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Pope Flexcore preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JOME77, Aug 1, 2012.


  1. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    Anyone out there installed one of the new Pope Flexcore preamps in a Roscoe?

    I'm considering purchasing the following model and installing it in my LG-3006:

    Mike Pope Flexcore - Core 2stk.2stk
    2-Pickup, 4-Knob*, 1-Switch

    Master Volume/Passive Tone stacked control
    Pickup Blend control
    Treble/Bass stacked control
    Hi Mid/Lo Mid stacked control
    Active/Passive toggle switch


    I'd sure like to hear from anyone that either has one of the Pope preamps in their bass or has at least heard one in a bass.

    I'd like to hear how it compares to the other on-board preamps (Bart, Aguilar, Demeter, East, Audere) in sound and versatility.



    Thanks!
     
  2. stix_clgi

    stix_clgi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Accokeek, MD
    Hi,

    I don't have a Roscoe, but I've used that exact configuration in my US Peavey Cirrus w/ the Peavey VFL pups, and in a cheapo Brice bass with Tesla soapbars. In both cases (especially the Cirrus), the pre added a tonal versatility that previously wasn't there. It's hard for me to say it is transparent, but if you're trying to replace you're current pre, I'm sure that's not what you're looking for;). The frequency centers IMO are perfect, especially in the hi/lo-mids. You can get a really burpy fingerstyle tone or a deep and sizzling slap tone out of it!! I like it especially in my Cirrus because it adds some depth in the lowend that I felt the Cirrus was missing.

    It's hard to compare these aftermarket pre's, as they all offer something different. Personally, the Flexcore is the nicest I've used, I'll take it over the Aguilar, Bart NTMB, Spector TonePump, or BassMods any day! Being able to lower the freqs on ALL FOUR bands really makes it the most versatile system (I haven't used all aftermarket pre's, so this is just my opinion). +1000 for ease of installation, with it being a 95% modular system....everything just connects via connectors or PCB's. Make sure you have 1-1/4" clearance in your cavity though.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    Thanks for the response Stix.
    Good to hear your opinion of the factory chosen center freq points.

    I've pretty much decided to order one and install it. I've heard nothing but good things from players that have installed them in their basses.

    I guess that I'd need 3 sets of stacked knobs and one regular with the configuration that I've selected. Hopefully BBG will have the ones that I need.
     
  4. stix_clgi

    stix_clgi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Accokeek, MD
    You won't regret installing it! I'm actually considering getting a Dave Pushic bass built for me with this preamp paired with the Kent Armstrong pups! The active/passive tone control is the icing on the cake for me....even if I completely boost the hi-mids and treble, I can still tame any harshness with the tone control. Roll it all the way back and you can get a great bridge pup tone!!!!

    I ordered my knobs from Sadowsky as I love the black aluminium knobs. BBG has them too, but they order them from another supply company, and sometimes it takes them over two weeks to get them. BBG carries a pretty nice assortment of different knobs though, they're sure to have what you need.

    Good luck, and prepare to be impressed!
     
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  6. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Petaluma, California 94952
    Haha, I keep running into STIX CLGI in "thread world" when it comes to either a Cirrus or a Flexcore.

    Yes, the Flexcore is very cool. I have one in my Garz Stinger II. Honestly, it took me a while to get used to it. Unlike the Cirrus pre, which is SO self explanatory and reactive, the Pope seemed either more subtle, or my expectations were different.

    Mind you, the Cirrus is a neck through and I have the Flexcore on a bolt on, and I expected the same sound, hence my expectations.

    After I got used to it, I realized that the Pope sounds really good nearly flat. I actually lowered the bass just below the detent, as well as the treble.

    It's funny what Mike Pope says - You hear what seems like an awesome sounding rig in the music store, and then you put it in context later (i.e. a live band) and you disappear.
    I thought the Pope seemed kind of "un-awesome" by itself, but then in a band situation, it CUTS LIKE A KNIFE !! It sits in the mix perfectly. And that's flat ! Boost or cut and you add a whole new dimension.

