Replace Carvin pre-amp and pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by vinxbass, Apr 9, 2008.


  1. vinxbass

    vinxbass

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    I thinking of replacing the preamp and pu's on this bass. Does anyone know if it can be done and what kind of pu's and preamp will replace the present pu's and preamp? The present sound of this bass is anemic with alot of midrange mush and the low b overdrives my Carvin 4x10/1x18 BX1200 and any other amp. This bass is a beauty but sounds terrible. I wanted to return it but Carvin says no because it's past their 10 day return trial period. I'm desperate for any suggestions. [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  2. mccartjm

    mccartjm

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    The pot holes in a carvin bass are 6mm diameter. This means if you wanted to replace the preamp and the new one had regular size cts pots (aguilar for instance), you would have to enlarge the control holes. But you can fit a bartolini in there with out doing anything other than mounting it, as they come pre wired and the pots are 6mm diameter just like carvins.

    The neck pickup in your bass is the same size as a fender jazz bass bridge pickup, not a neck pickup. So if you bought a replacement for that, get a bridge pickup. As far as the HB2 pickup goes, I do not have any experience with those, so i couldnt tell you. But i will tell you i replaced the preamp in my carvin and it came out allot better sounding in the end. I also put norstrand pickups and basslines in it, but i re-installed the original carvin h50s pickups, because the preamp was the real problem, the pickups are pretty decent, decent enough to keep IMO (although the duncans i put in mine were active and sounded considerably better than the nords and carvins). So, yeah, check out bestbassgear.com and buy one of those bart 3 bands, pick the right config. for your number of holes and it will slide right in.

    Carvin....love their basses....HATE the company.
     
  3. mccartjm

    mccartjm

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    EMG also offers allot of preamp options that would fit your bass no problem. You may want to check them out too, although i would go with the bart.
     
  4. Bass Below

    Bass Below

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    I just replaced the Carvin pickups in my bass with Nordstrands and I was blown away by the improvement. Nordstrand makes Jazz sized as well as MM sized pickups, so there is the possibility of drop-in fit. As far as preamps, I only have experience with a couple of stockl preamps and the Aguilar, I like the Aguilar as much as I could possibly like a preamp (I truly prefer passive). The Nordstrands more than live up to their reputation.
     
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  6. mccartjm

    mccartjm

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    Yeah, aguilars are my favorite preamp by far. But if you put an aguilar in a carvin you will have to reem the pot holes quite a bite (i chipped mine a little). I was suggesting the bart because its a much easier mod as you definately dont want to chip the paint around your mounting holes when your enlarging them... esspecially on a nice looking bass like that. If you do choose to make those holes bigger, DO NOT use an electric drill. At the very least just take the drill bit and turn it by hand in the holes very gently. Or if you have access to a dremel with the proper sanding attachment, thats even better. Or you could just pay a tech to do it for you.
     
  7. vinxbass

    vinxbass

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    If I have this done it will be done by a tech, no doubt. I appreciate all the input. I feel there's hope. I've been bumm'n out pretty hard about this.
     
  8. vacher

    vacher

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    I replaced my pre-amp only with a Bartolini HR5.4.......I believe. That was 8 years ago.......and it made a huge difference. I have a LB-75 KOA .....so I understand loving the quality and beauty of your bass. If that $160 improvement does not do enough for you.........then try the pick-ups! Call me if you like in the evening if you have anymore questions......314-838-2916.....Keith
     
  9. LowBSix

    LowBSix

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    GO WITH THE EMG PREAMP YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!!
     
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties Supporting Member

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    No need for bumming out, stressing out, or burning out on any of this stuff, Vinx. You have a wide array of options before you, with many vendors of both pickups and preamps who have high-quality products that will serve your purposes just fine and dandy...

    Take a deep breath. Relax. Take your time to do some research and make yourself well-informed. You'll come up with the right solution. Your new Carvin bass is going to sound great...

    MM
     
  11. LowBSix

    LowBSix

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    Check your string gauges.... may I suggest GHS Boomers come like this:
    45 G
    65 D
    85 A
    105 E
    130 B
     
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Supporting Member

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    These kinds of posts really sour me on Carvins.
    It's a bummer to spend good money on a new bass, and have it come out sounding crappy and need to mod it from the get-go.

    At least you've got some good options, and I'll bet that when you're done you'll have a nice sounding, good playing instrument.
     
  13. LowBSix

    LowBSix

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    I've always felt the same as you do about Carvin. Some people rave and love them. Kinda like Sushi.... you either love it or can't stand the thought of it. I love Sushi.
     
