Poor man's AJ rig....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Yamarc, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    I love anthony's sound. I know there are many, many factors that play into his tone, but I want to focus on his rig. I have seen many posts concerning his gear and, in the end, I just can't afford the same stuff. So, let's post about some great (cheaper) alternatives for a great audiophile sound.

    ***Let me say- I know it won't be the same as I don't have his bass, his hands, or his ears and neither does anyone else. However, I would like to take elements from his tone (and gear) and make it my own. Since I he is MY favorite sounding bassist I am studying his technique, his philosophies AND his GEAR...

    ...Hopefully, we will eliminate any 'obvious' comments concerning anything other than his gear. Let's have serious discuss of how to construct a poor man's AJ/audiophile rig.

    Maybe we could even discuss some misconceptions and aids when considering an audiophile rig such as this.
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    My best budget suggestion would be an Avalon U5 into Stewart World 1.2 into Acme Low-B2.

    I do like AJ's ethos regarding amps - getting all the extraneous colouration out of the way really helps you get inside the tone of your bass.

  3. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Anyone have any experience with the FMR RNP. Seems like a poor man's alternative to a these high end mic pre that AJ uses....
  4. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    +1 Avalon U5 / Stewart / EA
    (Crown) (Accugroove)
    (QSC) (Acme)
  5. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    The RNP is outstanding for bass. Highly recommended. That and the Speck EQ into a QSC or Stewart power amp will get you very close, assuming your fingers are up to the task.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    works for me!

    but why not cruise the aisles of the recording dept. at your local music mall. there's lots of great recording preamps you could use from the likes of ART, Bellari, Joemeek, Focusrite, PreSonus, dbx, that all sound great. and most come with built in EQ or compressors or both! and many also come in a two channel setup, great for those doubling up on upright.

    cab wise, Acmes, EA, and from i heard, prolly Accugroove come closest to doing the minimal coloring thing. course, aint nothin' wrong with looking for a PA speaker that with the right specs could handle a few bass chores.
  7. many people have explored using mackie powered PA speakers (most notably the SRM450) for their bass rig. transparent preamp of your choice + active PA speakers = easy load-in and setup + generally flat frequency performance (uncommonly known as hi-fi)

  8. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I have an RNP and I wholeheartedly agree with Lyle. It's fabulous for bass if you're going for a very uncolored tone.

    In fact if you do any recording at all you should consider getting one. For the money it can't be beat.
  9. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Never heard of the Speck EQ, which do you prefer the RNP or the Speck? Could you describe the sound you get from each?
  10. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    First, not to be too argumentative, but the "ART, Bellari, Joemeek, Focusrite, PreSonus, dbx" suggestions are pretty terrible pres, assuming he meant the <$1000 Focusrites. Yeah, they have cool ads and you can find them at GC, but they're garbage.

    Second, the RNP is a preamp. The Speck is a parametric EQ.

    The RNP makes signals louder, balanced, and low-impedence. The Speck changes the sound of the signal without introducing noise or smear or distortion.

    Together (the Speck fits neatly in the RNP's fx loop), they will give you 99% of the quality of AJ's rig (which is a Millennia pre and two API EQs) at a fraction of the cost (about $1100 for the RNP + Speck rig vs $4000 or so for AJ's).

    If that's more than you want to spend, get the RNP and a used tc Electronics parametric EQ. A bit hissy if you boost a lot, but you shouldn't boost a lot with bass anyway.


  11. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    What about some Raven Labs gear, you could use any of the pre's and then put a true blue in the effects loop of one. That might make for a good rig, or theres always that Universlal Stereo Pre Amp that always looked good.

    I do find this funny I neve thought I'd see accugroove recommended when the word cheap was used but I suppose its right sorta ratio.

    Also would S/H Meyer be available or does no one ever get rid of em :D I always prefered the idea of separate pres and the power amp built into the speaker.

    Hope this helps
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    didnt know the Speck as revered that highly. sounds like alot of hype, no?

    but how does the Speck measure up to my Avalon U5? and why not just use the Speck MicPre 5.0? does it not sound as nice as the RNP?
  13. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    No, it's not hype. Thanks for the vote of confidence though.

    The Speck measures up to the U5 exactly as an apple measures up to an orangutan. One is a parametric EQ, the other is a mic pre/DI. A "tone bank" knob is not the same thing as a full-fledged EQ.

    The RNP is a slightly better pre for use as a DI than the Speck pre. The Speck pre costs a lot more because it also has a mixing circuit that wouldn't be used in a bass rig. So, for the intended application, the RNP is a better choice.

    As to the RNP/Speck vs the Avalon, different ideals here. The Avalon is a colored pre, in a very good way. The RNP is a transparent pre, in a very good way. But the guy wants an Anthony Jackson rig, which means uncolored. Hence my recommendation of the RNP/Speck combo.
  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    dangit, Lyle,

    cant you see that i'm only putting up a defensive mechanism? you're supposed to say, "nah, your U5 is muuuuuch nicer. save your money, and just eat your cereal". :rollno:

    :smug: :D
  15. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    The U5 can do a pretty neutral job, depending on its settings. It will never be as transparent as the RNP, Millennia, or Great River pres, but it really does sound great on bass. Odds are, if you've been happy with it up til now, you should be happy with it in the future, and won't need more EQ options.

    So enjoy your cereal because you enjoy cereal. You aren't lacking a secret weapon.
  16. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    I took a quick glance at the URL you posted for the RNP (& also the manufacturer's website).
    So it has a DI output?
    Is that a 0.25" TRS jack (didn't see a XLR out)?
    Are the outputs line or mic level (or both)?
    How would you describe the diff in the sonics between the RNP and U5 (what sonic characteristics of the U5 -- set flat -- are non-transparent)?
  17. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    The RNP doesn't have a "DI" out, but then, neither do any other mic pres.

    It has two 1/4" output jacks available per channel, depending on cabling. Each ouput will be balanced or unbalanced depending on cabling and what gear it interacts with.

    The outputs are line level, as it's a mic pre.

    As to describing the sonic differences, yes, they could be set to sound quite similar. The RNP will still be the more transparent of the two, but it's not a hugely dramatic difference.

    Again, personally, I'd choose the U5, but in the context of this thread, the RNP would get the nod.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY

    How would an Avalon VT737SP compare to the Speck/RNP combo? I know it would cost a bit more but it's still cheaper than an "AJ setup". The 737 also has an instrument DI + a compressor...

  19. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Lyle, I've got a question for you concerning the logic behind getting an audophile setup such as we are discussing. I play a Sadowsky bass, I like to to use mile to medrate amounts of boost from the Sadowsky onboard preamp. Is there much sense in getting this kind of crystal clear rig if I have a bass that is not "pure and passive" like AJ's. What I mean to say is, is there merit to building a crystal clear rig when my bass already has elements of extra coloration from onboard eq?

    This type of rig seems to work really well for AJ because it really his just his bass and his fingers. HOwever, I really enjoy a clearer sound (as with the U5) with my Sadowsky even when the preamp is boosted and external tonal coloration is added.

    Hope this question makes sense...Thanks, Marc
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    They're definitely available used, just as anything else is. Sound reinforcement companies go under all too frequently.There are several available here at the moment: http://www.soundbroker.com/