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Thread: Better Than Baggs Venue?

  1. #1
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Better Than Baggs Venue?

    My beloved Baggs Venue DI bit the dust. The tuner still works - so it is receiving a signal - but there is no signal output. I like the tuner, and also the output choice of 1/4" and XLR. Not to forget the many controls for EQ, the dB boost for leads, and ground switch.

    Any suggestions for an improvement? Or should I stick with what I had, like, and know? ~$300 is my goal range.

    PS: If there is a DI that has pretty much all that plus provides reverb, it would be a front runner.

    PPS: OK, what happened is, a year ago I was playing an outdoor gig when the skies opend and the rain poured down. After everything was secured (OK, mostly everything), I noticed the Baggs was sitting in a puddle. I dried it off as well as I could, let it sit in a bunch of rice for a couple of weeks, and it surprised me by starting right up and working just fine. Two months later the shutdown hit, and it hasn't been used much. Had a pickup gig last week. The tuner part was working, so I didn't think much of it. But when I plugged it into the PA - not so much. A bit of intermittent signal, then nothing. Went direct to finish the gig. At home, plugged it into the amp - no output signal. Maybe there was still some moisture inside that worked its evil magic during all that time of non-use? Puzzling.
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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I have been very pleased with my Tonedexter. It is more involved than a Baggs, but the end product is phenomenal. Once you get the mic images recorded, it is very easy to use and get a very accurate acoustic sound. No reverb.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    You might try cleaning the jack and anything that is a plug. Oxidation will stop the small signal from going thru and seeing it was wet and you are in Florida I would clean all contact places. Don't use anything abrasive, simply a tuner cleaner and wipe down. Physically look if you can to see it is getting clean. I would guess there would be at least one mini plug inside that never gets plugged in and out so that would be highly suspect.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Yeah ... no. Nothing from either output. Have to do that all the time here. Thinking the problem is internal.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I've heard a ton of good stuff about the Fire Eye Red-Eye.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Quote Originally Posted by withfoam View Post
    I've heard a ton of good stuff about the Fire Eye Red-Eye.
    I have one and love it, but it doesn't have rebverb, which the OP wants.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I use both Grace Designs Felix and Alix preamps. I did a ton of research before choosing these after using a Baggs Para DI for years. Here are the main reasons I chose these:

    - Extremely rugged inside and out
    - Runs on AC power and has more headroom
    - Very intuitive and transparent EQ
    - All the impedance settings I would ever need


    I'll refer you to this site which has full reviews of all the major preamps and pickups. It is violin, cello, string bass focused, but the info applies equally to mando IMO. It asks for one time member fee of $15. For me it was well worth it, since they don't take money from the companies that make the products they review.

    https://thepickuptest.com/



    The Grace preamps are what I use 95% of the time for rehearsals and shows. They are not cheap. The Felix is 2 channel and I use it for fiddle and mando, or a mic/piezo blend. The Alix has the same guts in a single channel box and also has a 9v power jack so you can power a few pedals. I also have a Tonedexter and like it. For me, it's better suited for quieter situations, without the loud drummer. It doesn't cut through quite like the Grace preamp. I also came close to buying a Red Eye a few times. I think that would be a good choice if it fits your needs.

    As for reverb, I think the higher end preamps won't have it - assuming you want to choose your favorite reverb pedal and put it in the FX loop. I use the Source Audio Collider for reverb and delay.

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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I have a Boss AD10. Not the audio quality of the Grace preamps, but not terrible. It has tuner, reverb, eq, a boost function etc. It has been reliable.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I'll have to look into those. Thanks. As to reverb, yea or nay, not a deal-breaker. Lived without it for a long time. Though I do like to have everything dialed in so I can hand the sound guy and say, "Here ya go. Just run it dry." I miss that.

