Ibanez SR505 Pick Ups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Doley50, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005

    I had my SR505 Ars Nova for a few months and at first I really liked the different tone options I had with it. I mostly play my MIA Fender jazz standard , but wanted a back up bass.
    From what I have learned, the Ibanez Bartolinni MK1 and MK2 pick ups are passive PU with an active pre-amp. I don't know what kind of pre-amp.
    I am wondering if there is a way to bi-pass the pre-amp so I can listen to just the PU ?
    I am looking into different option.
    Bi-pass pre-amp.
    Replace pre-amp.
    Replace PU with passive PU
    Replace PU with active PU

    I know it would be impossible for any of you to tell me what I would like but I am curious as to what your opinions are with the stock PU system and some suggestions as to what to look into.
    I like a tight punchy sound that is round but has some upper mids that gives it some attack. That is how I would describe my jazz bass tone.
    What are your thoughts ?

  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I know that USA Bartolini preamps can be wired with an active/passive switch.

    The conventional wisdom is to replace the preamp first to improve the sound.
  3. jeffmensch

    jeffmensch Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    Orillia, Ontario
    The preamp is an EQB-IIIS made by Ibanez. There's no easy way to bypass the preamp other than soldering the pickup leads directly to the output jack. I tried this with both my SR900 and SR1000 to hear what the pickups themselves sounded like.

    What I found was that the preamp alters the tone even when set flat. It exaggerates the bass and also compresses it which takes away some punch. The high end is also boosted so you end up with a somewhat scooped sound. Direct to the jack, the overall response was flatter and more dynamic.

    Ibanez does one other odd thing in that they switch the bridge and neck pickup positions, opposite to what is recommended by Bartonlini. You can tell by listening to the output level, the neck pickup sounds louder than expected relative to the bridge pickup. You can measure the resistance to confirm; the neck will have a higher reading than the bridge, meaning they are swapped.

    I corrected the pickup positions and found that the outputs from each were more balanced and that the tone opened up a lot. The Bartolini pickups work just fine with passive tone controls if you decide to go that route. If you want to replace the preamp, I highly recommend a Glockenklang 3 Band Preamp. The EQ controls sound natural and not overly sensitive like the stock preamp. It also has a active/passive pull pot on the volume giving you the best of both worlds. In this mode the treble control turns into a normal tone cut for that vintage sound. With the tone controls set flat, there is zero change in tone when switching from active to passive.

    There are lots of other brand options that will fit the SR505 control layout. Hope that helps. Let us know how things turn out for you.

  4. DanGR


    Jan 2, 2012
    Grand Rapids MI
    I'm on my second Ibanez SR505. I bought my first used and instead of having pricey fretwork done, I traded it in own a brand new (2011) one without realizing the differences until I played it for a while. The new model has a totally different preamp with a mid frequency mini toggle and I was wondering which version you were referring to. My first version (older than 2009) had just the 3 tone pots and overall I preferred the tone of that preamp over their current one. Thanks.
  5. jeffmensch

    jeffmensch Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    Orillia, Ontario
    Hey Dan,

    I was able to dig up this information by going to the Ibanez parts website and looking up the model number and year.

    2011 SR505 - "EQB-3S / 3band EQ/1V, 1B, bass,middle,treble,2way toggle switch"
    2009 SR505 - MK-1 / 3 band EQ

    2005 SR1000EWN - VM3-HQ / Vari-mid 3 band EQ
    2006 SR900FM - MK-1 / 3 band EQ

    The preamp I thought changed the tone too much was the Vari-mid in the SR1000 Prestige. I swapped that out with an Audere ProZ which was a dramatic improvement. Amazing flexibility with 4-band EQ and a 3-position impedance switch. Check out the information here.

    The MK-1 preamp in my SR900 (and your 2009 SR505) sounds very good. I believe that it's made by Bartolini to go with their MK-1 pickups, but don't quote me on that. It didn't really need an upgrade but I decided to try the Glockenklang which turned out to be an excellent choice. If you're not happy with the EQB-3S in your 2011 SR505, the Glockenklang is a great alternative. This install is straight forward if you're handy with a soldering iron and it can be ordered here.

    Sheesh, you'd think I was getting paid for throwing all these links around. Let us know what you decide to do. Always great to hear how other people are modifying their bass.