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

Doubling Head

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by TroyK, Nov 16, 2005.


  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Could use me a little education:

    99% of my gigs are with my trusty GK MB150. I occasionally use an Aguilar 112 extension cab. I like it, love the portability, but am always looking over the fence of course. Different topic for a different thread.

    I have a Eden Time Traveler 300W head that I have for the odd slab gig, but intended to use it for doubling. I’ve tested it at home a bit with my DB and it’s tough to tell. However, last Saturday I had a gig in a large hall with a group I don’t normally play with and decided to use it with the Aguilar to insure proper headroom. It sounded pretty bad, I couldn’t get the cab up off the floor and it was an odd room, but it was very boomy and vague sounding. In the first break, I ran to my car and got my GK and it was a big improvement. Mid-way through the set, I reached down and plugged in the extension cab (still sitting on the concrete floor) and it sounded better yet.

    I don’t aspire to make this head my DB head and I know I should drop $1,200 on a new AI or EA head, but leaving that aside for the moment, how could I have dialed or tinkered with the settings and EQ’ed it to improve the sound? I tried dialing out the bass, but didn’t improve it that much and didn’t want to spend that much time on the gig screwing with it. One thing I found when I got back home was that the “warm” setting actually made it sound muddier and less natural. That kind of makes sense now that I think about it from Eden’s standpoint, but I’ll keep that off from now on. I’m generally fairly ignorant on EQ settings and usually play my GK flat and then just tweak in tiny ways to tune the room. When I read about "scooping the mids" and stuff like that I'm totally lost.

    I can practice this rig at home, but I have a small and acoustically strained home and I don’t think I’m going to get my answers that way. If my GK were to fall into a well and I were to need the Eden again, how should I approach setting it up? Or is it hopeless? I realize that BG amps are not generally considered good for double bass, but how do you deal with it when you do need to use them? I saw Ray Brown play with an SWR WM15 and Christian McBride play with a Super RedHead, they both sounded tonally fine in addition to being amazing players, so is the Eden just an especially horrible doubling head or do I just not know how to deal with it? I suspect the later.

    I’ll sit back and soak up the advice.

    Troy
     
  2. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Do a search. You'll see people posting on this everywhere. WT-300 and Aggie 1x12 is a great low volume slab rig. Not so much for upright. I would get an URB specific cab 1x12 (Flite, Berg, EA, etc.) and a cheap IAmp or AI head (IAmp 350 or Clarus) for upright. Keep your other rig for slab. I haven't heard an electric rig I really liked for upright or an upright rig I really liked for electric. Class D amps are the bomb for upright, not so much for electric. Walter Woods would probably be the best choice if you've got to, got to have one rig...but much $$.

    W
     
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Troy,
    I really liked the Time Traveler with Precision Bass, but I'd never tried
    it with the upright. After reading you're post I probably won't bother.
    Have you considered just buying a MBE 150 head. Those baby's are very reasonable at the moment. That way if the Combo falls down a well you can hook the head up to the Aguilar and you're off and running. Granted it's not a Walter Woods, iAMP, or a Acoustic Image, but it's certainly the biggest bang for the buck. If that's not the sonic quality you're looking for then Wilbyman has it nailed and with the new models from AI due out in December I'm pretty certain that there will be a few Series II available for sale.


    Ric

    PS: IMHO when were are talkin' about the likes of Ray Brown and Christian
    Mc Bride it wouldn't much matter what they were playing through, because every gig on their tour has a different amp. They generally don't bring em out with them. Several years before Ray passed I saw him play through a GK 150 MBE just like yours and he sounded great.
     
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I have considered a 150MB head, I saw one today for something like $315 and I think I could get a series 2 AI for less than $500. I occasionally see an SWR California Blonde used by a folk singer for around $500, which is a great UB combo. I would probably switch to that as my primary if they weren't so heavy.

    But none of those could really carry as an EBG amp, which was what I was hoping for. I could dump the slab rig to be honest. I haven't had a P-Bass gig in years, although I get asked every few months to do something and eventually the right project will come along to bring the P-Bass out. I was just hoping that the amp I already had would be a suitable backup and was hoping that with some tweaking, I could get it to work O.K. for a night.

