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Comparison request: Pope vs. Bart preamps

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Snarf, Aug 10, 2012.


  1. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I have an absolutely fantastic instrument built by Chris Stambaugh that I love. The playability is incredible. However, I have realized that the Pope preamp is absolutely not my sound. To my ears, it is very treble-heavy, and makes my PJ sound like a Music Man.

    I've been wanting to put a passive tone control in there for a while, a la Sadowsky. And while I'm at it, I was considering swapping the Pope for a Bartolini.

    Here's what I'm after: I want less of a Pope-Music Man sound, and get a more even tone, one that sounds more natural without that omnipresent super-high treble sound. I've tried all kinds of pickup pans with all kinds of settings on the preamp, but it ends up sounding too affected by it. I'm hoping some folks can chime in about what I can expect tonally if I switch the Pope for a Bartolini, or any other preamps you can suggest.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Just asking, but are you absolutely sure it's the preamp? I haven't tried the Pope myself but I've yet to hear another account from those who've swapped one in say that it's unnaturally bright. If you were coming from a passive bass, the brightness is natural because of... reasons that I can't actually recall but I'm sure some electronics smart TBer would be able to drop some knowledge :D.

    My Brubaker is sporting a full Bartolini setup, 9J1 pickups and a NTMB preamp. This thing is BRIGHT! Bartolini preamps darken tone a teeny bit in my experience but the 9J1s are definitely on the darker side of jazz pickups and despite that this thing is all kinds of bright. What I'm trying to get at is this: While a Bartolini preamp may tame the highs a bit for you, if you have a bright bass it might not make the difference you're looking for. Even when I throw it into passive it's crazy bright so I'm pretty much positive that it's the bass.

    Outside of a few exceptions, the most direct way of changing your tone is changing your strings or your pickups. Supposedly, the Pope isn't really all that colored so the issues you have with your tone may lie elsewhere.
     
  3. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Well, when I have the pickups centered and the preamp bypassed, the bass is definitely lively and bright. But when I switch on the preamp at flat, it immediately adds this wash of highs and a tone color that I just don't like.

    edit: I've got a few minutes here, let me see if I can put a recording together.
     
  4. GMSweet

    GMSweet

    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Ian,

    I hear a bit of a curve when switching between active and passive mode. On my Stammie though it sounds more like a low pass filter was removed rather than a bright boost. The CBJDs I have are fairly bright and I find taking a bit of 1.8k (the higher hi-mid) setting smoothes things out.

    Which EQ points are you using? I'm running the 10K on the highs which I only us as a low pass filter, switched hi-mids (again typically cut only), low mids at 473 and the deep bass at 40. I find the 1.8K knob to be my most used EQ point enough that I keep thinking that the CBJD pickups may not be for me, but they remain since I can knock down the brightness at will.

    Matt
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    On a four band Pope install that I checked out (bass, high and low mids, treble) rolling of the high mids a bit really fattened up the sound. I have no idea which Pope you have of course.
     
  6. MarTONEbass

    MarTONEbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    Could it be a pickup balance issue? Does your preamp have gain controls for the individual pickups? If so, the J pickup might be turned up more than the P pickup?
    You could also try lowering the bridge pickup or raising the neck pickup.
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The Popes are nice and you do have to understand how they work. You can get very bright with them, depending on the install base. Not necessarily a fault of the preamp IME.
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    Excellent point. I've solved issues with many basses by checking the physical and/or electronic adjustment of the pickups relationship to each other and the rest of the install. Easily one of the most overlooked "fixes" around IMO IME.
     
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I'm with fro-man above - the preamp, when set flat, should add little to no color to the tone. IMO, it would be much cheaper and easier to experiment with pickup height (free), different strings (cheap), or different pickups (not cheap, but arguably easier to install than a preamp).

    Having said that, I have exactly zero experience with a Pope preamp, so take my advice with a pillar of salt...
     
  10. Hotblack

    Hotblack Pay the cost to be the boss. Supporting Member

    May 20, 2002
    Provided content for Genzler Amplification
    I would look at Glockenklang.

    I have the three band installed in a bass with Kent Armstrongs and the sound in definitely very even.
     
  11. jeonnie

    jeonnie

    Aug 19, 2012
    I've heard the Glocks are extremely clear sounding.. I'm looking to replace my electronics in a older Carvin.. Have Delanos and the pots are just shot on the original electronics.. Any suggestions ??
     
  12. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I've just been experimenting with pickup height. VERY interesting differences and tones I'm getting now. Got to experiment more. The tone is definitely improving.

    Edit: I'm dropping them down. Getting much nicer thump with less harshness.
     
  13. Hotblack

    Hotblack Pay the cost to be the boss. Supporting Member

    May 20, 2002
    Provided content for Genzler Amplification
    Someone is selling some Glocks in the classifieds for a steal. If you were thinking about changing the pre it's worth giving them a shot.
     

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