Upton "The Source" pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by CButterfield, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Does anyone have any experience with the new source pickup from Upton? There are quite a few negative comments about the revolution, and this is basically a revolution pickup imbedded in a bridge. But the demo on the website sounds pretty convincing to me. Specifically I'm wondering how this will affect the sound and feel of the double bass acoustically.

    It seems like a huge component of getting a good sound out of the "wing" type pickups is getting the proper fit. I wonder how this translated to the embedded pickup style of the focus.

    My current plan is to get an exact replica of my current bridge made and have the pickup installed in that second bridge - that way in case I hate the sound or it drastically affects my acoustic tone I can always go back to the way things were.

    Just thought I'd try to get some feedback before I plunk down a bunch of change for a new bridge and pickup.

  2. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    It's so new it's going to be a gamble, but I think it looks like its worth a go.
  3. Just talked to Gary today. He said he would be surprised if I noticed any difference in the acoustic sound of my bass after the install. I'm having him put it in a copy of my main bridge just in case I don't like it. I'm driving up to NY in a couple weeks and we're doing the install then. I look forward to the result - the telling factor will be if I leave it on for my solo Bach recording two weeks later! Also I'm thinking of velcroing the jack to my saddle instead of sticking it between the a and d strings on the after length. I like the resonance my bass gives me from having the after length free and unencumbered. I'll post a full review in a few weeks
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Hey, let us know how it goes. Are you talking about the pickup called "The Source"?
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Lemme know if you're going to be in NYC, if you have any time to hang.
  6. This is the big worry, isn't it? I either want one that doesn't affect the sound, OR comes off easily. I am using a ****ing Fishman until the right answer comes along.
    I suppose a Schertler comes off, but cost too much.
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Indeed. The Source sure wouldn't come off but does it affect the sound? I'm interested to hear what CButterfield finds. I wonder if the differences in the masses of his bridge copies will be on par with any difference in mass resulting from inserting "The Source" in place of a small section of the bridge foot. Maybe CButterfield can ask them to weigh the bridge that will be modified, weigh the bridge after it's modified, and weigh his bridge copy.
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I would feel better about it if it were encased in maple rather than spruce. The density of the wood would seem more relevant than the weight in this application. Personally, the Full Circle sounds good and is less intrusive if it doesn't work out.

    My experiences with the Upton RSII led me to believe that fit is very important. Certainly, gluing it in would make for a good fit.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, I was thinking about the change in mass to the bridge which is what I think will, primarily, determine if the sound is changed. Still, it seems that a piece of maple would, in fact, match the mass of what's removed from the bridge better than a piece of spruce given that the bridge is made out of maple. Maybe this is much ado about nothing, give the expected small change. Then again... :)
  10. I think like Greg, the vibrational characteristics should not change, so the same wood should be used. Otherwise there might be some more or less damping for the whole bass side foot of the bridge. I think mass is less important here than this.

    drurb, you know what it meas if you translate this into the electric characteristic of a transmission cable (probably carrying higher frequencies), don't you?
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yes, I know what it means but I just don't agree with your analysis. :)
  12. first of all - big oops on the title of the thread! I must have had acoustic image on my brain!
    Gary said the wood needs to be spruce rather than maple because the pickup sounded way too bright when embedded in maple. Of course that would be the ideal wood to use in a perfect world.
    Good idea on weighing the bridge - I'll try to get that done.
    Pretty excited about the prospects for this one. I'm thinking of recording a short video demonstrating the sound - playing a short pizz and arco passage recorded with two channels - one a decent condenser mic 6 feet in front of my bass and the other a direct feed from the pickup. Then I can post the passage twice back to back using audio from the two channels. This may not be a fair comparison - of course the mic will sound better - but it might help people get a fair idea of what the pure unpreamped or speakered sound of the pickup is.
    Anyways - sorry again about the screw up in the title!
  13. Don't forget that you will weight the cable too (at least a part of it) and the piezo and cable inside don't have the same mass than the wood around it. I think this makes measuring the weight useless. You can try, of course, but think about that when you do this.

    The whole discussion may get useless until we know how the forces are transmitted through the pickup. If it's just a small area the wood presses against inside the pickup, then a softer wood might even damp more than a harder wood. Or is the pressure more or less equally transmitted the whole area of the pickup?
    I think a harder wood (with not too much more mass) is better than a soft wood that damps more.

    Sometimes discussions seem to be somewhere between hard physics and Voodoo. The more important information is missing, the more it tends to go to the Voodoo side, I think. And I know, I don't give hard physics results, only some background what might happen generally.
    And even that is only my point of view that is not shared by some talkbass member(s). YMMV.
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    That's exactly why the maple vs. spruce analysis is not one I accept. There is also more to the pickup than wood and a piezo element.

    I think you're incorrect.

    There are parameters and their effects on the sound that you are failing to consider. There are damping materials involved. Sitting at our keyboards, we can't really effectively evaluate what wood would be best. It seems to me that there are two goals that may not be mutually compatible with regard to the best choice of materials. The first goal is to determine the wood and damping materials that produce the best sound from the pickup. Based on the OP's report on what the manufacturer has found, spruce yields a better sounding pickup than does maple.

    The second goal is to determine what wood and damping materials produce the least effect on the acoustic sound of the instrument. There's no reason, a priori, to assume that those will be the same as the set that is most desirable to fulfil the first goal.

    What we need to do is listen. We need the sonic evidence. Apparently, the manufacturer has done this with regard to the first goal. I suggested weighing the parts as just a way to get some data concerning changes in mass that I think would be relevant and interesting. It's not a matter of predicting.

    Again, the variables that matter and how they affect the sound are not all being taken into account. Let's hear what it does. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. :)
  15. @drurb:
    I think you didn't understand what I wanted to say. But I got tired (maybe like you too) to get in discussions that don't help much on the subject. I don't think that I have to be right every time, but I also don't need to get confronted with a different view (often enough without any helpful explanation) that might look like I'm a dumb stupid (maybe you think I am). I'm happy to learn, but very seldom can from your answers. I can happily accept other opinions if they accept mine.
    Since this happend here in the public, I thought I needed to say this in public too.

    You might not even understand that my position is not so far from yours (not in every aspect but many).

    If english would have been my native language it would be easier for me to me to explain my positions, but I understood this is also an international forum and I don't talk german here (because I accept that you prefer english as the common language).

    If you don't need to take position to what I said here I would perfer not to go into discussions again. (I might state a "I don't think so" sometimes...)

    This reminds me a bit of other electrical engineers or EE students (but of course not all, some were very friendly) that were not able or want to catch my point and seemed to be unable or unwilling to discuss, because it didn't fit into their view of the EE world.
    Just a memory connection that opened up and a forum I never entered again after a few weeks being mobbed by some of the admins there. But this won't happen in talkbass.
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think that's a first for me on TB. I usually go to great lengths to explain but haven't in your case mostly because of what I perceive to be an oppositional and sometimes dismissive style. To the contrary, I think I explained quite well in post #14. Maybe it is a language thing... maybe unintended... maybe it's, to a large extent my fault... happy to go forward.

    I know those type of people as well and it seems as if you're suggesting that I'm one of them. I really don't think I am as I am neither unable nor unwilling to consider your point of views or those of others. For me, it's not a matter of fitting some world view.
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hey everybody, Craig's coming to NY!
  18. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    In the interests of furthering the debate, Ed, would you mind weighing him when he arrives?
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  20. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hmm...let's see. Jazz musician walking around NY with a little portable scale...might be tough to explain.