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Help with used Warick Streamer please!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gruvmaster, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. gruvmaster


    Jan 17, 2009
    So I've searched and read several threads on here but none seem to hit the nail on the head. I'm hoping someone can help. Here's my situation:

    I bought a used '01 Streamer Stage II 5-string. Sounds beautiful in passive mode, actually I want to say it sounds a bit cleaner or brighter in passive mode but too bright for my taste. In active mode, with the low/mid/high in the middle, the sound to me seems a bit "darker" but nevertheless very nice. I am currently using a Little Mark II amp and a 4x10 MarkBass cab.

    I didn't notice any issues when I bought the bass and I've used it for a few rehearsals at various volumes. Everything seemed okay. At the last practice however, the guitarist used my bass and was messing with the knobs. When he handed it back he left the bass boost all the way up. When I started playing I heard some distortion on the 5th string and on some of the lower notes on the 4th string. I had never heard this distortion before, perhaps because I never move the knobs and play with everything flat.

    For troubleshooting purposes, I removed all pedals and plugged straight into the amp. I don't think the amp itself is clipping, at least the clip light doesn't come on. Regardless, I've tried turning down the gain to no avail. I tried a brand new 9v battery and that didn't seem to make a difference. None of the wiring seems out of place, but then again I probably wouldn't be able to spot a problem. I read the Warwick manual and the pickup/string height all appear to be okay. I don't think contact cleaner would solve the problem because it's not the kind of scratchy sound the knobs make as you turn them when they are dirty. It simply sounds like an overdrive kind of distortion, and only in active mode when the bass knob is turned up more than about a quarter past the half way notch. The harder I hit the strings, the more distortion I get. One other thing I've noticed regarding the treble/mid/bass tone control knobs in active mode: when I adjust the treble and bass, I can clearly hear the difference it is making in the tone. The highs go from bright to dull, the lows go from fat and boomy to flat, but I can't really say the same for the mid knob. I can sorta tell something is happening, but when I play I don't feel that it's making an impact. With the mid all the way up, I can't find any notes that jump out more or vice versa. Don't know if this might be an issue too. (Could this explain why my tone sounds a tad "darker" in active mode versus passive? I've never owned a streamer so I don't have anything to compare to). I should add that I noticed some wear on the pickups, almost as if from the strings rubbing up against them. When asked the guy said he played "hard". Also, this is happening with the pickup balance knob in the middle.

    Anyways, would anyone have an idea as to what the issue might be? I hope I provided enough clues. In general, I'm very happy with this bass. It's very clean and seems to have been taken care of very well. The tone is all around amazing and clean, a world of a difference from the active jazz bass I was using before. I probably would have never noticed anything had my guitarist not left the bass boost all the way up. I could probably live with it the way it is now, but it's killing me knowing that something might be wrong. :meh: Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. The Insane

    The Insane

    Jul 12, 2007
    I've got a SSII with SD AJB-5 Pickups , too. About the difference in active/passive: Yes it sounds different, thats normal but this is high subjectively. Don't know what there could be with the mid-pot, maybe you can post a soundclip? I think you found out already, but very much SSII players switched to Seymour Duncan or Aguilar Electronics and love it (including me) :ninja:

    Is there no distortion in passive mode? I had a similar problem with mine, but had distortion regardless of active/passive. Changed the preamp numerous times and tried everything to find out that the active preamps are part of the problems. Their active curcuit can't handle the output if you're REALLY playing hard. But this was back in the days when my technique was horrible. A lighter touch solved everything, my hard attack was limiting my playing abilities extremly.

    If this isn't the problem, I would suggest wiring the pickups directly to the output jack, without any pots or preamp (the pickups still need a battery). If it still clips, it's the Pickups, then you could try to change them.
    If there's no distortion you are lucky, just change to another preamp (See above :smug: )

    Good luck!
  3. gruvmaster


    Jan 17, 2009
    I'll double check when I get home, but I didn't notice any distortion in passive mode. I mean, even in active mode there is no audible distortion regardless of how hard I play as long as I keep the bass knob at the middle notch. Some boost is still okay but if I go too far I start to hear distortion. I'll add that the eq is flat on the amp. So it's almost as if turning the bass boost too high makes the signal too hot. :confused: I also haven't tried recording direct with the bass. I'll give this a shot tonight as well.

