I guess I am the only player on talkbass that does not think much of the SBMM line. After owning a Ray35, and being completely un-impressed, it is a wonder I even gave a EBMM bass a shot. What with so many TB'ers raving about the SBMM basses and how they are right up there with the US models.
But I did buy a Sterling 5HS about a year ago, and even though I had already ditched the Ray35, to me, there is no comparison. Particuarly in the sound. The Ray35 was sonicly invisable while the Sterling 5 cuts through in a live band like, you guessed it, a hot knife through butter. Craftmanship? not even. Fit and finish? don't even go there.
If the Ray35 had been the only MM bass I every owned and actually played in a live band situation, the I would have to hold the entire brand name in low esteem.
But instead, I own two US Sterlings (5HS and 5H) and after my 5HS purchase, I sold like seven basses.
I bought both used for like $1200 and $1100. Both were mint. I paid a little over $600 for the Ray35. I will probably keep the Sterlings for years, I kept the Ray35 for like 6 months, and actually had trouble selling it. Also, the US models come with a top quality case, The Ray came with a canvas gig bag.
The Older I Get,
The Less I Knew