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iOS & Double Bass

Apologies in advance but this is likely going to be all over the place.

Around 2 years ago, I started playing double bass, I had a KK Prototype Baby Bass, a solid wood clone of the old Ampeg 60’s Baby Bass made by a company in the South of England .

A great instrument, but it used a magnetic pickup and had an output slightly lower than your average double bass.

I was able to quickly put together a patch for this using JamUp Pro, now i default to JamUp pro as after all the years of using it on electric bass it’s struck me as the best and most consistent app, and with my familiarity with it I can get what I need out of it pretty quickly.

This patch was made up of a few eqs, some clean boost to bring the gain up, compression and some reverb.

Overall it sounded good but not particularly double bass like, more like a big electric fretless. But regardless I gigged it lots, got lots of compliments on the tone and had zero issues.

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Then I had the (not so) smart idea to get a proper acoustic double bass (3/4), I found a great deal on one in Leeds, went and got it.

Initially I couldn’t afford the pickup or was waiting for the right one to become available on eBay for the right price. I tried a couple of microphones, and to date I’ve not had a better experience than a Shure SM57 close mic’d on the F hole (granted I have to sit down so I don’t move the bass too much, but it’s a surprisingly even and balanced sound.)

I’m currently using a Shadow SH950 pickup, into the Line 6 Sonic Port into JamUp Pro, the preset that works for most things has a lot of eq, and a lot of gain to bring the Shadow up to the right level. It terms of quality it varies, I greatly enjoy the sound of it in small bands. It just about works plugging into regular bass amps but through PA’s it sounds good. However as soon as the band gets a bit bigger or louder, I’m too boomy and too clicky (as a note to those double bass players that do that rockabilly slap, you guys will have no issue with tone using a similar setup, but I’m after something warmer)

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Amplitube have an acoustic app, so far it’s not been world changing but I’ve only been able to try it into my amp which is where I’m consistently disappointed in my tone on double bass. What Amplitube does have is an intelligent feedback killer, firstly WOW is this great, previously if the feedback started, I’d have to start moving my leg up the back of the bass to try and get it to stop vibrating, it looked like I liked my bass a little too much, or i’d be moving it around trying to get it to stop and sometimes it’s just a low rumble barely audible, but you click detect and the app filters out the frequency and the feedback stops.

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While I’m loathed to max out another none bass specific Amplitube app, I think my tone is in here somewhere as I’m at the limit of where I’m going to get to with JamUp Pro and there is nothing new coming.

I may go totally to just a mic for double bass, but I’m using the iPad for it’s tuner (Generally the Peterson App) and song notes/scores (Evernote) that it seems a waste not to use it when it’s at gigs anyway.

Important Point: This is the first time I’ve felt the latency, now I’m still using an iPad Air 1 and it’s getting a bit slow just day to day, but if the speaker is very close to me and with such a large acoustic instrument near my other ear, I can hear it. It only seems to affect me in a very specific environment (one of the practice rooms) and never at a gig but it is there and I am aware of it. It might not be latency, it could just be the booming sound being everywhere but it’s not ideal and I will be working to resolve it.

Hope this helps the players out there.