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Audere classic vs z-mode - any opinions?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by sleeplessknight, May 11, 2010.

  1. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    So, I have an MTD K5 that I'm dropping some Nordy DC5 series-wired pickups in, and I kinda want to go with a different preamp while I'm at it. I'm looking at Audere because folks seem to like that combo with Nordy's plus this bass, but I'm kinda torn as to whether or not to get the Classic pre or the Z-mode pre. Can anyone who's used one or the other (heck, or even both!) share their experience? Is one "clearly" better than the other?
  2. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have one "Z-mode" Audere pre-amp. I haven't tried the "classic" yet, but I would think you should probably not consider buying it unless any of the following conditions were true:

    1 - You were short on cash, and couldn't afford the additional cost of the "Z-mode" pre-amp;
    2 - Your pickups were active (powered);
    3 - Your pickups didn't have separate (and internally unconnected) "common" and "shield" leads;
    4 - You absolutely don't want the flexibility of choosing which EQ controls (or passive tone cut) you wanted (or didn't want) on your pre-amp; or
    5 - You want your Audere pre-amp to always sound like the "medium Z" mode.

    Condition #3 can usually be solved (especially with Nordstrand pickups) by removing the cover and either (a) installing your own shielding; (b) uncoupling the existing shielding from the single "ground" lead and adding a new lead for the shield connection; or (c) shield the pickup cavity. (Option "c" is a partial solution.) However, most newer Nordstrand pickups come with a grey "shield" lead which has been added by Nordstrand by popular demand, specifically for Audere and other buffered pre-amps.

    Having the Z-mode switch is nice. I usually leave mine set to "high Z" mode, but it's good to have the option to change the tone if I want it. It's really not something that can be simulated by fiddling with the EQ, especially the dark and meaty "low Z" mode. It doesn't work for every situation, but it's nice to have the option.

    Having the tone cut is also nice. Audere implements this really well. I ordered my "3ZB" pre-amp with a tone cut instead of an active treble boost/cut control, since I almost never need to boost the treble, and it works SO SMOOTHLY. It doesn't seem to introduce any resonant peak like any other passive tone control that I've tried. I think that alone made this pre-amp worth it for me.
  3. tubby.twins has given really good reasons to choose an audere preamp.I'll add that the z-mode pre's give you a lot of options to dial a tone to your preference. I love my audere pre, especially the Low z-mode, because it provides a really detailed low end response.
  4. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Thanks guys, I just placed an order for the Z-mode yesterday, I can't wait to hear what it sounds like in my MTD!

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