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Suggestions for a Preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Touch, Sep 13, 2002.


  1. Touch

    Touch

    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    Hi Folks,

    I play URB in a variety of styles and groups. I have been using an SWR WM-12, but do not have enough power when I play with a drummer. (I use a Boss Eq pedal to boost my piezo before I go into the amp).

    I recently picked up an Acme B-2 cabinet. I have a QSC RMX-850 that pushes 580 W through this 4 ohm cabinet. At a recent gig, I took the effects send from the SWR and drove the QSC into the Acme cabinet. Wow! Talk about smooth. Everyone noticed the moment I turned off the SWR and turned on the Acme B-2.

    Now I'm looking for a preamp (tube?) for this setup. I have been following some of the threads about preamps (Kern, Ampeg SVP-Pro, Peavey, Yamaha, etc..).

    I wonder if any URB players have suggestions or comments on a suitable preamp for my setup. I am using a K&K Bass Max pickup on a 120 year old carved bass. Will the piezo pickup provide enough signal for these preamps?

    Thanks,

    Touch
     
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    You need a preamp with a volume control, no?
    I was thinking of the TubeWorks 4001, but it's only a preamp/DI. No volume control.
    I suppose you'd like to get something in a rack-mount cabinet?
     
  3. jazzbassnerd

    jazzbassnerd

    Aug 26, 2002
    if you are using a bass max i would suggest buying the power pack preamp from k&k. i have the bass max/powerpack setup and the rig sounds exactly like my bass only louder. well thats my two cents.
     
  4. Your Boss EQ is serving more as an impedence buffer to properly load the piezo pickup, rather than a gain stage.

    In my experience, tube preamps sound bad with piezo pickups. I've tried the Kern and Ampeg SVP-Pro and they sound really ratty. They're more appropriate for bass guitars. The piezo pickup will provide more than enough signal for any preamp, but the preamp won't necessarily provide the proper impedence load for the pickup. Also, certain preamps are known to not provide enough output for QSC power amps because of low input sensivity of these power amps.

    Check out this thread for gain requirements for QSC power amps:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=54870
     
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I've owned a Kern IP-777 preamp for a couple years, and I like it a great deal for both double bass and electric, though my gigs usually don't require that kind of power, and the portability of the Acoustic Image Contra wins most every time. ;) The Kern leans towards big bottom, but the tonal balance control can lighten it up a little, and it retains clarity, doesn't get muddy. I coincidentally drive a QSC PLX-2402 with it, and it puts out plenty enough signal to drive it to its full potential.

    To answer another query you pose, the Bass Max is a very high output pickup, and should not require a separate gain stage before plugging it into your main preamp or integrated amplifier. I have used a stompbox bass EQ pedal with my electric upright, but never found it necessary with the Bass Max.
     
  6. I have a K & K Bass Max / Golden Trinity set-up, and my pre-amp is a Raven Labs PMB-1 - great flexibility - not exactly cheap, but does a super job - I'm happy and have had many compliments on my sound... Well, I suppose it cound be my fin... ...nah! I'm sure it must be the gear... :rolleyes:

    - Wil
     
  7. atunbridge

    atunbridge

    Apr 23, 2002
    Devon UK
    I am using a Fishman Platinum Pro Eq into Acoustic Image Contra. This gives you a pre amp, a graphic eq, a sweepable low cut filter and a very good compressor. I love it to bits. I find it very useful for taming a very boomy bottom end which can be a problem with the Contra.
     
  8. Interesting... I found exactly the same thing with the AI Contra.

    - Wil
     
  9. When I place my Contra on the floor, I often get the best results by dialing the bass down to about 35-40%. However, when I use my Contra with either an extension cab (Bergantino or EA 1x12), I can get an even and woody tone with the bass control set much closer to 45-50%

    hehehe ... I said woody :D
     
  10. Touch

    Touch

    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for all the input. Lots of expertise in these forums. Back from another tour so thought I would check in on the thread.. (OK, so it is 2 PM and I just woke up!)

    First, I should clear things up regarding stompbox that I use. I am mainly using it to roll off a bit of the high end on the BassMax pickup and not for signal amplification. I'm doing this because the XLR output of the SWR WM-12 is "pre-eq". I have found that a little eq before I send it to the house works best.

