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Switching quickly between URB and electric?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by umdenken, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. umdenken


    Jun 12, 2003
    Portland, OR
    What kind of setups do people use to solve this problem?

    I'm in TWO bands that expect me to quickly switch from upright to electric in between songs. :p (I actually think that's cool, too - don't get me wrong... but it makes things technically complex.) I need to be able to just set one instrument on its stand, push a button or two, pick up the other one and go.

    I've been considering what equipment to buy and in what combination to hook things up to make it simple and not overly expensive.

    It seems like the problem is that the URB w/ Fishman Full Circle (piezo pickups) gets hit by an impedance mismatch when inserted into some devices (like my Mackie mini mixer). So it can't go there first.

    Currently, I've cobbled together a setup which works like this:

    I use a Mackie DFX-6 mixer which lets me switch between basses, and also acts as a preamp for my electric. The mixer has mute buttons on each channel which lets me set the volumes, and then turn on which ever bass I want. It also has individual stereo main faders which let me send different levels to the house PA and my rig.

    I plug my electric (with active pickups) directly into channel 1 on the mixer.

    I plug my URB into a Sansamp rackmount pre, and then its output goes into channel two.

    Left main output goes to my "rig", which is a power amp and a bass cab. Right main output goes to the house PA.

    So the benefits are - I get my volumes equalized for both basses, can adjust the house volume independently of my amps, and can "save and store" the settings for each bass. I can also easily turn both off during breaks.

    The disadvantages are that I'm schlepping a lot of stuff to gigs! What kind of solutions are others using?
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Look into dual-channel URB "blender" preamps such as the old Raven Labs, Fishman, K&K, etc. A piezo preamp can easily handle an electric bass pickup. The other possibility is a dual channel Clarus head.
  3. dfp


    Sep 28, 2004
    i'm using 2 amps on stage, each one has a direct out to the house and i just silence one while i use the other. for the upright that means i actually pull the 1/4" out of the the amp, so it's not transmitting sympathetic vibrations while i play electric. don't have any pre amps or effects.

    luckily it's not super loud music, so i get away with a couple small/medium amps: GK MB150 and a GK BL210. for louder rooms i've used a 410 for the electric and the 210 for the upright. i like having the MB150 on a chair or stand pointed at my head and the electric bass amp on the floor.

    however, at one small club recently we were limited on space and lines to the board so i used just the 210, used a post EQ send, and just switched back and forth. i keep both instruments plugged into their own cable, b/c pulling the plug at the amp end is quieter, i guess an A/B switching type box would be even better. luckily my upright and passive fender jazz bass both sounded pretty much like i'd want either of them to at the same EQ settings (that in itself is a minor miracle and only a recent achievement!). i did have to boost the volume a bit each time i picked up the fender, but that boost took care of my stage sound and the house sound (using the gain knob which goes into the post EQ send), so everyone was happy.

    by the way, i'm using the Underwood now. it's sorta modified, i had to wrap paper a few times around each element to make it fit, maybe that is why it sounds better than i thought it would. anyway, i think that is one key to making the switch easier, that underwood tone is much closer to single coil fender than the Realist was...
  4. dfp


    Sep 28, 2004
    i just remembered another solution i used recently: did a show where we had backline provided. had the pleasure of using a wonderful old B15 flip top Ampeg, with 2 channels, each with its own volume and tone controls. the sound man (who got me the amp, a total pro, the kind of sound man you pray for) just set a mic in front of the speaker and just worked with what i gave him. i kept the e.bass channel up the whole time, just used the volume knobs on the bass, and only had to tweak the upright channel's volume when switching.
  5. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    For awhile, I doubled on EUB and electric. My solution was a Boss A/B pedal...it works well, barely changes the tone and is inexpensive, like $35 or so. I set the volume of each bass to be about the same and had the tone adjusted so that just one knob...the bass pot...needed to be adjusted during the switch. Using a stand for each bass made for really fast changes.
  6. I've been doing that very thing for about 10 or so years now. I use a Raven Labs PMB that has 2 seperate channels with 2 individual inputs, each with their own gain and EQ. Works great! I wish each channel had its own mute tho. To get around this, I have 2 stomp pedal Boss tuners that when engaged mute the signal to the preamp and when engaged are true bypass. So they work to mute the channel not used but are also inline for quick tuning checks. Raven Labs is no longer around, but they show up used pretty regularly. D-Tar makes something similar, but I dig the Raven Labs unit because it can run off 2 9V batteries and makes setup easier. It sends a nice clean balanced signal to the pa and you can also send signal to your amp. I go into the effects return of my old GK 200MB so it bypasses the preamp and sounds a bit better...

    FWIW - my basses are a Shen lammy with a Fishman Full Circle and a stock Fender Jazz.

