Info on audere/other aftermarket pre's in an Ibanez prestige
I asked another TB'er recently about installing another pre in my prestige as there is not alot of info on this, and this is what i got back. Very good info, specially on a topic that is rarely covered.
- The output jack that comes with the Audere couldn't be used, as it's made to replace a "standard" output jack, not the fancy recessed one SRs have. It wasn't much of a problem, because the original output jack could be reused instead.
- The volume and balance knobs (the black plastic covers) couldn't be removed easily, and he wrecked them in doing so. He replaced them with silvery-black metal knobs that IMO look better. The 4 tiny ones that control the EQ, however, could be reused with minimal fuss (they each have a small screw that holds them into place).
- The electronics cavity initially looks very small, but after removing the original electronics, it turned out that not only can the Audere and its battery perfectly fit inside, there's even enough spare room for a second battery, should I choose to rewire it for 18-volt operation.
- He drilled a tiny hole for the LED between the volume/balance knobs and the EQ section. Unless you know exactly what you're looking for, it's all but invisible on the TKF finish.
Regarding how I adapted to the new sound and controls:
- I never had much love for the old Ibanez PWC-3 system. 3-volt electronics are a nice idea in theory (if only because you can toggle between active and passive without any loss in signal level), but you end up having to replace the batteries every 3 months or so, and it lacks power. Also, the mid-Q pot is far less useful than a fourth band or a mid-sweep (all my good tones were with the mid-Q on its narrowest setting). To top it off, mine was busted -- the treble control was inoperative.
- So of course, switching to a 9-volt system gives the bass a higher output level. And the 4-band EQ rocks (sweepable mids would perhaps be even better, but let's not complain too much ).
- The power LED is the best idea in active bass electronics, ever. When you plug your jack in, it'll flash a couple times to let you know how much juice you have left in the battery (which is pretty crucial, because with the wiring I chose, the Z-switch took the place of the active/passive switch, meaning I don't have a passive mode anymore), and then turn off so your battery won't go to waste powering an ugly LED. I can't stress that enough: it's awesome.
- On that note, a single 9V battery will last 6 months of fairly regular playing -- again, a marked improvement on the PWC-3 with which I felt I was replacing AA's all the bloody time.
- It's dead quiet. No hiss, no crackles, no larsen, no nothing. Credit where due, though, the PWC-3 was pretty good in that regard too.
- The controls are very straightforward. The preamp is very transparent/neutral -- if you don't like the tone of your bass running in passive, the Audere isn't going to change anything to that. If you do, though, you're golden.
- Which means that as usual with Bartolini-equipped Ibanezes, the money is in mid-forward, modern tones. It's stupidly easy to get the "Jaco" or "Gary Willis" tone.
- And that's even more so with the switch set to low-Z -- it gives you an extremely clear, hi-fi, surgical tone that's great for jazz soloing, but which I don't think sounds good through my usual signal chain (I run a Tech21 VT Bass for grit/slight overdrive, and low-Z sounds meh there) in a progressive metal context.
- High-Z is very subtly different from mid-Z (which is my default all-rounder setting) -- you mostly hear it in the high-mids with hard attack. I mostly use it when I'm aiming for a Steve Harris kind of vintage tone, with sizzling highs. I don't slap much, but when I do, high-Z is where it's at too.