Talkbox on bass?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by LittleBassChops, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Ok so im sure this question has been asked a thousand times. I am new to this amazing site. Me and my music associates have been looking to add a talkbox to our studiosetup, as it is versitile and can be played with numerous different instruments.

    I was almost discouraged from the talking bass idea when i decided to to some research on youtube on how this would sound. Most bass players insisted on playing in the low register which in my opinion sounded HORRIBLE. Only one of youtube bass plYers had enough sense to play up on the neck and was able to produce a somewhat grooveable sound.

    Im posting this thread to ask those who have knowledge to come forth and tell me a few things:

    What are the best talkboxes? why?
    Which are best suited for bass?

  2. I have tried the old-style Heil compression driver type, and I bought the new MXR version.

    The old-style is a super-simple affair, just a compression driver (usually used for PA horns IIRC) with a tube over it, you need an amp to run. I was using a 100 W guitar amp. It was very loud, really rattled the teeth, but sounded pretty cool, although could not handle bass frequencies at all. Bass through it sounded just like guitar. It was fun until we blew the driver, which I think almost always happens sooner or later b/c the tube doesn't load the driver up like a horn does, or just the nature of the transients from guitar/bass eventually overwhelm the driver. I know they get blown pretty easily.

    The MXR is no where near as loud, but is actually easier to match to the volume of normal vocals. It doesn't rattle your teeth and head the same either. I am guessing, from the draw on the wall wart for it, that it's somewhere between 10 and 15 watts. It also can't handle the low end at all, and it sounds pretty much the same on bass as it does on guitar. The higher notes on bass will lead to better vocal intelligibility, but it works even better on guitar, sad to say.

    It's fun, and would be cool in a band where the bassist is expected add melody and upper-register music, like especially some drums and bass or live-tronica thing where you might be looping a separate bass line. For more conventional bands it's use is limited for bass, mostly because you cannot carry a bassline with it.

    Neither unit would passes the un-effected signal while engaged. The old style ones, like Heil, go between the amp and your speaker cab, so can be problematic to wire up, and when you're running the talkbox there is no signal going to the cabinet.

    The MXR runs on the instrument line, like any other effect pedal, but it also cuts the pass-through signal. So when you engage it your bass amp drops out. Might be worth putting on a Y-splitter so your amp keeps playing, but you get the talkbox effect through the PA/mic on top of your amp signal.