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EMG 35HZs, ESP LTD F-204, onboard preamp questions.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Magneto, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. I have some questions concerning volume output on my F-204. When I have my pickup blend knob in the center position, the volume output from my bass is about 1/2 the output I get when I have the knob in the full-neck postion. Pretty much the same thing when I rotate it to full-bridge pickup, but of course the bridge p'up isn't gonna be as loud.
    The problem is that I love the blend between the two, but I have to crank my amp to get the volume I'm needing.

    I've owned about 8 basses in my time, some active, some passive, and I cannot ever remember having this issue.

    Any ideas on this? Is this a limitation of my onboard active electronics, or is something weird going on here? Any ideas on an improvement?

  2. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    That sounds kind of odd, and I haven't noticed anything similalr from my F205. How is the onboard EQ set? That blend will produce a somewhat mid heavy signal, if you have the mids rolled off on the onboard EQ it could account for the drop in volume.
  3. glnflwrs


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hesperia, CA
    The 35HZ's are passive pickups and don't have a built in preamp. As far as I know EMG doesn't have an add on preamp for the HZ's. They do have EQ's and tone controls in various arrays. Are you sure you have an active preamp added in?

    I have an ESP Viper 254 with the 35HZ's and the blend and a 3 band active EQ and I have the same thing you describe. Blend centered, output is low. I think it is because the blend uses 1/2 of the signal from each pup when centered. I always blend more neck and set the EQ for low boost, mid boost, and highs at middle.

    If you have the EQ you might check the battery. If it goes low your sound will distort and then just plain quit.

    Check out www.emginc.com
  4. Thanks for the replies and the ideas.

    Yeah, the F204 is active, even though those 35 HZs are actually passive pickups. 9 volt, treb/mid/bass controls.
    I'm always on top of the battery voltage, and she's been like this since I got her in April 04.

    glnflwrs: Since you have the same situation with your Viper with similar electronics, I'm gonna assume that this is normal.

    Tash: Your F205's electronics are almost identical to what I have onboard. Maybe the next time you start playing around with her, you can check it out again.

    I keep reading posts about people adding another 9volt leg to their basses, upping the voltage to 18v. Now I realize that this won't be a cure for my little problem, but I keep reading about "headroom". Well to me that's whether I can wear a cap in a car without it rubbing the headliner. What is headroom, and how would it affect electronics such as mine?

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

  5. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    A bridge pickup will commonly have less output due to less string excursion at the bridge. So it's common to adjust the bridge pickup closer to the strings. Also, the bridge pup will have less bass response for the same reason, so some of the bottom will drop out when the two are blended.

    I had a Spector NS-2000, also with HZ's, and I don't remember the output dropping when the pups were blended. However, the bass response was certainly less with the pups blended than with the neck pup soloed.
  6. It's probably a limitation of my electronics. With both p'ups blended, I get a nice full, warm tone, which is why I wish the output was better without having to go the amp. My bridge pup is extremely close to the bridge and will produce some serious bright end when needed, but I rarely ever run full bridge without some blend.

    Thanks for the input..
  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I'll check this later today and see if I get the same thing, its never really stood out for me, but there could be some other element in my rig masking it.
  8. glnflwrs


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hesperia, CA
    Per Rick at EMG, headroom is the amount of gain available to you distortion free. The 18v increases the signal strength a bit which increases the distortion db threshold. It doesn't apply to passive pups with active EQ's, only the active pups.

    Their active pups are rated at up to 27vdc, but there is no appreciable gain in peformance etc. above 18vdc.

  9. Glenn, thanks for explaining that for me. I was curious as to how this might affect my electronics, but it doesn't sound like it would do anything for me. At least with the pups I'm running. Oh well.. still happy with my sound.

  10. quantum


    Mar 2, 2005
    Hey guys get on it, they're are out of phase,
    flip the hot and ground on one of the pick ups and see what happens.
    let me know how it turns out.
  11. quantum


    Mar 2, 2005
    See Quantum below
  12. Wired out of phase from the factory? Could you elaborate more on this? I'm a novice when it comes to pickup wiring tech stuff. Anyone else have a comment on this?

  13. I thought I would update this with new info, just in case there are other ESP owners having a similar problem.
    I talked to Todd over at ESP guitars, and he told me that the balance pot on the F204 should be a 250k ohm "audio" taper pot. I have a 500k ohm linear taper pot.
    "HI Phil,

    This is Todd here. I got your voicemail and wanted to get back to you - sorry for the delay!
    Just send us your address and we'll mail you the part at no charge.
    The 250K-a works properly and we used to use the 500k stock and had this problem.

    Best Regards,

    ESP Guitar Company
    10903 Vanowen St., Unit A
    North Hollywood, CA 91605
    800 423 8388, x.206
    818 506 1378, fax"

    So.. I guess I'll see how she works after I get the new pot soldered in..

  14. I thought I'd update this with the results. I received and wired the new A250k ohm blend pot in tonight and it cured the output drop problem at center blend. Virtually no output drop at all, and a very smooth transition from neck to center to bridge. No noticeable tone changes either.

    If anyone else with an ESP bass is experiencing this problem, you might want to check to see if you have the older B500k ohm blend pot. If so, contact ESP. They sent mine to me free of charge.