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How does the Steinberger Spirit XZ-2 compare to similar priced Ibanez&Yamaha basses ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Foo-O-Matic, Aug 12, 2004.

  1. Foo-O-Matic


    Aug 10, 2004
    I was just wondering about that, coz yesterday I went to the music store and played the Ibanez GSR200 and Yamaha RBX170 (in Israel, where I live, they cost like 1500NIS, which is ~$300 :scowl: )
    well actually, it turns out better to buy it here in Israel, because of the warranty matter and customer service and such...
    ...Anyways, today I noticed the Steinberger Spirit XZ-2 in the MusicYo site, and I was stunned by the price and looks (as a matter of fact I always wanted a Steinberger). I know it is made in Korea, unlike the original Steinbergers which are USA, but remember, it is still my first bass and im still a beginner.
    I was wondering if you think that I should get the Steinberger or the Yamaha/Ibanez.... I also hope the Steinberger suits my style, I like warm and smooth Fusion sound.
    Thanks for reading all the long post, and I appreciate your help! ;)

    P.S I know there were some threads about the Steinberger Spirits before, but my case is a bit different :)
  2. Foo-O-Matic


    Aug 10, 2004
    and if someone have a soundclip or a link to soundclip of the Steinberger Spirit XZ-2 I will be glad to recieve it :)
  3. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    I'd avoid the Steinberger if I were you. I owned one and they're crap. If you really want a Steinberger get a USA made one. It's a huge price jump though.

    The steinberger spirit is cheaply made - though it's biggest problem is the electronics. Maybe a good upgrade of the pups and you'd be good to go.

    However, I can't compare the Spirit to the Yamaha as I've never played the Yamaha you're talking about.
  4. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    Our regular bass player has one of the USA Spirits. He uses it at our church gig every Sunday.

    I'm not all that impressed with it. He likes it though. It sounds ok I guess. The tone isn't anything special. It's very compact though and he likes that about it.

    Personally I would buy the Yamaha or Ibanez over that Steinberger. But that just my opinion.

    But remember buy what you want. If you really like it than get one. As long as you are playing bass thats all that matters.

    You may want to consider buying a yellow jump suit and a red plastic pot like hat to wear while you are playing it.
  5. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004

    :D :D :D :D
  6. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    soundclick page with some XZ-2db soundclips

    I've had a number of the MusicYo Spirits over the last several years and just received my latest (an XZ-2) yesterday. With $60 off the usual price I decide that rather than wait for the XT-2 to get back in stock I'd go with the XZ (I like the looks of the "full bodied" version better anyway).

    Basically it's a decently made Korean bass. Basic construction is solid, the bodies are multi-piece which can look better or worse depending on the number of pieces and the grain. The necks are maple/rw and have a satin finish. It feels solid, is heavier than you'd expect for the size (but not a boat anchor or anything, just solid) but isn't "overwhelming" in it's quality. The hardware is OK. The pickups are EMG selects which are used on a lot of inexpensive basses and not bad. Not great, not bad. Kind of "generic" to me. According to the folks on Steinbergerworld the first upgrade to make is to swap out the pots for some decent quality ones. Then see if the sound works for you. There aren't a lot of options for pickup replacements (US EMGs mostly) but the Rio Grande Pitbulls look really interesting to me.

    I've not played that Yamaha or Ibanez (I've had a Soundgear 400 and a RBX-764) but suspect that the Steinberger is in the same league as them. I personally would go with the Spirit over either of those two (and would lean towards the Yamaha over the Ibanez) but thats personal preference at work. I suspect any of the three will get the job done.

    All the XZs I've had have been very lively & resonant and fun to play. They do hang a bit more to the left and it's a longer reach to the 1st fret. I really like the 0 fret and headless compactness but the hanging to the left is a bit of a pain. I bought this one for backup/travel use and to play with BEAD and DGCF tunings (with the 0 fret it's very simple to swap string sets & gauges - no nut slots to worry about, just swap and set up and you are good to go).

    It's not a composite-necked US Steinberger. But then again those will run you over $1K for current ones (if they ever get any more put together). But for an all-wood bass at it's price range it's competitive with what's out there.

    Steinberger just announced a new line of instruments, the Synapse, that are headless and have magnetic & piezo pickups. They are more like the tiny-bodied XL/XT versions. They will be Korean-made and slot between the Spirits and the US versions. Composite reinforced necks (not all-composite) and sold through regular distribution channels (not MusicYo). They look interesting but are more expensive and not yet available (and have a fixed-type bridge for the piezo).