    For 20+ years I was using a Yamaha REX 50 multi-effector. I think it had 30 effects with lots of paramerers, and room for 60 pre-sets. I pretty much used two. My go-to was a combination distortion+reverb - a little distortion for "fattening," a little reverb for sustain - following something Tim O'Brien told me. This was a very fluid sound, with which I could do everything from smooth romantic ethereal spaces to twangy country to high lonesome bluegrass to hard-hitting rock and blues. It let me just play and control things with musicianship. I also had a combination of distortion and delay that was a lot of fun for freakier rocked-out stuff. I should see if those are still around anymore. The whole "antique electronics" field gives me the willies. It wasn't a pre-amp per se but it did have a volume knob, and also volume was usually one of the parameters you could pre-set so different effects would be at the same volume. It really was a sweet little unit.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I've used the Venue for many years. A few years ago, the output got wonky after I rammed the unit into my mike stand with my foot. I brought it to a local electronic repair guy, and he was able to fix it and clean it up, and its worked great since. I don't recall what he charged, but it was certainly cheaper than a new one. I'm totally sold on the Venues.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Yeah, I really like mine. I keep losing EQ knobs, but that's my only quibble. I wish we had a real music store here with a tech on staff. I miss the real world sometimes. Not often, but sometimes. I'd like to think there's something simple that could be done to it, but so far it eludes me.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    There must be some place in Miami that could fix it. Perhaps you could ship it? Just a thought. By the way- we were thinking of heading to Key West to get out of winter, but man, that place is pricey. I also thought of Miami Beach but my wife was not interested. we just got our 2nd. shot today and feel like travel is do-able.
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style. Jay Roberts Tiny Moore model 5 string electric.

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Sorry, I spaced on reverb being a requisite. I'm a small pedalboard man, myself. I love my Walrus Audio Fathom Multi-Function Reverb. That alongside my Boss DM-2 (from the 80's) delay, and I'm set.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Reverb isn't requisite, but it would be a big plus. Probably a big price jump, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief View Post
    There must be some place in Miami that could fix it. Perhaps you could ship it? Just a thought. By the way- we were thinking of heading to Key West to get out of winter, but man, that place is pricey. I also thought of Miami Beach but my wife was not interested. we just got our 2nd. shot today and feel like travel is do-able.
    I really don't know Miami. And it'a big, and sprawling, and overrun by some of the worst drivers in the world. And yes, Key West is crazy like that. Why people come here is beyond me. Especially spring breakers, who are about to take over for a month and a half, if they haven't already. And a lot of people are way irresponsible about COVID. You'd think they'd be more hip. I don't get it. That's a big reason I moved out to the country, up the road a ways, to avoid the crowds. Much better.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Here's another option - Fishman ToneDEQ:

    https://www.fishman.com/portfolio/to...q-pro-deq-afx/

    List price $320. Jerry Douglas uses one along with his Aura pedal. It's basically a Fishman Loudbox without the amp. If you ever used a Loudbox and sent it direct to the PA this should sound just like that. I used a Loudbox for a few years like that. IMO it would do the job. It has Compressor and 2 banks of four other FX including reverb, but you only get to choose one on each bank. So no reverb and delay at the same time. Sounds like a good fit for what you are after tho.

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Whoa! That might just do the trick. I don't mind trading tuner for effects as I do have a Boss tuner pedal. Imagine - putting the signal from my Fishman bridge pickup through a Fishman pre-amp. Who'da thunkit? Thanks!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I’ve no knowlege of the Baggs Venue but I do have experience of things packing up for no reason and others have mentioned corrosion on the sockets. My AER amp had been sitting in the car all day and when I plugged it in that evening nothing came out.

    I was on the point of sending it back for repair when the AER agent suggested that I check the headphone socket - something the amp has but I’ve never used. Turns out that the headphone socket is switched - plug in a set of ‘phones and the speaker is turned off. Corrosion in the switch effectively cut off the speaker.

    Little used equipment stored in a slightly damp environment can suffer minor but easily rectified faults and it’s amazing what a quick squirt of switch cleaner can do.

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    I sold my venue for a fire eye red eye. To my ears, it sounds better and I appreciate the simplicity of it. No tuner, but it is a lot smaller, which I also like.

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Iíve no knowlege of the Baggs Venue but I do have experience of things packing up for no reason and others have mentioned corrosion on the sockets. My AER amp had been sitting in the car all day and when I plugged it in that evening nothing came out.

    I was on the point of sending it back for repair when the AER agent suggested that I check the headphone socket - something the amp has but Iíve never used. Turns out that the headphone socket is switched - plug in a set of Ďphones and the speaker is turned off. Corrosion in the switch effectively cut off the speaker.