    I've read that the bassline pickups are a good replacement. I'm considering those in the future but would like to know what if anything might be wrong first.
  4. direktor


    Dec 24, 2008
    That's exactly what's happening. They don't call it a "boost" for nothing.

    When you're turning up the bass EQ, the actual voltage level going out goes up; you're increasing the output of a specific frequency band. On a modern, active bass it's absolutely possible to have the out signal too hot for the input of whatever you're sending it to. BTW, it's possible to do this with almost any EQ circuit in any device, if you don't compensate with lower gain on the next stage of processing.

    On the other hand, the same scenario would distort if the battery did not have the voltage to back up the EQ boost you request of it. So it can either be very normal or the result of a low battery, depending on the bass and how sensitive the input of whatever you're plugging into.
  5. bcplemons


    Oct 23, 2008
    Keller, TX
    In regards to the situation you have with not being able to hear the difference in the mids. Have you tried boosting the mids with the pickups blended differently? I've noticed on my Laklands that I can hear the difference in the mid knob more when I pan the p'ups either toward the bridge or the neck.
  6. gruvmaster


    Jan 17, 2009
    direktor, I appreciate the input. So my suspicions could be right. If this is the case, would you say I have nothing to worry about? Also, if in the future I did change my pickups to something like Seymour Duncan basslines (I love the Alex/P-nut tone), will they make my signal hotter? I guess what I mean is, do I run the risk of getting distortion with the bass boost flat or will this not be affected at all? I'm a noob when it comes to bass electronics.

    bcplemons, I haven't tried adjusting the mid with the pickups blended differently. I'm going to try this tonight! Thanks for the heads up.
  7. gruvmaster


    Jan 17, 2009
    it's been a while but I wanted to post a follow-up. i think my ears are getting used to the tone of this bass because I can definitely hear a difference when i turn the mid knob, especially if i mess with the pickup blend knob as well. thanks bcplemons for that suggestion.

    i've had several chances to record with this bass. if i record out of my amp's di output, i have no issues. however, if i plug the bass directly into something like a line 6 toneport device, i notice that the signal is hot even if the high/mid/low knobs are flat in active mode. i get that buzzing sound whenever i play the low b or even on the low e string. my technique is no different than when i am plugged in to my amp. in order to get the buzzing to go away, i have to play extra soft or turn down the bass eq a little bit.

    from what i've gathered, this means the signal is hot. what i am trying to find out is if this is normal for this bass or if something is wrong here. since i bought this bass used, i don't know if this is something this bass has done since day one or if i'm having problems with the pups/preamp/etc. i'm hoping another warkwick SSII owner can jump in and tell me if their streamer displays the same symptoms or not.

  8. humpy thumb

    humpy thumb

    Jul 23, 2005
    Sydney Australia
    Warwick bass forum moderator.
    Maybe you could angle your pickups away from the bass side a tiny bit.
  9. gruvmaster


    Jan 17, 2009
    hmm.... hadn't thought about that. i'll have to give that a try. thanks!
  10. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass

    Sep 9, 2006
    Tijuana Mex.
    That should help.
  11. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland

  12. humpy thumb

    humpy thumb

    Jul 23, 2005
    Sydney Australia
    Warwick bass forum moderator.
    The pickups are active & you can set them pretty close to the strings.
    The factory set up is as follows.
    Take the 2.5mm allen key a lay it flat along the length of the neck pickup.Press the string at the 24th fret & adjust the pickup untill the allen key just touches the string.
    Do the same with the neck pickup,but dont fret any strings.
    This will get you in the ball park of an even responce from your pickups & fine tuning them is only a couple turns of the screws away.
    Cheers guys.

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