Active Bass tone change

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by static28, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    Hi guys,
    I've been trying to find some sort of answer by searching the forum, but havent found anything that really gets syncs up with my situation.
    I have a Schecter diamond series stiletto with 2 active emgs and an active 3 band eq.

    The other day i recorded it direct and noticed a tone change from what was recorded before it.

    The bass is now flubby, a bit distorted when picked hard and lacks...compression? That's the best way i can describe it. It was this super middy, grindy thing that i had to add low end to in the mix to get it to fatten up, now it's this bloated lumpy thing.

    Everything was set the same when i recorded it, same eq settings (flat) same pickup blend (50/50), same cable, same pick, same picking position.

    I replaced the strings, changed the batteries,tried a different cable, tugged on all the wires inside while playing looking for a short or intermittence.
    Nothing worked.

    is the preamp in this thing just failing? i record direct so there doesn't seem to be much else to check at this point.

    thanks in advance.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I'm going to blame it on something else, maybe the speaker, have you tried another bass, or another speaker cabinet?
  3. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    It is direct into my audio interface. I tried another input but no change. The gain and channel are the same.
  4. How long before was the first recording? Could you have changed the type, or brand of strings in that time?
  5. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    No sir. Same brand of strings right out of the package each time. It kinda sounds like what people say when they have low batteries, but mine are fresh. If i hit a note louder than the others it distorts a bit, and the softer notes are kind of lumpy compared to the other di which has a tight low end and there is some nice grind but no distortion.
  6. I suppose it could be your preamp. Or even a pickup. Maybe you just got a bad battery new out of the package? That’s a cheap thing to check. I’ve had that happen before.
  7. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    i just popped some new energizers in, same deal. Do these pickups just go bad sometimes? i dont gig or anything, it's just sitting here in my apt. my next thought was that i could maybe hard wire the pickups to the output jack since i dont use a single control on this bass for any reason, it would really suck if it didn't work though since the company soldered everything instead of using the solderless plugs emg gives out.
  8. There are a lot of those for sale used, where people have gotten rid of the active electronics. Maybe that is the reason. I have a passive Schecter Ultra with original EMGhz pickups, that has the same kind of problem, intermittently.
  9. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    Your passives change tone and dynamics intermittently?
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Pickups don't change over time, there is nothing short of disassembling them that could change the way they work. What you're describing sounds like an electronic issue. Could it be your AI? Are you sure the settings are the same? Same gain?
  11. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Based on the steps taken thus far, it sounds like something in the cavity is going bad.

    I had a 1994 Honda Prelude whose environment control box was occasionally known to have a very specific electrical issue: cold solder joints at a couple of power connector posts (I guess an issue with the programming of the machine that did that soldering work), so the joints got weak after years of driving over bumps and eventually detached.

    Not saying that's exactly the issue or anything, but just an example of how random and odd and unlikely some electrical problems can be, esp in a physically variable world. (another problematic culprit is moisture, which the human body generates as do so many regional environments, and which can cause short circuits. Some wires' plastic sleeves are really thin, too...)

    But were I to speculate, getting distortion when picking aggressively if that wasn't happening before... that sounds like power might not be getting where it needs to go, due to either a bad connection somewhere (cold solder joint??) or a failing component... though most blown components would just make the preamp not function at all.

    Still, while tugging wires gives a good if rough idea of connections, if you get a basic electrical multi tool, you can check the resistance on either side of a wire connection. And in theory, with some gator clip cables and careful placement, you could jumper the pickups straight to the output jack if you wanted to try bypassing everything completely.
  12. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    I suppose i could get emg's solderless wiring kit and just plug it in, bypassing the knobs and eq, im assuming they didn't solder the actual pickups on the little prongs that come off of them.
    Im not sure about the alligator clips idea, ill check it out today to see if there is a workaround.
    Im here in FL so moisture is def a possibility.
    Yea, everything is the same including gain and channel, and its not in my head as i have the recordings side by side and one is definitely different from the other.
  13. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    It must be a failing component, i remember plugging it in and getting no sound and then having the volume slowly rise even with fresh batteries. There doesn't seem to be a good way to bypass what all they have going in in there without tearing it all apart, so i'm going to order a wiring kit. At least that way I'm eliminating everything but the pickups themselves.
  14. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I would guess the electronics of the onboard pre-amp is defective now somehow. The pickups are just wires wrapped around magnets. You could try changing those, but I am betting the pre-amp is the issue.
  15. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Yeah, its just "wonky" now right? Its most likely the settings on your interface. What kind of computer do you have? I'm thinking that your computer might not be keeping up with your interface at the moment. My laptop is about 14 years old. Still works fine, but now and then I get wierd defects when recording. A good restart, or tweak of the lag settings on my box, and things work out.

    Another option is your input jack. Try messing with the cable as your playing. Pushing it in further, moving and half bending the plug around (not drastically, Its just a test).

    You could also try playing througj an amp. If that's fine, you X out the bass part of the problem. You then could try running from the DI out on the amp instead to record.
  16. IBJammin


    Apr 16, 2015
    Is the volume on your bass the same both times? And the gain/input level on the device you are connecting to? Sometimes when recording an active bass you need the volume real low. Is there a "input pad" toggle to account for active bass?
    Is this happening outside of this recording environment, like with a regular amp?
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You haven't discussed your recording setup other than telling us you go direct. You could have made any of a million changes in your recording setup.
  18. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    What @JeezyMcNuggles said.
    Think about it wholistically. A bass would not want to let you down. It goes against their order. Could be your Computer, could be something as simple as a reboot. Scripts are funny that way. The bass wants to please you.
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    battery gone flat?
    -That's when active basses start to sound good. ;)
  20. static28


    Jun 18, 2020
    Everything is the same. I disabled all the stuff on the channel, and compared the raw di's.
    Nothing is clipping.
    The fundamental tone of the bass has changed as well as the dynamics.
    I ordered the wiring harness, hopefully that will solve this since literally every component but the pickups is being replaced. It will also remove the eq from the equation so the tone will be a little more pure.
    Im just going to wire both pickups to a master volume and then to the jack.