View Full Version : Thile/Bush Sound Gear

Aug-18-2004, 6:17am
Does anyone know if Chris Thile is still using his Schertler pick-up and Pre-amp, and if he is, what else does he run his mandolin thru? I couldnt see it at a show.

What is Sam Bush using to amplify his sound?

I ask these questions because i had the rare oppurtunity to share the same stage as them last weekend during a taping of Mtn Stage in WV. I play mandolin for David Berkeley and got to play before them, thank god i didnt have to follow.

I am using a Schertler pick-up with a Shertler Pre-amp and am not getting the sound i truely want.

Does anyone use this and have any suggestions?

Aug-18-2004, 9:36am
I don't know about Thile's setup but I can give you Bush's. He uses a Barcus Berry Hot Dot piezo pickup wedged between the bridge base and saddle and a Countryman Isomax IIC mini condenser clipped to the lower F-hole. He then goes to a Chardstuff (Rich Battaglia, the sound guy for the Flecktones builds it) preamp. From there he runs to a Trace Elliot TA-100 acoustic amp. He only uses the Hot Dot in the monitor mix and adds enough of the mic in the house mix to give it true acoustic sound. Hope this helps and if I get a chance today I will take a picture of my setup and post it for you. I use the same setup as Bush and I very much love the tone I get.

Aug-18-2004, 3:06pm
Here is the picture of my setup.

Aug-19-2004, 3:26pm
Jeremy, please tell us more about this preamp and rig. Is it TRS to the preamp and then dual output, one to monitor one to Amp? Or is there a blend? How about a picture?
Last time I saw Sam and was checking out his rig I noticed that he had that amp right behind him and tilted up toward his head so that he could hear it as a monitor. It sounded great. Is the amp then mic'd
or is there a direct out to the board?


Aug-19-2004, 4:31pm
Okay, when I said I had his exact setup I meant with the mic and pickup; the only thing that is major that I don't have that Bush uses is the Chardstuff preamp. #It actually uses a split 1/4" stereo Y-cable and has two inputs, one for the tip and one for the ring. #I personally use the Presonus AcoustiQ preamp which only has one TRS input from the instrument so I basically have to use a 1/4" TRS cable and I am looking to have a heavier grade custom made because it is not common to find a 1/4" TRS instrument cable and the one I am using is not heavy duty enough for me. #On my preamp it has one XLR out and a separate 1/4" out to the amp which I am sure the one Sam uses does also. #I had contacted Richard Battaglia about purchasing one of his preamps but I just can't justify the $1,500.00 price tag he gets for them! #The Trace amp he is using does have an XLR direct but the preamp probably does also. #Hope this helps.

Aug-20-2004, 10:47am
What is the cost of the Countryman mic and where can I check one out?

Aug-20-2004, 8:49pm
This site doesn't list the Isomax IIC but they do keep it in stock. You just have to call their number. Should be around $187.00.

Here (http://www.northernsound.net/Sales/mics/frame.html)

Aug-21-2004, 12:05am
Also, here is one on Ebay if you get to it before it ends. It doesn't say which version it is though.

Countryman (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15198&item=3742335223&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW)

Chip Booth
Aug-23-2004, 2:24pm
hey MandoJeremy, how's that AcoustiQ working for you? I'm looking for a preamp, and it looks really good for the price.

Aug-31-2004, 3:10pm
Chip, sorry for the delayed response. The AcoustiQ is very, very nice for the money. I have always been a big fan of Presonus equipment and this preamp is no exception. You can get them on Ebay for much less than music store cost if you look long enough. I highly recommend them and I have tried many preamps.

Chip Booth
Sep-01-2004, 1:23pm
mandoJeremy, how do you get phantom power to the mini-condensor? I assume the preamp uses a TRS input for the two channels, and the mic is XLR, so what wire carries phantom? How do you connect the mic specifically? I am strongly considering this preamp for my Shertler along with a condensor.


Sep-01-2004, 1:51pm
I'm using a Rane AP13 for a similar setup, and the Rane preamp has phantom power capabilities built in. It also has a switch to determine which "wire" the phantom power gets sent through. Either the tip or the ring of the TRS cable. I would imagine the AcousticQ is similar, but Jeremy would know for sure...

