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Sound Clips - Shen Willow, Upton Brescian, and an Old German

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Dave Irwin, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks so much for doing this! Very interesting.
  2. neal davis

    neal davis

    Dec 29, 2006
    toronto canada
    Interesting, it seems the weich strings speak a little slower on your brescian than the regular gauge evahs on your other basses. I was having the same sort of thing happening with my brescian and switched to a blended set of spiro mittle and weichs and it seemed to let the bass speak right on time. You have 3 nice sounding basses there.
  3. What did you use to record the audio? Did you record in WAV and then compress to mp3 or did you record straight to mp3?
  4. The basses were recorded with an Audio Technica AT AT873R to an Audio Buddy preamp to a Zoom multitrack. Recorded in Wav and converted to mp3 via Audacity.

    I originally used a zoom handheld that recorded to mp3 but found it lost the depth of the basses, particularly the Upton and the German.
  5. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    My take:

    #1 - Old German - nice fat, round tone
    #2 - Shen Willow - close to the German!
    #3 - Upton Brecian - thinner, less body than the others
  6. Good to know. I agree with your assessment about recording straight to mp3. The online specs for the AT873R seem to show quite a bass roll off below 100Hz. Is it possible for you to redo this with a large diaphragm condenser mic? Maybe also placing the mic closer to the bass? It sounds quite far away.

    Nevertheless, these recordings are very nice to hear! Thanks!
  7. Will try but I may lose the Shen today.

    I need to work on the graphs.. sorry
  8. Here's the spectrum for the German

    Attached Files:

  9. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    When playing what note or notes?

    Preferences aside, I heard the Brescian as having a deeper, fuller, darker voice than the others. I listened via a decent pair of headphones and went back and forth across the recordings.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I agree. I heard the German as brightest, Shen in the middle and Brescian the darkest and loudest.

    Thanks for posting this, Dave.
  11. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Thanks for sharing this Dave. I thought they all sounded really good. I honestly found it hard to choose a favourite. Like durb and Eric but thought the brecian was a bit darker and fuller. I liked the old german bass and thought the shen was the quietest. . .

    My main thought was that they are all very different, but all really good.
    I would go with either the german or upton. Great playing and a fun experiment. Thanks for putting it together.
  12. Here's another round of pizz using an ATM250. Not as good a mic as the 1st but it's clipped to the bridge for a closer "view".


    I think the graphs will cause more questions then they will answer and since the sound files are out there anyone can make their own. (So I'm giving up on them :)

    I am reserving my comments on the results for now :)
  13. Going by the 1st recording withe the AT873R, my opinion is

    Shen SB200 - good balance between highs, mids, low. more mid presence, nice attack.
    Upton Brecian - much deeper bottom , perhaps not enough mid and highs? bottom dominates a bit too much? Sure it's a bass... but could it get lost in a band mix? Very sub-woofer like.
    Old German - perhaps best balance between bottom , mids, highs? Enough bottom, more than the Shen but less than the Upton.

    Shen Sb200 good sound, lots of mids
    Upton - again deeper. will compliment the other strings well.
    old german - deep sound, good in the upper range as well. perhaps the nicest?

    They all sound very nice. Different voices, which each can excel in different music ensembles giving a certain sound. IMO, the Shen Sb200 has the least "low end", the Upton the most.
  14. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thank you again! This new trio of recordings (assuming the ordering is the same), really makes even more apparent (to my ears, anyway) how much more powerful is the "boom" and "bloom" of the Brescian and German than the Shen. The Brescian still seems to have the darkest voice. Again, this is what I hear, preferences aside.
  15. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Yeah, me too. Thanks Dave! I love comparative sound clips...
  16. Yes sorry, the order of basses sampled is the same in the 2nd recording
    Shen, Upton, German

    Still saving my comments for the moment but I'll say this. The old german BETTER be the nicest, it's my main intrument for indoor gigs. Opera Houses, Dance Halls.
    The Upton was bought to replace the Shen for outdoor and rougher environments, (barns, gazebos, etc)

    Thanks everyone for the feedback and generous comments

  17. The new recordings are helpful.

    The Shen fairs the least well in the new recordings. Very thin.
    The Upton is the deepest of the three, but I think it lacks a bit of top end definition.
    The old German has a great balance along the whole register, deeper than the Shen, not as deep as the Upton, but nice mids and highs too.

    Anyways, in different ensemble contexts, different sounds work best.
  18. Well, I'll chime in on the samples now.

    1. The Shen, at it's price point faired really well with the other two showing it's value.

    2. As I listened to the 1st round of clips, I noticed the sound became more defined with each bass. Which says something for the Brescian as it was the only hybrid among 2 fully carved basses.

    3. No question, the Brescian is the champ for power. You could even see it visually looking at the sound file.

    4. Power wise, the German was close to the Shen, but it shows it's age in it's woodier, darker tone. The Brescian is darker yet, which I would expect from a hybrid.

    5. Maybe the definition and woodiness made the German sound "brighter" but live, the Shen is the brightest for sure. Overall I think the comments were pretty dead on.

    Anyway, I'm glad I could do something to entertain a few fellow TB'ers or at least help you pass the time.

  19. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    OK; listening to the second series of clips, I have to agree with my fellow TB's: Shen is the thinnest, Upton has the most bottom, German is nicely balanced between bottom and clarity, not quite as loud as the Upton. All sound very nice, though!

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