    I think the hardest part of doubling is the physical act of switching instruments. I used to just lay my bass down on it's side, which led to quite a few mishaps and even to an excitable percussionist who decided it was a cool idea to "play" my bass... Now I bring a stand that is kinda like a cradle and you can rest the bass in it really fast.

    Hope this helps,

  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I should also mention that after doubling for a while, I finally decided that I bring one or the other, but not both. A magnetic pickup helps me handle the pop tunes.
  8. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I've also gotten tired of doubling and all the gear and hookups required. I felt like it was as much work as hauling and setting up a PA when I had to set up my own mic/stand/cord as well as my bass rig, basses, and stands.
  9. umdenken


    Jun 12, 2003
    Portland, OR
    I hear you about the extra work involved... But there are some things I just can't play on the upright. :-( My other bass is a Warwick fretless with super-low action - makes it amazingly fast and funky.

    About the tuner pedal as a mute: I thought of that too! I have a boss tuner pedal, and can see that working. It'd be $100 for the second one, though... I can imagine that instead I could use a cheap A/B with nothing in the "B" to act as a mute.

    Currently, I have both basses going through a small Mackie mixer. So then, I have:

    L-Main: House PA
    R-Main: My Bass amp
    Headphone-out: Boss tuner pedal

    ...lets me use the tuner with whichever bass I'm currently using.
  10. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I found a very cool box not long ago, ordered some at NAMM and just put them up on my site: The Bassbone. A great tool for doubling, also able to be used as an solution to have separate settings for pizz and arco.

  11. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    The Walter Woods Ultra has two channels with volume and tone controls for each. When doubling I plug the Fender into one channel and the double bass into the other. I use a Raven Labs preamp on the DB and use the mute switch to silence it, and turn down the volume knobs on the Fender to silence it. Usually just run that into a single Euphonic Audio VL 208. I'll use a second 208 or a 210 if I need stupid loud volumes. I use the direct out of the Woods into the house DI when needed. With a gig bag for the Fender and a cart for the cabinet and head I can get into the gig in one (loaded down) trip.
  12. Bob's suggestion of the Bassbone seems ideal, but if you can solder a bit there's a cheaper/simpler solution:

    I built 2 of fdeck's little preamps (http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=212647) into a small box with a volume control on the output of each - effectively a 2 into 1 mixer with buffered signals. I haven't tried it on bass yet - I made for for my son to balance the levels of his Tele & Les Paul.
  13. maxito

    maxito Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2006
    I'll echo Bob's suggestion - the Bassbone is it!

    Switching between upright (acoustic or EUB) and electric quickly is a common issue for me. The bassbone allows me rapid switching between basses, and provides independent volume & eq control of each. Very nice unit which solves several issues.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Seems like true 2 channel amps are finally making a comeback.

    For years the Woods (what I use) was the only choice but recently Aguilar, Ampeg, Epifani and Acoustic Image have all introduced amps with two channels.
  15. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Look into the AI Focus 2R from All Hail Bob. It has two independent channels, high impedence inputs, low cut filtering,and a solid DI. Mine sounds great with both basses and has plenty of power.
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I've gone the Raven Labs route the few times I've had to do that. One thing that hasn't been addressed is the actual physical switching from the bass to the slab and back. For this, I've found that the use of good stands for both instruments is really helpful. I have the Ingles stand for my bass, and just some generic stand for my slab, and it allows me to make the swap pretty quickly and securely. It also takes up less stage space than if I were to lay the bass down on the floor.
  17. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I carry a small mixer. I get a neck and bridge pickup on the upright in it's their own channels with their own eq, and a slab bass in it's own channel and with it's own eq. And a few spare inputs to plug in other things as needed.
  18. I might suggest using an amplifier like an Acoustic Image Clarus 2R
    amplifier. (one of which I own)

    Plug the EUB into the High Gain input of the amp. and the Electric bass guitar into the Low Gain input (assuming your electric bass has a built in active preamp). Each of these channels has it's own gain control so you should be able to switch basses at will!

    Simple, uncomplicated setup which, I believe would work for you.

    Bob McHenry bassman10@comcast.net
  19. umdenken


    Jun 12, 2003
    Portland, OR
    It looks like the Tonebone is *almost* there to being an all-in-one. But the inputs aren't high-impedance! I'll still need a preamp / DI for the upright...

    I've got to vote for this particular Mackie mixer I'm using:


    It's specifically made for musicians playing live w/out a sound person. REALLY flexible, and has features I haven't seen on other mixers, or dual-channel amps.

    That home-made dual-channel pre amp idea sounds very cool - I'm going to check that out.
  20. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    Markbass LMK has 2 independent channels, 500 watts, and only weighs 6 lbs!

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