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pizzed double bass with mic - which amp?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by myrick, Nov 5, 2002.

  1. When playing jazz I am currently using various K&K pickups, including the trinity mic, and a Raven blender into an AI contra. Thinking of trying a more mic intensive approach with a "serious" mic. (Recent mic thread inspired me, though I suppose that thread was aimed more at recording, less at live.)

    Any thoughts on Conta vs other amps / preamps for the mic'd approach to double bass sound reinforcement ? Anyone driving a Contra or Woods with mic only ?
  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas

    I have very good luck with the AKG C3000 into my Contra, with phantom power provided by an ART Studio Tube MP amp. This is the rig I use when playing when there is no PA, and I get a great sound. I've also had good luck with the Contra and an AKG D112, using an A-T Impedence matcher to go into the input section of the Contra, although it is not quite as "transparent" as the C3000, although it did sound better than the Trinity I used to use.

    Also, David K uses the AKG C4000b exclusively with his Contra.

  3. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Well, Ed, some people play gigs where there ain't no PA, but still have to compete with the drummer...

    I'm considering buying an ART Tube MP Studio mic preamp and a Behringer BX1200 Ultrabass combo amp for use with my GM55 mic (Shure SH55 copy).
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Well, if your amp has an effects loop like the Contra does, you can use it with a preamp to bypass the amps preamp stage. I started doing this with the Schertler, although I like going through the amp with the mic. If there is a PA, I use it, if for no other reson than not having to haul 27 lbs. around.

    I love no amp gigs; I do one every Thursday. Unfortunately, I've been getting a lot of private gigs like last nights election watch party that are in hotel conference rooms the size of Texas, and playing acoustically is not fair to the guy who might be trying to hear on the other side of the room. I started re-thinking my no-amp policies after playing at a loud club, thinking the band was balanced and everyone could hear me (vocals and piano were in the PA). After the first set, a guy came up who was a bassist in Kansas City and was disappointed that he couldn't hear the bass as well by the bar (too many people talking). At that point I decided that I should strive to have the best acoustic sound, but in a bad environment I owe that guy a chance to hear me. I remembered being disappointed by a few big name bassists who had such a lousy stage sound that I couldn't either hear them or their sound was muddy and indistinguishable due to bad sound men or equipment. Some bassists take the approach of only caring about their acoustic sound without ever giving a second thought to amplification. I'm far from being a really good bassist, but I feel I owe those who come out to listen my best sound possible. If it's a small room (or a nice sounding small hall), that is almost always acoustic. Sometimes it might call for the addition of a mic, and in even less friendly environs, maybe a transducer. Some bassists like Ray Drummond feel the amp and pickup are a big part of their sound, and think those who play acoustically are being generic although I disagree. Since his page can't be linked, I'll italicize his works. I disagree, but they are interesting points.
    If someone had told me twenty years ago that there would be such an entity as a generic bass sound I'd have laughed so hard I'd be thought to be daft. Today I'm definitely not laughing. Consider this: Why do some bassists, mostly young, who eschew any amplification, and who only play in front of microphones in concert or on recordings, all sound alike, but most of the "older" guys, including yours truly, have our own instantly identifiable personal sound whether we use microphones, electronic pick-ups, amplifiers, direct-boxes or any combination thereof. I mean, come on, if one hears Ron Carter or Cecil McBee or George Mraz or Rufus Reid or Buster Williams or ........(I think you now know what I mean here!) in a blind test one can identify the bass player in two, maybe three notes, huh? The development and growth of an artist's vision in whatever medium is the foundation for the birth and subsequent evolution of that art form. Central to that idea, of course is the notion that the dancer, the writer, the musician, the painter attempts to illuminate his/her corner of reality. In this process of creation an artist is busy being "used by the Muse" to the medium's ends; i.e. creative impulses in the medium are realized by singularly individual contributions to that art form. The so-called styles of literature, music, painting, dance, sculpture, etc. are merely manifestations and collections of these illuminations of "reality" left to inspire and enlighten humankind, if you catch my drift. The artist, hopefully, stays true to his/her personal vision as further insights and illuminations are developed during that artist's lifetime. The key here I think, is that it is imperative that an artist create and nurture a personal voice to add to the many other voices that are the history of any of the Arts. And in that spirit I say: Bassists (and everybody else) go get your own sound!!! Definitely food for further thought, methinks.

