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Realist Wood, Shadow SH-950 and B-band STM-SYS comparison (sound clips)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by riimodar, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    I made some comparison sound samples of three pickups on the same bass. There is no particular question in this post, I just provide these samples for anyone interested. Any comments and opinions are welcome though.

    Pickups that were compared:
    1) Shadow SH950 - two double-sided piezo elements in bridge wings
    2) B-band Statement System. Only the "under-the-feet" element was used in this test, not the bridge wing elements.
    3) Realist - the new wooden version

    The bass was 80 years old Czech 3/4 instrument, smaller body, string length 108cm (42,5"), fresh Spirocore mittel strings (S42, 4/4).

    Recorded through LR Baggs Mixpro (10MOhm Input impedance), flat EQ settings (which is not in the middle knob position - I had to measure this).

    mp3 samples here


    1) SH-950 was purchased in 2001. It may have changed since that time.

    2) Bband purchased in 2005. It is no more in production, however the sensors are probably the same as in the current D1 Double Bass system. This is a system of 3 sensors. Two are placed under the bridge wings, one under the bridge foot. I use only the single sensor under the bridge leg, because I found that the wing elements cannot compete in sound with SH950. I disassembled the BBand system and I use only the single element of it. I blend it with Shadow when I need the string sound.
  2. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    I added alternative samples for Realist and BBand to show how the sound changes when the pickup is moved laterally. 2mm move makes a noticeable difference, especially in case of BBand.
  3. bassist14


    Oct 17, 2005
    thank you, riimodar!
  4. gtrandbass


    Jun 12, 2005
    Curious...why did you disassemble the B-Band system? Couldn't you have just turn the wing channel level all the way down in the B-Band preamp/mixer?
  5. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    Yes, this would be possible, but my stage setup would get quite complicated. I would have to
    1. tie the Bband wing elements to the tailpiece (or to hide them somewhere else) to keep the wings free for the Shadow pickup (which I blend with Bband)
    2. cascade two preamps (BBand and MixPro) or use an ugly patch cable to connect Bband and Shadow to the Mixpro (stereo jack at Mixpro preamp end, jack/XLR fork on the pickup end).
    I disassembled the three elements and soldered normal jack connectors to them. By the way, the elements are quite vulnerable (the user manual warns you about this). I already damaged one of them by excessive bending, so having spare elements came in handy. I connect both Bband and Shadow DIRECTLY to Mix pro, by a standard insert cable (two mono jacks to one stereo jack).
    A technical detail: the impedance buffers are located directly in the Bband sensors, not in the preamp box. The box is rather a mixer/switch unit than a preamp. It has low input impedance, so you cannot use it with standard passive pickups. One buffer is located in the "under-the-feet" sensor, another buffer is in one of the wing sensors and this handles the common signal from both wing sensors. This means that by disassembling you get two active pickups and one passive pickup. Both can be used with Mixpro which has switchable phantom power.
    Nevertheless, this unit is out of production, so this information is just of a historical value. The current D1 Bband system has no external unit. I am not sure if it has the buffers in the sensors or in the jack.
  6. gtrandbass


    Jun 12, 2005
    Thanks for the details riimodar. I see, you want to mix BBand and Shadow sensors, modding the BBand makes sense.

    I just got my used BBand Statement...the wing sensors seem to work fine but not sure about body...it has really low level compared to the wings even when the body gain is maxed with the trimmer. If I turn the volume up the body then starts to feedback so the sensor works but I am not sure if it works correctly. I have installed it correctly, according to the instructions. Have you experienced anything like that?
  7. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    If I remember well, I had an opposite problem - the body sensor was too loud compared to the wings. I had to turn the body sensor gain all the way down (by means of the small screwdriver pot which was accessible through the back side of the box).

    Do you have the original wooden shims? Their height (thickness) is crucial. Weak body signal sounds to me like to thick shims, i.e. the pressure to the sensor is not sufficient.

    My observation (after disassembly) was that all sensors are the same (except the one does not have an on-board buffer). This means it should be possible to swap the sensors to test them. The body sensor placed under the wing should sound similar to the actual wing sensor. If it does not, there is something wrong with it. And vice versa - if the wing sensor does not sound good when placed under the foot, the problem is not in the sensor, but either in the shims (installation) or in the cable. But the feedback problem sounds like the shims to me.
  8. gtrandbass


    Jun 12, 2005
    Thanks! Good info on testing the pickups but I got the issue rectified just before reading your reply.

    I have the shims as instructed, the body pickup simply is just super sensitive to its position and it must be pushed all the way in for good volume. Now the levels are well in balance and I think this has improved feedback resistance of the body PUP too. It is a versatile, great sounding system!! I prefer the tone of the wing pickups though :)
  9. The new D1 does not have the op-amps located next to the sensors. It's more durable than the original D1 or Statement Systems. I don't think the tone is quite as good though, but it's similar.
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