1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Ischell v Ehrlund Contact Mic

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Has anybody tried the both the Ischell contact mic and the Ehrlund contact mic? If so which did you prefer?
  2. lrhbass

    lrhbass Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    I have had both, but on two different Basses. I had more luck with the Ischell, which sounded good with the right placement, on the Bass.
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    My experience was quite the opposite,
    the Ehrlund EAP works beautifully on my 5/8 size Mirecourt and 3/4 Knilling
    The Ehrlund sysyem is more expensive.
  4. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks lrhbass and Ric for the two interesting replies. I have read good reports about both the Ischell & the Erhulund. Both sound to be same type of quality pickup.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
  6. Kristian


    Dec 5, 2008
    On my big bass, the Ischell sounded better. On my small (1/4) bass, the ehrlund sounded better. Only one way to find out I'm afraid ..
  7. richhansen

    richhansen Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Endorser of the KSM Foundation Bridge.
    On my old Juzek, the Ischell sounds far better than the Ehrlund that I used to have. I used to use the Ehrlund on a different bass, however, and it sounded great, so I agree that you would have to try both of them to see what works best for your bass.
  8. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    I've had both, you want the Ischell. Period.

    The Ehrlund is completely pointless because it doesn't create a suction cup around the mic to the body.. In fact, the Ehrlund isn't evena mic as far as I know, It's some kind of electrostatic contact through vibration I believe, not air like the Ischell..

    You want a pickup that clings to the body and doesn't listen to outside of it's zone.

    The Ischell has putty that surrounds the entire mic and creates a suction cup around it and helps block some (ofcourse not all) of the sound around.

    I have videos of proof if needed. But you should have already seen them had you searched..
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I have a 5/8 Mirecourt flaback that the
    Ehrulnd EAP sounds incredibly rich detailed, and full. I don’t use the
    Ehrlund Pre Amp anymore because the Grace Felix, Headway EDB-2, and Walter Woods Ultra all sound clearer
    and better defined across the full frequency range of the instrument.
    Unfortunately the Ehrlund system is a lot more expensive than the Ischell which, would appear to be compatible with a larger group of basses.
  10. Sorry bassfacer22, but you have almost no idea how the pickups really work.
    I have no time to explain, but your assumptions are mostly wrong.
    And since several respected members already wrote that it depends on the instrument, shouting out like you know best for all and any instrument is not helpful.
    You might want to work on that...

    And contact mic is a class that includes very different kind of transducers.
    BTW, the air does not play an important part with that kind of pickups including the Ischell. The mass of the membrane or the bending is more important.
    the_Ryan likes this.
  11. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    I did say "as far as I know" and I don't claim to know it all.

    No matter what bass you have, you are going to get tons of more feedback from the Ehrlund than the Ischell.

    You can say all you want it "depends" on the bass, but time will show that the Ehrlund wasn't a good idea for volume, which is what most bass players want a pickup for..

    All I'm trying to say is the Ischell will perform better than the Ehrlund due to the fact it has a slightly better system to capture the sound. It is my belief, that You can get louder volume from an Ischell than the Ehrlund. - That's where I'm coming from.

    I really don't mean to sound like I am the Guru God of bass pickups, but based on the idea that I'm pretty sure we use pickups to get volume, You will get more volume on one versus the other.

    You want clarity and more volume correct? Then choose the Ischell.

    I assume people want clarity and volume, and you can get that with the Ischell. You can only get Clarity with the Ehrlund, but where is the volume?

    And I challenge any of you to please put up a video showing me you can turn your amp up past 7 or 8 on the volume knob and I'll show you if you properly seal the mic with the putty (on the Ischell) you can turn up more than the Ehrlund..

    I know that's a ridiculous example, but the point stands that you will get more volume with one over the other.

    Don't take this too serious guys, I'm just saying.. I'm not here to start rolling down the mountain ok. :thumbsup::D

    -I do apologize for sounding like a know-it-all @DoubleMIDI ;):)

    It's just the way I type..:smug:
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018 at 8:11 AM
  12. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I think it really varries from bass to bass. I got terrible high squealing feedback from the Ischell, nomatter how much I worked with the putty

    anytime I tried to get enough usable volume from that pickup. I can literally put my bass right to the side of the speaker with the Ehrlund EAP

    and play loud, the only time I'd ever have to play with the pre amp at 7 or 8 would be outside. My bass is smaller 5/8th's and a Flatback. The other

    issue with my bass a Walter Woods Ultra and a TC-112 was the actuall timbre (tone quality) of the Ischell. I'll likely revisit it at one point, but

    for the present I'm happy. I do realize that the Ischell thread has lots of very satisfied users, and the Ehrlund EAP is pricey compared to the Ischell. I don't

    use the Ehrlund Pre Amp. Just straignt into the Ultra or the Grace Felix. Just my take.

  13. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    I'll take your word for it.

    but this whole "depends on your bass" stuff is a little odd to me. The reason I mention that is that I thought the point of the bass was to resonate and vibrate as much as possible. I was under the assumption that luthiers make basses based on the formulas/measurements that have been used throughout history.. All basses have a sound-post, bass bar, and center of string length, and specific locations based on math that each component typically must go to.. That's what I thought anyway.

