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Which Pre-amp would you use?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by BassJuju, Dec 27, 2016.


Tags:

Which Pre-amp for Hybrid and Ischell

Poll closed Jan 3, 2017.
  1. Fishman Platinum Pro-EQ Analog Preamplifier with Tuner, Boost

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  2. Headway EDB-2 Dual Channel Blending Preamp with Mic Input

    4 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. Radial Engineering ToneBone PZ Deluxe 1 Channel Preamplifier

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  4. Other

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  1. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Kentucky
    I have a Krutz hybrid on which I have installed an Ischell contact mic. Most of the time I will be playing into a house sound system, but there will be times when I am playing into an amp. For my tests, I have been running it into a phantom power supply and then to my Tech21 Sansamp and through whichever at that point. This is essentially my EB pedal board with a few extra parts. Now, I would like to create a separate bag/board for the UB. I have read about Radial Tonebone and Headway products here and on the Gollihur site. When I was talking to another bass player the other day, he said I needed to get the Fishman since it had the best impedance for acoustic instruments.

    I will mainly be playing bluegrass and country with the bass. I doubt that I will ever need to run anything else through the box at the same time. I would prefer that it had phantom power built in to alleviate the need for the additional power supply. I am interested in tonal options to get as close to MBOL as possible. The only other pedal that could be in the chain would be a tuner, but I could add something else if needed. I would prefer this to be as simple as possible. Read: this pre-amp and little if anything else.

    So, the question is which would you choose? I would like to make a purchase by the end of the week.
     
  2. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    This is not necessarily bad advice in all URB amplification situations, but in this case it's a bit misinformed (and not, pursuant to the gear you're using, correct).

    When speaking of the importance of impedance, it's not the instrument that you're amplifying that makes the difference, it's the type of pickup/mic. The ultra high impedance (5-10 megohm) of the various Fishman preamps is excellent - when you're using a high impedance pickup, like a piezo (Realist, Full Circle, Rev Solo, Bass Max, etc.), to amplify it.

    However, since you're using a microphone (Ischell), that high impedance input is not a benefit - in fact, it's almost certainly a detriment. You need to correlate the level of input impedance to what you're plugging in. With a microphone, you would use a much lower impedance, so you'll get the best, most transparent sound from a "microphone preamp."

    Now, Ischell makes a few different models, and if the model that you have includes its own preamp (I suspect it doesn't, because you are saying that you use a phantom power supply with it) then this doesn't apply; the impedance of the input only applies to the first signal-processing input you plug it into (in your case, the Sansamp.) With an Ischell that includes an integrated preamp, that preamp is itself the first connection, and it will buffer the output to be used with a common input on most anything.

    So, without knowing more about what model Ischell you have, my general recommendation would be to get the Headway EDB2, or any other preamp that has a true microphone input, (and is therefore a true mic preamp, with a microphone-friendly low impedance input) which would provide markedly better sound than any of the other options when using the Ischell.

    More info
     
  3. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Kentucky

    Thanks Mark... I believe it is the X48C. It is the demo unit we discussed. Just to be clear, the future state or configuration would not involve the Sansamp at all. I am looking for Ischell > Pre-Amp > Amp/House and little else. Unless it is recommended that there be other pieces in the chain. I am trying to make this a very simple installation.
     
  4. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Yes, what you want is a microphone preamp. It doesn't even have to be a special "acoustic instrument" preamp - though such a preamp may offer other features that provide useful control and feedback resistance (like phase, low cut, notch filters, etc.) But even something like the ART mini mic preamps would do the job - and also allow you to ditch the separate phantom power box, as well, since it would provide the phantom you need.
     
  5. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Kentucky
    I used an ART TubeMP in a moment of desperation at practice the other night and it did OK best I could tell from that scenario. They are quite inexpensive. You and I have exchanged e-mail regarding the Headway unit and that is intriguing. Prior to the aforementioned conversation I was deciding between the Radial and the Headway based on our e-mails. I also read where a few folks on the Ischell post are using the Headway and that made me start to lean in that direction. I have often regretted purchasing something to save money and then spent even more to get what I really wanted. I do like the notion of phase, low cut, and notch filters. Still deciding, but it sounds like either the Radial or the Headway are the way to go. I'd really like to play through both before deciding, but that doesn't seem to be possible in my current situation. Where are you located again? J/K I know and it is further than I am willing to drive. I know... order both! :)
     
  6. ColdEye

    ColdEye Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Add the zoom A3 in the mix too. You can blend and it has phantom power. They can be both battery operated too if that's a concern. I went with the headway because I managed to find one for a really good price, and I like the control it provides and the form factor. The zoom I tried was pretty decent too, if you don't want to spend a bunch. It has a bunch of effects you might not need tho.
     
  7. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I use the Headway EDB-2. Not with a mic, but with a Rev Solo II, into an Acoustic Image Coda 4. Works as advertised. Then the Coda feeds the PA. If I were using a mic, I could still use the Headway since it has the input. It also provides phantom power, which I also don't use.
     