Sep-01-2004, 2:14pm
Okay Chip, first of all I cut the XLR end off of the Countryman and ran it and the Barcus Berry to a 1/4" stereo endpin jack. #The Countryman is connected to the ring and the BB to the tip and the AcoustiQ supplies phantom to the ring only. #If you are wanting to run the Schertler in conjunction with a condenser, you would need to cut the XLR off of both and run them to a stereo endpin jack in the same way mentioned above. #Just be sure to run the mic to the ring and the Schertler to the tip because most stereo preamps supply the phantom power to the ring only even though the AP-13 lets you switch. #The AcoustiQ doesn't let you decide and most others don't. #And yes the preamp does use a TRS input so you have to get a TRS stereo cable to run from the endpin and I just found out this week that Planet Waves has the TRS cables. #Also, I had a guy give me a brand new Schertler this past weekend and I am going to use it on one of my other mandos so I will be cutting the XLR off and running it to an endpin jack so I might be able to let you know which wires are run to where. #Of course, I am not doing this anytime very soon because my Bush just gives me the sound I want. #I also must say that the Schertler is lacking a little of something and a mini condenser ran in conjunction with it just might be the answer. #I used it this past weekend on the Wayne Benson Gibson I was borrowing and I did think the tone was very good for a stick on pickup but just needed a little more something.

Sep-01-2004, 2:25pm
Or you could leave the XLR attached to the Schertler and the mini condenser and use this preamp which is cheaper than the AcoustiQ but you would have to deal with two different wires hanging from your mando.
Preamp (http://presonus.com/bluetube.html)

Sep-01-2004, 3:24pm
Do the Planet Waves TRS cables have the right angle connection plug? I'm currently using a Monster cable, but that thing sticks out FAR. I'd love to have a right angle where it plugs into the mando.

Sep-01-2004, 3:33pm
No they don't. That's the only thing bad about them. I would love to have a TRS right angle cable myself.

Sep-01-2004, 7:35pm
I am running a stereo system using the fishman dual system with their acoustic blender. I insert a 31 band send and return eq into the signal on the board and this allows me to cut the feedback freqs that used to give me heartburn without cutting them out of our entire mix.

Jeremy, here is what you are looking for.



Sep-01-2004, 9:01pm
Dang right it is what I am looking for and so is mandofiddle! That has solved my last problem, I just wonder if it is the same grade as a Monster or Planet Waves! Thanks dude.

Chip Booth
Sep-02-2004, 9:23am
mandoJeremy, when you cut off the XLR for the condensor mic did you combine the two hot wires or drop one to go to the TRS cable? And I assume you are running the same ground for the mic and pickup? Sorry, wiring was never my thing...

As for the right angle TRS I am sure you can buy a high quality switchcraft right angle TRS plug and put it on any cable you like yourself. But it easier to just buy 'em the way you want:)


Sep-02-2004, 10:36am
I had one of those Fishman cables for a while. Only lasted about six months before I started getting pops and clicks. I unscrewed the cap thingy off one end, and the soldering had given way. Of course all I have to do is solder it back on there, but I'm lazy! I'd rather be playing than soldering...

Sep-02-2004, 10:47am
To be honest Chip I can't remember on the Countryman because I think it had three or four wires inside and yes both the mic and piezo are sharing the sleeve (ground). I honestly just can't recall, I do know that I had to call Countryman to see what wires are what. I think I had to run the red wire to the ring and tie the green wire and the shield together at the sleeve but it is going to be different with different brands of mini mics.

Sep-02-2004, 11:13am
RE Countryman Isomax :
2 C is the cardioid pattern, H is the hypercard , O is for omni , right?
for DIY cables option, note
Quality, #Right angle Stereo 1/4" plug ends, Neutrik, featuring #screwdown gripper strain relief ; #at #www.partsexpress.com # 3 wire #shielded cable, and a whole lot more. Even a nice temperature regulated soldering irons and spools of solder, shrink tube, braided sleeves & a vast assortment of speakers too.

Chip Booth
Sep-03-2004, 9:47am
yes Mandroid, C is cardiod, etc. For everyone's general info, they offer models with XLR connectors or 2 and 3 wire bare wire "pigtail" models with different impedance options. I am gonna talk with Countryman (hopefuly today) and get more info as to which model works best with what preamp gear and report back the info.