    I really want to ditch this little eq and get something that I can put in a rack ( with the power amp, a tuner and possibly a compressor).

    Interesting to hear from some that the Kern and Ampeg SVP-Pro preamps don't work so well with piezo pickups. The SVP seems pretty popular based (bassed?) on comments on the electric bass side of this site.

    Will keep looking and listening for that elusive preamp.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Touch
     
  11. Touch

    Touch

    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    Hi All,

    Took at stroll into the local music store and picked up a SansAmp Acoustic DI for $25 (!!).

    Will try this unit with the K&K BassMax, QSC RMX-850 and the Acme B-2 tonight at a jazz trio show and report back.

    Touch
     
  12. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Good luck with the Sansamp. You should be able to get plenty of power for your trio gig. However, it may not let you use all you have available with the QSC. The good news is that it will sound great and you can turn everything all the way up if you want to without worrying about clipping. If you run a line out to the PA, you can run the Sansamp on phantom power from the board (no batteries).

    I have been using the same box with a Stewart World 250 amp (7 lbs) and SWR 2x10 with my Bass Max and have been very happy with the sound. However, when I use this rig with the BG it has been a little short. My intermediate solution has been to add a Boss lmb-3 stompbox before the Sansamp when I play electric. I use the compressor and enhance features, and the gain stage gets me the push I need. I am looking for the silver bullet preamp myself.

    I have been eyeing the Raven Labs PMB-1 blender. It looks like it can do it all and get full power from my amp. However, I would like to try one first or at least get a testimonial from someone who has compared the two. Any takers?
     
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This is a question for the gear heads up in the BG amps forum. Bob Lee (of QSC) routinely answers such questions in that forum. If you post there and get a definitive answer, please share it with us down here as well! I'm interested in the PMB myself.
     
  14. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I'm a dealer for Raven and have an unmodified QSC PLX 2402 in the next room. I'll do a test drive if anyone would like to know the answer.
     
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I would love to hear the answer to this question, plus any information about how the Raven Labs unit and the PLX 2402 work together as a DB and BG amp. The PLX is the lightweight poweramp, right? How many watts does it deliver?
     
  16. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Go Bob Go!

    Ehem...Go (All Hail) Bob go!

    I'd love to get an idea of how they compare. Of course we will have to remember that you are not a Tech 21 dealer, but I'm sure your integrity and sense of fair play will prevail.
     
  17. Where would we be without (AH) Bob?

    I use a Raven MDB-1 to power a Ramsa power amp, and use the SansAmp Bassdriver in the effects loop of the MDB-1. The Raven fits nicely into a 1/3 rack space.
    Since the Sansamp's tone controls are basically active parametric EQ, it is much more flexible tonewise than the few knobs would indicate. It can also be a bit touchy gainwise. Using it with Raven's wet/dry control buffers this, and makes it a very flexible, simple system.
     
  18. Touch

    Touch

    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    Hi Folks,

    I just finished my first gig with the SansAmp Acoustic DI. A jazz trio, drummer next to me, guitarist had a Fender Twin. We do standards, as well as some Scofield and Methany styles...

    I was using a K&K BassMax pickup, a QSC RMX-850 power amp (bridged) and an Acme B-2 cabinet (3-way, 4 ohm). Bass is a turn-of-the-century German carved top.

    The Sansamp Acoustic DI preamp had fabulous tone, great "growl" and it drove my QSC amp just fine. Plenty loud during Freddie Hubbard's "Mr. Clean". The parametric midrange control was very effective in eliminating feedback so you can "crank it".

    It might be nice to try a Raven Labs or another 2-channel preamp to blend in a condensor mic. Maybe someday when I get some cash. I think I'm set for now.

    Regards,

    Touch
     
  19. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I always seem to be the one that does things differently.

    I use an Underwood PU with a Fishman Model B preamp. My amp consists of a Demeter VTBP-201, a Stewart PA-1000 and an Eden 210XLT. It is not really small and light but it sounds the best of everything I've tried. It sounds worlds better than the Walter Woods head that I used to own.

    I've also used an SWR Grand Prix preamp with excellent results.

    Chuck
     
  20. Hi,

    Any opinions on the K&K powerpack preamp. How does it compare with the Fishman Model B when used with an Underwood or BassMax?

    I've been happy with my Fishman but it's becoming unreliable and needs repair.

    Martin