    What about a different GK head, like the 700RB or something? Would that sound like the MB head for DB? It would certainly work for whatever came my way with the slab.

    I agree about the irrelevance of equipment used by the greats. It's in their hands and their time feel, but I will say that there was no boominess, which is all I was really struggling with.

    When I used to take ensemble classes, I usually used whatever amp was in the rooms and they were never good DB Combos. They were always digital Ampegs or Peavys or something and I wouldn't have bought one or wanted to gig with it, but I could usually get them dialed to some acceptable tone for group playing for the night. It's hard to believe that it's impossible with the Eden head, but maybe. I did do some archives searches and found people say things like "not the most neutral head for DB, but it works".

    I'm not going for perfection. And I'm not looking at buying the ultimate DB rig, that's a different thread.

    -tk
     
  5. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Since you haven't had a BG gig in years I would sell everything and get a good DB setup. For that special project that might come up I would borrow or rent.
     
  6. I have an Eden CXC-110. Hook up a CX-110 ext. cab for BG, unplug for DB, & I'm happy. I replaced a Hartke Kickback 12(passable tone & volume)w/the CXC rig(much better tone, volume & headroom). I think for every bass & player(particularly DB)there is an ideal amp/preamp/pickup/mic/etc combination that makes one player/bass sound awesome, but not the next guy. Look at how many DB guys are trying yet another amp in search of 'the sound'. Mind you, I'm not pointing fingers; I just happened upon what I think is the ideal rig for me(after a very short search). As for EQing, tweaking mids always yields the best results for me. The CXC has switchable freq. points for the mids; high mids cut through, low mics add beef.
     
  7. I use an Eden WT330 Time Traveller with an Eden 210XST, for slab and EUB. I find the amp to be very neutral - I like a clean hifi sound and this is the best I've found. For EUB, I have the 'Enhance' right off (it boosts extreme lows & highs, cuts mids - exactly what you DON'T want for upright) and I generally leave the EQ flat - perhaps boost the low mids a little if the room requires more grunt.
    I suspect your problem with the sound is more to do with the speaker than the amp. My 210XST is perfect for my BG, but is a bit too generous in the extreme lows for an upright. A smaller speaker with more midrange 'poke' would probably suit URB better than my Eden or your Aguilar. Getting the speaker up off the floor also makes a big difference to the low end, and your ability to hear yourself.
     
  8. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Troy,

    Are you using an external preamp with the Eden? Got to get that impedance matched up right or the amp won't be happy. Plus a little EQ on the preamp box doesn't hurt to dial out badness.

    Also, the Eden is like the SWR and has an Aural Enhance style feature. You said you were running relatively flat -- be careful, because having that baby straight up at 12:00 is actually adding a lot of processing to your signal. I set my Enhance knob around 15% and start there (I learned this from another Talk Bass Forum!)
     
  9. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Rolling the enhance off all the way seemed to really help. It's tough to tell in my basement, though. I'll schlep this rig to a few quintet rehearsals to see if I can get it to work as an emergency backup. If so, i'll hang onto it, if not I'll dump it.

    Thanks for the advice.

    -tk
     
  10. greg garrison

    greg garrison

    Apr 12, 2005
    Colorado
    I use an old ('94) Eden Highwayman (500 watts) into an Aguilar 1x12 for my upright- not the ideal upright rig by any means (but who really has enough $$ to be constantly buying new rigs?), but if you can figure out how to "flatten" the amp from an eq standpoint, that should help- Eden amps seem to have a pretty big bump on the low end- i cut alot of low mids, and i never use the enhance knob with upright.
    With a mic (atm 35) and pickup (you name it i've tried it) through a preamp/blender (raven labs pmb-1 or d-tar solstice), I've been able to achieve a natural sound, especially at low volumes. I don't know what the eq is like on your model Eden, but i'm assuming it's a semi-parametric like mine- pretty versatile eq section if you take the time to mess with it and cut the frequencies that are troublesome with your bass.
    I've also experimented with running my solstice into the aux. input on the back, bypassing the eq and uisng only the amps power section, to some good results.
    I generally use the same eq for my electric bass ('75 jazz bass), i just turn the enhance knob a little to bring back the bottom.
    Not sure if this is helpful or not, just my experiences with an Eden/Aguilar combo!
     