Sep-11-2004, 12:23pm
mandoJeremy - I assume you are using an endpin jack? What type and does it require any modification to the mandolin? Also how does the hot dot compare with the fishman bridge pickup?

Sep-12-2004, 6:52pm
Hi, I am using a Switchcraft stereo 1/4" endpin jack. You do have to route out the endpin hole in the mandolin which isn't too hard if you know what you are doing. I may be a little biased but Sam Bush would probably tell you the same about the Hot Dot as I would....it is VERY hot and I do like the tone better than the Fishman but to truly get a good acoustic sound the mini-mic (Countryman, Crown, or Mills) should be used with the piezo.

Sep-12-2004, 8:44pm
Also, for me the Fishman bridge itself is pretty low quality and the cool thing with the Hot Dot is that you get to keep your original (hopefully high quality) bridge. Another alternative is to get L.R. Baggs to install their piezo in your existing bridge and I think Gibson will also do that with the Headway pickup.

Sep-12-2004, 10:46pm
Thanks for the info. I'm using the Isomax wired with the fishman into a carpenter jack, rane pre-amp and Trace 100 amp. I'll check out the hot dot.

Sep-12-2004, 10:55pm
That's a good setup dude but what kind of mando is it first? The Fishman bridge is your typical PacRim bridge that you see on Fender's, MK's, Morgan Monroe's, Epiphone's, etc. If you will just get the perfect piezo setup then you will be great. Which Isomax? I hope the C model and not the H. The hypercardiod picks up too much band noise around you.

Sep-12-2004, 10:56pm
Just PM me with any further questions you may have.

Sep-12-2004, 11:31pm
Hey There,
Saw the great amount of feedback on the mics and thought I'd add a few comments about the Schertler...I was at the recent Mandolin Symposium and talked briefly with Chris about it...he positions it under the bass-side foot of the bridge which brings a little more low out. #He runs that into an Avalon preamp (tube, if I'm not mistaken, but I don't know if it's servoed with opamps like the import $49.95 one-channel, so-called "tube" preamps). #I have used the Schertler with a custom made tube preamp, I think that it makes a big difference especially in terms of the low frequencies.
I also talked with Mike Marshall, he uses a Pick-Up-The-World pickup which is a piezoelectric film element positioned between the bridge base and the top. #He claims that it's a more "woody" sound compared to, say, the LR Baggs/Sullivan Loar Bridge combo. #He doesn't like the Schertler because he believes that it has a funny dip at about 400Hz (If I remember correctly...learned A LOT that week!) #I've actually applied a bit of graphic EQ to the signal (not at a live performance) and, in conjunction with the bass-side placement, seems to make a WORLD of difference, despite the fact that that was through headphones.
For me, the bottom line is that the Schertler just sounds better as a pickup than any piezoelectric devices (or even mini condenser mics, most of those use piezoelectric film for the diaphragms anyway). #You'll never be able to get a completely natural sound from a pickup, but for me, the schertler works because it's plenty loud without feedback through a normal mic input on a PA.
Hope this helps!

Chip Booth
Sep-16-2004, 10:02am
Got my Countryman Isomax mic yesterday and plugged it up. Seems like it's gonna do a real nice job. I have to EQ the heck out of it to get it to sound natural, but not so much that it adds a lot of noise and such. Once it's been EQd it sounds fine nd has a strong clean sound with a lot of depth, should be just perfect for the sound I like. It's a used one and I hope it hasn't lost a little of it's edge and that's why I am EQ so much, I would be curious to know how others generally find them to sound without any processing. I found good used deals on both the Countryman and the AcousticQ preamp, but haven't received the preamp yet to try them together.

Sep-16-2004, 10:24am
Great Chip. I have to take a good bit of lows out of the Isomax but other than that I have no problems. Are you planning on cutting the wire and installing to an endpin jack? Do remember that the AcoustiQ only has a 1/4" input.

Chip Booth
Sep-16-2004, 1:36pm
I think I am gonna leave every thing external and removable for now and not install an endpin, and just use some custom adapter cables to make it all work together. It might be a little ugly to look at but it should work fine. I am also about to buy a Martin guitar with no pickup system so who knows, the Countryman and AcousticQ could also end up as part of the guitar pickup system.