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Thoughts on the Yamaha SVB-200SK?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by BigBadBen67, Nov 20, 2020 at 4:19 PM.


  1. I’m curious if anyone has any experience with these. I’m in that classic position of wanting an electric upright but having no experience with them. And both because I live in VT and due to Covid there’s zero chance I’m going to get to go and try any out. I have to just do my research and then buy. As the man said, it is what it is.


    So I’m looking at this one. GC has them for about $3200 and has an enticing offer of 48 months payments with no interest. And being GC I could always return it if I hated it. Or should I just go for the SLB300? Are they really the game changer that they claim to be or is that just a sales line?


    Unfortunately I do have to get something that’s truly silent. The Eminence looks interesting but I live in a thin-walled condo and anything louder than a silent would be problematic. And I’m leery of buying something like a Stagg or any of the other less expensive options. I’d rather pay the money for something really good and only have to buy it once.


    I don’t really need a dedicated headphone output. I do all my practicing running direct into a mixer with its own headphone jack. That works great so I’m covered there.


    Any thoughts would be great. Thanks!


    Ben
     
  2. nogbert

    nogbert

    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    yamahas are definitely not silent; its signature characteristic is that it has a small acoustic chamber that gives it good acoustic tone. i would like at other more stickish looking options. i would say you should just get the stagg/dean/whichever branding you can find from GC and if you hate it send it back. 3.2k is a lot of money to spend on a lark imo
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 4:29 PM
  3. So, unamplified are the Yamahas louder than the stick basses? Stag, NS, and that sort of thing?
     
  4. ted burik

    ted burik Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    San Rafael CA
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 5:25 PM
    BigBadBen67 likes this.
  5. Martin Spure

    Martin Spure

    Feb 4, 2020
    Denmark
    Sorry, if I derail this thread, but if you're into the silent Yamaha basses you might want to check out the hand built MK Studio electric upright basses:

    Mod.Studio - Contrabbassi Elettrici MK



    I'm receiving this very model on Monday and I'm very excited. This model is priced at 1600 EU's, including shipping from Italy to Denmark. Judging by the demo's on the website, I personally think this sounds better than the Yamaha basses. And since they are passive piezo, you have a bit more control over the sound - if using an external preamp + impedance buffering.

    You might want to have a look at this thread, too:

    Italian EUB
     
    Vunz likes this.
  6. Thanks for the link Martin. Those are actually really intriguing and I wasn’t aware of them. I love the simplicity and the lack of onboard electronics. All of my electric basses are passive and I already have a couple of outboard preamps in my collection.

    and those sound clips are wonderful. That basic studio model may be exactly what I’m looking for.
     
    Martin Spure likes this.
  7. Martin Spure

    Martin Spure

    Feb 4, 2020
    Denmark
    Yes, I think at this price point you get a lot af value for the money. Plus, you can have Mirko (the Luthier) to customise the bass exactly to your liking. Bear in mind, though, that most piezo pickups usually sound the best with preamps that have an input impedance of about 5 MegOhms (or above), so you might want to check that in the specs of your current outboard preamps. If that's not the case; if any of your preamps have an XLR input with 48V Phantom power, this little gadget might be worth a shot (I'm planning on getting one myself):

    BigAmp Piëzo - TRITONAUDIO

    Oh, and I should also mention that Mirko has an eBay page with prices in US Dollars for all his models:
    Electric Upright Bass MK mod.STUDIO-P | eBay

    Edit: Also bear in mind, that the MK Studio doesn't have a resonance chamber, thus a synthetic core string will sound more DB-like and a Steel Core string will likely sound more "fretless-y". In the video clip above (and in all the demo videos) the bass is strung with Evah Pirazzi synthetic core (Medium gauge, I think)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 1:41 PM
    BigBadBen67 likes this.
  8. That's amazing sound from the MK Studio. And it looks portable, and also is aesthetically really elegant. I almost want to throw my money at them right now.

    I'd really like to know how they are recording it. There's clearly some reverb, either from the room (if it's bigger than we can see) or digitally. And no piezo artifacts, so I want to know what preamp they are using. I can see something on top of the cab, but I can't make it out.

    And there is a mic about a half meter in front of the bass, as well as another on the speaker cab. The mic in front of the bass is curious - I'd have thought that it is too far from a solid body instrument to pick up and sound, so it must be mainly working as a room mic?
     
    Martin Spure likes this.
  9. Well that didn’t take long. It looked like just what I was looking for, the sound clips were awesome, and since I was steeling myself to spend the $3700 for the new Yamaha the $2250 this ended up costing was well within budget. So it gets here in two weeks!

    Martin, let me know how you like yours. I’m going to start by just plugging into my practice rig (Aguilar Tone Hammer pre-amp > Mackie Mix8 > headphones). That works great for my electric basses. If that doesn’t cut it I’ll start researching dedicated pre-amps.
     
    marcox, Vunz and Martin Spure like this.
  10. Martin Spure

    Martin Spure

    Feb 4, 2020
    Denmark
    Hi Anthony, I believe Sebastian (in the clip above) is using a Lehle Basswitch (discontinued) preamp into an earlier model of Acoustic Image Clarus - at least as far as I can tell from the videos. I also wondered about the mic in front of the bass, and I think it's there to record the room sound as well as some fingerboard/strings 'noise'. I also think the room is quite large, hence the reverb-effect; most noticeable in the arco part of the demo.
     
  11. Martin Spure

    Martin Spure

    Feb 4, 2020
    Denmark
    Whoah, you got a quick trigger finger, Ben ;) - I'm sure you'll be happy with your purchase. I know I am, and I haven't even received my bass yet :woot: . I will let you know how it feels, when the bass arrives - according to the shipment tracker it should arrive tomorrow.

