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Fender American Deluxe Dimension HH IV with Audere Pro Z Pre-Amp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CMartin, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    I thought I would post my pre-amp mod for other Fender Dimension bass players out there considering to do similar.
    To start off, the reason I even considered doing this mod is because my Dimension was having issued with battery drainage and when I went in to troubleshoot what was causing it, I thought that either there was an issue with the factory pre-amp since all the wiring looked good and I wasn't going to mess around with the factory pre-amp. So, I went looking for pre-amp options and stumbled across the Audere Classic and Pro Z kits. (As a side note, I found out it wasn't the factory pre-amp after all, but rather an issue with the 5-position switch and the input jack)
    Now, I liked the options the Pro Z seemed to offer, so I asked Audere if this was going to work for my bass or not. After many helpful emails with David at Audere it turns out that the easiest mod would be with the Classic, since the way Fender wired the humbuckers it wouldn't work with the Pro Z. This was because the Pro Z requires for the PU poles to be separated from the negative of the coils. Fender grounded both the negative connection of the coils and the PU poles together. So, if you are looking for an easy mod, then go for the Classic. I've heard on this forum that even that pre-amp wakes up the humbuckers on this bass.

    But, I was determined to go with the Pro Z. ;-) So, I decided to got the full 10 yards and make the necessary modifications to the factory PUs as well. I actually did two modifications to the PUs, but you only need to do the first one to use this pre-amp.

    UPDATE: My brain was thinking too complicated when I did these PU mods. They can both be accomplished much easier in one step. Just cut the surface of the PCB around both middle coil connection poles (two green boxes in picture) to separate them both from the PCB common. This would basically be 4 straight cuts with a sharp knife. Then the green common wire would become your PU pole connection (not the yellow wire I have documented here) as the poles are already connected to the PCB common and you no longer have to do my mod number 1 below. Then you solder two new wires to those separated poles to get your coil negative connections.

    View attachment 2903948

    PU Mod 1. Necessary to use the Pro Z: You have to separate the PU poles from the PCB ground to isolate them from the coils. To do this you remove the four screws pressing the PCB to the poles and sliding insulation between the PCB and the poles. Be careful doing this since the coils are soldered to the PCB via four small connecting poles on one side of the PU. You then also need to re-connect the poles to each other using shielding sheet and solder a wire to the shielding to create a separate connection for the poles into your cavity.
    PU Mod 2. I decided to also change the standard parallel wiring to series. This was accomplished by cutting the surface of the PCB around one of the middle connecting poles (both middle connections are grounded) and soldering a separate wire to that pole to have another wire from the PU into the cavity. You could theoretically connect this directly to the positive coil connection of the other coil to get a series connection, but I wanted to be flexible so I have all PU connections as a separate wire in the cavity.

    Now, those are the mods I did to both PUs and end up with 5 wires from each PU in my bass cavity. Poles (yellow), Coil1- (green), Coil1+ (red), Coil2- (white) and Coil2+ (black)
    Bild 2018-02-02_12-02-20-966.jpeg

    I selected this version of the Audere Pro Z: Pro Z VB 4B 4H None
    This one has 3 dual-Pots and a three-way switch that end up in the 4 existing holes of the pick guard. To keep a common look to my bass, I bought a separate rotary switch to replace the Z-Mode switch of the Audere. Since I couldn't find a three-way rotary at the time, I got a 4-way and used the forth position as a "mute".

    For the most part everything is wired as explained in the Audere instructions. The only things that are a little different are the fact that you have two wires from the poles of the PUs going to common ground along with the ground of the input jack and the bridge. And since we have a 5-position switch for different PU configurations this is the biggest part of the mod that is not explained in the Audere instructions.

    Since the pre-amp version I selected has a balance, there are two positions (positions 1 and 5) of the factory 5-way switch setup that are not necessary and gave me the opportunity to create two different configurations. So, I went with a Lakland and a "reverse-Lakland" setup in those positions. So, my switch positions now do the following configurations:
    Bild 2018-02-02_12-05-17-813.png

    And here's a version showing the actual connections of the coils as they are created via the 5-way switch:
    Pickup Switching Setup 1.png

    And here's a very sloppy drawing of how the 5-way switch is wired to the PUs and the pre-amp to accomplish these configurations (BTW: I did purchase a new super switch, (actually the Elb Megaswitch which is the same) since the factory switch has everything wired on a PCB):
    Bild 2018-02-02_12-07-14-457.png

    After wiring everything together as described in the Audere installation instructions it looked like this:
    Bild 2018-02-02_12-00-51-561.jpeg
    What can't be seen here too well is that I added copper shielding tape to the bottom of the pick guard and on the side of the cavity (top left in picture) to ground the pots.

