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EMG DC vs Bartolini Mk-1

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Blankmann44, Sep 22, 2008.


  1. Blankmann44

    Blankmann44

    Sep 23, 2007
    Hey all,

    Got some Bartolini Mk-1's in my Lakland 55-01 but I'm thinking about changing them to EMG DCs. Does anyone have any experience with both of these pickups? Will the replacement go smoothly? Are the EMG DCs higher quality pickups than the Bartolini Mk-1's?

    Sound differences/opinions/feedback desired..

    Thanks!
     
  2. The EMG DC's are dual coil and the Bartolini MK-1's are split coil, I do believe. The EMG's are better quality pickups IMO than the MK-1's. The Bartolini MK-1's are not the standard USA Bartolini's that you would find in MTD's, Tobiases, Roscoes, etc. They are Korean made and are standard in Lakland 44-01/55-01 and in some Ibanez SR series basses, as well as some Cort and Ocean basses also.

    The EMG's are very aggressive and hot pickups. I have a set of EMG 40J's, which are their single coil soap bars, and love them. I find them quite versatile when paired with a good active preamp. I think you would be happier with the EMG's rather than keeping the MK-1's in there. the MK-1's are good for what they are but the EMG DC series pickups are more than that.
     
  3. EMG's are more "hi-fi electric"... Barts are smoother and more 'earthy'...In my experience with the Mk-1s, they are a little more aggressive than the USA Barts... when i think EMG, i just think Victor Wooten tone...
     
  4. Anthbass

    Anthbass

    Jul 24, 2006
    Canada
    What are your expectations for the new pickups? I tend to be of the school that thinks far too often a pickup swap is done in haste, without examining other options. Assuming you are familiar (and competent) with EQ'ing both your bass and amplifier, have you looked into replacing the preamp? I have a bass that came equipped with the MK-1 electronics package and a preamp swap took care of my tonal goals. Perhaps if you can explain what you are looking for from the bass in terms of sound, more folks can chime in. Good luck.
     
  5. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    I had a 44-01 with the MK-1s and a Spector with EMG DCs.

    Don't think Victor Wooten when thinking EMG DCs. To me, his tone is very different than what you can expect from DCs, especially out of a Lakland. It might get closer if you were to use their P and J voiced pups, but honestly I don't think it would be that close.

    Also, they aren't a drop in replacement for MK-1s (as far as I know) so you're going to have to go through a whole lot of trouble to put a pickup in that's (IMO) not going to make a huge improvement in the sound. The MK-1s don't get a whole lot of love, but they're not that bad...definitely not so much worse than DCs to warrant routing out the pup cavities to cram them in there.

    If you really don't like the MK-1s, first figure out exactly why you don't like them, ie. they're too aggressive, not aggressive enough, sound harsh, to bright sounding, not bright enough, etc...and go from there in picking a replacement that will hopefully address exactly what you find lacking.
     
  6. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    I don't know if its the Mk1 pickups or the Mk1 preamp, but almost every bass I have played with the Mk1 system in it has a harsh, artificially bright treble to them. Like the pickups aren't that bright so they add a tone of high end in the preamp or something. It's turned me off from buying some basses I would probably look at more closely with a different set of electronics.

    EMGs are nice, but its a matter of are they your taste or not. EMGs sound amazing in some basses, while sterile and lifeless in others. I have EMGs in my Spector and I love them, but I have played other basses with EMGs and I didn't like them at all. As a rule, EMGs offer a very modern, edgy tone. Works great for slap, or modern, aggressive styles of rock or fusion. If thats your thing, you might like them.

    But, I would strongly consider changing the preamp first, it might make all the difference. The Aguilar OBP-3, Audere 3ZB, or Bartolini NTMB are all very nice preamps with tons of flexibility. In fact, not that you need more options, but a very popular thing to do with the 55-01's on TB is to change the pre to one of the models I mentioned earlier and change the pickups to Nordstrand Fat Stacks. The Nordies aren't direct drop-ins, but I think they will go in with a minimum amount of modification to your Lakland. I think that is what I would do if I were in your shoes.
     
  7. I had a set of Big Singles in my 55-01 and there was no routing needed at all. They are a perfect fit, as are the Fat Stacks and the Big Splits.
     
  8. wyleeboxer

    wyleeboxer Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    I had a 55-01 that I simply took the preamp out of and threw in some CTS pots and went passive. It opened the bass tone up considerably... just had more air and balls about the MK-1's after the change.
    I also swaped out some Ibanez pups in an older SR496 bass with the EMG DC and pre... yes it had more output, but I was not all that impressed. My thoughts are unless something is total screwed with your tone (maybe with the 5501 pre for ex.) then just really work and fine tune your tone with your amp EQ. and work with what have.
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The 40J and the DC are two very different animals. I originally used 40P5's and 40J's in my basses, and really liked the tone. I tried the DC's back when they first came out and never found a good use for them, except in the MM "sweet spot" which is what they were meant for. The DC is supposed to be a Music Man copy, so it has that edgy tone.
     
