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2 volumes vs. 1 balance and 1 volume

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TriplePowerMax, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. TriplePowerMax


    Jul 2, 2005
    Which type of passive electronics you prefer: with 2 volumes (for each pic up) or 1 balance and 1 volume?
  2. I personally prefer Volume, Volume, Tone for situations when I set my tone and leave it alone.

    However, if I'm trying different pickup positions during a set, I like having the balance, it's just quicker to jump around.

    So, I guess the question is, do you like one solid tone, or screwing around with several?
  3. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    Set the volume once. Tailor the sound with the balance and tone. Both of my jazzes are modified V/B/T. I modded my Fender, and the Levinson Blade comes that way.

    I got tired of mucking around in the middle of a song trying the get the right tone and not be too loud or too quiet.
  4. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    A balance knob will always 'squish' the sound a bit. V-V will give you a more direct signal - if that's any help. I have a lot of basses & always take whatever is there - makes it more fun.
    Good Luck from Las Vegas!!! :bassist:
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Pots will always squish the tone, as well :p

    Balance is more practical if you can - and have to - dial different tones out of the p-ups
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Tom Bowlus gave a very good explanation of the technical difference between these two at our TB bass hang at LDS. I can't remember all the details, but from what I remember, the 'blend' type circuit actually has more circuitry (I think it actually uses three volume pots internally) vs. the two volume pots with the volume/volume circuit. My feeling is it's so subtle a difference that you should just go with the one you like from an ergonomic perspective. I like the volume/blend so that I can turn off my volume on breaks with one knob.

    Tom... can you flesh this out a little?
  7. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    The balance, if I understand correctly, is two attenuating linear pots that are reverse to each other. When you have it at one end, then the volume from one p-up is not attenuated, while the other is. (Sorry can't explain better in English) Turn it, and you get less of the first one, and more of the other.
    Then there is the master volume, which is the third pot.
  8. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Interesting discussion. I made the mod on my jazz from V/V/T to V/B/T and didn't notice any drop in volume. There might be some, but I never heard it or hear it. Coming from a P bass for years, I liked getting back to setting the volume just once. The balance control in terms of the tonal changes, could be interpreted as another tone control because it adjusts the bass>>midrange end, and your tone control effectively adjusts the high end.

    As for tone being squished, I never paid any attention to that. I find that between the bass, my Sadowsky Preamp and the pre-amp on my head, I can find my sound. I haven't noticed any loss.

    Frank...is that something that others have noticed and mentioned in the past?
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Which one?
    Losing tone or volume? That's just the same nuance as the balance, as Mike said. You get more resistance from having more stuff in your chain, compared to wiring the p-up directly to the output ;)
    The balance being two counter-acting volume pots? Why, aren't they so? ;)
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I hate blend knobs!!! I feel like they are always cutting tone. V/V/T - Yea Baby!! :p
  11. Jazzguy

    Jazzguy Banned

    May 3, 2004
  12. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Well, maybe you "feel", or at least think that, but the difference really isn't that much. However, V/B can be much more practical. IMO, of course. And IME ;)
  13. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    vol + blend

    I've had both and prefer the above quite a bit more
  14. I used all my life the V/B/T configuration, but on my new bass I got the V/V/T configuration and I got to tell you it is getting hard to adjust...

    is it hard to make the change from one to the other and, can I leave the same pots?
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I will try! It is my understanding that the blend knob does, as mentioned, incorporate two potentiometers in one housing. It is also my understanding that whenever you pass your signal through a pot, there is a tendancy to bleed off, or lose, some of the highs. I believe the amount of this attenuation varies with the value (rating, not price) of the pot, though I don't know the exact relationship as to what values = more or less high end loss.

    So, in theory, if you employ a volume/blend setup, you are sending your signal through three individual pots, whereas with a volume/volume, you are passing through two. In theory, the bass with the volume/blend configuration has the potential to lose more high end signal than the volume/volume setup. This may not be incredibly audible, and with certain woods, it might even be a desireable trait. But this is the theory as I understand it.

    When I ordered my 25th Anniversary Sadowsky, I asked for the volume/volume setup in part because I figured that the mahogany body would not be as bright sounding as the ash or alder bodies.

    However, I also like the tonal versatility offered by the volume/volume setup. Some of my favorite tones come from cranking both pickups, and then backing off slightly on one (I generally back off on the bridge pickup, but backing off on the neck with the bridge on full provides another interesting option). This preference may also stem from my love of Gibson basses, though, so be warned! ;)

    Yet another interesting option is the use of a volume/pickup selector configuration. You can get pickup selectors that give you the choice of neck only, both in series, both in parallel, or bridge only. The series/parallel option is really cool, and the two sound quite different. My Skjold is set up this way. It is also my understanding that this configuration does not put any additional load on the signal, so I think you are only passing through one pot (the volume), thereby - in theory - preserving the most high end.

    I am no expert on this. Most of what I know on this topic, I learned from Phil Maneri (Uncletoad here on TB and proprietor of the Fifth Avenue Fret Shop) and Pete Skjold.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    It should be easy to change, but you will need to swap one volume pot for a "stacked" blend pot, and then of course rewire the volume and blend pots.

  17. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I agree on the hard to adjust: oops too much bass...oops too much bark...oops too quiet...

    The balance pot is a different value. I can't recall what it is. I had to widen the hole where the second volume put came through on the plate. It looks like a double stacked pot.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I prefer having one master volume control. Maybe a pan pot reduces highs a little more, but I have never noticed it.
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Here's another option that I don't ever see mentioned: Master Volume/"2nd pickup" volume.

    To explain: back when I played Fender P-basses hotrodded to PJ, I wired them with a Master Volume/J volume config. This is because I never wanted the bridge pickup to be louder than the P pickup... I could dial in the J pup to taste. You JacoTone people could try Master Volume/Neck pickup volume. :)

    Naturally, this system will not work for those who use both extremes.
  20. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Now that I have a DJ5 with a VVT setup that I use for a lot of gigging, I do notice that having two volumes gives a bit more range of variation in how much of each pickup is in the mix. That is, it's easier to back off just a little, or just a little more, when the difference between 100% and 0% is the whole range of the pot rather than half of it. Make sense?

    I do definately see the benefits of having a master volume, but more so on an active bass where the gain is generally higher to begin with. On passive basses, at least one of my pickups is generally turned all the way up, and mute the signal at the amp rather than with the volume controls on the bass.


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