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Help me tame my hi-fi pickups? Hi pass/low-pass filter?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Jigmay, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Jigmay


    Mar 24, 2004
    I am wondering if something like a Hi Pass / Low-Pass Filter would "tame" the hi-fi sound of my electronics?

    Let me explain: I have Alembic Series I pickups/preamp in a Fender Pbass. I would like to make it more "organic" overall. The signal, by my ears, has an extremely wide range of information: lots of highs and lows. I believe that this 'extended' range of frequencies tends to make the bass sound unfocused and brittle.

    So I got to thinking that if I could trim the low end and the high end, maybe I could tame the this hi-fi sound.

    Does this make any sense? Would a high-pass filter help with this?
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    What are you using for an amp? Does it have bass and treble controls? Do you like the sound with both bass cut and treble cut? Are you married to the Alembic pickups/pre or would you consider a more vintage-sounding pickup with passive electronics? What about strings? A set of flatwounds might give you a less hi fi tone.
    basscapes likes this.
  3. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I use a H/LPF set at 60Hz and 4kHz, respectively.
    When i use a bass that sounds brittle or boomy, the filter doesn’t exactly make it sound less brittle or boomy, it just decreases the frequency range of that brittleness or boominess.
    I think all bass players should use a HPF, but i wouldn’t suggest it to fix actual tone problems.

    This sounds more like a job for amp tone controls or the knobs on your preamp.
    And if you can’t get where you want with those, then maybe the Alembic electronics aren’t for you.
    Zbysek and JGbassman like this.
  4. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Cracker7 likes this.
  5. adje


    Feb 3, 2004
    As you have the Series package, you already have an LPF per pickup. If it sounds brittle, you're probably running them wide open, with the Q switches engaged. Makes me kinda wonder what the rest of your rig may be contributing.
    qersty, hintz, s_wood and 1 other person like this.
  6. Jigmay


    Mar 24, 2004
    I should have mentioned that yes, I am married to this pick-up configuration. I’ve had this bass since 1978 and...well...don’t really want to let her go.

    I have tried flats (Fender, GHS) and Pressurewounds. I like the flats fine and it helps a lot. Am curious to try Pyramids or TIs but haven’t yet.

    I’ve considered putting a Precision pick up in it, but it’s a last resort. It’s been routed a lot, and would require a new custom pg, etc.

    My amp for years has been a Walter Woods, so lots of eq built in. Now using a Quilter BB800, and this is a nice change due to the gain/ compression which can put some hair on signal.

    Actually the Broughton Hi/Lo Filter is what made me ask this question. Any more thoughts on that?
    Zbysek likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Broughton HPF/LPF is a great pedal, and I highly recommend it (if you can find one ;)).

    However, your Quilter BB800 already has a HPF and LPF (turn Depth counterclockwise for HPF; turn Contour clockwise for LPF), and from @adje's comment, it sounds like your Alembic electronics also have a LPF.

    So, while the Broughton is a great pedal, and would give you a bit more "tweakability," it's duplicating features you already have.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  8. Jigmay


    Mar 24, 2004
    Mushroo, That's very helpful because I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know the Quilter is a HPF/LPF design. I knew it was "subtractive" tone control, but not a filter. You're right the Broughton unit would be overkill. And yes, the Alembic controls are LPFs.

    Adje mentioned that I may have the filters wide open and the Q-switches engaged. I don't do that. I usually close the filters a little and don't engage the Q-switch.

    This has been helpful. I won't go down the path of the Hi/Low pass filters. I think I'll just keep at the tone controls, and maybe more to the point, accept this bass for the tones it has and not expect too much. I thought the Alembic electronics could "do everything" but that isn't really the case.
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    For what it's worth, I'm a "P bass with flats" kind of guy, and I like my BB800 with Depth at 10 or 11 o'clock, Contour at 1 or 2 o'clock, and turn up the Master. :)

    Wish I knew more about the Alembic electronics. They sound cool and powerful.
  10. I like my basses not exactly hi-fi, but pretty bright. I use an Echoplex preamp clone to calm things down. EP Booster from Xotic sounds even darker and could work for you.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    If the Quilter tone controls don't do it for you, Use the Quilter as a power amp.

    Run the new Mesa Subway preamp into it. Mesa has H/LPF, parametric and sweepable mids.

    Gotta beat your rig into submission.

    What's your cab(s)?

    Maybe some sealed cabs without tweeters would help. Also, getting the cabs about 2 feet off the ground would reduce some boomyness.
    basscapes and Zbysek like this.
  12. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I use an active bass (Q5) through a Quilter BB and use a Broughton Hpf/Lpf to great effect. I use mild overdrive, the pedal Lpf and the high roll off on the BB to get an old school round sound when necessary. It's an extreme adjustment to the voice of the instrument, but it sounds great and I can finely control both the cutoff point, and the slope of the cutoff. Some would argue to buy an instrument closer to the voice you want, it makes sense.
  13. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Nordstrand pickup.
    Lots of choices.
  14. Jigmay


    Mar 24, 2004
    It has not always sounded bad to me. I played more rock back then and it was fine. Now I'd like more of the traditional PBass sound with the signature 'grunt' in the low mids. This can do it, but it's just...different.

    I played it through the Quilter today and my Bergantino AE112 (Stumbo asked what my cab is). It sounded very good with the Quilter, and the 'hi-fi' isn't as pronounced. With the tweeter off or on it sounds good.

    About the cab choice: I have recently discovered that these AE112s are mid-prominent, if that's a word. Maybe a different cab would help a lot. I played through a Fearless 115 and that is a totally different beast. The low end is wonderful and rich, but maybe too 'hi-fi', at least for this bass. I have an Epifani UL212 on layaway that may also be a better choice.

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