Help! Clueless about Pickup/Preamp combo (an EMG 40 sized Dilema)
Quite a while back, the preamp/electronics my prototype Brian Bromberg sig bass (a proposed redesign of the Dean version from the mid 2000's) completely crapped out and I have been searching for the right preamp and pickup combo with no avail. It had two generic humbuckers (EMG 40 sized) and a preamp with 3 band eq. It actually sounded pretty decent, but the preamp had problems from day one, and the electronics were never meant to be in the final product.
I am looking to get a similar sound to the stock electronics (link posted below) as I like the fullness and clarity of humbuckers, but I also love the crisp and articulate attack of active jazz pickups and the open/airy single coil tone (think active jazz players like Marcus or Bromberg, snappy and crisp, without being harsh).
As far as pickups go, they have to fit the shape of an EMG 40 (4" x 1.5") or be able to fit in an empty soapbar shell of those dimensions. I have heard great things about EMG's X series (I've been eyeing 40JX-CS and especially the 40TWX, due to it's single/dual coil switching), but I have heard some talk about EMG's being somewhat compressed/artificial sounding and having a "burned-in" tone. I've had little experience with EMG's so I'm not really sure. I've also heard good things about Bartolini's Classic Bass series, but I haven't had any experience with that line of pickups either (though I have used other basses with Barts in them). I am completely open to suggestions, as long as it isn't something ridiculously expensive, like Alembic pups.
For a preamp, I am looking to have at least a three-band eq with either selectable mid-frequency or parametric mid being preferable. I know that EMG, Bartolini, and East (though expensive) make great preamps, but once again, I am open to suggestion. I am also curious about the ACG EQ01, since Alembic and Wal (two companies which I am quite fond of) both use a filter-based preamp. I've got plenty of room for knobs and switches, so the more the merrier.
I know I am asking some really subjective questions, but I am hoping just to get a few more ideas/perspectives on the matter, if not a solution.
Here's the bass when it was still working. Be warned, it's a sloppy mess of a cover. It's just one take that I didn't intend to be a performance, just a demo of the tone. Both pickups were on with a little boost at 1.6k in Garage Band to get closer to Geddy's sound (I love Geddy Lee's Wal tone). Other than that, it's straight into the computer.
...and here's the bass.
EMG's are by far my favorite active pickups. They are very clean and the X series has a brighter top end and slightly bigger low end than the regular EMG pickups. There is a little compression going on, but it's really only noticeable when you play heavy, and just barely noticeable at that. Plus I'm told that you can increase their headroom and decrease the compression by using 18v instead of 9 in the pre, although I use 9v in my EMG pres and I'm perfectly happy with it.
Don't know what's in the Dean but I'm sure EMG's are better, unless they're EMG's in disguise ;)
Agree with Jimmy.. Based on what your describing I think you'll be satisfied with emg pups and preamp. They make it fool proof with the plug and play system they have. I think bartolini will take you Ina different direction
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