  14. Bass Viking

    Bass Viking

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    Wow! It's hard to believe that a bass that looks so nice can sound so bad. First of all, how is the unplugged tone? If it sounds good acoustically, you should be able to get a nice amplified tone with the right electronics combination. I sent back a Carvin BB75 because the sound didn't wow me. It certainly didn't sound anemic or mushy and the low B was pretty good, but the unplugged tone wasn't spectacular so I didn't want to get into replacing the electronics. (This is all subjective opinion on the tone)

    Have you tried running the bass passive through an outboard pre-amp? This would give you an idea of the potential of your Carvin and whether it's the pickups or preamp that are at fault. I have a passive bass with Fender Custom shop pickups that I don't like the sound of (again, subjective opinion) but it comes alive when I plug it into my Sadowsky pre-amp.

    As far as pickups, it sounds like you've received some good suggestions!
     
  15. Bass Below

    Bass Below

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    If you have any experience with electronics/soldering, unhook that MM humbucker and wire it straight to the jack, run it through your amp with the EQ set flat. That'll give you a good idea of what you've got to work with without Carvins electronics coloring the sound beyond recognition.

    If that gives you a nice organic tone, at least you'll know you're at a decent starting point, then you can shape your sound by carefully choosing your new components.

    I've had good experiences with Carvin basses, but I know sometimes their attention to the smaller, non-construction type details suffers. I wasn't thrilled with any of their pickups and I've tried most of them. I have one of those MM pickups like you have in a 6 string that I built and I was very disappointed with it. Their preamps probably suffer from the same lack of enthusiasm as many of their other "secondary" components. By that I mean, on board preamps, crossovers, etc. They're probably afterthoughts.
     
  16. LowBSix

    LowBSix

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    I suggest copying all of these responses and sending it in an email to CARVIN to let them know that "the word" is being spread on the internet regarding the LACK of Customer Service! If they have half of a conscience, they'll do something. If not, place a sign on the case/gig bag notifying passers by that they sold you a "LEMON" and you can't make any lemonade because it's a rotten lemon! I've had endorsements with GUILD and TOBIAS and they both took back what they sent and resent a couple of times until I was satisfied!
     
  17. 62bass

    62bass

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    Carvin pickups are actually pretty good. I loved the J99s in my Bolt 4. I'd replace the preamp first. And mess with different strings. And don't run your bass wide open into your amp. And check that the trim pot inside the preamp isn't turned up too high.
     
  18. LowBSix

    LowBSix

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    IMHO - That's nuts, you buy a new bass and have to replace the preamp "out of the box"!!!!?????!!!!!

    See my post above.... send these to CARVIN>>>>>
    OY!
    RG
     
  19. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties Supporting Member

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    The more I consider this, the more I think something must be defective. It's not uncommon for someone to report the Carvin electronics as sounding "bland" or "mediocre". But what you're describing is substandard and unacceptable - and not at all common for Carvin basses, in my experience.

    Of course, I can't hear your bass from a distance, and tone is a pretty subjective thing anyway. But perhaps it would be worth your while to have a competent electronics tech give your instrument a thorough check-up before you take any additional measures - just to see if anything has been installed incorrectly, a malfunction has developed, something has not been adjusted correctly, etc.

    Yes, a very good point. The trim pot could very well be at least part of the problem...

    MM
     
  20. mccartjm

    mccartjm

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    Amen, carvin does suck when it comes to customer service....but for the record they will take your bass back within a 10 day trial period if you dont like it, and i think they will give you store credit if it's past the 10 day trial and the bass is still in new condition. But there's no telling what they will do on any given day...they are really inconsistent. They just sent me a complete POS and i filled out their online registration form and i did not pull any punches. I told them i thought it was thrown together like a chinese production bass(crooked bridge, cracked inlays, neck pocket gaps, neck not screwed down all the way). I had only had it for 6 days. they sent UPS out to pick it up for free and i should get it back within 16weeks or so. so they can be good and bad.
     
  21. vinxbass

    vinxbass

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    I went into their Sacramento, CA store today to pick up my bass, because the person they needed to talk to so that they can possibly refund or give me store credit, is on a Hawaiian vacation and won't be back untill next week. While in the store I tried a couple of their other basses - 6 string Icon w/soapbar pu's and LB75 w/2 j pu's, both basses sounded great. This bass w/it's pu config does not punch, overdrives the speakers, is weak on the G/D string upper registers. I'm just not happy at all with the sound of this instrument. And then I've got the store manager telling me how to EQ the bass. I've been playing bass for 35 frick'n years. I know how to EQ a bass - give me a break. The bass, by it's self, sound ok, but with a band kickn' serious ass it's low and mid range mush.
     

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