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Suggestions for doubling (EBG & URB) though a single amp

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Steve Boisen, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    In my current gig, I am playing a Godin A4 fretless (semi-acoustic with LR Baggs piezo and preamp) and a Realist equipped Kay upright bass through an SWR Workingman's 12 or GK MB150S. I have to switch basses throughout the night and I'm looking for the best way to do this with minimum hassle. I am currently using a Radial Big Shot I/O, which is an A/B box with a volume control for the 2nd channel. This works well, but since I have to lower the volume of the Godin (which has a hot output) to match the Realist (which has a low output) I loose quite a bit of headroom. I also have to use a lot of cables (3) which is awkward onstage and I've always been told to keep cable length to a minimum with passive pickups like the Realist. If I use a K&K Bass Max instead of the Realist, the volume is matched between the two basses, eliminating the headroom loss problem, but I don't like the sound of the Bass Max as much and I don't want to have to add a buffer preamp to an already complicated setup. The BassMax seems to require at lot of tone shaping to sound good, whereas the Realist sounds good with a fairly flat EQ (as does the Godin, which also has an onboard three-band EQ). I recently bought a Radial Bassbone, but I don’t really like it because 1) it takes forever to dial in tones/levels for both basses 2) there is no mute feature for instrument switches 3) I don't like having an AC adapter running across the stage (the Big Shot I/O has a mute switch and requires no power). I'm thinking of using a two-channel preamp instead of the footswitch, although I would still have no way to silence the upright while switching basses. The D-Tar Solstice looks like a good choice (and it has a footwitchable mute feature), but that's I bit more than I want to spend at this point. I'm also considering going back to using both amps onstage (the SWR for the Godin and the GK for the Kay), but that doesnt address the muting/switching problem either and it's no fun carting and setting up all that gear. Any suggestions?

    - Steve

    (BTW my Bassbone is listed in the "for sale" forum)
  2. Here's one idea that might not be the best or most convenient for you based on what you say you're looking for, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

    With my upright, I've been using a Raven Labs PHA-1 preamp (no longer made, unfortunately) going directly into the power amp section of my Workingman's 10, through the effects loop return jack.

    My idea is this--you might be able to run the upright through the preamp of your choice into the effects return of your amp. Run the Godin through the instrument input of the amp. You wouldn't get footswitching, but all you'd have to do is move the effects blend knob to one end or the other to switch. And since each instrument would have its own preamp, you'd be able to set volume and tone independently.
  3. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Hmm...that's a pretty good idea.:cool: I had it in my head that if I inserted another preamp in to the effects return, somehow I couldn't use the preamp section of the amp because it was bypassed, but now that I've read your suggestion I realize that I was wrong. I'm going to give this a try. This would only work with the SWR because the GK doesn't have an effects blend knob, but the SWR has been my amp of choice for this gig anyway.

    One question though: if I turn the effects blend knob so that the upright bass is "on", won't Godin still be "on" too since now both preamps (internal and external) are now sending a signal to the power amp? If so, then I will also have to adjust the volume slider on the Godin every time I switch basses. This might still be better than the extra cables and footswitch I have to deal with now.

    Thanks for the suggestion:)

    - Steve
  4. justBrian


    Apr 19, 2002
    Surprise, AZ
    I've had the most luck using an old Ampeg B15 for doubling. Mine has two channels-- i just set them both then use the volume on my slab, and the pre-amp vol. on my URB. It sounds great for straight-ahead jazz on the URB, and nice and warm for the R&B stuff.
  5. Ale


    Jul 5, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: IGiG Cases
    If you wanna make it very cheap :
    Buy an Planet Waves cable with silence-button :D
  6. I've been using a Raven Labs PMB and a GK MB150 for this for years. They don't make the Raven Labs unit anymore (tho they do come up for sale somewhat regularly), but D-Tar makes something very similar with even more features. This would let you use whatever amp you want, AND you can mount the preamp unit to a mic stand and keep it closer to you for adjustments without bending over. I velcro a tuner on top of my Raven Labs unit, which has a mute, tuner send, and seperate gain and EQ for each channel. Very cool. The newer Raven Labs unit has even more bells and whistles and according to the specs, more headroom and gain too.

    I looked for along time for an affordable 2 channel amp, and gave up.

