, a low-name version of what seems to be the Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer that I can stick into the signal chain when I'm using my Acoustic Image Contra. One of those or something similar could help you conquer those difficult stages.

    I'm not familiar with the EQ capabilities of the two amps you mention, but have to say I'm not fond of 15" speakers for URB- they can move you into Mud City. IMHO it's mids that defines the bass we play.
     
  3. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    Bob,
    Thanks for the advice. What is an equivalent device that you'd suggest for the same purpose? I was thinking about getting some sort of parametric EQ to have in the signal chain, but I'm not quite sure where to start. Any suggestions?

    -B
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I have one of These, and it does a really nice job. Now that I'm using the Focus, I haven't needed it yet, but if I ever find myself in a really ugly sounding room, it'll be nearby under my car seat. It's a good little swiss-army-knife kind of EQ, and not too expensive, either.
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't know what I caught, but speaking of horrendous URL snafus....DOH! I just fixed one of my own. Better late than never. :ninja: