Is it a good idea to use a Hi-Fi speaker for my double bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by George Sgouros, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. George Sgouros

    George Sgouros

    Apr 12, 2019
    By the time I plugged my double bass to my brand new Markbass Marcus Miller CMD 101 Micro 60 combo and played the first notes, I was really disappointed.

    Fiddling with the EQ settings did not help in any way. My double bass, sounded fake to my ears, having excessive mids, a bit of audible distortion and lacks low freq. I can imagine that the output of Markbass could be acceptable to the ears of someone else, or if used in a different setup (eg with an electric bass), but to me, it is far from what I expected (I must admit, I bought the combo without first hearing it, but there was no easy way to do that).

    Until I buy my combo, I used to practice using my preamp (Fishman Platinum Pro EQ preamp) and plugging it to my hi-fi system which features a pair of B&W DM 602 speakers. Now that I can make the comparison, it takes only one B&W to really blow away my new Markbass! It's not the level, it's the roundness of the bass, the sound fidelity, the lack of coloring and distortion, I could go on.

    So here are my questions:
    1. If DM602 was really so superior, I would have seen similar solutions in live gigs. So what am I missing here? Could somebody suggest WHY is the output of the 602 so good to my ears comparing to the Markbass combo?
    2. Do you think that it is a good idea to return the Markbass and try something else? (I see good reviews about Phil Jones Double 4)
    3. If according to your opinion, ordering another combo for the same price will yield comparable results to my existing combo, do you thing it would be a good idea to try the DIY way solution and for a setup using:
    (a) a used DM602 or a similar hi-fi speaker
    (b) a standalone (without speaker) bass amp?

    Could this work according to your experience?

    Thanks in advance


    - my double bass pickup is a Shadow SH951 Double Bass Pickup
    - I will use my setup for practice and for playing at small venues (no drummer)
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  2. It's hifi until it can't keep up with the live performance demands, then it gets broken. Recorded music is far less demanding in the transients than a real live bass.
  3. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I am not familiar with the pickup you mentioned. I looked it up and it is favored for rockabilly. The only reviews I found were on Amazon. One reviewer noted it was a bit mid forward. With two reviews, the average was 3.3 stars out of 5.

    I used the Gage Realist and found it was pretty decent for the crossover work I did. It bowed pretty well, but the pizz sound was kind of average. The best sounding pickup I have ever heard on string bass is the Ehrlund EAP, but it is expensive, sensitive to placement, and very authentic to the bass when you find the sweet spot. If the bass sounds great the Ehrlund gets a :thumbsup:. If the bass does not sound great you should avoid the Ehrlund :poop:.

    I have used the older analog Fishman Platinum Pro EQ, but not the current digital one. I thought it was OK but not great; a bit woolly & loose sounding. The notch filter is helpful but the EQ is pretty limited and, IMHO, you often need more than one notch.

    In my experience, a full range flat response rig can be beneficial with string bass. I have used several 3-way cabs in the past and the response was really smooth and articulate.

    My last touring rig used an Eden D210XLT speaker driven by a QSC USA series power amp. I used an Ashley MX508 rack mixer for the front end. I doubled on string bass, 6-string electric, and 6-string electric upright. I used Shure A95U line matching transformers so I could plug straight into the mic inputs of the mixer. For local gigs I used a GK 700RB/112 combo. Neither the Eden nor GK were as smooth and articulate as the earlier 3-way cabs, but they were way smaller and lighter.

    Also, IMHO, the instrument may benefit from having multiple bands of fully parametric EQ or a 31 band graphic EQ if you need to play with much volume. Here is a post I wrote on EQ strategies EQ Pedal for Upright

    Actually the entire thread is a pretty good read (but not everyone agrees with me :bawl:...;)) EQ Pedal for Upright
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Maybe @fdeck will stop by. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
    Dr. Love likes this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Now to answer your questions directly.

    No, I would not use your B&W DM 602s as you will most likely damage them.

    If you don't like the sound of the CMD 101, return it and get something you like.

    I suspect you are looking for super compact and inexpensive. You are unlikely to find this in combination with loud and high fidelity. I am sure the Phil Jones Double 4 will sound great, but I would not expect it to be very loud.

    If I were looking for a compact professional rig, I might consider the following two options:

    1. EA Doubler. Lot's of string bass players love the Wizzys, but the NL-112 will be way more HiFi.
    Products - Euphonic Audio

    2. Genzler BA350 combo with the matching 10-2 Bass Array extension other words two 10-2 cabs total.
    Magellan 350 Combo - Genzler Amplification
    Bass Array 10-2 - Genzler Amplification

    Lots of string bass players like Acoustic Image as well. I found them nice for jazz combo, but not quite loud enough for big band work.

    Acoustic Image

    Unfortunately all of these options are pricey...If you want really pricey look at AER AER Amps
    George Sgouros likes this.
  6. George Sgouros

    George Sgouros

    Apr 12, 2019
    Thanks for the extensive info. After your post, I applied some heavy EQ and things seemed to improve significantly - this is no time for me to invest heavily in new PA and combos :)
    Wasnex likes this.
  7. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Are you running the Fishman into the Markbass? If not, try that. Typically the front end of bass amps don't play nice with piezo pickups.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Are you using an HPF?
    BOOG and macmanlou like this.
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Have you tried the 210 one? That would be plenty for the big band I sub in, for sure. But not all that lightweight IIRC.
    Wasnex likes this.
  10. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    First, i'll say there is a double bass amps section on this forum and you posted this on the electric bass side. Check that out to see what other double bassists are using around here.

    Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]

    Alot of double bass players will use full frequency powered PA speakers in lieu of something designed specifically for bass due to what you are experiencing. You could easily just get a powered PA speaker and plug your fishman into that for a less colored sound. Most electric bass amps are going to color the sound in some way, and some will play nicer than others with a double bass. I personally like Gallien Kreuger gear for double bass, they seem to voice their gear well for that application. With that said i have seen players use Markbass too, and it might just take some EQing to get to the tone you like.

    60 watts is pretty low for amplifying double bass. I recommend 200w and above to do it justice.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    My experience was with the original amp and an extension speaker. The current amps have considerably more power, but the listed max SPL of the 210 is only 116dB.
  12. You don't mention what pickup you have, but the input impedance on the Markbass is 500 kOhm. Most double bass pickups work better with > 1 MOhm. Try plugging your pickup into the Fishman preamp, and then to the Markbass.
  13. Dwight


    Apr 9, 2012
    Yes, A high end stereo system will sound better than a musical instrument amplifier. The issue is as others have noted, you can blow it up quite easily, even at relatively low volume. One misplaced pluck and your speaker cones will try to jump right out of the box.
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Tradeoffs, always tradeoffs...[​IMG]
    Wasnex likes this.
  15. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I dunno, that sounds more just plain broken to me. The suggestion to try running it through the preamp sounds good, or if the pickup and amp are both new maybe you can call the store or the manufacturer to ask them for advice.
  16. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit Inactive

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    Here's the real problem^^

    (Quickly runs away...)
    Seanto, bobyoung53 and Mingo Sanders like this.
  17. oren


    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    I find that on my Markbass (CMD 121P combo), using a Realist Lifeline pickup, that I typically get better sound with some rather heavy use of EQ. I usually have to back way off on the low end and crank the upper mids quite a bit. It seems to vary widely depending on the room I’m playing in. But so far I’ve always found a sound I like, even though it’s not exactly the acoustic sound of my bass. At least with the Lifeline my bass sounds better without an additional preamp, but YMMV.
  18. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    While shopping for my now-in-queue 1x12 Audiokinesis Hathor, I was interested for a time in the Thunderchild. Seems to be a very strong contender for double bass as it gives a natural, transparent, wide-range response, and does 500W of it. (tradeoff being that electric bass will need either a preamp and/or cab sim or seriously grunty pickups to get a fully characteristic tone. Makes sense)

    Since double bass lives more in the low mids than the bottom-end lows, the Birdhaus could be practical for a lot of gigs too.
  19. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I love Markbass for electric, but can never quite get the sound I want for upright. A piezo sounds too honky through them, imho. A preamp will help a bit. Instead, I'm using a tone hammer pedal for EQ into a Broughton Hpf into a Quilter bass block, using an Audiokinesis Hathor cab. Sounds great, but this wasn't really a budget solution. (This set up is built around doubling with electric, not pure upright, and I find it a good middle ground for both) If you don't need a ton of volume, but more than a Phil, I think QSC or Yamaha pa speakers sound good with a piezo and a preamp.
  20. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I've owned Markbass gear in the past but found that they had too much of a baked-in sound for me. Not sure where you are ocated and what your budget is. My current rig for URB is an Acoustic Image Coda amp (600 watts, plenty of power) and either a RevSound 28 or 210 speaker, depending on how loud I need to be. Going with separate components gives me more flexibility than a combo amp. The head only weighs 2.5 lbs so its an easy carry. The 2x8 cabinet is 18 lbs.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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