    Cut the highs and you have classic rock all day long. Boost the highs and you have modern fusion tone.

    Pretty cool and I am still discovering what it can do. I am no beginner, but this pre is not one of those you "get" in five minutes. I am finding that over time it's true personality reveals itself and that is quite a compliment for a preamp.
     
  7. stix_clgi

    stix_clgi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Accokeek, MD
    Hilarious!!!! Honestly, I was looking for threads about the Flexcore and stumbled across the US Cirrus club. It's one of those things, ya know. You get excited about a product and want to see what others think; if your experience is similar or dis-similar to others.

    What you say about the Pope I can confirm, though I won't know for sure until tomorrow (playing at my church family day on the beach!!!) concerning the live band setup. But just the fact that you have two different frequency selections for every band of EQ makes this preamp more versatile than the standard crop of aftermarket pre's. I don't say that lightly, I will recommend the Bart NTMB and Aggie OBP-3 to anyone who asks! I was noodling around some more on my bass last night after slapping on some new Fat Beams.....I'm really digging the tone, I'm going to raise my hi-mid frequency and see what I get though.

    K, I'm going to stop, I think I've just repeated myself three times on TB now lol.....
     
  8. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Petaluma, California 94952
    I agree with you. I had a Bartolini NTMB with Bartolini jazz pups in a Warmoth bass that I reluctantly sold to a fellow TB'er and I would recommend it any day.
     
  9. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    I certainly appreciate the comments. I just got off the phone with BBG and ordered the Pope in the following configuration:

    Mike Pope Flexcore - Core 2stk.2stk
    2-Pickup, 4-Knob*, 1-Switch

    Master Volume/Passive Tone stacked control
    Pickup Blend control
    Treble/Bass stacked control
    Hi Mid/Lo Mid stacked control
    Active/Passive toggle switch
    Mid toggle switch

    Hopefully I won't be disappointed. I know that I can always drop a 3-band Bart or Demeter in there but I just had to see for myself what all the buzz was about. Hopefully it's worth the 30-50% cost increase (over the Demeter and Bart.
     
  10. evilgus

    evilgus Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi Joe,

    Looks like you've already got one happening, which is great!

    I haven't messed with my Roscoe, but I did recently drop a Flexcore into my pre-Gib Tobias Signature and I love it! The bass didn't come with the original TCT pre-amp when I got it, so I've tried a few pre-amps (OBP-3, NTMB) to find the right tone and the Pope really kills! I wasn't completely sure until the other day, when I played it at a birthday jam, but now, no doubts whatsoever! I had at least 3 people say how great my bass tone was, which I guess isn't a surprise for a pre-Gib Tobias, but I had played the bass in public before and no-one had commented... :)

    Yes, I'm also finding the passive tone and dual-mids to be ultra handy, I ended up boosting bass a touch, cutting upper-mids, boosting low-mids a touch, running treble nearly all the way up and passive tone 75% of the way down. Sounds a bit weird to boost treble and then (passive) cut it all again, but it really worked a treat!

    Cheers,

    EG
     
  11. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    Thanks for the reply EG. I'm really looking forward to hearing how it sounds in the Roscoe. The passive feature really opens up a whole new pallet of tones IMO.

    I'll post some before/after sound clips when I get it installed.
     
  12. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Petaluma, California 94952
    The passive tone is very nice on the Pope pre.

    It is the only pre that I'm aware of (there may be other's of course) that when the EQ's are set flat, the active and passive tone are identical, unlike others I've tried that don't sound like that and consequently making the passive tone option obsolete.

    I like the passive tone a lot. I have to turn the volume up in passive to match the active, but the high end of each note especially on the D and G string is so warm and round.
     
