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I don't like my Modulus - what to do?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by FretNoMore, Jan 16, 2003.


  1. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Don't know what to do with this, I'm trying "Pickups" to start with...

    I've come to accept I don't like the character of my Modulus Q5, never have really, I can't dial in a sound I like. It's too mid-rangey, there's a hard tone that won't go away, increasing the bass just adds more of this unpleasant mid, not warm and fat as I would like. I can't make it sound fat even if I take out all treble and high mid, it's still hard sounding. The only time I use the bass nowadays is when I play in a really difficult and boomy place, there it helps to cut through and reduce the boomyness.

    I'd love to keep the bass as it plays and looks great, I just can't stand the sound anymore. It became even more apparent when I got my new Overwater bass which has the really fat/warm/lowmid sound I like.

    The Modulus has EMG pickups and EMG 18V bass/treble/sweep-mid controls. Has anyone tried to change those pickups and/or electronics and gotten a fatter/warmer sound?
     
  2. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    I had this particular bass at 1 time with the same pickup configuration and like you the sound kinda of wore on me until until I switch the EMG pickups out for a set of Bartolinis/ntbt Bartolini 3-band preamp.The Bartolini system gave it a more warmer,fatter,musical tone.You have to remember that most EMG pickups are active along with there active system while the Barts are passive along with a active system.I hope this helps you out.
     
  3. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    JB, you've got a PM! :)
     
  4. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Talk to Steve Lawson. His main axe is a Modulus and I know he knows alot about them.
     
  5. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I talked to him two days ago. He's currently at NAMM.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My feeling is that the pickups can only really work with the tone that is already there and this comes from the material used in building the bass.

    I have found that there is something about the sound of graphite and composite materials I really don't like and no amount of equalisation can get rid of this.

    So I tried loads of Status basses with more or less graphite in them ( you see loads of them in the UK) and the less graphite the better the tone got!!

    I just like the sound of wood and mostly maple!!
     
  7. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I agree that the materials establish the foundation for the tone. However, variations from [or within] the inherent tone can be had with different pickups, pickup placement, and preamps. A change of electronics may be the answer. The best way to find out is to go and try out different Q basses. Don't waist your time changing out the electronics at home. Been there--done that :( . You may not like any of the inherent tone possibilities. But if you somewhat like the tone and want to try out different flavors of the same, stick in a Aguilar preamp first.

    That sounds like an issue with the preamp. EMG preamps have the bass center freq set high.
     
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Thanks all for your suggestions.

    I do like the bass - it looks and plays great, but the sound is not what I need. I have tried getting some answers from Modulus but they don't reply to my email. They were very helpful when I bought the bass way back, but no they act like a black hole...

    At the moment I have two options I'm investigating, Bartolini pups and pre, or (what feels more likely right now) a U-Retro preamp. I have very good experiences from the Overwater bass and from dealing with John East (maker of the J/U-Retro preamp), and I'm hoping for a positive answer from him.
     
  9. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    From a Modulus dealer:

    Here's some of the pickup/electronics info. This is detailing the three band electronics of both manufacturers pickups/electronics.

    With Bartolini pickups, the center frequencies of the Treble, Mid, and Bass are 6kHz, 400 Hz, and 30 Hz respectively. Using the onboard controls, you can boost/cut the Treble, Mid and Bass up to 16dB, 11dB, and 15dB respectively.

    With EMG electronics the center frequencies for the Treble, and Bass are 4.5 kHz (set at the factory) and 250Hz. respectively. You can boost/cut the Treble and Bass up to 12dB and 10dB respectively. The center frequency of the Mids is sweepable from 300Hz. to 3 kHz. and you can boost/cut the mids up to 12dB. There are also dip switches in the control cavity that you can use to select the center frequency of the Treble (2.1 kHz, 3.5kHz, 4.5kHz, and 7 kHz, are all options).

    So as you can see, the frequencies the Bartolini controls are boosting/cutting are fairly spread out. There is really no overlap. With EMG's, the bass center frequency is 250Hz (which I consider to be close to a low mid), and the clarity on the lows suffers a bit. But with sweepable mids, and treble selector dip switches, some people find these options more than enough to tweak to dial in their tone.

    The Bartolini as a pickup does not have deeper lows. The pickup is simply converting a resonating string frequency into an electric signal. From the pickup, the electric signal enters the electronics. It is here where, the manufacturers set the frequencies they want the user to control. This "center" frequency is lower on Bartolini electronics than it is on EMG electronics (30 Hz. center freq. for Barts. 250 Hz for EMG's). Aguilar has their center frequency for bass set at 40 Hz. Hope this info helps, if you have any further questions, let me know.
     
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Thanks JB! :)

    That explains why the bass knob behaves the way it does, it is really almost a low mid as you say. The J/U-Retro's bass control is at 50Hz, and is shifted deeper as the boost increases, so that also indicates that the EMG pre works different from other preamps.

    I'll keep the EMG pups and only change the preamp to begin with at least.
     
  11. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    Anders,
    Please keep us posted as to your findings. I, too, have a Modulus with EMGs. And while I do like them, at times they seem a bit too "polite." I'd like to know how you like the EMGs with a different pre.

    Thanks, Chris
     
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    OK, will do.
     
  13. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Yes, please keep us posted. My bass is not graphite necked, but my Hyperactive pickups sound a bit modern to me.. I'm thinking about switching the preamp.. Not sure though if it'd be worth it, since i could get a good bass for around the same money as I would have put into the current bass if I change preamp and pickups..
     
  14. I'd try some Thomastik-Infleld flatwounds on your bass. I use them on my Q6 and I really like the combination. I felt exactly the same way as you about my Q6 until I put these strings on. Here's some sound clips.

    Both Pickups
    Neck Pickup
    Bridge Pickup
     
  15. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    cjazz, thanks for sharing the clips, yesterday I toyed with the idea to put on a set of La Bella nylon tape wounds I have left over, but didn't follow through on the idea. Hmm... that sounds like a nice Sunday project.

    I have ordered a U-Retro preamp by the way, modified to a four-pot configuration. That will be interesting. I don't know yet how long it will take as it's not straight off-the-shelf.

    Edit: It now looks as it will be a standard three-knob deal, with a switch in the fourth hole...
     
  16. Davo737

    Davo737

    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    I put an Aguilar OBP-1 in my Modulus with EMGs and absolutely love the tone, even more so than my Bart equipped Q5SS. The Aguilar/EMG combo to me has the warmth of the barts, and the bite of the EMGs - best of both worlds. And, for only being a 2 band eq, it has a very strong and thick mid-range presence.

    lates,
    dave
     
  17. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    What do you plan on using the switch for? Don't you have active EMG's in your bass?
     
  18. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    hujo, the J/U-Retros have three stacked knob pairs and two switches. One switch is active/passive (which can't be used as you noted, it will be set in active position and hidden in the control cavity). The other switch chooses between pickups blended with the balance knob, or both pickups on with equal volume. That second switch is maybe useful, gives you two sounds "at the flick of a switch". :) But primarily it will fill the forth hole.
     
  19. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Oh, I only thought that worked in passive mode.
     
  20. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If I understand the graphics and instructions...

    In passive mode the select switch gives you either the bridge pickup soloed or both pickups at equal volume.

    In active mode you get either "active blend" with the balance knob or "passive blend" i.e. both pickups at equal volume without EQing.

    But your question made me unsure of this so I have sent off a question to John East.