Redeemer for Double Bass

[ UPDATE: 2021-07-22] Alex Welti of Creation Audio Labs pointed out the captured cable was old stock and the photos on the website are correct.

I found the output level of the Realist LifeLine piezo pickup on my double bass to be way too low for the PJB double Four amp or Boss looper pedal that I use for home practice.

In retrospect when trying the PJB on my bass tutor’s bass it sounded a) quiet and b) surprisingly lacking in treble. He uses an amp which is designed for acoustic, and I guess tha translates to piezo, whereas the PJB is probably for electric (wire wound). From my electronics days I recall that the piezo idea of high impedance (Z) is much higher than wire wound pickups and the mismatch would explain both issues. So I needed a buffer / pre amp to offer high to the pickup and low Z output to drive the cable and inputs.

I looked around for a simple and convenient amp I could definitely use with piezo and was just about to give up when I stumbled upon the Creation Audio Labs Redeemer, with its 20 MOhm input Z (note several reviews say 2). The only other one I found that appeared to come close to my requirements is the similarly priced Fishman Platinum Stage Analog Preamp. While it’s extra controls might be useful when [eventually] gigging, for my home use I didn’t want the complexity, preferring simple electronics. The EQ can be handled elsewhere in the signal chain.

In the end I went for the Belt version of the Redeemer as it comes with low capacitance cable and that seemed safer than the inline version, which might be different as quoted as being designed for pedal board use. It’s probably identical electronics though as the redeemer looks to be very flexible. I’d prefer a power supply option but as I use rechargeable PP3 batteries the Belt version’s lack should be OK.

Closeup of LifeLine Pickup on bass Bass, box and cables
LifeLine Pickup on my bass Redeemer connected to the looper

I did have a slight concern that the gain might not be enough for my purposes (it’s not specified). But no fear, it’s perfect and sounds great! I’m sure a blended pickup plus mic mix would best capture the sound of the bass. But for now I’m happy as there’s lots of signal and top end.

I was planning to try other cable lengths once I sourced some short decent low capacitance cables. The image on the website show an input socket but sadly I got a captured cable, so am a bit stuck. The problem is the cable length is wrong for either my belt or the floor (I have the bass’ pin at max length). So I’ll have to find a way to mount the box onto the bass to avoid strain on the cable with the dangling box. A bit of velcro to mount it on the pin cables might work out.

Another niggle is that if I touch the case I get noticeable hum. Perhaps the case is not linked to the cable shield? Shouldn’t be a problem when playing though.

But all in all, a great solution to my need for a Piezo buffer amp.