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Tech21 Q\Strip vs Radial PZ-Deluxe ?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Frank77, Jun 17, 2018.


  1. Does anyone have some experience with both of these preamps? If yes, which of the two would you recommend the most?

    Though I'm leaning more towards the Radial for some of its features (phase switch, two different low-cut filter curves to choose from, lower price point), the Tech21 box is still tempting because it has two parametric mid bands instead of one.

    My setup:
    • Carved chinese bass (Stentor Student II);
    • Realist pickup;
    • Quilter Bass Block 800;
    • AudioKinesis Changeling 112 cab (ordered);
    Any input welcome! Thanks!
     
  2. Have not used the Tech21, own a Bassbone (cousin to the PZ)... my only comment is that I have had more gigs rescued by a phase switch (mines on my F-deck) than I can count.

    IMHO a phase switch is pretty much mandatory... however you chose to add one to the chain. :)
     
    Frank77 likes this.
  3. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I had the Radial PZ for a while, and have used various Tech21/Sansamp products through the years. I haven't used the Q strip.

    The radial PZ isn't a good preamp for upright bass IMO. I tried it in several configurations with my amps/PA's. It was just to dry for my tastes. Unless I cut nearly all of the mids and a good amount of treble, I couldn't get any warmth from it. I also found the low cut switch to be impractical. This looks be another preamp where the manufacturer thinks they can make a one-size-fits-all piezo product that will accomodate any instrument. Maybe it's great for guitars or mandos, but not for bass. Also the DI was not as quiet as one would expect from a Radial product. There was enough hiss on mine that I thought it was defective, so I sent it back for a new one, and it had the identical problem. This occurred with several PA's, cables, etc.
     
  4. That's good info, thanks.

    I already have a fdeck hpf, so the low-cut/phase reversal bits are taken care of. The only thing I'm missing is a proper EQ to tame some of the boxy nastiness due to my bass/Realist. Ideally I was hoping to find one box that could do it all, but maybe that's not the answer...The cheapest solution at this time would be for me to get a graphic EQ pedal, and use my VT Bass DI strictly as a DI box. The Q strip would be an elegant solution, but comes with a much heftier pricetag.
     
  5. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I found the Sansamp BDDI to be decent, and the Sansamp ParaDriver to be even better. I upgraded from an old BDDI to the Para a little over a year ago, and have been very happy with it. I think cost wise they run about the same as the Radial.

    The Qstrip sounds like it's designed to be a different animal than the BDDI or Para though. I think Ed Friedland might be using one live, though he changes gear every 5 minutes. I thought I saw it on his facebook page. Might be the guy to ask.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  6. neddyrow

    neddyrow Captain of Team Orange Jacket Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    EQ on bass block no help?

    I have a AI amps (Ten2 and Focus iii) and an iamp800 - both have a great EQ section that does what the fdeck cannot - but i still use the phase switch on the fDeck when needed.

    maybe trade your quilter for something geared more towards upright.
     
    Ric Vice and Povl Carstensen like this.
  7. Yes, Ed Friedland uses one and seems quite happy with it, but as you say it's difficult to keep track!

    Well, I won't do that because I just went through the opposite process: Had a PJB Suitcase + 4B that was great for upright but lacked ooomph for bass guitar gigs (and was heavy). The Quilter's EQ is really 2 knobs: A low cut/boost, and a mid scoop/high cut. For bass guitar it is absolutely fantastic, but it cannot surgically cut a specific frequency like you need to do for a difficult-to-EQ instrument like upright bass. Bass guitar is 99% of what I do these days, so a convenient solution for this instrument is my priority.
     
  8. I see the Quilter has a "line in" at the back, where you could try and go directly in with your preamp, if you decide to get one. Interesting amp!
     
    kerrycares and Frank77 like this.
  9. A lot of guys use it strictly as a power amp exactly this way. Plugging a bass guitar in the Quilter's preamp section gives excellent result, though. It is the most natural-sounding, transparent class D amp I've ever tried. It compelled me to sell my PJB stuff.
     
  10. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    This is how I use my preamp. I run into the FX return on my head, turning it into just a power amp.
     
  11. I'm considering another option now: The Source Audio EQ pedal.

    My first pick would have been a parametric EQ, but they'll either be close to 400$ cad (Tech21 Q Strip, Empress para EQ), or too guitar-specific (Wampler EQuator).

    In terms of taming down unwanted frequencies, I've had good results with a Boss GE-7, but in turn it introduced a LOT of hiss. Maybe the 200$, 8-band digital EQ pedal is the ticket.
     
  12. I’m not a fan of more than minimal EQ on double bass. IMO, EQ is a sign that there’s something awry in your signal chain.

    I don’t know the answers but here is how i approach it in order:

    1) Am I pulling a good sound from the bass? Is my technique good?