    Curious isn't it how one tenet of the conventional wisdom in today's jazz world seems to be to de-emphasize one of the strongest and most enduringly timeless qualities of this music; the unique personal voice of each jazz artist. It has never mattered whether one was a leader or a sideperson as an issue of development of any artist's personality. It was a given that any jazz musician was not only trying to be the best that he/she could be, but understood right from jump street that one had to find and develop "your own sound." At least that's what the "old timers" used to tell us young bloods. They would tell us to go "Straight ahead and strive for tone" for that very reason. For saxophonists, trumpeters, pianists, bassists, drummers, vocalists, for everybody, one major component, if fact, for more than a few, the major component of an artist's game was his/her sound. I mean, can you imagine Miles or Trane or Bird or Sassy or Lady Day playing the same notes that we've all come to know and love without their own personal sound? How many times have we all been able to know almost instantly (usually within a couple of notes) who artists were on a recording. Not so easy when you listen to most of the current batch of newly recorded product, huh? Definitely food for further thought, me thinks. The Bulldog

    I love Ed's point about stage volume. If the bass is not really loud, most good drummers will come down to match, and the balance is much better.

  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Well, I'll tell you, the way everbody is doing it today, seems to be with an amp. From the Village Vanguard, Birdland, to the Knickerbocker where it just a piano and bass duet, every bassist I've seen is using an amp. Buster Williams is using a 15", Rufus Reid a 10" or 12", Todd Coolman a 12"(bass piano duet).

    I agree with you on the importance of getting your organic sound together, but there are a lot of instances where playing acoustic just doesn't work or isn't an option.
  6. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Ed FuqYouAll,

    My bass easily gets swallowed by a rockabilly drummer.
    I play slap, it's loud, but she just wouldn't make it through drums and 50 watts of electric guitar (with the drums being much more critical) - least of all on outdoor gigs!

    I'm really glad for you that you have the playing ability and the good bass to play that loud unamplified!

    It's not about being that loud, Ed, I'm not into that heavy neo or psychobilly stuff (I'm really more the old school guy). I'm really in the need for amplification. And I don't like pick ups. They're all sounding too artificial, even the good ones. I hate magnetic pick ups. If I wanted a magnetic pick up, I'd just slap a slab...
    I really like the sound of my bass through my mic. That's the only way to go for me. But if I'm gonna use an amp with it, I'll need a preamp, or the mic's output signal will be much too low. Only read great comments on the ART, so I'll go for that one. It's pretty affordable. I recently read that the bass player of a gypsy jazz band used the Behringer for miking and I was told that it sounded excellent. So I'm leaning towards that combo, 'cause it's pretty affordable, too. I think it'll suffice to avoid getting swallowed by the drums and hopefully it'll provide a natural acoustic tone with the mic (probably at least much more natural acoustic tone than with any piezo pick up).

    Anyway, I like your cynicism - and your attitude! :)
  7. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    I know what you mean, and I'm kinda worried about that. I really don't like that "faster, harder, louder" way everything is going...

    As I said, I like your attitude.

    The other night I went to a rock'n'roll/rockabilly show. Two bands with BG, one with DB. It was cool, but - if you ask me - far too loud. But in this case I don't think that it was the bands' fault, I think the PA sound guy would have been the one to blame. The guitars just were to loud and the whole sound was to bassy IMHO.
    Maybe one problem is that nowadays most PA guys treat rockabilly and rock'n'roll shows like modern rock shows... :confused:

    I'm gonna have a rehearsel with a drummer and a guitarist soon. The guitarist is more neo-oriented than me, but if he's going to play with too much "drive" or too loud, I'll ask him to turn it down or I'll just quit...

    Yeah, and:
    That's really cool! :)
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm gonna get ripped for this, but here goes: If you are willing to spend the money to get the best gear out there, and take the time to personally experiment with it both at home and on your gig to find out what works for you and the sound you're hearing, you CAN get a sound with amplification that is very much like your bass, only louder. I don't want to get into the whole old school vs. new school "Yeah, well when I was younger I used to play with a 49 piece big band where the drummer used petrified sequoias for sticks and had a 63 inch bass drum, and I never needed an amp" thing, and I would never argue that amplification is the answer for everything, or that getting a good acoustic sound shouldn't be any self-respecting bassist's first priority. BUT....

    There's some damn fine gear being made out there, and if you are willing to work hard enough to be able to afford it (or happen to be born to a wealthy family or whatever), there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of it. I never record with any pickup signal at all, and nobody has ever complained about the sound (or lack thereof). But on loud gigs and even on medium gigs, I'll always use an amp, if only for a little added presence. To anybody who says that you can't get the sound of your bass out of an amp: have you tried EA speaker cabinets? The most frequent comment I get with these on gigs is, "Damn, your bass is LOUD! Oh, wait....were you using an amp?"