  10. I did a switch on my ibby sr505. MK1 pups and pre to emg 40dc, emg 40cs, emg btc and emg vmc. MK1 pups are not so bad (these are P type p/ups actually), mk1 pre adds lot of highs.

    I do like emg pups, they are very fine... but they have lot of growl with any EQ setup.

    Actually after a switch bass became more growly and aggressive, and have less sizzle (but again over the top)

    ps: EMGs has different size, so additional routing is a must.
     
  11. Blankmann44

    Blankmann44

    Sep 23, 2007
    Thanks for all the responses so far, very good information to consider from them.

    I want a pickup that is versatile. I don't feel like I can dial in that many workable tones with the MK-1s. The sound I'm going for is primarily a hi-fi sound. I'm not looking for tons of growl, but more definition and some better sounding slap tone would be nice. I play a lot with a pick for a phishy kind of tone, so I really enjoy a good snappy attack, sometimes a little plunky maybe.

    I like playing finger style and slap frequently as well. My MK-1's just seem to sound the same no matter how I turn the knobs. The MK-1's are just.. kind of dull.

    Thanks again for the responses. I hadn't suspected that the pre-amp may be contributing more to my overall tonal issues, I thought it was more the pickups. Things to consider..
     
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Another question:

    Is this bass fretted or fretless?

    I've had nothing but excellent fretless sound from my barts, with no desire to change them at all.
    YMMV
     
  13. Blankmann44

    Blankmann44

    Sep 23, 2007
    Its fretted, I don't hate my tone or anything, but it just seems like its not as lively as it could be. I want to 'unlock' it.
     
  14. wyleeboxer

    wyleeboxer Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    Really try a different pre amp that has a passive/active bypass, (I know the bass has this option already but you cant use the tone control in passive) I think you'll find the pups tone really will open up in passive mode...
     
  15. changing the preamp will make a huge difference....but yeah, I wanna change my Mk-1's to the MK5's too...
     
  16. Blankmann44

    Blankmann44

    Sep 23, 2007
    Cool thanks guys. I'm going to probably do what most of you are suggesting and replace the MK-1 preamp and see how that improves my tone. Now to decide which preamp..:help:
     

  17. AGUILAR OBP-3
     
  18. +1

    Or maybe a Bartolini NTMB 3 band. Either one should blow that MK-1 out of the water, especially at 18 volts.
     
  19. 1954bassman

    1954bassman

    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    I have a 55-01 with MK1's and the NTMB preamp. To my ears, there is just too much sizzle, and the bass control sounds artifical. Ash body with a maple top.

    I also have a 55-02 fretles that kicks butt. Completely stock and sounds way way better than the 5501.

    Then I have a G&L L5500, with factory EMGs (DC40's I think) that easily smokes either Lakland, tone wise.

    Quote:

    "I want a pickup that is versatile. I don't feel like I can dial in that many workable tones with the MK-1s. The sound I'm going for is primarily a hi-fi sound. I'm not looking for tons of growl, but more definition and some better sounding slap tone would be nice. I play a lot with a pick for a phishy kind of tone, so I really enjoy a good snappy attack, sometimes a little plunky maybe.

    I like playing finger style and slap frequently as well."


    EMGs will deliver on this.

    Quote:

    "But, I would strongly consider changing the preamp first, it might make all the difference. The Aguilar OBP-3, Audere 3ZB, or Bartolini NTMB are all very nice preamps with tons of flexibility. In fact, not that you need more options, but a very popular thing to do with the 55-01's on TB is to change the pre to one of the models I mentioned earlier and change the pickups to Nordstrand Fat Stacks."

    I would love to spend all that money on my 55-01, but really, does all that make sense? Only if you really like everything else about the bass.
     
  20. risenavicus

    risenavicus

    Dec 9, 2009
    seoul,korea
    i have a cort A5 bass with mk1 pups ang mk 1 preamp..but i just recently changed them to mk5 bartolini anf aguilar opb 3 onboard preamp.the reason i changed them is that mk 1 doesnt really do the job.certain something is missing in that particular system.they lack punch..but mk5 and aguilar opb 3 really do the best that it can be for my bass..i know some people will agree.changing preamp is a good thing too..but you might as well change the mk1 to mk5..then you will know what you are missing.:D
     

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