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It's very helpful, thank you. I'm using a Realist without a pre-amp and that could be something to look into.

    I'll rehearse with this rig a bit and see what I get dialed in. I just want it to work as a backup and not sound like a$$. If I can get there with it, it's worth holding onto.

    -tk
     
  12. greg garrison

    greg garrison

    Apr 12, 2005
    Colorado
    I've gone realist straight into Eden w/out a preamp, and it wasn't pretty!
     
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Right. Me too. So, again, could use some education. I read the newbe locked threads on pre-amps today, but I'm just dense on such things.

    What kind of pre-amp would help? What do I do with it?
     
  14. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    In an earlier post you asked about how the larger GK heads like the 700RB sound for upright bass. I used a 400RB a few times with my upright (which at the time had an Underwood pickup) and I thought it sounded pretty good. A few upright players around town use this head with their uprights. Like the Microbass combos, the 400RB has a 1 Meg Ohm input impedance which helps it deal with piezo pickups better than some other bass heads. I think the active midrange and variable contour control on the GK amps help to dial in an suitable sound for most rooms. I now use either a GK MBS150 or a SWR WM12 for both electric and upright and they both sound good for either my Realist equipped upright (no preamp) and my Fender Jazz Bass. The GK is usually my first choice. I would think that your GK combo with an extension cab would be a fine doubling rig for low to medium volume gigs. I don't any expereince with Eden gear, but there are quite a few bass amps I have tried that did not sound good for upright at all. Conversly, I don't think the AI Contra combo is a very good electric bass amp, although some might disagree. Good luck on your quest.

    - Steve

    My web page
     
  15. greg garrison

    greg garrison

    Apr 12, 2005
    Colorado
    I've used a little K&K single channel preamp that was like $70 from Gollihur, which might be a good option for a single pickup setup. For blending 2 sources (2 pickups, or a pickup and a mic), i have used a Raven Labs blender and a D-Tar Solstice. A preamp will get your input level to the right place, and will give you some more eq options. But once you start spending $$ on preamps...might as well save up for an AI or something. Hey, do you ever play with Jose Martinez (drummer) out there in Seattle?
     
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Troy,
    I guess from my perspective, what you use kinda' depends on your finances at the moment and how any extra little boxes you want to carry around with you to the gig.

    Personally, I've spent lots of bucks on a Fishman Blender with their Crown condenser microphone and the end result sounded pretty nice until I started using a Realist which just plugged straight into the amplifier.

    My problem with the little boxes, is that I have to remember all their
    in's and out's, and deal with a second set of controls on the gig, going back and forth to get the equalization and tone controls set properly, and then there's the whole battery and AC adaptor issue as well.

    I want a amplifier that works like my toaster. You put the bread in, set the dial, and push the handle down and after a few minutes, bingo you have warm delicious toast!!!

    The Acoustic Image amplifiers are great because you can plug anything
    into them (including you're microphones on the new Series III's) not have to worry about little boxes to correct some inadequacy in the amplifier. They are the "deluxe toaster" for the double bassist. This coming from a
    guy who only owns Walter Woods amplifiers.

    Ric
     
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, I know Jose. Great guy, great drummer. He plays regularly with my friend Marc.
     
  18. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm really kind of the same way. More and more, I'm thinking about trying to pick up a used Series II head, with 300 watts. People still play rock and roll here or **** improv and even though it's not my thing, it's nice to be asked and the GK with a tidy little extention cab hasn't done it for me in the past.

    I'll practice the Eden rig a little and see if I can get it dialed in. Shutting that enhancer down completely showed good promise. Meanwhile I'll keep an eye out for a bargin.
     
  19. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    SWITZERLAND
    I have an iamp 500 + wizzy, and i love it.. i just play double bass, but some friends at shows used it at least 5 or 6 times for electric bass, sounded wonderfull, in fact one went to order one the day after, pretty amazing little rig.
    YMHO of course
    good luck


    NUNO
     
  20. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    LOL! That's good stuff. Gonna be tough getting the noodles out of the keyboard!