    Well, the Tonehammer certainly is a nice bit of kit. I remember seeing other DB'ers on this forum praising it, so I wouldn't be surprised if it works well with the bass, although the Tonehammer was made with Magnetic Pickups in mind and 'only' has a 1 MegOhm input. At least it has a sweepable Mid, which is very handy when trying to eliminate the 'Piezo-Quack' that most Piezo's have - usually by attenuating/cutting around 700Hz'ish.

    If the Tonehammer still doesn't cut it for you, I think you should consider the Triton Audio BigAmp Piezo buffer I linked to above and use it with your Mackie Mix8 on a Mic channel that has Phantom Power. That way you get automatic impedance buffering (JFET - 7.5 MegOhms) much better suited for a Piezo, and 'should' be able to get a warmer and more natural tone from the Pickup. And - it's a whole lot cheaper than dedicated Acoustic Bass (boutique) preamps. However, given the quality and praise of the Tonehammer, I think you might already be covered.

    That said, I've already settled on the Vintage Revolution Acoustic Box 2 preamp, which will be my next purchase. I like that it has sweepable/semiparametric EQ for both Bass, Mid and Hi + some nice other features. But that is in a quite different price range (750 EU's) and I'll need to do some saving up for that. In the meantime I'll use the Triton Audio BigAmp Piezo buffer (ordered - not yet received), going straight into a Mic channel on my Audient Evo soundcard -> Headphones.

    All the best,
    Martin
     
    BigBadBen67 likes this.
  12. Yeah, the timing was good since I was ready to purchase. I'll be curious to see how it plays plugged direct. I have my Darkglass microtubes 900 head too that has its own DI output. I have a hunch that could work for this. That amp is funny. It's popular with the metalheads, which is totally not me. I'm more of a Motown/Jazz guy, at least in terms of the tone I go for. But that thing puts out some of the warmest, most natural tones I've found in a non-tube amp. It might well be good for an electric upright. Time will tell.
     
    Martin Spure likes this.
  13. Well, that escalated quickly!

    If you could both post reviews on here when you get them, and then some follow ups, it would be really appreciated. I'm in the market for a travel/practice instrument that has a decent sound pizz and usable arco, but I can't bring myself to spend the price of a Yamaha (which afterall would get me another good old carved bass).
     
    Martin Spure and BigBadBen67 like this.
  14. Martin Spure

    Martin Spure

    Feb 4, 2020
    Denmark
    Well, the bass arrived Monday evening and here's my initial first impression:

    I'm very, VERY happy with this bass. My expectations where high and actually playing the bass exceeds my expectations. It is built very well; good craftsmanship. Comes in a nice sturdy bag and with a sturdy folding tripod stand.

    But what blew me away, was the fact that this bass feels and responds exactly like a 'real' DB would ! The 'haptic' feedback/vibrations from the bass when playing unplugged still transmits perfectly to my body via the upper bouts/shoulders of the bass. It's quite remarkable and I didn't expect that at all. Furthermore, if you prefer to play sitting down, just retract the endpin and play with comfort from any regular chair - I even played it comfortably sitting in my sofa/couch :smug: - the way the body is shaped actually provides a nice resting place/support for your left knee when playing seated.

    Its volume unplugged will not bother neighbours if you live in an apartment, but is loud enough to practice without headphones or amp. However, particularly the low-frequent vibrations will travel via the endpin through the floor (especially wooden floors). I checked with my downstairs neighbour, and to my surprise she could clearly hear the low notes even when I was unplugged. I then tried placing the endpin in an old sneaker/training shoe to try and decouple the bass vibrations, and Voila! - problem solved.

    I ordered the bass with the economic (cheap, no-name brand) strings and they're sorta okay; but only just... As soon as possible I will change to Evah Pirazzi's. The stock strings seem a little stiff and the G string is too thin for my liking, but the bass nonetheless responds evenly in all registers, also the low registers in Thump position. The string hight adjustment of the (proper full-size) bridge is a breeze (two 5mm Hex screws on the back of the bass); very handy and I'll likely play around with it quite a bit in the coming weeks.

    Since the strings are brand new, the overly bright and sustained sound is something I don't like, but that goes for most new strings. As I prefer a more old-school, thumpier sound with a shorter decay, I made my own little 'Bass-mute' from my old backpacker's sleeping pad, in order to tame the exaggerated sustain/overtones of these new strings:

    IMG_2398.JPG

    It actually works very well :)

    The input jack on the back of the bass is solid and a reassuring 'click' holds your cable firmly and securely in place. I've only played plugged-in once - directly into soundcard (1 MegOhm JFET input) with no EQ'ing, and in my open-backed headphones, the Pickup actually sounds better than I expected. Of course; the piezo sound is there, but not in an unpleasant way. No noise and clean sound, albeit a little 'hot' signal. Had to turn down the input volume of the soundcard quite a bit. If time permits, I'll try and post some clips this coming weekend - un EQ'ed straight to soundcard with and without the mute. (I know, a mic and and amp would represent the sound better, but since I don't own a Mic, this will have to do for now ;))

    All the best,
    Martin
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020 at 12:17 PM
    marcox and BigBadBen67 like this.
  15. Thanks Martin,

    That all sounds promising. I got confirmation mine shipped yesterday so I should get it next week sometime.

    I opted not to upgrade the strings yet too. I figured I would try it out with the stock strings first and then do a little research. Since I'm new to upright I have no sense of what I'm looking for yet, so just going with the stock strings to start seems prudent.

    Ben
     
  16. BTW -do you have any pics of the whole bass? I'd love to see them!
     
  17. 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.

     
    Nov 25, 2020

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