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Going crosseyed thinking about equipment

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bopeuph, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    So after the Camelot show, the drummer who tours with the group said my rig sounds ok, but he's heard better.

    I like the direction my slab rig is going, but it's time to add some more.

    Before I get started, here's what's copied from my profile:

    Current Setup:
    Upright rig:
    1945 Kay M-1 upright bass
    Fishman BP100 pickup
    Polytone Mini Brute III

    Electric rig:
    Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass
    Epiphone EB-4 (currently getting an EMG setup, and I might turn it into a tenor bass)
    BBE 383 preamp
    QSC MX-1500 power amp
    EAW 15" sub

    Other pieces to note:

    Fdeck's HPF-PRE
    Samson S-Direct SD100
    Boss FV-50H volume pedal

    I've been thinking about options for the upright, and the sound guys have suggested some mics to buy. One was the AKG 414. I have looked into the AMT S25B as well. These microphones are well over $500 used, and I noticed some other posts on this site that say there's more inexpensive options that sound just as good. Then I started getting confused, because I don't have much knowledge of sound equipment. Are these mics the best I can get, or is there a cheaper option?

    I've been thinking about an acoustic mixer as well, to mix a mic and pickup sound. Should I worry about that, or just hand the mic signal to the sound guy for bigger shows, and only plug my pickup in for small group gigs? Is it worthwhile to get something like the PMB-II? If I do, does that replace the need of Fdeck's HPF-Pre?

    My slab rig needs some 10's to go with that monster 15. I want to get a better cabinet for the 15; that's discussed in another thread. I'm thinking about something like the Hartke XL series with the aluminum cones. I used the 410 at both FSU and UNF when I was going to those schools, and it sounded great with both slab and upright. But I'm thinking 210 will sound fine for even the loudest bar gig, especially when coupled with my EAW speaker. But if I tacked on the 210 to my Polytone, would that not be a good idea for an upright bass? Is there a better all-around set of speakers, or does the company where speakers come from matter?

    Also, with the equipment I currently have, what should work on both instruments, and what just won't? I've tried my slab rig with my upright, and it's downright horrible. I've heard that a good pre for upright tacked onto my power amp will sound great, then again, I've also heard that a power amp like mine is never a good idea for upright. What about my speaker?

    See, I just got loaded with questions in the last few days, and I don't know what direction is best to go, both in sound and financially (I'm still on a student level budget).

    I guess, in short, what are some good options to buy for one side, the other, or both basses?

  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    What you're referring to is a common problem. In my experience, although there are more experienced people out there, I think the bass and pickup combination is the most important thing to concentrate on. I would look at changing the DB pickup first and go from there.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The BP-100 is the front end of your DB chain, and that's putting a very bright and harsh color on everything you do. I'd start there.

    Before we go into any depth about what's out there, what's your budget on the speaker cab part?
  4. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Well, I'm not really sure. I figure if It's not horribly expensive (less than $400 right now), I can make payments to whomever I buy it from, most likely a music store, where I can lay it away.

  5. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    +1 on Chris's recommendation. If you were to change to the Full Circle or perhaps a Realist the sound would change dramatically. Actually, the Polytone is a very nice amp for bass. You also want to make sure that the bass is in good repair (seams checked, sound post in the right spot etc.) and the strings are fairly new. Your bass and hands make the sound. With an accurate pickup, decent strings and a instrument in good repair the sound will be greatly improved. If the bass sounds good acoustically then you are on the right path.

  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    As has been said MANY times here the BP 100 is hard to get a good sound out of. I used one for a little while, switched to the Underwood, then about 9 years ago switched to the Realist and never looked back. Have the Realist on both my basses. The sound of the BP 100 and the Realist couldn't be more different. Harsh and cold vs. thick and warm.
  7. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I think the Realist or the Underwood is going to be my next move. My last teacher uses the Underwood, and he was trying to require the whole studio get away from the Fishman. I couldn't simply because of budget. The funny thing is he wasn't requiring another pickup because of the sound. He was making the requirement because one of the other bass players' Fishman fell off right in the middle of a tune at a concert. I have never had that problem.

    They both appear to be the same at 200 dollars. I wish I could find a used one a little cheaper, but I guess that's all there is. How do I decide which one I want without buying both? These are things you can't walk into many stores and try out, of course.

  8. Use the search function to find out what I think about the BP100, it's definitely not good ;-)

  9. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    By the way, has anyone ever tried mixing signals from two pickups, like the Realist and the Fishman? A bass player at UNF did this, and he loved it. I never really listened with a critical ear, as he was plugged into the same rig we all plugged into while at school. He didn't really MIX them together, though, he just wired them together with a Y-connector. Just wondering if holding my Fishman and doing something like that is worth it.

  10. There have been threads on mixing pickups, I seem to remember it can make the bass sound 'weak' because of the pickups cancelling each other out.

    Blending a microphone and a pickup is quite popular and can achieve good volume and sound.

    Bopeuph: To get the right pickup for YOUR bass, you may have to buy 3 or 4 different pickups and try them!

    It's like strings: every bass is different, and having a drawer full of strings / pickups / mics is a sign that you're working towards a sound.
  11. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I have just taken my amplified bass to the next level! I can't believe how it sounds now. This is what I did:

    I was loaned an underwood from a fellow TBer. I took it to this guitar player I play with who is an absolute gearhead. Along with that, I took every piece of equipment I owned for both upright and electric. We started by having me play my exact setup: the BP-100 into Fdeck's HPF-PRE, then into my Polytone Mini Brute III, which was dialed with the high and low at around 7 and the mid at around 5. The cable was plugged into the low input and was switched to dark sound.

    Of course, it's still bright, with all that string noise. We then tried it with the Underwood. Already, it was 1000 times better! Then he turned all my tone knobs flat (which, incidentally, was everything to 0, NOT 5 like I thought). Whoah. Then, switched the tone between the "bright" and "dark."

    So now we had a completely flat setting on the amp, and my bass was singing. Volume was fairly low, too, and it was still loud and no feedback.

    Mike then took the HPF out of the chain. There was no difference. Didn't need the filter, apparently.

    Then, we added my EAW 15" to the rig. My sound was much bigger. It was stacked up nicely, and I didn't need to strain to hear it.

    Then he did something I didn't expect. He grabbed my BBE 383 and put that into the chain. He dialed everything flat, boosted the highs and mids just a hair, then turned the compressor on. Couldn't believe my ears. I didn't NEED to buy anything else to sound better, I owned everything I needed all along!

    We discussed it afterward, and decided I couldn't get my bass to sound any better without spending a few grand. I'm really digging my sound. Now I don't have to waste valuable shedding time by screwing around with my rig, trying to find a decent sound. It sounds like my bass, only louder. :smug:

    We did toy with one of his mics during this, and decided that a mic was a good next step, along with a good pre (like the PMB II) and a smaller power amp. No need to carry around a 50 pounder.


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