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Bass Max sound issue


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I've never got a decent sound out of this Bass Max pickup. I've now tried it on two basses, through a couple of amps and also direct (via a Fishman Plat Pro) into my Mac, and each time I get the same issue:

Basically I get a very strong attack with each note I pluck, consisting of mostly mids, then the rest of the note envelope seems a lot quieter. So the overall effect is of the strings being muted.

Is this just what the Bass Max sounds like or have I got a duffer? I've tried various tightnesses of fit in both sides of the bridge of both basses, and the results are always pretty much the same.

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i think i know what you mean,i run mine through a boss bass eq pedal & cut most if the mids out,kind of a V shaped eq with the bottom of the V almost completely cut,pickup mounted on the treble side with a very tight fit & it sounds mega through my Roland.
without the eq i didn't like the sound over much,i seemed to get lots of attack from my fingers as you have described & a sh*te sound.
i tried a plat' pro' but couldn't get a good tone through that,infact i thought it made it worse,if you have one try a bass eq pedal & bin the plat' pro'

Edited by artisan
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That does sound a lot like what I'm getting. I honestly thought it was broken, it sounds so bad.

I decided to try it on my new bass because I stuck a Realist on there but I'm a bit disappointed that it doesn't pick up any of the mechanical sound of playing the bass - the kind of detail you get from a pickup. I tried cranking the high mids / treble but there's no detail there to amplify. So I thought a pup closer to the strings would do it.

I am tempted now to try a Full Circle but it's an expensive experiment. I don't have an adjustable bridge on this bass so that's £150+ before I factor in the price of the pickup. :(

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Are you talking about live sound or recording/home playing type levels?

I would say the the sound you describe is common to piezo transducers in general. It's very audible at low volumes or if no other instruments are present or if you're recording with the pickup as the only source. Once you get to a live situation though, the effect is less noticable and I find the strong attack very useful in getting a sound that stands out in the mix, It's not necessarily a beautiful sound, but in a loud band it can be heard and it sounds like a DB - which is as much as you can hope for at most gigs.
Generally, I think that peizos are good for situations where you want volume and strong fundamental. For detail and evenness of tone, electret pickups (Realist, Full Circle) are better. For faithful acoustic reproduction, you need a microphone.

I have a Bassmax and a TM pickup. They look the same but the TM has a lower output, with less attack and a more even sound across the range. I don't find the TM that great for my bluegrass/country stuff, but it is well suited for the jazzier stuff that I do. I've also found that sticking the bassmax on the treble side of the bridge evens out the low-mid hump and give me a sound better suited for jazz.

Finding the right pickup is a feckin nightmare to be honest, and the only way to get one that suits you is to try them.

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I have a Planet Wing piezo on my Kolstein and all the comments made in the OP about the BassMax could be applied to this. It sounds frankly rubbish in the home, amplified, on what is an extraordinarily beautiful sounding bass acoustically. I have just bought a BassMax to see if this improves things :unsure:

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The Bassmax on my bass had a very big low end and was almost scooped sounding, not thin or nasal at all. I used it with Innovation Honeys and found the tone a bit plasticy, I don't know if that was the pup, the strings or the combo of both. Are you sure it's in ok? e.g. not too tight or too loose.

The FC is a good and they could cut your existing bridge to install it.

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As for tightness/looseness - I experimented with that quite a lot on my old bass, to little/no effect. I sanded the slot in my current bridge for a fairly tight fit but felt it was probably pointless to do more sanding given that I already experienced the same issues on my other bass.

Rev I appreciate what you're saying about volume for live work and that the sound quality is less important than being heard, but I can't imagine this sound being good enough for anything.

Clarky at least you've discouraged me from trying more wing-mount piezos. So that's potentially saved me a few bob!

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Oh dear, we're back on the pickup stuff again. The poor old Underwood seldom gets a mention but I swear by it, on all my basses. I know I've posted this before but there's still a lot of repetition in the pickups debate.
The Rev speaks a lot of common sense. When you get to a gig you have to compromise on the 'my bass only louder' thing. What may sound a bit clanky at home could have the ability to cut through the rest of the band and project a very passable DB sound to the audience. An amplified DB is just that.

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[quote name='bassace' timestamp='1343301285' post='1748483']
The Rev speaks a lot of common sense.
[/quote]

..there's a first time for everything....

[quote name='thisnameistaken' timestamp='1343304735' post='1748571']
I would be surprised, though, if there isn't a better solution than this Bass Max. :/
[/quote]

There is, but it's going to cost an awful lot more than a Bassmax. K&K are the workaday end of the market - for the pro end, check out the prices of the Schertler stuff.

I'm just getting into the whole pickup/preamp experimentation thing and there is a lot of difference to be had varying pickup location and preamp choice. At the moment I'm sticking with a Bassmax on the bass wing - not because it's a sound I want, but because I'm doing a lot of festivals and it's a sound I know.

