What I use on stage
My current live setup includes a FWF pickup (a French version of the Underwood Pickup) and a Neumann KM145 microphone. The Neumann mic is attached to the bass by clamping it to the tail piece and bending the "goose-neck" to the spot to get the sound you are looking for (you have to experiment with the mic placement.)
Whenever possible I travel with my own amp. I use either the Walter Woods or the Elin Amp. I highly recommend these hand-made amps. They both have a great sound, they are small, and not too heavy.
I also have a Lexicon Reverb Unit (Reflex) which I use on stage, especially when I play with the bow.
When touring, I usually ask for for either a Hartke VX-410 or an Ampeg SVT-410 (both cabinets with four 10" speakers, hence the name.)
What I use for recording
A pair of Neumann U89's combined with another microphone, for example a Neumann TLM 67. The Neumann would be placed further from the instrument to capture a nice bass sound when bowing.
Even in a studio situation, I like generally to combine the mic with the pickup sound to get a clear pizzicato sound, especially when playing with drums.
Although each instrument has a quite different personality, after playing them for a while, they will accept you as their "soundmaker". The most important thing about an instrument is the setup. It's even possible to get quite a good sound out of a plywood instrument if the setup is right.
I play a very light Pfretzschner bow.
One final note
A musician has to hear the sound he is looking for before needing to have the best instrument and/or devices. That is the only way to get closer to finding a great sound, and hopefully your own sound as well. I hope my suggestions were of some help.
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