I'd been gassing for an 8 or 12 string bass ever since playing a custom 12 string made by Konig Bassworx in Canberra a few years ago. Unfortunately to get one made was in the $6000 +++ category so, like many people, I searched around for a cheaper alternative.
I found it difficult to find definite bridge specs on many of the affordable options out there, particularly the few that were available in Australia or NZ. My main criteria was individually adjustable saddles for intonation, which this model does have.
When I found this one in Christchurch NZ I liked the way it played and particularly the way it sounded. I thought I wouldn't like the painted neck but as it turns out I don't even notice it. Possibly due to the satin finish. With a small discount I ended up paying $900 (NZd.... around $575 USD) and figured that if I had to spend some money getting it sorted it would still be a good buy.
I can do basic set-ups and proceeded to adjust the neck relief, action height and intonation. I first found that the bridge was as low as it would go so proceeded to put in a neck shim. This helped but I soon realised that I couldn't get the action nearly as low as I would like without rattle and buzzing and assumed that there were some high frets causing issues. Also, the nut slots were not low enough making it hard to fret easily on the first three frets... this also caused those notes to be a bit sharp. The nut itself was an embarrassment to the manufacturer. I wish I'd taken a before and after photo as it was a ridiculously tall thing with a sharp edge to it.
As i'm not confident enough to play with nut slots and frets (and don't have the tools) I booked it in with a local luthier for some work. It was around 10 weeks before I could get the work done and I was starting to get some aching from playing it and was almost at the point of thinking maybe it wasn't for me.
The luthier took a look at it and stated that on the whole it was a decent bass but the factory hadn't put in the last few hours to make it a good bass.
He filed down the nut slots and the nut itself, leveled a few frets and put in a bigger shim. He also put a flat shim under the tailpiece as the strings were touching the back of the bridge with too much break angle. He also replaced the faux mother of pearl side dots with plain white as it was very difficult to see them under stage lighting.
The results were outstanding. It now plays almost as easily as my four string basses and there is only a little rattle when I start to really dig in which can't be heard through an amp. I paid just over $400 for the work so I have a total of $1300 invested in it (around $800 USD). For that money it is a great bass with a very unique sound.
I have found that the best sound is to run it through an ABY pedal into both a bass amp and a guitar amp. I leave the bass amp set for my four string basses and on the guitar amp I turn down the bass completely, add a little reverb and dirt and this helps the high end shimmer cut through. It's amazing how little volume is needed on the guitar amp to add that high-end that the bass amp can't do. It also allows that little bit of guitar dirt sound without having any dirt muddying up the bottom end.
Overall I am absolutely stoked with how this has turned out and get to use it more than I would have hoped.