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Carvin LB75 upgrade... pickups or preamp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by adouglas, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Buy the OBP3 and keep the Carvin pups for now

    1 vote(s)
  2. Buy new pups (barts?) and keep the Carvan pre

    2 vote(s)
  3. Bite the bullet, save the pennies and do both at once, later

    4 vote(s)
  4. Quit GASing and shut up

    0 vote(s)
  1. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    I have a Carvin LB75, mid-90s, (three-band EQ w/volume and blend but before they included the push-pull active/passive switch), H50 J-style humbuckers.

    Thinking about upgrading with replacement pups (barts?) and an Aguilar OBP-3, but at the moment I have the money for one or the other, but not both.

    So, which way should I go?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Pups are much more infuential as far as sound goes because they shape the raw signals from your strings, hardware, woods, and technique before they get to to rhe preamp.

    The preamp just processes that raw input further before it goes to the amplifier/preamp/effects.

    For instance, if the signals from the pups sound like crap, the end result coming out of the speakers will sound like crap.
  3. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I've done pickup swaps in two of my Carvins and been very happy with the results.

    The current Carvin active/passive electronics aren't bad, although they don't hold a candle to a J-Retro or Wal bass's preamp. Feed the Carvin preamp a good signal and it will do just fine.
  4. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    But that's my point. It's NOT a current Carvin preamp.

    It's post- 2 band EQ (mine has five knobs, not four), but pre- active/passive (there's no push-pull pot). Which makes it what, 8-10 years old?

    I can get a pretty good sound out of it, but I find I tend to use some pretty extreme settings (like killing the mids entirely, even though I don't slap).

    I also have a BB75FP with the newer electronics (and the MM style bridge pickup, plus the piezo) and I like the sound of that a lot more. I don't know how much of that is the MM-style pickup and how much is the pre, though.

    Perhaps some pertinent related questions are in order, such as when did Carvin change the preamp in its basses? Are all the five-knob preamps the same, or are the newer ones different?
  5. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    I just visited carvinbassmuseum.com and did a little digging. Based on the hardware my bass has and a few other things, I've got a 96 or 97 LB75A Anniversary model. Which means it's got the 500B electronics. In 98 they introduced the 501B electronics with the active/passive switch.

    So my preamp isn't the current model....
  6. If I were you, I'd still think about trying a PU swap first. A preamp can only work with what it's given. And you said you have to choose one or the other. If you try new PUs now, that doesn't mean you can't try a new pre later.

    Re PUs, Barts are cool but are not necessarily the only game in town. I've heard Bill Lawrence J-45s in one of chucko58's Carvins, and they're quite nice (but take weeks or months to get as a rule). You could also think about SDs, Aeros, or Dimarzio UltraJazz. And those Villex PUs sound kind of intriguing--though they're strictly passive. There's a not very informative website at www.villex.com, and there's currently a thread on them in the PU forum.

    EDIT: Seems I was wrong about the Villexes being "strictly passive." The standard setup is passive, but apparently they can be used with onboard preamps as well.
  7. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I installed the 501B in my 95 maple bodied LB75.
    I have the H50N pickups.I know that they changed the mid voicing on this pre and it seems to be more useable. After playing this bass passive I rarely ever use it active it just sounds way mor organic than with the pre. Have you experimented with different string brands? I was using the carvin/labella nickel rounds, but have switched to Labella Hard Rocking steels which I like.

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