    As always, this comes down to a personal choice. This being the case, I choose to use amplification when it will make my life easier, which is most of the time, even if I only use a tiny amount of it. I love the sound of my bass, but it's not a particularly loud instrument. Maybe someday when I own a canon (and I've played a few of these) I'll begin to see the old school light. In the meantime, I'll keep taking the gigs that I'm getting (in part) because somebody likes my (amplified) sound better than the next guy's.

    Peace, my old school brothers....PEACE. :)
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    And on those two, what was the reason for playing with an amp as opposed to playing acoustically? Just trying to get a feel for your decision making process.
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I hear you Ed, and I lean toward the same approach, i.e. acoustic if it will work, mic'd if a little more sound is required, and amplified if more sound is required i.e. noisy room and players, bad acoustics.
  11. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Totally right. When I play drumless and the room provides enough acoustic, I don't need an amp and guitars and vocals can be adjusted to my volume. But that won't be the case very often for me.
  12. Touch


    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    Excellent discussion.

    I think my bass projects well and is fairly loud, but often find that I need an amp to hear myself. I do not trust monitor mixers anymore to give me the sound I need at festivals. If I can't hear what I'm playing, my intonation suffers.

    I just did a show for 100 or so at a public library auditorium and all of us played acoustic. At shows where people listen (as opposed to loud bars with a lot of talking) this is feasible. I put up a microphone about 15 feet away and got a stellar recording. Too bad we can't play all shows like that.

    My next audio experiment for the upcoming festival season is to lose the amp and get myself some in-ear monitors. Have any DB folks tried that?

  13. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    If I am playing with a large Choir, or in cases when I played with a jazz quartet/quintet acompained by an orchestra, or even some recording sessions where everybody is in the same room I use one of those "rocket it" phone amps, it's a very small preamp that you connect to your jack to and connect headphones to it, it also has a line out. Often in these situations the sound gets muddy there is too many people around you and very close and intonation may suffer, I hardly ever use the rocket it preamp, but it definetely helps in extreme situations.
  14. Interesting thread has developed here about when/whether to use an amp when performing.

    But how about more thoughts on the original post : if using an amp (and/or house board, for that matter) what about using mics instead of pickups. If using a mic and amp combo, what works, what doesn't ?
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    That's pretty complicated. As far as the mic goes, I'm not sure what would be best. As far as the amp, I'd have to say whatever amp produces the flattest, cleanest, most uncolored sound with lots of headroom. At the moment, that probably means a preamp/poweramp combination. As far as cabinets go, I vote Euphonic Audio all the way.
  16. Pignatelli


    Jun 20, 2006
    very interesting thread about using or not mic and amp, for myself I use amp and mic when ist's good for my expression, sometime it's depend who is drumming, where I have to play, the music style I have to play, sometime I realli enjoy to play without mic and amp.
  17. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    How about a "mini-PA" with a bass cab for a mic > amp rig? I've got a Yamaha 10/2 mixer on a stand with an ART Tube EQ, and am going to try running a mic into it from the bass. This'll feed a Crest power amp, to an EV B-115 cab loaded with a BW 1505 speaker. It's not a hi-fi cab, but the rest of the rig is pretty clean.

    I'm new at the UB, but have been amping my bass- and other stuff- a long time. If you want the sound of a mic, you want a mic preamp to a power amp I think. A small mixer is cheep, and always useful- and this seems a practical application, no?
  18. This has intrigued me for sure. I've done some searching but I'm not totally clear on how to go about running a mic through a bass amp, if it's possible. I'm looking at doing a small, clip-on mic like the AT Pro35 or Shure Beta 98H/C, or maybe a Shure SM57 or Beta 57 with an H-clamp or Sam Sherry's rubber-band-around-the-afterlength trick.

    The question: if I get a clip-on condenser, how would I run that into my amp? I'd presumably get an XLR-to-1/4" transformer, but I'm not sure how to deal with phantom power requirements. I've got a SansAmp Para DI, but I don't think that would suffice. Any helpful info?
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    McGryff, you can get a small mixer and use that as the interface. It provides phantom power and gives you some choices. I know a doubler who use one for slab and DB and I have a customer who uses that setup for his acoustic guitar, mandolin and pedal steel - he gets a really good sound too!
  20. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    McGryff, wow, seems like a popular topic. I have seen some related threads recently on this too. So I'm sorry if this sounds like a broken record. I am not an endorser for D-TAR, just a satisfied user ...

    If you want the option of blending a pickup and any mic (whether it needs phantom power or not), and running the blended signal into your single channel head, and running either channel or both to a PA at the same time, the D-TAR Solstice is an option. The mini-mixer route Jake mentioned would be much more multi-purpose for sure.

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