I've got a regular pub gig coming up in a month so I'm going to try two pickups on either side of the bridge going into a blender preamp (Headway) and see if I can get a working sound that has even tone.

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You're describing the reason I gave up on the bassmax. I believe it was the combination of strings, bass and pup. No amount of eq could sort it and it sounded bad on both sides of the bridge.

There's a good chance the Full Circle will work well for you; it seems to suit a wide range of setups. Golihur do a good adjustable bridge for $68 +pp. Great, fast service.

http://www.gollihurmusic.com/category/27-BRIDGES.html

Edited by fatback
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My Bassmax sounds fantastic on 3 or 4 different basses, I don't need an external pre amp for it.

I used to plug direct into a Marbass LMK but more recently GKMB200 / 500, Shuttle3 or Acoustic Image

Much darker sound to the Underwood which I love

It's any easy fit as long as your wing slot is wide enough, too tight a fit can damage it.

Edited by Mr Bassman
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[quote name='fatback' timestamp='1343310023' post='1748711']
You're describing the reason I gave up on the bassmax. I believe it was the combination of strings, bass and pup. No amount of eq could sort it and it sounded bad on both sides of the bridge.
[/quote]

This is definitely my experience.

[quote name='Mr Bassman' timestamp='1343314719' post='1748846']
My Bassmax sounds fantastic on 3 or 4 different basses,
[/quote]

And this is why I wonder if mine is broken! I can understand the people describing it as tolerable in return for volume, but 'fantastic'? Really? Mine must be knackered.

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I use a Shadow and an Underwood. The shadow is a bit better IMHO so I keep the Underwood as a spare

There is a big difference between using a single pickup and a double like the Underwood. Some people say they use the Underwood with only one of the elements attached. I tried this and the sound changed dramatically. I couldn't get used to it, more woody, body, less sustain, so I have always been put off trying a BassMax. The Full Circle seems too much hassle as I don't have, need, or want a bridge adjuster fitted

It seems that the proximity of the pu to the strings and bridge has a big influence on sound, Realist -; FullCircle -; Bassmax. But then using two elements makes another tonal change. I have read that some use two singles and blend them with a preamp.

Recently I changed my Shadow twin element pu around, turned it the right way up, and the sound improved giving a bit less string and a bit more body to the sound. have you tried flipping your Bass max?

Not sure if any of this helps but it is worth considering trying a twin element pu if you can borrow one for a while

Adrian

Edited by adriansmith247
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I have tried turning the Bass Max over, yeah. What's frustrating me is that most people seem to think it's a good pickup, and I'd like it to be a good pickup. Maybe I need to try another one to see if it's just mine that's knackered.

As for blending pickups I did wonder if it might be worth adding a Fishman BP-100 and blending it with my Realist to get a bit more of the string in the sound. But currently I'm using a Fishman Plat Pro which only has one input, so I'd need to look at an alternative preamp or sticking a blender before it.

Actually I wonder if a passive 2-in, 1-out blender box with a single mix control mounted to the tailpiece might be feasible?

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FWIW I just tried my new Bass Max on my Kolstein. It sounds hugely better than the nasal, reedy mid- heavy sounding Planet Wing pickup I had on it before ( the stock pickup with this DB). Nice coverage from deep bass through to the upper registers, without that horrid finger noise or middiness I had before. I am really quite happy with this. I can only suggest Kev that your Bass Max is damaged or alternatively that it's just sods law and it simply is not compatible with your bass/string/bridge set up.

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Rev speaks wise words. All I can add to it is that, on at least the 4 basses I've tried various pick ups on, Underwood consistently gives me reliable, easy to EQ, forgiving on fit/positioning, lovely organic sound, plenty of mechanics, just everything I want. Beats bassmax, realist, shadow, planet, polytone, blah.

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OK well TPJ kindly sent me his Hurley to try out to give me some comparison of a double- bridge wing pup against my Bass Max. It's a similar sound but not as oppressively thumpy, a bit more even but still I think what I've learned from this is that unless there's a design out there that doesn't have twice as much volume during pizz attack compared to the rest of the note then I probably don't want a bridge wing pickup.

Which leaves me with a choice of trying something like a BP100 blended with my Realist, or trying a Full Circle. Both of which would be quite expensive choices really. Ho hum.

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If you are still trying to decide if you have a duff Bass Max, I use one and I'm York-based. I've got a couple of weeks with no DB gigs so you're welcome to borrow it.

I've got it paired with a pro-plat and, as one poster's already put it, it's not the sound I want, but it's one I know. I find I have an issue with the relative volume of the strings i.e. the A is often much louder than the other strings, but that's just as likely to be more p*ss-poor technique and eq'ing ability...

However, I do find it far better than the BP100 I had - that just sounded really weedy by comparison.

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