Tube amps or preamps for Upright

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Limezone, Sep 5, 2001.

  1. I'm very intrested in getting a tube amp or preamp like the Aguilar products. But after reading some of the posts here, I'm wondering if I'm better off with what I have.

    I'm using a Barcus Berry Upright bass transducer with a Aguilar DB924 preamp (18V MOSFET) into a Fender BXR 200 combo with a 15in speaker.

    Sometimes the tone is very floppy (farting in the bathtub sound), it's hard to hear the articulation. But other times when I think my tone stinks I've gotten compliments.

    So far 200W has been enough, But I just want to warm up the sound. I think I'd like to move into a rack system, tube preamp and power amp. Or maybe somthing like the Aguilar 359 200W rack mount head, and get a 2-10 cabinet and a 1-15 cabinet and mix and match as the room dictates.

    Opinions, Suggestions, are all welcome...
    BTW I may be suffering from G.A.S.
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Most upright players I know like SMALL amps so tube gear isn't the way to go...too big and heavy. Most tube amps also have rather limited EQ options to help tweak feedback.

    I think you should try other amps besides the BXR (not highly regarded for it's tone!), I think you can get the warmth you want without tubes. A particularly good choice might the Acoustic Image Clarus, which delivers 200 watts into 4 ohms (same as your BXR), is designed for upright and is small and lightweight to boot.

    You might also get a better sound with a different pickup. Pickups for upright are a minefield (I've tried quite a few over the years) but they can have a big effect on articulation.

    By the way, a 2-10 plus a 1-15 is overkill for upright unless you need to play REALLY loud.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Listen to BRAINROT - he speaks only the truth in these matters. Another factor to consider is that larger speakers articulate less quickly and color the sound more than smaller ones. For DB, this is very important because the tone of a DB decays a LOT faster than a BG, so the attack is where it's at. During the time I've been playing, I've moved to smaller and smaller speakers - from 15" down to 12", then from 12" to 10", and from 10" down to 8". Right now I'm pretty much sold on the 8" speakers as the TRUEST sound I've found so far. Remember that TRUE in this case means sounding as much as possible like your bass, only louder.

    A lot of people don't really want their amplified sound to sound like their bass, preferring instead the artificial coloration of the amplifier/speaker. That is a choice that only you can make...but for faster articulation, definitely try some smaller speakers - if you play a note on a DB on beat 1 thru a 15", the attack won't come through until beat 3.

    Of the next measure.

    And that's only if you're playing a REALLY slow ballad...

  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    My K&K equipped double basses and EUB sounds quite good through my Kern IP-777 preamp. However, it also sounds quite good through my Acoustic Image Contra and Clarus - tubes aren't a necessity- just a good preamp/amp that has transparency and some slight warmth, and doesn't deliver the "cold" solid state "electric" bass sound.