The Gear Guide pages feature overviews on most double bass pickups available today, and suitable amps and preamps for the double bass. If you like or dislike a certain pickup, preamp or amp, feel free to use the comment feature and tell us your opinion (click on the headlines to open the page with the comments and comment form).
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In general, the sound of a double bass transducer depends on various factors. Which model works best for you depends on your instrument, your playing style and your idea of sound: do you like to reproduce the acoustic sound of your bass – “only louder”? Or do you prefer an amplified sound that cuts through better; a sound you can compete rest of the band more easily?
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Usually, piezo pickups require a higher input impedance than magnetic pickups. In most cases, 1 MOhm is the minimum, but most bass(-guitar) amps have only a low impedance input – which may results in a scratchy, thin and brittle sound from the piezo. Therefore, outboard buffer preamps are recommended for piezo pickups. Some of these preamps offer an additional second channel and mixing option for microphone or a second pickup (“dual channel preamps” or “blender”). There are also amps like the Acoustic Image, Zadow or Hevos, which are designed for double bass amplification. Besides being voiced for the double bass, they have a very high impedance input, so an outboard buffer preamp is not needed for impedance matching when using piezo pickups.
(Why don’t have all amplifiers a high impedance input? Well, the higher the input impedance, the more sensitive an input is for all kind of near field electromagnetic interferences. So the amp designer has to find a balance between the demand for a high impedance on the one hand and an undisturbed sound reproduction on the other. From a viewpoint of electronic engineering it is very easy to increase the input impedance, but that would also increase the amps sensibility to disturbing signals.)
Since some preamps not only offer impedance matching, but also advanced EQ and volume controls, an active speaker (= speaker cabinet with integrated power amp) may considered as a replacement of the commonly used bass(-guitar) amps. If you consider an active speaker, 10″-12″ speaker and 200W or more are often recommended.
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