Bartolini Mk1 preamp and pickups - what impact does this preamp have on the tone!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Apr 9, 2014.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    What impact does the Mk1 preamp have on the tone of the pickups?
  2. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Alabama
    IMO a negative one. I purchased a used 5501 that the seller had removed the MK1 pre and went passive. He gave me the pre with bass. The MK1 pickups actually sound decent passive just a little low output. I installed the MK1 pre to test and it was not to my liking at all. Maybe it was just a bad copy but it really robbed the pickups of their fairly well rounded tone and made them very brittle high end-edgy-ugly. I installed an Audere 4 band pre and I found it to be a very good pairing with the MK1 pickups. Basically I was hearing the pickups again but with a dead quiet and transparent pre in front. I'm was thinking of changing the pups at some point but the 5501 is currently my backup fiver so I'm not sure if I ever will. It's completely serviceable as is. Others have commented on liking the MK1/MK1 setup so as with most things it's in the ear of the beholder.
  3. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah VERY enthusiastic walks... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I hear good things about the pickups and bad things about the preamp. One thing to try is swapping the bridge and neck pickups, I hear they were purposely swapped by Ibanez to give it a more aggressive tone, some people have stated better results with the pickups swapped.

    I had an SR600 and returned it because I found the tone bad on it. Feel was awesome, but it was too much to pay for a bass that needed that much work done to it.
  4. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    If you absolutely must keep the MK-1 pickups, I would say that an Aguilar or Bartolini (NTMB or NTB) would complement these pickups really well. Therefore, I agree with 'tkonbass' that the MK-1 preamp probably negatively affects the pickups' tone.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2000
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Disclosures:
    Lakland Basses Artist
    I have never had any issues with the MK1 system in my Lakland -01 basses. There isn't as much room for 'sculpting' the tone with the preamp, but I have never been a heavy-handed preamp user. I like the sound of the bass flat and use small tweaks here and there. I've recorded a LOT with my 44 and 55-01 basses stock and everyone has loved the tone on record and live.

    I recently recorded a solo piece of mine just using my 55-01 direct in. I like the 'direct' and stock tone. YMMV.

    Bryan White - Transference

    That said, I would like a little more control over the mids and perhaps a little less sheen on the top-end. A different preamp will definitely do that. A lot of folks have paired even the stock MK1 pickups with the Lakland LH-3 system and have been happy.
  7. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Alabama
    As I said the MK1 pre that I received with the bass may have just been a bad unit with quality or abuse issues that were causing the ugliness. This is the only Lakland I've ever laid my hands on so my opinion is based solely on this one bass, Admittedly not a wide sampling. ;)

    Anyway, the Audere 4 band with stacked hi/lo mids certainly gives me all the control I was looking for in that area. It also eliminated the nastiness I was hearing in the highs. I use my tone controls similar to how you describe, no wild eq'ing and it is a very pleasing setup to my ears.

    But as always ymmvapw. :D

  8. srvlives4evr

    srvlives4evr Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    IME the preamp colors the tone by giving a somewhat compressed, clear, dare I say 'artificial' character. Also, I found the eq boost and cutting capabilities weren't very useful...yes it cut or boosted frequencies, which was noticable, but it wasn't musical to me and didn't help in achieving a desired tone. Biggest issue was with the treble, very hissy and really gave off that artificial tone I mentioned. BUT when I tossed the preamp, the pickups alone sounded great, fuller, more natural.
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm honestly on the fence about this bass. I got it used for a steal ($400) and like the way it plays, but am hesitant to put any money into it trying to make it sound better. I could sell it and buy a used G&L M2000 for the same money and maybe like that one better as is, given that I already know the pickups are good and apparently the preamp is a good one as well.
  10. Sahe_Bassist

    Sahe_Bassist

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida, USA
    +1, ibanez btb with the mk1 pups and pre. i thought the pre was very sterile, and just "fake" sounding. i ripped that thing out, rewired with nice full size pots to VVT setup and its much much nicer.:cool:

    ymmv
  11. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    So, the pups are fine but the preamp colors them in bad ways, right? Worth putting a different preamp in with the stock pups?
  12. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2000
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Disclosures:
    Lakland Basses Artist
    The same question keeps getting asked, and it can only be answered in one way; 'What do your ears tell you?' Decide after you play and listen for yourself. Again, stock MK1 setup can work if you like what you hear. In a mix, I found it to be punchy and present. It's not perfectly 'sculpted' and 'modern'. That tends to work better in a mix... but as we have already said - YMMV.
  13. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The pickups are "fine" to you if you yourself like those pickups. If I'm not mistaken, Bartolini MK-1 pickups are P pickups in a soapbar housing.
  14. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    The pre is the weak link. The pickups are great. I upgraded the pre to a US Bartolini 5.2AP and the bass sounds great. I tried other pickups as well and ended up putting the MK-1's back in.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    P's in the sense they are split coil pickups. Not necessarily P pickups. A standard P pickup wouldn't fit in the housing.
  16. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Yes. You are right. These MK-1's are set up (internally) just like the Seymour Duncan Basslines ASB split-coils.

Share This Page