    Oh yeah, if you take this route, try running the line out of your preamp (PMB or D-Tar) into the effects return of your amp, it made a HUGE improvement using my GK MB150.

    Good luck!

  7. I don't think that would be a problem. My understanding is that when the effects blend control is set all the way to wet, the power amp gets 100% of its input from the effects return jack, bypassing the direct internal signal. It occurs to me that you could keep the footswitch if you wanted to, though it would result in a biy of a mess of cables. What you'd have to do is run the external preamp output and the effects send into the A/B box and run the A/B box output into the effects return, with the effects blend all the way to wet. This would probably also let you use the GK.

    Tony's solution sounds like a good one as well that might work very well with the switchable cables the other poster mentioned. Good luck figuring all this out.

  8. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    The WM12 has two inputs. A passive and active. While they are not seperate channels they do work simultaneously. I use a WM12 and when I have to double I put the DB through passive and the EB through active. I use a preamp with the DB so I have a volume control there. Works well for me.
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You might want to check out the Phil Jones Suitcase. It has 2-channels, and both high and low impedance inputs on each channel.



    Oct 24, 2006

    I hate pedals.They are for gitarplayers.:spit:

    I got my gear in aflightcase

    I got 1 a/b switch custom made,It's just one switch and on the back I have one preamp. Before I have to play in a bar or club I set the sound for my electric bass and then i switsh to the double bass and set the preamp right.
    It takes just a few minutes. When that is done .i only have to switch that little switch .betrween my two basses.And so I can keep my cables short.
    greetings Jack
    excuse my for my english.It's not so good
  11. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    This thread has been very helpful and thought I had it all figured out until recently.

    I was using Aaron's suggestion and running my upright through a SansAmp Acoustic DI into the SWR's effects return while plugging the Godin into the amp's active/passive input, using the amp's Effects Blend knob to select between basses. This seemed to work great and the BassMax pickup sounded much better when the SWR preamp was bypassed, but the problem is the the signal from the SansAmp to the PA system is not muted when the Effects Blend knob was turned to "dry", so even though no signal from the upright was coming through the amp, it was still coming though the PA and causing a low ring when the upright bass would vibrate sympathetically with the Godin (or anything else onstage).

    The only way to solve this would be turn the level on the SansAmp to zero so that the signal to the PA was muted when I switched basses (at least I think this would work...maybe the level contol has no affect on the XLR out). Now I'd have to adjust two knobs each time I switch basses: turning the effects blend on the SWR and reseting the level on the SansAmp. I could ask the guitarist (who runs the sound) to turn down the upright bass channel on the mixiing board when I'm not playing it, but I hate to burden him with this.

    At this point I'm thinking of either just going back to the Radial BigShot A/B footswitch or trying the other suggestion of using both inputs of the WM12 at the same time with the preamp serving as a volume control for the upright bass.

    Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    - Steve
  12. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    You could get a boss TU2 or other such pedal that has a muting capability (volume pedal?) and stick it before the working man pre-amp. So switching basses is going to be click the pedal as you take off the godin then turn the FX blend and pick up the DB.

    Personally I think having a tuner that will mute as you tune is a very important thing to have on stage anyway. While tuning by ear is an extremely important and fundamental skill to have. Save it for band practice and when your on your own. No one wants to hear you tune up when your on stage.

    Another thing my mesa boogie m-pulse 600 has a foot switchable FX loop as does it's little brother the walkabout which might be a more suitable size amp for you. I just did a little experiment there of which the results showed when plugged directly into the return only whatever is in the return will sound and anything plugged into the preamp is off and wont sound. The return goes directly into the power amp. When the fx loop is switched off the pre-amp works and whatever is in the effects loop wont sound. So this amp or an amp of similar effects loop design could be worth considering. The only thing you would need to do is hit one foot switch and there you go you've switched from one bass to another. Plus you would be only using the same amount of cable as you would if you had an amp for each bass. The only thing I'd say about the boogie's is that it might be a little dirtier than the clean sounding SWR
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    If you get a preamp for the second bass, you could build a passive mixer cable and blend the two instruments in the effects loop of the amp.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It's a shame more amps don't have two channels like in the old days.

    I bought my Walter Woods head for this reason (the small size is a plus, but wasn't the #1 consideration), I use it on all my doubling gigs.

