Realist + Preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Alistair R, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Hi there :)

    I have recently purchased a new Gliga II solo upright with a realist pickup. I'm primarily an electric player so my amp is a GK 700RB-II running through Berg HT/EX112's.

    So far, I am not happy with the amplified tone. I'm getting that tinny trebly tone that is a result of an impedence mis-match between the amp and the pickup (I think) and I think it can be cured with the addition of a decent preamp.

    What sort of preamps are people using with Realists? I'm looking to spend up to $400US on a decent preamp to get rid of that low volume gastly sound that I'm sure we've all experienced before :) I had a read of the FAQ section but I'd like some more in-depth opinions on the issue.

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. ted burik

    ted burik Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    San Rafael CA

    Fishman outboard preamps work well with Realists. The top models are below $400 street. A good description of their product line may be found at Bob Gollihur's site,
  3. Cheers thanks for the response, I'll be sure to check them out as they're def in my price range :)
  4. Frits


    Sep 21, 2007
    Belgium (Europe)
    Here's my equipment: (lefty) handcarved double bass + Realist pickup + Fishman Platinum proEQ bass preamp + Bergantino IP112. All EQ set flat - the Bergantino's built-in DSP provides the EQ-ing and is sufficient enough and produces excellent sound. No impedance mismatch, all natural and clear. Bowing as well as pizz. It works for me.


    Frits (in Belgium)
  5. Evan_S._Brown


    Jan 10, 2008
    hey mate,

    i've got the same set up in terms of bass and pick up.

    i sometimes try using my sadowsky preamp but to me it sounds like junk.
    a fishman preamp is better but for me i didn't really dig the sound either. it definately adds to sound.
    any preamp will help you with your impedance problem.
    have you tried mucking around with your eq? boost some low mids. and cut your tweeter all together.. i dont think there is a need for you to start spending 400 bucks because you already have great gear.
    the best preamp i've used for double bass is the avalon U5 but even that adds to the sound.
    For me i prefer an all natural sound from my bass so an akg mike or the amp that I use compliment my tone quite nicely.
    let us know how you go
  6. I don't think your problem is an impedance mismatch, since The Realist can sound great with an amp with a 1 meg ohm input impedance, like your GK 700RB has. Series III Acoustic Image and Walter Woods amps, just to name two examples that are commonly used with good success with Realist pickups, both have 1 meg ohm input impedances.

    I suspect your problem is elsewhere and a preamp would only be a band aid to try to cover it up. Make sure your bass sounds as good acoustically as it can, since it's the source in your signal chain. Also the Realist may not be the best pickup for you on your bass. I've tried several pickups before settling on the Fishman Full Circle. It sounds great with a GK amp too, no preamp needed.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Hello, Those Bergs are a perfect match for DB and the GK is a great amplifier. I initially thought that the problem might stem from the fact that the newer GK amps have a midrange EQ that's really better for Electric Bass IHMO. But, looking at the 700 RB-II it's EQ section is similar to the MBS. So ultimately that should be workable. That's a qualified statement of course. I still prefer the midrange EQ sections of the Walter Woods, Acoustic Image, and Euphonic Audio with Double Bass.

    Well, as much as I love the Realist. You might want to try the Fishman Full Circle.

    That's the thing, I don't use any pre amp with the Realist and a Walter Woods Amp, which also has a 1 Meg Ohm input impedance like your GK. I have one of F Deck's HPF Buffer Pre amps. It has a Variable Lo Cut Filter and a Phase Switch. But that's for eliminating feedback and wouldn't help your problem. For the most part the Realist is just plug and play.

  8. +1.
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Although the symptoms don't meet the usual result, be sure your bridge foot is firmly on the Realist. Bridges often are pulled north by tuning and collisions with doorways, and if the foot isn't perfectly flat and well fitted, sound will suffer. My favorite weapon for gently whacking the bridge back into alignment is the spine of a paperback book.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Wow, I hadn't really thought of that one! But, if the bridge isn't seating properly on top of the Realist it could make a real difference in the sound. It sure would be a simple fix for the problem. Sometimes I try every complicated fix I can dream up, just before I realize that I forgot to plug in the AC cord to the wall or connect the speaker cable. This could be one of those ammm moments.

  11. Thanks for your input folks!

    I've spent a bit of time fiddling with the preamp and I'm getting closer to being happy with my tone. I think the GK and the Bergs are a fantastic match, but I just need something to cut the treble even more, sort of like a VTC on a Sadowsky or the VLE on a Markbass, treble roll off type thing as I've totally cut the treble, presence and tweeter. I am starting to like the tone of the realist as I play it more, just needs a bit more refining.

    The bass bridge is fine. It was prepared by a luther before I picked it up.

    I'll def give the rig a run with a preamp when I can to see if that makes a difference. Thanks everyone!
  12. I use GK 700RB II and a Realist, too. I've noticed Realist has lost some output level during the 2 years since I use it. Probably the pressure of the strings has some effect on the piezo film of the transducer.
  13. Interesting! I guess having the pressure of the strings might eventually do some damage depending on how much you play and how much you 'dig' in so to speak but it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
  14. Evan_S._Brown


    Jan 10, 2008
    heres another little piece of advice,

    make sure your bridge is at a right angle to the bass. If it is leaning towards the bridge side that could be contributing to your "treblyness".
    having the bridge leaning towards the tail will result in a lot more "bass" being picked up in the transducer.
    This works well with my Gliga II
  15. Evan_S._Brown


    Jan 10, 2008
    also..... cos this bass has a solid spruce top with solid maple back and sides you really have to work it in.
    Should take about 6 months and then your bass will sound heaps better than it did the day you bought it.
    like all good double basses.... they sound better with age
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    There was a thread on this several years ago. What we found out was that depending on the bass and bridge angle. the "shelf life" of a Realist is around four years on some basses. Check out the thread if you can find it. Essentially what one of the Repairman from David Gage said was that on basses with a certian bridge angle Realists will most likely fail after four years, that's been my experience as well.

  17. AZNBassist


    Jan 14, 2004
    I had the exact same problem that you had, realist straight into the amp (AI Coda) would give me a tinny sound. Some people don't need a preamp and plug straight into the amp, I have no idea how they do this and still get a great sound, but I got the Fishman Platinum Pro-EQ and bam, instead improvement of the sound in almost any amp I plug into now. Along with the improvement in the sound, it also works wonders when fighting feedback on a crowded stage where you have no choice but to stand in front of the amp. YMMV
  18. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    I think most, if not all, piezo pickups simply sound their best when a preamp is used, whether or not they are supposed to "need one" according to the manufacturer. Nice preamps like the Fishman Pro Platinum also have many other nice features and warm up that quacky "piezo" sound considerably.

    I often wonder why so many players seem so off-put by "needing" to use a preamp - and why it's become such a big selling point for pickup makers.

    I would use one whether I "had" to or not because it simply sounds better.
  19. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    Yes, and I use a Pro EQ between my Full Circle and Clarus where many previous posters have said it's unneccessary. It definitely improves my sound and gives a more versatile eq.
  20. For sure. I am very pleased with the sound/feel so far so I'm sure it'll get even better.

    Thanks for the addition comments. I think it may be worth adding a preamp for the reasons on feedback etc in case that ever crops up + general tone improvment and control :)