    2) is the bass setup for my way of playing?

    3) do the strings suit me/ my bass?

    4) Is my pickup good/ suitable to my concept, is it fitted well?

    5) is my amp suitable? (Input impedance etc

    6) is my speaker suitable?
     
  13. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    There is also the option of watching the classified ads here to pick up something at a more reasonable price tag that suits your needs.

    Also wow on the CAD prices. I think those Q-strips are sub 300 in USD.
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In my experience, it's pretty rare to find a boxy sounding bass, especially a carved top bass. But the realist under-the-bridge-foot pickup always strikes me as the definition of 'boxy'. There is some good discussion about a number of viable EQ units discussed here, but if you really don't like the sound of the signal form your pickup, it might be easier find a pickup you like the sound of more. I think you'd find that the starting price of a decent alternate pickup like the KNA DB-1 wing pickup is considerably less than most of the EQ units you are considering.

    Don't get me wrong - just about every piezo pickup has something not to like about it, but the realist signal can be a very difficult sound to EQ in my experience. For less than the price of the Q strip, you could afford a pickup that might well solve a lot of your problems at the source.
     
    Ric Vice and Frank77 like this.
  15. I'm not overly concerned, to be honest. It's just that the Realist pickup is really dark sounding on my bass : It tends to exaggerate some content in the 150-250 Hz range. HPF-ing everything below that makes things sound really thin and unnatural, but usually cutting on a single band in that range does the trick. I leave everything else untouched and I get very good results.

    I know...crazy, right? That's what it ends up at once you factor in currency change and sales taxes. That's not quite "amp territory" in terms of pricetag, but almost. I have a VT Bass DI that I use occasionally for bass guitar: It is a very well-built and feature-rich box, which is why I was initially set on getting the Q Strip, but it's simply too much money. Even if I can afford it, I can't justify the expense for something I'll only use every now and then.

    I ordered the Source Audio EQ pedal from my friendly neighbourhood music store, we'll see how it turns out. Should be ok...it's supposed to be much quieter than your generic analog graphic EQ pedal. The loud induced hissing was pretty much the only reason I couldn't go with a Boss GE-7 or something similar.
     
  16. Oh, that's very interesting! I've been considering a change of pickup too, but assumed it would be more expensive and/or more complicated to setup than what I already have. I'll have to read some reviews about this thing.

    Thanks for the tip!
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  17. If you want a replacement for the Realist but with someone more higher frequency content, consider the Shadow SH-965 NFX. You might want to use only one foil under the bass side bridge foot and keep the second one as a spare. The adapter may rattle, but some foam around the PCB in the plastic case would stop that. Unplug the cable to avoid battery drain if not in use and carry a few spare batteries with you. You have an impedance buffer with that pickup, so you do not have to care for the amps input impedance.
    If you want something brighter consider a Full Circle, Yamahiko or a bridge wing pickup. Avoid any piezo disk pickups unless there is a lot of force pressing against it (like under the bridge foot).
     
    Frank77 and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  18. Epilogue: Received the Source Audio EQ yesterday, played with it for about two hours and sent it back this morning.

    It works fine, but...
    • It is quite noisy when I use it on the same "one-spot" type power supply as my fdeck hpf - hiss varies wildly in pitch and intensity depending on the LED status. Works fine (dead quiet) with the Voodoo lab power supply with isolated outputs that my bigger pedalboard is fitted with, but then it steers me away from my goal (having as light a setup as possible) and I'm not going to start buying/carrying batteries again; plus
    • I really don't like the interface (it takes many, many turns of the encoder wheel to try the full range, the LEDs are hard to read, reaching the 8th frequency band is weird, etc.).
    Like a few recommended, I'll start by trying a different pickup and go from there - I never really liked the Realist's tone that much, but it was easy for a then newbie like me to fit it on my bass and it was what my teacher recommended back then. If the amp's EQ and my hpf still aren't enough, only then I'll consider using a (different) outboard EQ pedal.
     
  19. Keithunem

    Keithunem

    Jun 17, 2018
    Bemidji, MN
    I think the AI's have one of the best integrated eq sections for URB and EUB but I also just bought a Quilter BB 800 because it has a warmth rarely heard and felt in this class and price range of an amp. Bought a Grace Alix to go with it and will experiment with front input and rear DI input and report back after well tested. So far I love the Quilter, but even though the eq is easy to dial in and has a great sound for EB, I know I can get a much better sound with the Alix, or Radial, or Fishman, etc for Upright.
     
    Zbysek and Frank77 like this.
  20. Looking forward to your comments, that preamp box looks super neat.

    Totally agree on the Quilter. Brought my p-bass to the store, plugged in, and fell in love after just a few notes. That EQ is super easy to dial in (for bass guitar, at least).
     
    Zbysek likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 19, 2021

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