    This is finally starting to change (possibly because of the recent resurgence of the DB), I recall complaining to Rick Jones at AI about this a little over a year ago and lo and behold the Series III amps have two identical instrument channels. Ampeg and Epifani have offered two channel amps in the last few years as well.
  15. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Steve, I was in Key West this week and saw a guy on a doubling gig, sounding great and making effortless switches. I checked his gear and he was using a WM12 with a small mixpad mixer sitting on top. He had his electric and his upright plugged into it, and sent the mixed signal to the amp. His mixer had individual channel mutes, so that's all he did...mute and unmute as needed.
  16. I keep re-reading this thread and I get lost in the technical details, which is kind of odd, because I'm a electronics geek of sorts. I think the best suggestion so far is to get a two channel amp and simplify this whole rig. That's sort of like starting over, but the clue to that being the solution is that beyond the packing up and setting up, two separate amps has been your best solution. You could turn that into one amp with two discreet channels and ditch all or most of the volume control channel switching patch-up stuff in between.

    Not that you don't have some fine equipment and plausible solutions, but you have two basses that have different tone control needs, different optimum level settings, etc. A good two channel amp would be the first step in the right direction. The best ones I've used / bought (and one is better for EBG and the other for DB) are the AI dual channel heads (or combos) or something like an Ampeg PB 800. One ensemble that I play with I use the Ampeg for both instruments (my DB also has a K&K Bassmax fitted) and everything works fine except I am always running the Bassmax'd DB just below feedback level, which I don't think is related to the particular problem you have. The AI's can sound good with EBG's (better for DB's) and these have a great deal of versatility in both input possibilities and approaches to tone control, and with the notch filter, you can get more gain without feedback. One or the other of those head should serve you well. I'm NOT suggesting that you buy both.

    I'm finding out that just about everyone gets different results from the Bassmax. I think this is because of differences in the bridges and the positioning of the piezo, and a lot of times not-so-good is the best you can do. With extremely careful positioning, I have been able to run mine flat, but that is the exception. The Realist because of it's position doesn't vary as much in results. I have a friend who now uses a Revolution Solo and likes it better than the Bassmax, but it might (in that the mount is also bridge wing) have the same problems you get with the Bassmax. It might be worth a shot, though.

    A good exercise before you acquire more complications (I mean if something goes haywire, where do you start in your trouble shooting? There's too many connections to count.) would be to figure out how much $$ value you have in amps cabs and inbetween gear and then compare that to cost of re-outfitting starting with a good two channel amp head. Depending on what that equation looks like, you may find that the cost of all the stuff you are using to avoid buying a two channel amp and the trouble of getting it all set up to work right outweigh the cost of a new (or even 2nd hand) two channel head.
  17. I gave up and went with the Focus 2 myself. However, before that, the best method I found was to leave the effects level at full "wet" and switch in the DB inside the loop. In other words EB into normal input, effects out into the AB switch A side, DB preamp into AB switch B side, output from AB switch into the effects return. This way it is a footswitched deal with the DB bypassing the amps preamp and full mute on the unused instrument.
  18. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    That made my head hurt. :confused:

    - Steve
  19. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I agree that some of this has gotten sort of complicated. A two channel head would be ideal, but both of the ones you mention are pricey and I can't start from scratch with my rig. I don't have much "equity" in my current gear, especially the WM12 which I've seen selling new for around $300-350 (I paid $549 for mine :crying: ). Two seperate amps is not the solution since I send a signal to the board and there is no way to mute the DB signal while I am playing the Godin unless I use a preamp for the upright, but then there is the hassle of carting and setting up two amps as well. Right now the earlier suggestions of using the WM12's two inputs seems to work the best. I use a SansAmp Acoustic DI as a volume/tone control for the upright and send a signal for both basses to the board via the WM12's DI.

    I plan on getting an extension cabinet to use with the WM12 for louder gigs. Any suggestions? I was thinking of the WorkingMan/WorkingPro 10 cabinet or maybe an Avater 112 neo 8 ohm cabinet (which is slightly larger than the WM12).

    - Steve
  20. I know it sounds bad, but I am just using the preamp in the head for one bass and an external one for the other. Then you just have to decide which signal to send to the power section of the head with the AB switch.

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