mingsta, if you'll search "Tony Franklin" on this forum, you'll find 2 or 3 really good threads that answer your questions in detail.
These are great basses, I've had mine since 2009.
The 'Cliff Notes' replies to your questions are: Not necessarily; No; Great; Better.
I really like the PU selector as it quickly provides three distinct, useful sounds. I've had both setups and like it better than the blend knob but some players prefer the latter.
Check out the other threads and you'll probably end up buying one...