  8. You might get an amp with EQ that doesn't work well for double bass. But even if it is voiced, you might be able to find a setting for a neutral sound (not zero on all filters for a voiced amp). Then a preamp with double bass-friendly EQ can help a lot.
     
  9. I run a Demeter hpb and it's pretty awesome so I have no problem recommending it they also make a separate preamp that I would assume is pretty legit on db or eb.
     
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    You'll need to check with Ischell to see if the mic will operate at 18 volts, since that's what the Headway's Phantom Power supplies. I can't see why it wouldn't since the XJack version of the pickup operates at 9 volts.

    Ric
     
  11. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I think that the Ischell folks say that it won't, but I don't know that for sure.
     
  12. There might be a voltage divider internally that reduces the phantom power to less than 20% (48V to 9V). In that case 3.5V might be a bit too less instead of 9V. But the reduction could also be made by a Zener-diode, which should work with a phantom power of at least 11 volts.
    Depends on the design of the phantom power voltage reduction.

    BTW, even the 9V could be reduced up to 1.5V internally for powering the internal FET of an Electret condenser. The higher voltage of 9V may be used to power a voltage amplifier to get a higher amplitude, useable for an instrument amplifier.
     
  13. BassJuju

    BassJuju Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Kentucky
    I asked this question of Ischell a while back when I started considering pre-amps and the reply to my query is below. Suffice it to say, Voltage is not an issue.

    Thank you very much, and yes, it is compatible, from 9v to 48v.
     
    Mark Gollihur likes this.
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    That being the case the Headway EDB-2 has a dedicated mic preamp, great EQ, and is very compact. IME you cannot beat it's feature set at it's price point. The only issue you may have to deal with is shipping charges back to the UK should it need repairs after the 1 year warranty. I'm not saying that you will, but it's something to consider.

    Ric
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
    Mark Gollihur and Russell Bergum like this.
  15. silvertone

    silvertone

    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    It may be considered cost prohibitive at a shade less then $1K but I recently obtained a Felix by Grace Designs from a TBer and it has basically replaced my trusty old Sans Amp Paradriver as the Swiss Army Knife of all my gear.

    I play a '54 Kay with a Realist Piezo and a Troll Ribbon mic.
    The Felix permits me to blend a low impedance signal from the mic and a high impedance signal from the piezo into an amp, or I can send a separate signal from the mic to the house and the piezo to my amp or if the engineer has the time and interest to help me get great tone I could have the mic signal go to the house and the pickup go to the monitors.

    The Felix also has ridiculous amounts of EQ, a high pass filter, Mid Q, an effects loop, a tuner output, a boost feature, a ground lift for each channel, 2 low z outputs to use for DI and the capacity to radically customize the configuration and eq via external and internal dip switches.

    I also use it in my electric bass rig - though I haven't fully explored it's fully capacity in terms of effects loop.
    And to boot it's great for when I play amplified mandolin or flat top guitar.

    The only negative is people think I'm a goofy gear head with all the knobs - but the tone this thing enables is remarkable.

    Grace Felix 1.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
    james condino and Mark Gollihur like this.
  16. Kristian

    Kristian

    Dec 5, 2008
    Turkey
    Could I use a small mixer instead of a preamp? I'm looking into the Felix but for that amount of money, there should be some other option. No?
     
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The picture you're using is of my Felix. I posted it last year right after I purchased it.(Laugh) Like you, it's my go to preamp for everything except casuals. The Felix comes with a 5 Year bumper to bumper warranty. After 3 years of using the EDB-2, I decided to move on to a more robust design, with dual channels. That said, the EDB-2 is a great little box. The Grace Felix has all the functions covered.

    Ric
     
    Mark Gollihur and silvertone like this.
  18. silvertone

    silvertone

    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    Ric - LOL back - hope your photo isn't copywritten? ; - )

    "Could I use a small mixer instead of a preamp? I'm looking into the Felix but for that amount of money, there should be some other option. No?"

    You definitely could use a small mixer. Behringer, Mackie, Yamaha and probably others make them - and the audible difference would be slight I guess, but Grace Designs (out of Lyons, CO) is renowned for the quality of their pre-amps and besides that factor, the Felix is an amazingly well thought out and well designed product that seems to give massive bang for the (fairly massive) cash outlay.

    I regretted the expense but after using it a bunch over the last few weeks I'm pretty dang pleased with it.

    The only downside I can think of is that it can sometimes be confusing to use, but that's the case with any system that has a multitude of parameters.
     
  19. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I'd reccommend trying the Headway EDB-2 first. No mixer I've seen would do what the EDB-2 is capable of at it's price.

    Ric
     
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  20. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    For less than a Felix, an alternative is a used two-channel AI Focus or Claris amp: Both channels will take mic or piezo, both channels have high-enough impedance for piezo, both channels have 48V phantom power. The amps also include a DI and a nearly forever warranty.
     

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