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Improvement over stock Ibanez preamp EQ with Nordstrand pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by psychobot, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. psychobot


    Mar 30, 2007
    I recently acquired an Ibanez SR1205E bass, part of their "premium" line which I know is still a big step below the "prestige". But I really like the bass. Great neck, great pickups (Nordstrand Big Singles). The pickups really sound awesome in passive mode. It's the active mode I am worried about.

    The stock preamp in the bass is what seems like a fairly run-of-the-mill 3-band active EQ. To me it makes the pickups turn harsh. It doesn't sound bad, but just not awesome, no matter how I tweak it. Ideally I would love to be able use the active EQ to dial in something more powerful and substantial, as well as the ability to alter the pickup tone into something more like a P-bass.

    I was looking at Nordstrand's site and saw their EQ models, and was tempted to buy their 3b preamp, but I stopped myself for three reasons:
    1. Their EQ graph looks extremely similar to the graph of the stock Ibanez preamp. Would this really make much difference? Maybe these sweet sounding passives will always get harsh through an active pre?
    2. How much of a hassle will it be to install an aftermarket preamp? Is there any industry standard going on or would I have to rewire the whole thing? I didn't see any wiring info on Nordstrand's site, and I didn't know where to go from there.
    3. I don't really know what is out there in terms of bass preamps. I just know that I want to preserve the existing controls (on/off mini toggle, mid-shift mini toggle, B/M/T pots with center detent).
    I am primarily a guitarist and have a lot of experience working with guitar electronics, but this is a different beast for me. If anyone here has any advice for me, I would appreciate it very much. Huge thanks.
  2. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I can't speak to the stock Ibanez preamp, but I'm a Nordstrand 3b owner, and I've played 3 different pickup sets through it. It didn't make any of these pickups harsh. On the other end, I don't think I've ever read of anyone here on TB saying that Big Singles only work well without a preamp.

    If you're comfortable with a soldering iron, you shouldn't have any real problem. I didn't.

    I don't know if any 3bs come pre-wired with both an active/passive switch and a mid freq. switch, but it's certainly easy to wire it as such: All the schematics thet refer to push-pull pots can apply equally well to DPDT switches.
    maurilio likes this.
  3. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    You are probably looking for a more transparent pre. I have watched most of Nordstrand's videos. His pre amps sound good. But they do have a "buffer effect" which gives a bit of high end presence boost, even when set "flat".
  4. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    This is true, but also unavoidable to some extent. Every preamp is going to alter the interaction between the pickup's resistance/inductance and the cable's capacitance.
    maurilio likes this.
  5. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    Nordstrand pre's (2b, 2b+ and 3b) can be wired in every ways you want, with or without switches, push/pull, passive tone, mid shift frq...etc.
    Just ask for a pre wired, or a good tech or just do it yourself!
    Snaxster and 4StringTheorist like this.
  6. jdthebassman


    Jul 11, 2010
    I just installed an audere classic into one of my ibbys works great with the mk 1 fake barts

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