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Need advice before I buy pre amp...

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by JDM, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. JDM


    Oct 12, 2005
    I'm thinking of buying a Fishman BII preamp after reading loads of threads, it looks like I need a preamp for my accoustic upright, using a K & K Double twin and going into a Hartke 250w head with SWR Golliath 210 cab. Currently without any impedance matching the sound through my setup sounds weak and brittle and prone to feeding back. Has anyone any views on buying a Fishman BII (all I can afford right now).
    Incidently, the bass sounds nice through a PA system. Interesting---any views on this too?
    Thanks, Jon
  2. The BII will provide the impedance match you need to get rid of the scratch and honk. If you can swing it the Fishman Pro Platinum has a lot of extra useful features like high-pass filter and phase inversion.

  3. JDM


    Oct 12, 2005
    Thanks Phil, that'll be my next move then! I'm gigging tonight for the Pre amp fund. Jon
  4. jlilley


    Aug 28, 2005
    Mill Creek, WA
    I wouldn't consider a pre without high-pass and a phase switch. Take a look at the posts on fdeck's new release, if you are happy with your tone shaping it might be a good solution at $50.
  5. Hi there, I just bought a L.R. Baggs para acoustic pre amp. and have had outstanding results with it. I run out of my bass ( Rev solo2) right into the P.A. The Fishman looks like a nice one as well.
    Good luck.
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Unless you need the tone controls on the Fishman, I'd check out fdeck's pre/HPF.

    Also, it should be mentioned that L.R. Baggs "voices" their pre-amps. That is, they alter the frequency response away from flat according to their idea of what sounds good. For some, it works quite well. On the other hand, I prefer that a flat frequency response be targeted and I use my tone controls according to my own tastes.
  7. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    To my ears, yup the GigPro certainly did color the sound. Mid-scoop. Very thick. Might have been great for fattening up a jingly-jangly steel string acoustic guitar I thought, or even a DB p/u with a thin sound, but it was not to my liking, even though it had a HPF.

    Like you said, it depends on one's tastes I guess.

    But do all the other L.R. Baggs units have this same tone coloration too? I have seen lots of postive posts on the Para Acoustic unit, which made me think maybe it was voiced in a more neutral fashion than the GigPro.
  8. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Not really. Sounds about the same. Not a fan on DB. Standard equipment on my Acoustic Guitar gigs.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I don't know if they all have the same mid-range hump. They don't really advertise it and it was only when I talked to one of their representative that I got confirmation that the GigPro has a tailored response.
  10. Anybody use this?

    Presonus TubePre

    I use it for recordings and the occasional live gig where I need more volume -- usually when this is the case the true sound of the bass is going to be lost anyway IME -- but the jury is still out on whether it's a good thing or not. It doesn't have EQ but it does have: HP/rumble filter (80hz), phase reversal, phantom power (if needed) and a -20db pad. The tube aspect is where the coloring may or may not come in. You can really vary the tube and the gain levels to just about anywhere you could want. You can bypass the tube entirely too. But it really warms up a pork chop. It may not be the exactly perfect thing for DB but it is very versatile. Great if you double between DB and plank. And I'm a sucker for the analog VU, even if it is a bit gimmicky.
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Let me start by saying that I am not picking on you or on this amp, in particular. I realize full well that you are not touting this as the "drug of choice." I am not criticizing your choice, nor am I discounting that the device may work very well for you and the combination of equipment with which you use it. With all that out of the way, I'd like to ask a question and make a few observations.

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean but if you use this when you need more volume, then it seems you are using it to boost the gain into the next device, be it a head amp or PA, or whatever. Do those devices not have level controls that will get you there?

    I read the manual and it is not clear how they implement the rumble filter. It could be a notch filter at 80 Hz or a high-pass filter at 80 Hz. That cutoff is about an octave or so higher than what is optimal to remove infrasonics from the typical ported enclosure. It is certainly less flexible than an adjustable HPF.

    To the extent that the tube has any effect at all, it will be to color the sound or to change the overload and/or the distortion properties. I have no idea what the circuit is that surrounds the 12AX7 tube. In principle, there is no reason that this pre-amp tube would, necessarily, color the sound. It is likely that a circuit has been constructed to intentionally color the sound but that could be done with solid-state components as well.