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Disclosures:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Preamps don't have a passive tone. You are hearing the pickups without the preamp.
     
  14. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Petaluma, California 94952
    Oh !!! Thanks :p This is why I love TB.
     
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2000
    Location:
    Groom Lake, NV
    Disclosures:
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have them in two basses: Sadowsky Metro UV70 and Lakland 55-94. They're very clean and, as others have said, sound good with everything set "flat." The two-band mid control offers a flexibility most preamps can't provide.

    The tonal palette is much broader than that of the Bartolini NTMB in the Lakland. It's like taking a blanket off the Bart tone, which I found to be muted or foggy. It's just a much cleaner sound.

    While Sadowsky is known for its preamp, the Flex Core increases the versatility of the instrument. It's hard to improve on the Sadowsky sound, but now I can get a lot of tones not previously available on that bass. No regrets here.

    When I had my Roscoe LG3005, I had no complaints about the Bartolini pickups and electronics. They clearly were designed differently than those in the Lakland.

    I have OBP-3 preamps in my Drozd and LeCompte basses, and I wouldn't swap them out for Flex Cores because they work just fine in those basses. It would be hard for me to imagine enough tonal improvement to justify the cost of a swap in those basses.

    I have the East J-Retro preamp in my Joe Osborn 5 and, while it is very versatile with its semi-parametric mid control, it's not quite as clean sounding as the Flex Core. I prefer the Flex Core over the J-Retro, but I'm not going to swap it out.
     
  16. stix_clgi

    stix_clgi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Accokeek, MD
    Hey SGD, question: What is the proper term for the tone control in this case? Is it just "tone control"? I just want to understand better; I assumed that when the preamp is off that was "passive mode," and that any tone functions were considered passive as well. I don't know circuits and all that well enough yet, but Pope calls the tone control a "passive" tone control.

    I know it's different in my Cirrus because the pickups themselves are active, so even with the preamp off there is no true "Passive" mode or sound....either way the Pope kills lol!

    I played my Cirrus out for the first time Saturday at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, VA. The weather was crazy, there was a volleyball tournament going on, and my bass sounded AWESOME! My AI head and Glasstone cab are both very transparent sounding, so what I was hearing was just my bass tone, and boy was it smoking! I boosted the bass a tad, treble was at 80%, lo-mids at 50%, hi-mids at 30%, both pups on....I was so pleased with my tone! I love my Pope even more now lol!
     
  17. steelin4u

    steelin4u Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois (Chicago Suburbs)
    I find it interesting you guys are running these 4-band pres flat. Not that I would expect people to be shifting >6dBs on any of the 4 bands, but it seems like a lot of people like their flexcore in their particular bass application to be flat or near flat.
     
  18. stix_clgi

    stix_clgi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Accokeek, MD
    I can't speak for anyone else, but so far I like my bass boosted to maybe 60%, treble at 80%, Lo mids at 30-50%, and hi mids at 30-70 depending on the venue. Set flat the Pope is very sweet sounding, IMO, you have to hear it. I may do a quick before and after vid with some videos I have of my bass to illustrate
     
  19. thehess

    thehess

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    I think he meant the 'passive tone control is nice'. And it is. It works well against the active eq, or with the bass on passive mode. And to echo other comments, I love the fact that the gain structure is well matched between active and passive, making a switch back and forth (if desired) easy, without volume twiddling.

    Mile is a great guy, and a great player. It's nice to see his sonic vision having so many applications. I can't wait for his 'FlexCore 1870' for upright. :)
     
  20. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Disclosures:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK that makes sense.

    I installed a Flexcore not too long ago. I was very impressed with it.
     
  21. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    I'm looking forward to getting the Pope installed in the Roscoe. I still haven't decided if I'm going to drill another switch hoel to mount the mid switch or just choose my preferred position and leave it in the control cavity. Any users out there have the mid sw. and care to voice an opinion as to it's usefulness?


    Thx
     

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