EMG-X's (P&J) in Spector NS-2A..Need Help

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by KewlKeyth, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. KewlKeyth


    Jan 13, 2017
    I've had my Spector NS-2A since 1988 and haven't played in a while. Right out of the case, with a change of battery, it played great. I've always wanted to change the pickups to EMG, but never did. They're passive pickups with an active preamp. I found a set of EMG-X (ivory) on Amazon for $68 NEW. I couldn't pass them up. I want to install them myself, but not sure what to do. Should I solder them to the current preamp (which is active)? I know the pots that came with pups are different from the ones on the preamp. Also, the EMG's came with 3 pots while my bass has 4. Do I need to buy another preamp? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've found some old threads, but couldn't find any that walked through the process. Thanks in advance!
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i'm no help here for you, but i have similar questions/issues, so i'll be interested in any responses you get from those who know! thanks!
  3. Zirilan


    Jan 11, 2016
    The Netherlands
    Same thing here. I've encountered a lot of threads regarding this procedure and it seems like everyone has different experiences. The best thread on the topic (that I could find) is the one below. Although the guy ended up swapping out the korean HAZ for a OBP-2 pre.

    Spector NS2a Pickup Upgrade Need-2-Know

    I have a 88/89 sunburst Ns2a myself and recently encountered a pair of active EMG's from the late eighties. My intention is to swap out the current pickups for the EMG's and keep the K-haz pre. I wont' be able to deliver the project at my technician for at least another ten weeks, but if you haven't figured it out by then I'll post my (his) findings on how to do it. The guy is an absolute brilliant wizard when it comes to guitars and basses so he should be able to get it working.

    If you figure it out in the meantime I would love to hear of your experience.

    Ps: FWIW: Based on this video, my opinion is that ns2a's sound pretty
    awesome even with only active EMG's and no preamp.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
    KewlKeyth likes this.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You can jury rig the quick connector wires to solder them into most other pres, but the BQC is a great 4-knob preamp if you'd like to try something else. You can also do the BTS, but I like the sweepable mid control in the BQC.
    KewlKeyth likes this.
  5. Zirilan


    Jan 11, 2016
    The Netherlands
    It's been nearly four months since this thread was opened but if you didn't find a solution in the meantime, here is what I have:

    Last Saturday my guitar tech. installed the EMG pickups in my Spector NS2a. The only issue that arose was that the pickup slots needed to be filed out a little as the neck pickups didn't fit in right away. The bridge pickup slit right in.

    Sound wise, everything just worked right off the bat. No need to swap out the preamp, pots or anything else. He just replaced the passives with the active EMG's and it worked immediately. I never heard an original Spector NS-2 from the same era 'live' (i.e. with my own ears while I was in the same room as the bass), but judging from various recordings available on the web and on albums I'd claim that if my NS-2A doesn't downright nail 'that tone' now, it certainly comes REALLY effing close to the real thing.

    We tried out the bass with just the EMG's first, and later hooked 'em up to the K-haz. That preamp really makes a lot of difference. The bass sounds cool with just EMG's, but The K-haz adds a lot of warmth and punch, next to providing that glassy undertone that Spector is known for. It just breathes life in to the EMG's.
    REALLY cool, but also a bit sad that an entire tone is depending on just a little preamp (for this statement I am briefly disregarding the fact that 90% of a sound comes from a player and not from the gear itself). I also own a NS-4cr with EMG's and BTC pre and it does sounds absolutely fantastic but still doesn't nail 'that tone.' I've also heard EMG's + tonepump and Aguilar combo's and amazing as they all sound in their own right, they're all close - but no cigar when it comes to that classic Spector®tone

    If you still have the NS-2A and haven't modded it with EMG's yet, I'd vouch for the mod. Keep in mind however that I did use EMG pickups from the same era as the bass (late 80's). I don't know if modern EMG's will respond differently to a K-haz preamp.

    I hope this helps you out! If you have any questions just PM me!
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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