    A case can be made for a tube front-end under conditions where the input is routinely driven into overload as the characteristics of tube overload and distortion are quite different than that of solid-state components. The even-order ("euphonic") harmonic distortion produced by tubes is far more acceptable to the ear than is the distortion of typical solid-state devices. Suffice it to say that, IMO, if one is not overloading the input, there is no practical reason to use a tube.

    The hint that the tube is used to color the sound rather than to improve overall performance is that the option is provided to vary the portion of the signal passed through the tube. I trust that you know that this is more gimmickry than anything else.

    The pre-amp does have a variety of features (e.g., attenuation pad, phantom power, XLR connections, continuously variable gain) not found on simpler devices such as fdeck's little pre/HPF but then again it is over 2.5x the price and all of those features can be had without the extra expense of and heat produced by the tube.

    I love the VU meter though! :)
  12. I used the PreSonus TubePre for a while and quickly gave up on it. My issue was noise. I even put a fancy eastern European tube in it but the improvement in background noise was marginal. I've come to conclude that these wall-wart based tube preamps should be thought of as effects boxes, producing an extremely colored sound. If that's what you're after, then perfect, you got it. If you want something more hi-fi you should look elsewhere.

    I've got one for sale (with fancy tube) if anyone's interested.;)

  13. Just to clear a few things up:

    I use it as a preamp, like it's intended. When I say "when I need volume" forgive my non-exacting choice of words but y'all know what I mean I'm sure.

    I've read reviews where users say it adds "noise" but I have not heard any. I think if yours makes noise either you have a bad unit or you're cranking up the drive too high.

    I think the website says it lists for $120 or whatever but as you know that is always much higher than real life prices. I got mine on eBay for $75 beans. That's only 25% more than the fdeck, to be fair. And there's no batteries to replace. Not that I'm knocking that device -- I have not used it so I have no opinion on it. This thing is a useful compromise for a lot of different situations, that's all. Jeez.
  14. Agreed. For 75 bucks you get a pretty capable piece of gear. I just thought it might help some folks to understand the drawbacks as well. I should add that my frustration with it was primarily coming from a studio perspective. In a live situation the background noise would be tolerable or even unnoticeable. In the studio I couldn't get past it.

  15. thanks Phil. My exasperation was more with drurb's post (and his predictable contrariness) than yours and if I were you I probably wouldn't want to deal with trying another one... but really I don't hear ANY noise from this thing, even in a silent recording situation. I think they made a lot of dogs, and I was lucky enough to get a good one.
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Wow, even with all those qualifications at the beginning, you still interpreted it as being contrary. It certainly wasn't meant that way and I understand that you were just throwing the pre-amp out there as an alternative. I thought that others would appreciate knowing some of the details regarding the use of tube front ends. I agree with Phil when he said, "I've come to conclude that these wall-wart based tube preamps should be thought of as effects boxes, producing an extremely colored sound. If that's what you're after, then perfect, you got it. If you want something more hi-fi you should look elsewhere."

    It is unfortunate that you did not accept my comments in the friendly spirit in which they were offered. For $75, you got a great deal!
  17. It's all good. Thanks drurb. It's good enough for me for now though the fdeck did pique my interest when I first read about it. But I have never been good about battery mgmt
  18. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Actually I really dig Mel Schacher's tone on those early Grand Funk Railroad albums. Overdriven solid-state West amps. I read he spent quite a while crafting that tone. Well, coupla days at least.

    And more than anything else it was that tone on E Pluribus Funk that was my lightbulb moment when I decided to switch from guitar to bass. The Red Album was a close second.

    That and watching Black Sabbath on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.

    I'm trying to be funny ... But I'm not kidding.
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks, I understand. Actually, fdeck was looking into providing the specs for a generic wall-wart power supply that users could connect to his pre-amp to rid the user of the dependence on batteries.
  20. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    IME the Double Big Twin pickup emphasizes the "bridge" sound of the bass. If you are looking for more "body" and more "thump", the K&K Bass Max might be more what you're looking for.

    So part of what you're hearing might be due to the impedance mismatch like you said, and/or part of it might be due to the pickup itself. Just a thought.

    Heck, maybe w/ the proper impedance match, the sound of the DBT will turn your crank. I dunno. Do you know the impedance level of the inputs on your Hartke?

    Nobody has mentioned the K&K preamps yet. IME, they are reasonably priced and they work fine. Their customer service is also very good.

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