Feel like I'm fighting with my MM Stingray 3 band EQ

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ronlitz, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I have a 4H MM Stingray with 3 band EQ. I love the construction of the bass - so nice - tuners and bridge are great, love the truss rod adjustment, 6-bolt neck joint is stable, oiled neck feels great, compensated nut, great fretwork, etc. My problem is that it seems like the preamp is coloring the sound in a way that is the opposite of what I want. I want a subdued treble, and punchy low-mids. With the EQ at the center detents, it has a very bright treble and lack of mids - so I end up using outboard EQ to roll off some treble and boost low mids. I don't use the onboard mid EQ because it sounds too harsh - 500Hz is higher than where I want the boost. Can anyone recommend a replacement preamp that isn't so bright and scooped? What is the Nordstrand MM 2 band EQ like? Thanks for any help!
  2. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    the problem with the 3 band it has a high pass filter at the front then it adds bass at another stage. the 2 band doesn't have that. you can swap it out for a 2 band or get a more transparent 3 band without a high pass filter like the Bartolini NTMB
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny...

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    From what I hear, the Nordy and a lot of the other 2B clones are really like the true Musicman 2 band preamp.
    I currently have the stock 2B EBMM pre in my US SUB, as well as the 3B in my SR5.

    I feel what you're saying 100%. I pretty much cut my highs out on the 3B, boost the bass, and tailor the mids as needed, leaving it in the middle position 90% of the time.
    As for the 2B, I do find it more classic and mellow sounding than the 3B... but there are times when I want the treble lower and a boost only preamp doesn't really do the trick.

    That said, I've contemplated doing the 2B preamp, but adding a passive tone control. Effectively, that would have all of the great, classic vibe of the 2B, but have the ability to mellow the harsh highs. And it wouldn't leave a gaping hole in the bass somewhere.
    If that was the planned mod, it sounds like Nordy, East, pretty much anyone who makes a good preamp and makes a 2B clone is a good option to go with.
    East also makes their 3 band series, which uses the 2 band bass and treble frequencies from the old Rays, but adds a mid control. And I've only had wonderful experiences with the East products, I don't doubt this would be equally amazing.

    But I have a feeling that some people here will probably just suggest switching to flatwounds and shooting for the "Paul Denman" vibe.
  4. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    This is a great thread. I haven't bonded with my sr5 in 8 years . maybe 86ing the 3 band is the way to go
    BassBuzzRS likes this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have thought for years that the thing that would put that 3 band EQ over the top into amazing would be a mid frequency sweep.
    Petebass and rojo412 like this.
  6. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    I love the 2 band on my cheap sub4. I can dial in pretty much any tone with those 2 knobs. I'd love an extra route in my guitar to add a tone to it as @rojo412 mentioned.
    rojo412 likes this.
  7. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    It's interesting. I have the discontinued import version of the Sterling 4H, the SB 14. I've always had the impression it also has a HPF in the preamp, which has been about the only minor quibble I have with it: notes below A seem to have less fundamental coming thru.

    The SB 14 has the integrated three way switching, so it's not so easy to change the preamp and maintain all the stock functionality. I have no complaints about the mids though. It has tons in series and plenty in single coil. Parallel is the setting to use when I want that zingy tone with less mids, and I use the mid control to cut some higher mids, not boost them.

    All that said, I am tempted to see if I can sneak in there and defeat the HPF, so that the low end is stronger.

  8. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I kind of like the HPF - I like the way it tightens up the low end and makes it punchy. But the lack of mids and the clanky treble is pretty frustrating.
  9. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I have a 1996 EBMM SR4 3-band, I bought it new and have owned/played it the whole time. Initially the bass had the weak G issue real bad, the 3-band eq was also somewhat on the trebley/twangy side. I ended up replacing the pickup and preamp with the Basslines(alnico) stuff when they came out. The G string problem was no longer an issue, however the Basslines seemed a bit more aggressive and upper mid focused than the stock stuff had been. It's a fantastic player, its just always been a little to twangy and sizzley for my tastes, it does wear flats great though:)
  10. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    It has its place for sure and since I have a couple of passives with deep low end possibilities, it's probably fine as is. I'd probably prefer it to be switchable or perhaps a part of what you get by turning up the bass above flat. Not a big deal, it's still a bass I use regularly, and the best bass I have from a technical point of view.

  11. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    If you pop in a Bartolini 3 band the difference will be night and day. You'll hear the tones that were filtered out
  12. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    You can mod the pre to adjust the frequency centers to your liking. It's not exact but possible. Mostly just a few capacitor changes. It's not that hard to do and seems to be pretty forgiving board.

    I usually roll off the treble knob a bit, and that does cut what I want it to. I agree about the mids tho, its not a very refined control, and would benefit from frequency and Q manipulation.

    I adjusted the HPF filter to about 30hz and it has made a world of difference in the tone, there was lots of missed frequencies in there.
    rufus.K likes this.
  13. Alivefor5

    Alivefor5 Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2006
    I've had 3 EBMM SR5s through the years. I bonded with non of them for the above reasons and they are long gone. I, by chance, obtained a Big Al 5 with the single humbucker. It has the 4 band pre, active, passive with tone control and series parallel options. It is indeed an SR5 the way they should be. The original pre amp problems have been addressed. The unusual shape and the mahogany body don't hurt either. My opinion only.
  14. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    If I could figure out which component to swap to adjust the HPF on the preamp of my SB14, I'd give it a try. I've seen images of circuit board diagrams for the Sterling but haven't found one for the SB14 import version. I don't think they are wired exactly the same.

  15. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    If it is at all similar, there are two 8.2 nf capacitors at the input (pickup wire) that can be changed. I used 22nf, but you can eliminate it with 100nf.

    DIY Stingray 3EQ Preamp

    This thread was a HUGE help!
  16. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I'm the guy who boosts everything to 10 on my Ray. Love that tone :)
    Nyama74 likes this.
  17. liveburning274


    Mar 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    I did Sadowsky flats with my Ray. It took the highs down and gave me a great low-end bump. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
  18. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    I had the same problem with my MM classic. Probably the nicest feel/construction of any mass production bass I've owned, but it had a synthetic quality to the sound that I couldn't get settled into a mix. I'm not sure the MM sound is designed to disappear into a mix to begin with, nonetheless I couldn't gel with that nasely synthetic sound. Absolutely top of the line construction and feel tho. Superb in that dept.
    FirewalZ likes this.
  19. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    You could solder larger value caps over those two input 8n2 caps. Capacitors add when wired in parallel.

    Also, double the 4n7 and 8n2 caps used in the midrange to lower it.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
    Staccato, Petebass and rufus.K like this.
  20. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    I assume you meant to say when added in parallel?