Short answer, this combo yields GREAT tone! I really like the ash/rosewood combo and the fralin single coil pickups. Has great bite and personality, and loads of the J-bass burp and growl that my Sadowsky RV5 was missing. The difference is the wood combo and especially the pickups I think. The RV5 was an outstanding bass, and if I was in a power pop band the RV5 would have been perfect, but for my current trip where I really wanted more of a classic J-bass tone, this DJ5 is a better choice. The B string on the sadowsky was better, but the DJ5's B is very good, completely workable. The DJ5 sounds great on its own, but the outboard pre seems to groom the mids in a really nice way (even when flat) in addition to bringing the passive bass up to having a simmilar frequency response as my active basses, and adding some fatness and sparkle. I ran both bass and treble at "9 o'clock" and set the gain to match the level of my MTD (with the pre bypassed). Made for a big, fat, defined, responsive, but still classic-flavored sound. Highly reccomended for J-bass fans looking for a 5'er, and the total cash outlay is under $1100 since I got everything used (thanks Mike Z. and Dave P.!!!). For amps I used an Ampeg/QSC/Eden/Aguilar 6x10 setup @ roughly 900w. Strings are DR high beams. GREAT combo.