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Pickup vs Mic - What to buy?

Pickup Mic Upright bass Double bass

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#1 dannymiller95

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 11:06 AM

Hi all,
I'm sure this has been tackled before somewhere but I'd just like some more advice.
I've been playing upright for over a year now mainly playing on musicals and live gigs rather than recording and orchestral.
I normally get DI'd or go through my TC Electronic rig.
So far my Shadow Nanoflex has done a great job but I want something a bit... well better really.
I've been looking at a DPA 4099B but I would love some opinions.
Thanks! ☺️

#2 geoffbassist

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 12:18 PM

I think a DPA is a great option to send to the front of house, but hard work to use with your backline. I know some bassists love using mics with backline, but I've not had much success and find them too distracting. I much prefer the consistency of my pick up to my amp.... and in an ideal world a mic to send to the engineer for front of house.

#3 spencer.b

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 02:46 PM

If you wanna dabble with mics don't rule out just putting a regular dynamic mic on a stand or h clamp by the f hole, I sometimes find it more feedback resistant than my dpa , less detailed and it can be boomy but it can work
Bare in mind mics will only work in certain live scenarios but if everything aligns it's the best
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#4 henrywillard

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 04:25 PM

I totally second what Geoff said.

I had a DPA 4099B, but eventually sold it as I just could not get on with it due to feedback problems on stage when using it for monitoring. Don't get me wrong, it sounded great on its own, but as soon as the rest of the band joined in, it was an absolute nightmare for backline.

I would maybe be tempted to try a DPA out again, sending it to the front of house and using my pickup (Wilson K4) for my monitoring, but to be honest, the Wilson K4 is an absolutely INCREDIBLE pickup, so I am completely satisfied using it for both FOH & backline, and have been for a few years now. Absolutely no feedback issues, and it just sounds fantastic on my bass. Best pickup (or mic) I have ever used.

I also echo spender.b. It will only work in certain live scenarios. For me personally, I unfortunately found that to be hardly ever. It would always feedback, or be right on the edge, which distracted me from my playing. I tried a couple of different pre-amps, but to no avail, so on eBay it went.

The Wilson K4 pickup allows me to not worry one bit about my sound, and I can focus 100% on my playing. Would highly recommend checking them out :)
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#5 bassace

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 04:40 PM

Yes, it's important to find a system that you're happy with and with the minimum of hassle so you can just get on with your playing and enjoying the gig. That means a Lifeline on one of the basses and a Full Circle on the other one. Oh, and a mag on the Kolstein EUB. When I'm going to a gig where I know there will be front of house PA I take an ATM 350 mic but really I haven't a clue how it sounds because I'm on the stage not down in the audience. But they seem to like it.

As I've said before, don't be too hung up on getting the 'right' sound back home in your room because once you get playing with all the other instruments you will lose all those nuances, good and bad.
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#6 dannymiller95

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 05:33 PM

Thanks for all the info guys.
Geoff, I'm an avid watcher or Discover Double Bass and I absolutely love it so thank you.

Just another question then for you all then. My current pickup doesn't seem to be very loud (don't know if this is just a generic double bass pickup thing or not). As I say I'm ready to upgrade, are there any recommendations?

#7 henrywillard

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:35 PM

Hi Danny. Are you using a pre-amp at all?
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#8 philparker

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:08 PM

View Postdannymiller95, on 05 January 2017 - 05:33 PM, said:

Just another question then for you all then. My current pickup doesn't seem to be very loud (don't know if this is just a generic double bass pickup thing or not). As I say I'm ready to upgrade, are there any recommendations?

My guess is you're not using a pre-amp...and you need one (not on all amp-PU combinations, but many on DB).

#9 TheRev

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:41 PM

The K&k Bassmax is a decent sounding pickup thats easy to install. It's also the hottest (loudest) pickup I've used, so if you want a strong signal, that's the one to go for.
The Fishman Full Circle is very highly regarded but needs to be installed by a Luthier as it replaces your bridge adjusters. If you don't have bridge adjusters then, well, you can't have a Full Circle!

If you have steel strings, then you have the option of using magnetic pickups. I use a Krivo - it reproduces the acoustic sound of my bass really well, has high feedback resistance and can swapped between basses without any modifications to your bass.

Edited by TheRev, 05 January 2017 - 09:41 PM.

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#10 keeponehandloose

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 10:17 PM

Theres a new mic on the market which looks amazing...never heard it though.
Check out the Ear Trumpet Labs Nadine...
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#11 dannymiller95

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:11 PM

This is all fantastic. Thank you all so much.

I'm not using a preamp but have in the past briefly looked into purchasing. This is an area, again, I need to read into a bit more as my knowledge is extremely limited.

#12 Marc S

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:16 PM

View PostTheRev, on 05 January 2017 - 09:41 PM, said:

The K&k Bassmax is a decent sounding pickup thats easy to install. It's also the hottest (loudest) pickup I've used, so if you want a strong signal, that's the one to go for.....

I have one of these - bought second-hand from this forum, along with a K&K pre-amp, as complete package. It's a great mic and the piezo pickup is really good too. The pre-amp handles the signals from both mic and pickup - via a stereo lead. Both channels then have a separate volume control.

Depending on where I'm stood in relation to my amp, I may have to be careful with the level of the mic, or it may feed-back. That said, I have to be stood really close to the amp, or setting the level very high before it does start to feed-back. I recently used my bass on a large stage, with big house PA, and did some studio recording..... (not at the same venue)
I had time on both occasions to try just the piezo pickup, and both sound engineers preferred my sound with mic and piezo pickup combined. It did sound good, I must say - the sound was much more akin to the natural, acoustic sound of a DB. Can't comment on the other pickups mentioned above as I've not tried them.

I also have an EUB (Eminence) with a shadow pickup & pre-amp, and I think it's not bad for an inexpensive system.

Edited by Marc S, 06 January 2017 - 03:19 PM.






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