Radial Firefly

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Timmy-Watts, Dec 15, 2012.


  1. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I Have been experimenting lately with different preamps and processing for my upright and Kala U-Bass. I have learned a lot lately about input impedance and how it affects the voicing of the instrument from the get-go. My upright rig is the old trusty 1988 Englehardt plywood, heavily modded, very well set-up by Nick Lloyd, and wears Zyex lights, my favorite string to date. I have a newish Realist pickup and amp through a Walter Woods and various cabs. My main one is an Accugroove 12/6/1/1. Lately I have been using the F-Deck HPF-Pre series 2/3 as a preamp and have loved the results. The very high 10 MegOhm input impedance gives me that dark, thumpy attack I go for. Several other units that have that spec on paper have disappointed me in the real world hearing test. Sometimes, though it has sounded too dark for my ears. I have heard that others have found 4-5 MegOhm a good sweet spot for many upright pickups. I ordered a custom pedal from Max over at [sfx] with a 5 MegOhm input even in bypass mode (it is actually an overdrive pedal with a few tone shaping bells and whistles on it). That seems to balance out the highs and lows vary well and give a natural, woody, defined tone from my upright.

    I was given this new Radial Firefly tube direct box for demoing. It is tube based and designed with the doubler in mind. So I took it to the gig the other night. I don't usually even use the PA at gigs, let alone need a direct box, so I just used it as a preamp for testing. Like the Red Dragon pedal I had made, that 4-5 MegOhm input really is a sweet spot. The upright is punchy and full and warm. The tube really sweetens it up. For those with an awesome sound guy and like to go direct, this is a great box. You can read the manual for all the other functions, but it is great. I will have a great opportunity to road test it at tomorrow's concert where I will be playing upright direct to FOH and no amp. I will report back...
     
    Ric Vice likes this.
  2. Still typing up that report? The Firefly must be very good :hyper: ...

    or very bad :crying: ...

    BTW, thanks for all the U-Bass uploads.

    Cheers,
    FF
     
  3. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Any update on the Firefly?
     
  4. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Wow I forgot. I'm sorry guys.

    Here's the deal. It works. Good input impedance for acoustic and for electric basses. I'll keep this kind of short.

    The box does sound good. Similar to the Avalon. Driving the tube makes it sound thin, Blatt-y, and kinda Farty. Like a solid state distortion pedal from the 80's. don't even try it. Gotta keep it clean. The drag control was interesting, lowering the impedance for electrics. There was a sweet spot I found that kinda makes the low end opened up, like kinda looser, flubbier, almost like it gets separated from the rest of the signal and delayed or something. I can see it would be useful for a very specific recording tone, but I personally would never use it. All the other features are things you can do on any number of other units just as well.

    It sounds good. If you are a doubler and insist on going direct and not using any other gear, then be my guest. But you could buy a Radial Pz-Pre, a F-Deck and a SFX Micro Red Dragon pedal and still have $$ left over, better tone, and more features. In a studio direct recording environment I can see its usefulness.
     
  5. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Thanks, Tim! That report worked like gas-x for me. Aaaah.... I feel better now. ;)

    So, you like running cascading preamps with your upright? (Fdeck into PZ Pre) Seems redundant since the Radial has its own hpf, but then again I've experienced how some buffers sound better than others...
     
  6. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    We're talking about the Pz-pre, the multi pedal 2-input floor unit, not the newer Pz-DI...I've tried that one too.

    As a side note, the Pz-DI is a good unit. Good features, and when the good sound guy insists on a direct signal before any of your other gear, it is good. The HPF is variable, and it has a 3-way impedance switch (250k, 1M, 10M I believe). Very usable, although it has one input. The brightness roll off is good too, but I'd rather have a knob instead of an on-off switch to tweak it. I'm not a fan of messy highs. The F-Deck still kills it, and the tone knob on the sfx red dragon and B3 kill everything else I've tries for taming the upper mids and highs. But that's a side note.

    I'm not into cascading preamps per se, but the HPF on the Radial PZ-pre is totally unusable for bass. It's a switch off/80hz/120hz. I think the hi-Z buffers on the Pz-Pre sound just as good as the F-Deck. I was talking specifically about doubling. To get all the features of a firefly and way more (2 channels, phase reverse, variable HPF, tube like tone and drive, great DI, different impedance input options, etc.) you'd spend the same amount of money. Just put the F-Deck and red dragon through the loop and you have a tube-like totally controllable doubling front end that sounds way better and has more features. I sold my Pz-pre due to redundancy, but it is one of the best products for acoustic instruments tone wise and great function.
     
  7. Many thanks for your thoughts, Mr Watson.

    I found your comment that the HPF on the Radial is mostly unusable for bass. I don't really know what I'm doing with this stuff. I flip switches and twist knobs 'til it sounds good to me, but my ears have a lot of learning to do yet so I try to learn from people such as yourself and Scotch.

    I usually leave the HPF on 80Hz on my PZed-Pre as that typically sounds best out of the three options, although a couple of times the 120Hz setting worked for a country band that was quite loud. I need to better learn the theory behind this stuff so I can dial in a sound quickly and accurately instead of my time-consuming haphazard approach that mostly relies on luck!

    Cheers,
    FF
     
  8. Funkgong

    Funkgong

    Feb 28, 2018
    Hi,
    I'm interested to compare the Firefly and the RNDI-S (2 channel's input too)..
    Need opinion before buy one of them..
    Thank's.
    Nico
     
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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