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Rev SOLO & Realist at high volumes

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bolo, Mar 26, 2006.


  1. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I've seen some comments about the Rev SOLO recently that go kinda like this:

    "Works beautifully at low to medium volumes, but starts to lose that 'natural' sound at higher volumes."

    [ I have a Rev SOLO, and I don't know if I agree 100% exactly - I think some of it depends on the amp too. But I get the idea. ]

    I know I have also seen several posts that say basically the same thing about the Realist too, that in some cases people think it tends to get "muddier" at higher volumes.

    I have a theory (uh oh). Once the overall stage volume exceeds a certain limit, the stage sound from the bass amp and all the other instruments starts to interact or even counteract the way the acoustic bass resonates naturally. Since the acoustic bass isn't allowed to resonate in a natural way, the amplified sound as sensed through the pickup starts to sound less and less natural.

    Does this theory make sense?

    Are there other theories or facts that play into this as well?
     
  2. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    I agree, I think after a certain volume AND density of sound, the subtle qualities that make an acoustic instrument sound "acoustic" are buried and/or destroyed by the decibel level. I've never heard a double bass sound natural really loud, even with a great PA. Both the Realist and the Rev. Solo lose it as the volume goes up. Most other pickups IMO sound less natural to begin with. Having an amp with a lot of clean headroom helps. Asking your band mates to respect the sonic qualities and limitations of a double bass is also a good idea. I think we as bass players have to embrace the volume limitations of our instrument. It is part of what makes the sound so magical.

    Maybe this is a different thread but... another thing I've noticed lately is the expectation of amplified music in our culture, even if the venue doesn't need it. At a local coffee house recently a duo of violin and accordian set up in a courtyard about the size of someone's livingroom. It had walls on three sides, very cozy. The musicians spent about a 1/2 an hour trying to get their battery powered amps to work. There was absolutely no reason for an amp in that space. As a culture we are forgeting how to hear music that doesn't come out of speakers.:meh:
     
  3. Hmmmmm, does a good and accurate recording of a doublebass still sound good and accurate when played loud (assuming on a system that can do it) ?

    Seems that may prove your theory...

    Tony
     
  4. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    I had to send my Rev Solo back because it was distorting and giving off a loud humm noise. I don't t hink I installed it wrong at all, but hopefully I will get it back soon in working order. I really liked how it was sounding before this happend.

    Nothing ever sounds good at loud volumes with the upright. That is why the electric bass was invented.
     
  5. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I love it. Well said. All of it. Thanks Jeff.
     
  6. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Thanks Tony. That's a very interesting angle to me.

    I would say "Yes." I think a good recording of a DB can and should sound good and sound realistic when played through a good amp or PA system.

    I know it can't physically be the same sensation that we get standing with the instrument right next to our bodies, but IMO a good PA system for example should be able to produce a pretty convincing representation, even at higher volume.
     
  7. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Well, those are both pretty broad statements. Are you saying Chris Wood of Martin, Medeski & Wood never plays loud, or that he never sounds good? According to your theory, nobody can do both.

    What about Dave Holland? Are you saying he never plays loud with his quintet or his big band, or that you don't think he sounds good?

    Granted, Dave Holland uses an Underwood and a mic I believe, not a RS or a Realist. And I think Chris Wood uses the Schertler DYN-B, or at least he did at one time, and his tone is modern and even treated, sometimes to extremes.

    As for the invention of the EB, there were probably other reasons too. Less expensive. Easier to transport. Less prone to damage. Less physically demanding to play, regardless of volume. Used frets for "Precision" (get it?) for better intonation. Designed so that even a guitar player could pick one up and play. ;)
     
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Wow-- I sure have and I think this reinforces bolo's theory. I remember being completely wowed by the amplified sound of Larry Grenadier at the New Haven Jazz Festival. The sound guys did a fantastic job. It really sounded like a humongous double bass. VERY NATURAL. Had that kind of sound-pressure level been present on-stage, it likely would have affected the bass itself.
     