    So my personal recommendation is if you like it and the other options are the GSR and RBX then pick the one you like best. They all have their plusses and minusses and if you are happy with it you'll play it more.

    And if you go with the Spirit Status Graphite is a good way to find a lot of string options that aren't available other places for headless strings (or get the string adapter and use your favorite regular bass strings).
  7. Foo-O-Matic


    Aug 10, 2004
    Hi craigb,
    first, thank you alot for your helpful review and especially for the soundclips.
    now, I can't exactly remember the sound of the Yamaha (I do remember I liked it better than the Ibanez, tho), but I think I prefer the Steinberger over the Yamaha. but the problem is that if I buy it I wouldnt be able to use the warranty (if present, heh) because I can't bring it back to the US (i'm bringing it here w/ my uncle who lives there) and I dont know if I will be able to sell it here (there is no official dealer of Steinberger here, altho I've seen some people that sell Steinbergers here.
    Anyway I don't know if it will end up worthy... what would you do if you were me?
  8. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Because the quality of these import basses can be spotty that puts you in a tough spot. I only sent back one of the Musicyo Spirits for defects (the detuner did not work and the opening in the headpiece for the truss rod did not line up right making it difficult to adjust) but if you have to buy it, have it shipped to your uncle and then he brings it to you then if there is a problem that can make things very difficult or impossible.

    Since you are new to bass you might want to go with something you can get from a local store. You'll have warranty availability and maybe some amount of free service for setups (depends on the store) and you can definitely go in with a clear conscience and ask questions & badger the staff since you bought there.

    There's not really anything esoteric about the Spirits from a setup point of view so any store or tech could handle working on them - but no chance of free help I'd guess.

    If you are dead set on a Steinberger you might want to look for a used one from a TBer and have that shipped to your uncle to bring to you. That way you'd know everything worked and maybe could save a few bucks over a new one. I'd say maybe a used one from a reputable retailer also but for some reason they never seem to realize how cheap they are new and don't mark them down enough.

    Otherwise if you like the sound of the Steinberger better but want something bought locally then look for a dual humbucker setup and go that way. Good luck and have fun - I think you'll end up with a better first bass than I had (it's long gone and I don't miss it a bit).

    Oh yeah, if you know someone who plays bass and can check things out for you buying a used bass can get you a lot more for your money (but no warranty).
  9. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I cant comment on the Stein or the Yamaha, but the GSR200 was my first bass and I thought it was great for the price. Be sure and try all the ones in the store though. Some will sound better than others. Quality control isnt a strong suit in production basses typically.
  10. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    This is just my opinion, but I hope it is helpful to you:

    In your first post, you stated that you want a bass that is able to reproduce a 'smooth fusion sound'.

    I would recommend getting a bass with two of the rectangular shaped 'jazz' pickups. They can give you that sound and are probably easier to obtain in Israel than the Steinberger-shaped instruments.

    If you can find someone who already plays the bass, he or she could help you find a suitable, second hand bass. My first bass wasn't all that good as I didn't know such a person.

    If you would try getting your bass this way, you could ask your uncle to bring other items for you from the USA, such as large bottles of Whisky. ;)

    Good luck getting started!
  11. tcarlyle


    Aug 30, 2004
    East of the ATL
    I played an EB-0 for my occasional bass gig for many years, and finally bought a "real" bass... a nice used Spector NS 5 string... when I started playing bass weekly. The Spector is awesome, and huge, and heavy, but a joy to play. However, I got tired of "wielding" it at band practices, and practicing in my home studio, so on a lark, I bought a $300 Spirit 5 string from MusicYo. It cost me a third of what the Spector cost, used, but I figured it would be worth it as a practice bass.

    Well, the short story is... now I'm gigging with the Spirit. I play every Sunday, two sets in a Church Praise Band, and I've simply changed over to the Spirit. It's not that the Spirit sounds better than the Spector, or that it plays as well. It is simply that the Steinberger is so light, so compact, so much fun to play... and it sounds good enough. It plays good enough. It's a blast.

    Now I just keep the Spector downstairs for recording. And yes, every time I pick it up, I notice that it is clearly the better bass. But do I miss it performing? Not at all. The Spirit is just so much fun.

    Hope that helps....

    C YA - bill

    By the way, after playing this Spirit 5, I've also purchased a Spirit guitar. It's the same story. Very decent guitar, totally fun to play, and so easy to carry, I take it with me even on my bass gigs. Just for the hoot; and they are matching white to boot.