Full Circle preamp advice

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by ad9000, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Just wondering if anyone, after living with the Full Circle for a while, has any advice on preamps that work well with that particular pickup. I just installed one on my Pfretzchner bass (w/Spiros) and played a couple of gigs with it going directly into my EA iAmp 800/CXL 112 cabinet. I was basically happy, especially for just plugging in and doing a minimum of tweaking, but a liitle more gain would be nice.
    I found the Full Circle to have a lot more definition and upper end clarity than the Realist, which I was using previously. Didn't experience any feedback issues either, which was nice.
    As far as my vision of a preamp, one with lots of EQ options and bells and whistles is not a priority as much as impedance matching and gain boost, with the least coloration/most neutral influence on the signal.
    Excuse me if some of my terminology is not correct, but hopefully you get the idea.
    I've looked at the previous threads on the subject and didn't really find the definitive answer.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. JonB


    May 27, 2003
    Well, there is no one correct answer. You'll be hearing of many good options, though.
    My Full Circle sounds fine through a Raven Labs PMBII, which is unfortunately no longer being made. You might still be able to find a new one. DTar Solstice looks like a real similar preamp. I was also considering Presonus Acousti-Q, a tube - based preamp.
    There are some little battery - powered preamps like K&K or Fishman which can be mounted on the bass tailpiece or something. ( I have both and will sell) but IMO are not in the same league sound-wise as the above units.
    Finally, shortening the pickup wire and connecting it directly to a 1/4" jack seems to have made an improvement in the clarity and gain on mine.
    I've owned a few different pickups, and the Full Circle does quite well running straight into the amp, as you've already discovered.
    Maybe impedence matching is not so critical with this one.
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I don't use a pre with the Full Circle, and I'm happy with it.
  4. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Thanks JonB, I had thought about the Raven Labs pre.
  5. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    With all the eq options on the iamp 800, why not get a
    simple 10 megohm preamp. Like a low end fishman ($50)
    preamp, with volume, highs, and lows. This gives you a
    good signal, with more output volume. Cheap and simple.
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Check out the LR Baggs GigPro and MixPro. Tiny feature-packed packages.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Another vote for the PMB-II. I use mine into the iAmp800, and it improves the sound greatly. The PMB is great for making adjustments on the fly, while the super parametric in the iAmp is great for carefully sculpted cuts. A great combination.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Same combination for me, and the same opinion. It's easy for me to sound good virtually anywhere now, and yet it's all remarkably intuitive, meaning I can always set the sound on the fly with no problems. When you're playing uptempo in Db, that can be crucial.
  9. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    I'm a little less intimidated if I think of it as Bbm :p
    Seriously, thanks a lot for the responses! I think I'll try to search out a PMB II - sounds like the way to go.
  10. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles

    If you can't find a ravens lab pmbII, you might look at the
    D-tar solstice. Very similar type blenders.
  11. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    I have spent a lot of time using the Full Circle on my Pfretzchner with either a Ravens Lab USIP, a D-Tar Solstice or a Fishman Pro EQ platinum. I like the Fishman Pre Amp the best. It has the most EQ control and it matches up well with the full circle. I like my Solstice for the blending options, but there isn't as much EQ control in the low end.
  12. Have you tried the D-TAR Equinox?

    - Wil
  13. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    No I haven't. I am sure it would sound great judging by the quality of the Solstice.
  14. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Has anyone else played around with input impedance with the Full Circle?

    My Clarus head has a High/Low impedence switch that shifts that input from 1 Mohm to 10 Mohm. With my rig, the Full Circle sounds better with the input set to 1 Mohm. If I set it to 10 Mohm without rolling off the bass, the speaker seems to jump out of the cabinet like its on the verge of overexcursion. To my ears, the top end and midrange is similar at both settings, but the bass is overexagerated at the high setting. It may just be my setup, but the low impedence setting with bass set flat or even a slight bass EQ boost, gives a tighter, more natural, sound than the high impedence with the bass rolled off. It may well be a headroom issue I'm hearing.

    Is anyone else seeing this kind of behavior?
  15. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    If you have a good amp, you don't have to spend extra money to get a preamp with an EQ or other extras. I use a Full Circle without a preamp, but I do some recording so I own some preamps and direct boxes. I have plugged in a preamp such as the Studio Projects VTB-1 (about $120, no EQ) just to boost the signal from my Full Circle and it really sounded nice. If your amp gives you good tone control, just a bit of signal boost will give you more volume and presence out of it. No need to have two EQ's if you have one good one.

    BTW, the impedance adjustment Joe just mentioned can make a big difference in the sound. Being able to adjust it will give you more tone options.
  16. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I'll jump in here again. I tried my Full Circle at last nights gig with my old K&K Powerpack into a GK 1001RB and a 2x10. The Powerpack is an inexpensive little belt pack unit with just under 1 Mohm impedence and a simple two band EQ and a volume knob. It sounded great and was very handy to use when clipped onto my music stand. I almost sold this unit years ago because it sounded so electric with a Bassmax...go figure. I may get this signal chain worked out after all.

    For everyone I have confused with my above ramblings, I am working on two rigs - a GK and 2x10 rig that has to do dual duties with 5 string electric, and my Clarus rig that does almost everything else. The Clarus is fine with the Impedence switch to low. The GK I have tried with a Raven mdb, Fishman Platinum Pro, Boss ME50b (also not bad), and now the little K&K. So far the little guy is the winner.
  17. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Not sure, but I think the passive input on iAmps has a 10meg input. . .
    ? Mike Dimin, are you out there?

  18. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    On my new iAmp500, it's a 1meg input from what the manual says. I just got my new cab in on friday - a Flite Sound 10". :hyper: Super light (15 lbs), sounds great with the iAmp. I'm going with no pre-amp with the FC and there doesn't seem to be any problems. I have both the input and output levels on the amp at 3.5. This'll be it for me. I couldn't find a portabass at the local GC - seems like they're not making them anymore. I'll try to compare with a CXL-110 or 112 when I get the chance.
  19. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I use the D-Tar Solstice, and am completely happy with it in every way. It has 3 bands of eq, which I always find more than adequate for everything. Previously, I had the Ravens Labs PMB ii, and the fisman platinum pro. The D-Tar gives me both the best sound and gain. I go into the effects return of what ever amp I am using...
  20. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Pardon me if my question is irrelevent... What do you guys think about the fishman pickups vs the realist? I had the B-band on my double bass, but I had volume level fluctuation, hum, and the piezo kept slipping out on the side for the lower strings. Maybe it was a faulty unit, but I told them to take the d*mn thing off. Any relevant commentary would be helpful, since these things aren't cheap.