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Makes a GREAT DEAL of sense. I think it's also the case that the pickup starts responding to all of that vibration, perhaps independent of any affects on the instrument itself.
     
  10. Hey Bolo,

    I was referring to the post wondering if the at high volumes the bass was picking up the other instruments around it, also amplifying them and making the amplified sound of the bass "muddy", as compared to a bass simply being unable to be amplified loudly.

    So if a "good and accurate" recording of a double bass could be played at high volumes and still retain the "good and accurate" tone, it would prove the former true. So problem would lie in either the pickups inability to caprure the true tone or the pickups ability to capture everything else.

    I have to play doublebass often at loud stage volumes and experience this problem alot. Once, a stage monitor was placed right in front of me. The monitor was so loud it would make the bass itself "feedback" and resonate. I couldn't play any open strings and had to play very staccato as any sustained note would cause feedback.

    Tony
     
  11. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    -I'm glad to hear someone has. Maybe all the sound guys around here are just rockers.

    I totally agree with the point about sound pressure levels near the actual bass being the most important. That being said, the more sonic clutter in the mix, the more likely the subtleties of the bass's sound quality will be compromised. That's why in trios without drums the bass can sound so freakin' awesome!;)
    -J
     
  12. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Steve,
    I think you and Tony are right about the pickup part of the sound chain. DRURB's comment that I quoted earlier, get's to the heart of the matter- how to get the volume to keep up and still sound like a bass. I don't think any pickup can compete with a really good sound guy who can keep the volume down on stage, and a really good PA to add some volume in the house.
    -J
     
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    ...and the New Haven Jazz Festival is, of course, outdoors! Still, they managed to get a beautiful sound. It really struck me.
     
  14. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Thanks for these comments guys.

    I remember listening to Rufus Reid during a soundcheck on a big outdoor stage once. Like in DRURB's example, I was totally diggin' the sound. Amplified, sure. Loud, yep. But it still sounded like a DB to me. Granted, he was the only one playing at the time, thus eliminating the alleged "interference" factor from the other instruments.

    DRURB's point about the soundman's role and their capabilities is probably extremely important too in examples like this. Thanks again.
     
  15. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I sort of thought the same thing Doc. Since I have fitted and installed two Rev SOLOs on my bass, I know just how delicate and precise the variables are for getting the best sound (IMO+IME). Throw any wonky variables in there (like an exuberant drummer or guitar player), and I would think "Yep", the SOLO pickup is gonna physically sense that to some degree, and thus muck up the original equation.

    So the pickup senses the physical "disturbance" perhaps. And the body of the bass certainly does. I know I can feel my bass reverberate (in a bad way) when I have my left hand on the neck, and our vocalist does spoken segues and bad jokes in between songs.
     
  16. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Thanks again Jeff. Once again, I thought your post was extremely well said. And I think it will be helpful to me in some of the situations I work in.

    So it seems like my original theory wasn't so wacked out after all. I'm flattered.
     
  17. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Thanks again Tony. All this is helpful to me. Loud musicians are not.

    I think the other instruments may not actually get amplified by my pickup and rig per se. Like I don't actually here the guitar player's licks coming out my bass amp. But I think they do clutter up the sonic landscape like Jeff has described, and thus interfere with my bass and my pickup to some extent.

    Why do some other musicians turn up after every set and every song sometimes? Happened to me just this past Saturday night. Turns into a sonic pissing contest.
     
  18. Standalone

    Standalone

    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    I just shut my amp off during rehearsal on Saturday. No one else seemed to notice consciously, but everyone pulled back (only a little- I dug myself a few blisters in the effort) . I'm hoping that is a sign that they're relying on me for time and feel as opposed to it being evidence of _me_ creating the offending amplitude!

    It was nice to remind myself of some of the expressiveness I miss with my amp on.
     
  19. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    While it is true we are on the dark side, we must always remember to only use the force for good.
    -J
     
  20. larry

    larry

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    Amen to that! (Though we shouldn't have to ask).

    And get some of these drummers to have some dynamics besides loud and louder...
     

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