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tube preamp for upright?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by chuck3, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Anyone use one? I've experimented with a couple all-purpose tube preamps but would like to hear the options as to what's out there. Thanks.
    arigold likes this.
  2. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    I recently tried my Ampeg SVT II-P. It wasn't bad but since last winter I've been going for the whole enchilada. IME a tube power section provides a certain something the hybrids just don't.
    Since starting down this rabbit hole my signal chain has been all topsy turvy. The amp I was using all winter needed the fDeck preamp with the high pass filter. My newly acquired Ampeg PF-50T actually works better, without! Much trial & error occurs at every step...
  3. For DB or BG? You're on the DB forum at the moment.
  4. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I'm not sure if the thread title has been edited since you posted, but it says "upright."
  5. Levin S

    Levin S

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I use a Noble preamp almost exclusively with my uprights. I think it has a very nice sound overall, but I'm playing pizz mostly so I cant comment on an arco tone. I also use a F Deck box to knock out any feedback or room anomalies that pop up.
  6. I may have missed it, I admit. :)
    I only noticed the avatar of the OP and the first answer, which led me to guess it was posted in the wrong forum, but you're right, so sorry for the noise!
    Lee Moses likes this.
  7. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings
    What pickup are you using with the Noble? Do you find you have enough control with its' minimal EQ?
  8. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I did quite a bit of research into this myself a little while ago. I got pretty far down the rabbit hole before I pulled myself back out and stayed solid state. So I will throw my two cents in.

    The biggest issue that I found with the majority of the tube preamp circuits out there is that they are designed more or less to be like the legendary B15. The mid band is fixed, while the bass and treble bands are adjustable. Some will try to convince you that you can scoop the mids by boosting the bass and treble. This does in fact give a scooped mid profile, but only because you've now boosted the upper and lower frequencies around it. The mid level never changes. This of course would be problematic with upright bass because we typically want to cut the lower frequencies when amplifying. Basically if the mids aren't voiced to your liking, they will never be. IME the ability to adjust the mid-band is the most important part of the EQ for amplifying upright with a pickup. This is the main reason I steered clear of the B15'ish style preamps. There are others that do have true mid band equalization out there, but that brings me to my next reason.

    .....The other reason is that the cost is quite ridiculous, and not likely to yield differences in a live setting that justify the extra dough! It's the old, best tone I've heard in my practice room versus can't tell the difference at a gig syndrome. If I pay $1000 for a preamp, it better sound exponentially better than everything else out there, and come with a good looking, loose woman on the side.

    Results may vary though.
    Jazzygreg, Ric Vice, arigold and 2 others like this.
  9. Levin S

    Levin S

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I'm using Realist Copperheads on both my '39 American Standard and '54 Kay.

    As far as EQ goes, I typically keep the knobs off (they're boost only) unless I feel inclined to add a touch of treble in, in which case the knob stays around 9 o'clock or so.

    I tend to prefer a simple and present bass tone but I am also a habitual knob-turner. The Noble gets me what I want without giving me so many options and knobs that I end up tinkering with gear instead of actually playing my bass hahaha!

    If I didn't already have the Noble for my electric rig, I don't know that I'd buy it just for upright. In my experience, the ability to alter phase is quite important and with the Noble being geared primarily towards electric bass guitar, it does not have a switch for that.
    Jeremy Darrow likes this.
  10. No problem, my avatar does have a BG but these days I play upright more than I do the BG.

    I did a gig this past weekend using the Presonus TubePre as a preamp, into a Genz Benz Shuttle 10. The tone was good but there was some hum I couldn't cancel out, so I couldn't get the volume where I wanted it. Ideally I'm looking for a stand-alone preamp but I recognize that tube or hybrid heads may be an answer too.
  11. why do you need a tube preamp? The shuttle is pretty good. Just engage the mid-switch in and you've got a good upright tone.
  12. Agree about the Shuttle, but I need a preamp one way or the other. I normally use a Radial PZ-Pre, and that's a good unit, but the adapter was on the fritz (Radial is sending another), so I used the TubePre. Got compliments on the tone but I couldn't drive it louder without getting a hum problem that I couldn't figure out. So I was curious about other tube preamps that might be out there.
  13. I also have a TubePre here, and no hum at all.
    Do you have the 16VAC transformer? (if you have the V1 of course)
    If you use a 9 VAC transformer like the ones that come with the ART TubeMP, that may explain it.
    The V2 uses a 12VDC supply.
  14. V2, I think. Thanks for the comments, I will take a look at that. I was using the adapter that came with it.
  15. Why? Just curious what the reason is.
  16. I find generally that piezo pickups need, or benefit from, a preamp to boost the gain such that the amp doesn't need to be cranked up. Can't give you the specs but the preamp output seems to match up with the impedance level of the in-jack on the amp better than just the raw signal from the piezo.

    Again, I'm not an expert but this is from Gollihur's website and it's consistent with my experience:

    What happens if there is a mismatch?
    That depends on the input device and the amp jack's characteristics. In many cases you'll get nothing, a very low signal level, distortion, or possibly a hum or buzz. In the case of an Ultra-high piezo pickup (like most upright bass pickups) and into a high impedance "bass guitar" amp (which expects high impedances in the bass guitar range), you'll ordinarily hear artifacts of the mismatch in the form of a thin, sort of "quacky" bass response, something that will make we bass players very unhappy - the impedance discrepancy actually creates a sort of "filter" that cuts certain frequencies. It's not as noticeable with higher pitched instruments, these artifacts most audibly affect lower frequencies. FYI: It's ok to plug high impedance instruments and devices into ultrahigh impedance inputs.

    How can I avoid a mismatch?
    The most common solution is to use an impedance buffering preamp, one that is usually aimed at acoustic instruments and has a 1 megohm (1meg[​IMG] or 1 million ohms) or higher input impedance. There are a variety of devices out there, from simple, basic preamps that offer little to those that have a wide range of features to control your sound. There are also many amplifiers that offer an input impedance suited for piezo type transducers, so an external preamp isn't necessary.
    arigold likes this.
  17. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I've been using a Broughton P15 successfully for a while. Pickup is a Gage Lifeline, but I recently got a Headway Band and it sounds great through the P15.
  18. The Broughton P15 looks nice but they seem to be very hard to find.

    I'm looking at the Radial Firefly - I like the Radial gear and this may be a good next step.
    neal davis and devnulljp like this.
  19. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    You could also try a REDDI. I ran one of those for a while til I got the P15
  20. gottliver


    Dec 20, 2004
    It's not tube, but, being rather inexpensive and seeing as you have an excellent amp, have you thought about a fdeck pre/hpf? It will do what you are asking and offer phase and hpf adjustments.