    Little used equipment stored in a slightly damp environment can suffer minor but easily rectified faults and itís amazing what a quick squirt of switch cleaner can do.
    That is a common problem with amps too. Send jacks that are switched that aren't used. I always recommend plugging/out a jack at least a dozen times periodically.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    The Tonedexter is by far the most natural sounding system I’ve used. Mic like sound without the drawbacks of a mic. No reverb, but since you are recording from a mic to setup your sound maps, it already sounds kind of wet.
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    After reading through all this a few times I got to thinking, and one thing I thought is maybe I didn't dig deep enough on cleaning the jacks. Spray and Q-tip is all good and well, but perhaps this called for more. So I wrapped some industrial-strength paper towel around a mini screwdriver, enough to make a tight contact when inserted, added a few drops of 90% alcohol, and had at it. It worked - to some extent. I'm now getting a signal, though still some crackling. I'll give it a bit more and see what happens. Oddly, not much color on the swab.

    That said, it still doesn't explain why the XLR output gave me fits and then nothing at the gig. And also, being mostly good isn't the same as completely reliable. I can't have it acting up in the middle of a gig again. I'm leaning toward the Fishman ToneDeq. We shall see.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Iíve no knowlege of the Baggs Venue but I do have experience of things packing up for no reason and others have mentioned corrosion on the sockets. My AER amp had been sitting in the car all day and when I plugged it in that evening nothing came out.

    I was on the point of sending it back for repair when the AER agent suggested that I check the headphone socket - something the amp has but Iíve never used. Turns out that the headphone socket is switched - plug in a set of Ďphones and the speaker is turned off. Corrosion in the switch effectively cut off the speaker.

    Little used equipment stored in a slightly damp environment can suffer minor but easily rectified faults and itís amazing what a quick squirt of switch cleaner can do.
    Similar deal with the old Carlsboro Marlin PA heads.
    Fantastic, bombproof workhorses. The FX loop out and in sockets on the rear panel could be prone to oxidisation. Result - no signal! A bit of a clean, and good for another 20 years.

  26. #23

    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    After reading through all this a few times I got to thinking, and one thing I thought is maybe I didn't dig deep enough on cleaning the jacks. Spray and Q-tip is all good and well, but perhaps this called for more. So I wrapped some industrial-strength paper towel around a mini screwdriver, enough to make a tight contact when inserted, added a few drops of 90% alcohol, and had at it. It worked - to some extent. I'm now getting a signal, though still some crackling. I'll give it a bit more and see what happens. Oddly, not much color on the swab.

    That said, it still doesn't explain why the XLR output gave me fits and then nothing at the gig. And also, being mostly good isn't the same as completely reliable. I can't have it acting up in the middle of a gig again. I'm leaning toward the Fishman ToneDeq. We shall see.
    this approach with some Deoxit might be just enough of a more aggressive approach to do the trick.

  27. #24
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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    So, cleaning the jacks a bit more seems to have had a positive effect. I'm getting a good signal and no crackling. I still have some doubts, anyway, which may be unfounded - but there it is. I want reliable equipment. I want to be able to trust my rig. And furthermore, it might just be time to try something different. I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a Fishman ToneDeq. I like the built-in effects. I found a seller with a used one for $100 off list price, plus he's throwing in a power cord (not a standard feature). I am not crazy about buying stuff online without being able to test first, but that's how life is these days, especially for where I live. One of the minuses that come with the pluses.

    Wish me luck!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Better Than Baggs Venue?

    Deoxit works almost mystical changes, trust me. worth the few bucks to get a spray can of it, it cleans and deox everything electrical. I've had the exact thing happen using alcohol that you mentioned , a friend recommended deoxit and one squirt fixed everything immediately. i had spent hours trying to diagnose and clean all the parts, etc.

    there are a few versions of deoxit, i'll try to post what i have if i can out the my shop in a little bit.
    this:
    https://www.stewmac.com/electronics/...h-cleaner.html

    and although many would consider expensive, this handy tool works great, especially on pots/amp knobs, etc. its a high quality machined piece, the knob puller works like a champ, infinitely adjustable, and the pot cleaning cap really lets you put the cleaner where you want it-there's a video there, check it out.
    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tool...aning-set.html
    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tool...aning-set.html

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