HELP! Just installed EMG's.. A few questions...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bass349, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Hi everyone!!

    i woke up this morning to somebody bangin on my door. luckily my girlffriend got up and answered it ;), because it turned out to be the mail guy with the two emg-35dc's i ordered from the US last week.

    After ringing a few guys around town i realised that the wiring for these babies was gonna put me out of pocket a little more than expected (both quotes were approx $100 aus). soooo, i decided to give it a bit of the old DIY action.

    and i'm glad to say, 2 hours of soldering later, my bass sounds great! the DC's are heaps cleaner and brighter sounding than the HZ's that were in there.

    My only issue is that when i tried running it through my sansamp bddi, my signal got all distorted. the only way to counteract it was to turn the level on the bddi down to about 3 oclock. i figured that since my pickups are now active, my signal is now hotter, which is distorting my signal.

    soo, my questions are;
    1) is this distortion normal?
    2) i didn't do the 18v upgrade that everyone recommends, i was going to do it, but then figured it would make my signal even hotter, and result in more distortion. is that right?

    oh, and while i'm at it,
    3) i used the 25k pots that came with the pickups for the two volume pots (i already had the BTS system installed). only problem is that my old knobs won't fit on them.. any recommendations for a site that sells the 25k pots with the "push on knob" style shaft? preferably with a center detent if possible...

    any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    thanks heaps for any help,


    ps. i did a search, but i really wasn't sure what i was searching for..

    pps. i just wanted to say thanks to all the talkbass regulars that frequent this site and offer up their valuable knowledge. i wouldn't have even attempted this project if it wasn't for you guys. i have learnt so much from reading other posts here. cheers!
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    one thing: how close are your pickups to the strings?
  3. Yes, try backing your pickups away from the strings.
    As far as the control pots try the following links:

    Also, if lowering the pickups does not help then try installing a pot on the output to the ouput jack of the bass. Connect the wiper and ground to the jacks signal and ground respectively. Connect the outer lugs to ground and output from the Active module. I suggest using a 100k small pot that can just sit in the cavity of the bass. Adjust to suit you and leave it.
  4. hey guys, thanks for the replies..

    i did move the pickups further back, made a difference, but still can't really go past 3 oclock on the preamp.

    as for the extra pot suggestion.. the combination of a lack of electronics knowledge and lack of sleep is making that really hard to understand! :p thanks for the suggestion though. do you have a wiring diagram for that? maybe it'll make more sense in the morning..

  5. turn down the volume on the bass a tad, the pickups are just bit hotter it seems
  6. would i be right in thinking that if i do the 18v upgrade it will make the problem worse?

  7. alibloke


    Dec 17, 2004
    Bristol, England
    Just to check, do you only get this distortion whilst playing through your Sansamp?

    Providing your strings aren't clattering against the pickups there shouldn't be a problem.

    One of the main design advantages of EMGs is that the smaller magnetic field they produce allows them to be positioned closer to your strings without producing 'wierd' effects.

    If you are only hearing distortion through your Sansamp then you may simply have the DDIs gain set too high for the relatively hot output of the EMGs :confused:
  8. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Nope. Running the system at 18 volts will not increase the output level; it will increase the headroom within the on board electronics. Much the same way you can clip your BDDI with a hot signal, on board active electronics can be made to clip if they are hit hard enough. A big B string swinging back and forth very closely to the pickup can start to sound fuzzy.

    If you've got the room in the control cavity, there isn't really much of any downside to running it at 18v. It often times will make the low end a little cleaner and clearer.
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    As BruceWane said, not in itself. 18v only increases the headroom
  10. yeah i only get the distortion through the sansamp. i guess that i'm just not used to active pickups.. I'll change the wiring to 18v when my new pots come in. thanks for the help!

  11. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Maybe it's the SANSAmp, not the bass. I'm not familiar with the unit, but you might want to check the manual to see if it has settings for active/passive basses.

    And, as many know, I'm a big proponent of 18v on EMGs. :)
  12. yeah you're absolutely right. after playing with the sansamp for a while i started to find a sweet spot. and thanks to your suggestion i did something i haven't done in a long time.. i found the manual, and i read it! that helped a lot. now my bass sounds amazing! i'm so glad i did this upgrade :) I'm going to order some new pots, cos my knobs don't fit on the ones i put in - and i'll do the 18v wiring when i change the pots over. thats a great site! very handy...

    btw, i think i found the pots i want..

    the 25k ones.. does anyone know if these have a center detent? and if not, know where i can get them? i've been searching on google for ages.. i can only find a stacked version of the 25k with a center detent. verrry frustrating..
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think I'd rather get new knobs or find a way to make the old ones work than replace the pots. YMMV...
  14. i suppose so..

    but i was really after some pots with a center detent. i kinda like the knobs i have at the moment. how could i "make them work"? the ones i installed seem to have a solid shaft.. it'd take a pretty big hammer to knock the knobs onto those suckers ;)
  15. lomer


    Mar 20, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    which places did you go to get quotes done??? lounge guitars in leederville quoted me $30 just the other day to install a set of EMG P's in my yamaha. they will do pretty much any install/service etc for that price too so long as there is no routing involved etc.
  16. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Even though this question has been answered here in this thread, I just wanted to say that I´ve also experienced distortion in the Sansamp with an active bass. You definately have to hunt for the sweet spot. With a passive bass I have no problems at all with my Sansamp.
  17. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Hi there,

    1.) I think you're better off replacing the knobs... a lot of people need to do this if they get the EMG p/u's , why they don't ship with knobs is beyond me...

    and 2.) I think pots with center detents are going to be either blend or tone pots, I've never heard of them being volume pots...