    Now, since Fender had everything nice and tidy on PCBs there wasn't many wires in the cavity with the factory setup. So, the cavity is quite small for all the wires you now have with this mod. So, you have to be careful when putting everything in the cavity so you don't squish any wires. I was very careful and use a credit card at the end to make sure all wires are actually in the cavity and none were squeezed between the pick guard and the body.

    And the final product ;-) :
    Bild 2018-02-02_12-02-20-965.jpeg

    Bild 2018-02-02_12-02-20-965-1.jpeg

    A huge shout out to David from Audere for the excellent remote support that went above and beyond any support that would have been expected. He helped me with the switch configuration and PU mods which had nothing to do with the product itself.
    Many thanks!!

    Hope this helps somebody interested in going to the trouble of such a mod.

    Oh, I forgot to mention: Since the Pro Z works the same with both 9v and 18v, I decided to only go with 9v and I leave a spare 9v battery in the battery compartment for any emergencies. ;-)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  2. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    I also forgot to mention that the sound options now are so overwhelming, it will take me a while to be "fluent" with this setup. There is so much to experiment with, it's hard to remember how to set the knobs to get "that" sound you thought was os nice. But, I'll adjust. :)
  3. Pedullist


    Oct 31, 2016

    I just finished my fretless Dimension conversion + Aguilar OBP3
    CMartin likes this.
  4. gjohnson441496


    Dec 14, 2014
    Nice! How about some sound clips?
  5. Pedullist


    Oct 31, 2016
    Love the little led. Didn't think of this type of pre. Btw, OBP3 was just as bad in regard to wires and small cavities.
  6. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    Yeah, the led is a cool little feature. I just captured it while it was lit. It is not always on. Just when you plug it in to show the current battery status.

    I‘ll try to make some sound samples.
    gjohnson441496 likes this.
  7. genmed42


    Dec 31, 2011
    Love the setup and the led is so cool, I’m usually pretty handy per my profession, is it a difficult installation and do the new custom pick guard came with the new preamp kit? How is it working out and sounding for you? I have the same exact bass BTW.

  8. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    I‘m loving it. Sound wise there are so many variations. Even just a switch of the hi-Z / low-Z switch changes the sound drastically. Using the balance is also awesome. When you balance from both PUs to just one, it does get louder which may be good if you are transitioning to a solo part. But Audere did tell me that would happen and if I didn’t want that I could add some mod to prevent it. But I decided to not make the mod more complicated and left it this way.
    The installation itself is not all that complicated if you follow my updated suggestion for the PU mod. My original thinking was more complicated than it had to be.
    There was no new pick guard with the pre-amp. This is the original pick guard. The only thing I had to do to the pick guard was drill a small hole for the LED. The LED is fixated with a drop of super glue on the back side. And I added the isolating sheet to the back side to ground the knobs.
    All in all it is more work than I anticipated. But not too difficult, just time consuming.
  9. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    BTW: recent photos of Nik West show that she is using a modded version of the dimension as well (take a close look, there is a dual knob and a switch). ;-)
  10. genmed42


    Dec 31, 2011
    Thanks for replying with all the info Cmartin, I may be looking into doing that
  11. flyguy909


    Mar 3, 2011
    Coventry, CT
    Wanted to report that I just completed this mod and the results are fantastic! It looks more complicated than it really is - once you make the cuts in the PCB with an razor knife the rest is simple soldering. I had done a different mod originally (described in a different thread) that did not modify the PUs and although it sounded better than stock, I was not totally happy with the end result.... but very happy with the outcome here.

    The only difference for my installation was that I used the Audere Classic preamp, and a standard 2 pole 5 position super switch... everything else is exactly as CMartin described above.
  12. NigelDimesnion


    Jan 2, 2018
    got any sound clips
  13. Burgoo-Bob


    Jan 20, 2019
    I want to install a battery pack for the 9v on the back of my Fender Dimension bass. Where would be the best place to do so?

    Some background (if anyone is interested ;) )

    I upgraded my Fender American Dimension V standard with a classic Audere pre amp, and it made an incredible difference.

    At first, I had a bit of an issue with the volume not working after playing for an extended amount of time, i.e. it was always at max volume, i.e. fully open, and turning the knob did nothing aside from a small change in sound. I contacted Audere and they resolved the issue quickly, and were extremely courteous and professional (Thanks David).

  14. CMartin


    May 12, 2017
    Yeah, David is awesome.
    Unfortunately, I don‘t know where to get a battery pack that would fit the Dimension. But, if you find something I would also be interested. ;-)
  15. Burgoo-Bob


    Jan 20, 2019
    I bought a battery pack from amazon, and it seems like it could do the trick. My only worry is compromising the integrity of the bass by carving out the cavity to close to the existing one or to the center of the bass. Once I figure it out I will let you know.

    Link to the battery pack I purchased...

    After searching a bit, I found an image of where the battery pack is placed on the Deluxe Active Dimensions bass, here
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019

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