    So with the assumption that Basses are supposedly mathematically made to specific measurements and of course There are different sizes of basses yes, but over-all basses are supposed to vibrate and resonate. (Please correct me if there is something I'm just not seeing)

    I'm not saying what the all-time best pickup is, I am just saying I believe the Ischell can capture certain qualities at-least better than the Ehrlund. That's what I'm attempting to say. If someone can explain to me how a triangle with 3 putty balls on the body of a bass through electrostatic ? can somehow capture sound better than a microphone with a seal to the bass body, then please enlighten me.

    And that is where I get thrown off with the "depends on your bass" comment. Every bass is meant to vibrate and resonate, and the more the better. Don't we all want loud basses?

    Here is the microphone info for the Ischell, you can even buy both contact mic + air mic together in one pickup. Please enlighten me - @DoubleMIDI or anyone, how the Electrostatic ? triangle with 3 putty balls will capture sound better than these??

    If anyone does, I'll gladly apologize and accept the truth. :thumbsup::)

    ischell.JPG ischell2.JPG
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018 at 2:29 PM
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    I have to chuckle a little at the though that all Basses are the same mathematically, so forgive me, there are quite a few old Italian instruments where the two sides of the body are asymmetrical.

    They don't even match. So even basses all have the same parts, and the builders do strive to get a really good sound, they aren't made equally. I used to spend a lot of time hanging out at

    a bass repair shop, and man on man some really fine instruments, from the same maker, have drastically different sound production. I will say that newer instruments from Nick Lloyd, Jean Auray,

    and others are very consistent. Actually, my little 5/8's Mirecourt probably sounds better amplified because it's not as loud acoustically There's also a huge knot in the wood where the Ehrlund sits, so who knows. Here's a picture. ;<)

    Ric Mirecourt Bass.
  15. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    I mean I'm pretty sure they strive to follow the measurements based on where to put the F-holes or where the bass bar goes and things like that.

    Ofcourse I know they are made by hand, I'm not a luthier but perhaps one can comment on how much they have to follow the measurements while making basses..
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    Of course, there are measurments and techniques that all luthiers learn, that's certianly true. After spending a lot of time in a shop, I got to see what an art bass repair and construction

    is. The repair man I knew personally, had a little chart of where to carve the insides of F holes, to improve the sound of a lackluster instrument. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

    What's interesting to me is that I've watched a repairman just slightly move a soundpost, and heard the bass just open up, only to hear the owner of the instrument ask him to see

    if he could improve that sound. When he moved it agian, the instrument lost that sound. You're right there are measurments and you can certianly comment on that. That's why

    we have Talkbass

  17. The triangle shape avoids resonances that a circular membrane might have. That's the reason for the shape. There is even an air mic with such a triangular membrane.

    The difference between the Ehrlund and the Ischell (or AKG C411) is that the Ehrlund is a piezo foil (a piezo foil does not have these resonance problems most of us know from crystal based piezo pickups) and the Ischell/AKG is an electret condenser. The Ischell has a small cavity sealed by putty and the top whereas the AKG is sealed by the compartment and sticks to the instrument with putty.

    There is no doubt that the membrane of an electret is lighter and can move more freely than the thicker and larger membrane of a piezo foil, but I wonder a bit that the membrane of the electret moves at all, because there is no air pressure in the sealed cavity (and I seriously doubt that the moving top bends enough change the pressure in the small cavity). Usually the membrane has some mass in the middle so that the mass stays in place and the pickup is moved against it (which is basically the definition of a contact mic).

    If you have listened to the comparison rickwolff made some months ago with the AKG and the Ischell they are not so much different. And the AKG uses different putty, so that might also be a reason for a different sound (as well as a different mic capsule).

    I tried to do the same idea with a cheap omni electret mic, sealing the back of the capsule, making a putty ring around it and apply it to the top. Doesn't sound too bad, might get better with a better capsule (that one was about US$10). I also got an AKG C411 cheap, so I can compare that one too (just don't have the time to do this one after the other).

    It also depends on players taste if something is liked or not. I often play at jam session where I hate the sound dialed in by the opening bass player. If I change it to hear myself better, they often hate that. So it is also a matter of personal preference (as well as the debate about MBOL or being more pushing through the band with a non-natural sound).
    bassfacer22 and Povl Carstensen like this.
  18. I'm going to assume that all the basses you have had chance to play have sounded a little different from one another... Maybe vastly different from one another... That's certainly been my experience, and that's exactly why there is no one 'best' pickup for double bass.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  19. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    Thank you for the "enlightenment" about how they work.

    Having said that, then I guess my response should have been, "I personally like the Ischell better, it just sounds better to me.."
  20. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    Hi BassmanBrent,

    Of all the basses I've played, (and you experienced players over 10 years playing, all know this very well), there is only 2 types of Basses. Good ones and Bad ones..

    God I Hope this doesn't add another 4 pages to this thread! :roflmao:

    They either have it or they don't. You know Good basses have vibration/resonance and are loud, and the things line up to make that bass sing. You know, that old "this bass plays itself" thing.

    - or the other kind of bass is it just simply doesn't have that.

    Yes I know there are different tonal colors of basses, but I'm not talking about the tonal sound or color, I'm talking about Basses either have the resonance on every note and open strings or they just don't.

    That is what I mean about All basses should be the same. They all should just resonate and be loud.

    I know it depends on if they have been properly setup, but next time you are in a Bass store with 20 different basses, just go down the line and pull the open E-string on every bass there, and in 1 second you'll know which bass is Good or Bad..

    There isn't this about the color of the sound, this is about if the bass has a sound! :smug::thumbsup: