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Michael Pope Flex Core Pre

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by scotts42, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Lemon


    May 9, 2005
    Thanks Maurillo.
    The Pedulla Pre is different i think, it has only bass treble and a boost switch.
    The boost switch does no let you choose the frequency, its just up on down of, or the other way if you turn the two blue trimmers in the opposite way. What it does, is dip or boost on a certain frequency.
    exept for the NTMB 918, there is a other small black square box with no letters on it, I guess thats the Pedulla custom part of the preamp.
    I would have to guess and try if the colors corespond to the bart sheet.
    I would not want to kill it.
  2. rogerwilliamsen


    Jul 18, 2004
    Hi, Mike.
    Are the Core units ready to ship?
    My second question is regarding size. How tall are the units? The EQ board looks quite tall on the picture. Will it fit in all basses?
    PS: I have two of your custom creations and they are working quite fine. Also the Fodera preamp is top of the line.
  3. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Ok, I've drunk the Kool-Aid. Here are the official specs:

    Bass +/- 12dB @ 46Hz or 90Hz
    Lo Mid +/-12dB @ 330Hz or 473Hz
    Hi Mid +/- 15dB @ 1kHz or 1.8kHz
    Treble +/- 15dB @ 6kHz or 10kHz

    Gain pot : 12dB

    Bearing in mind that if you try to think of this the way you think of EQ in protools or something it doesn't really translate. The slopes are very gentle and musical, and the Q's move around too much with varied amounts of boost to be able to accurately specify at all. Bottom line is, it is a VERY musical and VERY useful EQ that I've spent a ton of time refining.
  4. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Hey Roger, I'm glad those double buffer circuits are working for you. You're the only guy I ever made a buffered balancer for. It has it's advantages, no doubt.

    They are ready to ship. In stock right in front of me here.

    The boards are all just barely an inch tall. I've not ever seen a situation where it wouldn't fit, but of course there are limitations. Most basses are at least 1 1/2". A typical Fodera is 1 5/8" at a minimum and often 1 3/4". Many basses are thicker.

    At the end of the day, to be safe you need about 1 3/16" of clearance between the inside mounting face and the "backplate" or equivalent.
  5. rogerwilliamsen


    Jul 18, 2004
    Cool. I believe that this is a great concept. You can even select the bass boost/cut, no treble but with passive treble roll off. Just like on most celinder basses. A nice way of retaining a vintage sound.
  6. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Yep. It'll cover a lot of "basses".
  7. steubig


    Jul 17, 2001
    locustland, ca
    stompbox version? treble, hi mid, low mid, bass, lows, on-off switch possible?

    (making trouble wherever i go.)
  8. rogerwilliamsen


    Jul 18, 2004
    I went ahead and bought one. I think these are a great idea. If they don't suit one bass you can try it on any bass regardless of how many pots it has. I will return with my thoughts as soon the thing is in the bass.
  9. GMSweet


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire

    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this preamp. I've been moments away from replacing the OBP-3 in my Stambaugh for months now. :) I was looking at the regulars (NTMB, Audere) but the FlexCore has me really intrigued.


    Thank you for drinking the "kool-aid". I know that a set of frequency points alone doesn't tell me a whole lot about the sound, but it gives me a good idea of whether or not it's in the vicinity of the areas I normally tweak. I would most likely be running the setup at 46, 330, 1K and 10K, but I like the option of swapping the 1K/1.8K depending on the strings I have on the bass. Thanks for the measurements as well; it would be a really tight fit in the control cavity for me so I'm still pondering the choice.


  10. jazz3625tonic

    jazz3625tonic Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2003
  11. At the risk of asking a very silly question... I am saving up for a special bass, probably a Fodera. In the mean time i have this Warwick rocbass I was thinking about modding with a flexcore. The woods are good alder and rosewood so I was wondering if this would help me to get somewhere near the Fodera emperor tone and curb my gas pains a bit til I can save up what for me is a great deal of cash.

    Also wondering about the stock pickups - am I gonna be needing some aeros to get this done. Or maybe the whole thing is a waste of time. Give it to me straight. =} thanks for you time I know y'all are busy.
  12. Bollenator

    Bollenator The Ersatz Haderach

    Jun 2, 2010
    Western Washington
    Another question for Mike about the Flex Core expansions: what's the difference between the standard and "premium" switches?
  13. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    With all the trimmings, it would be 309 plus shipping for mine. That's not bad at all for what you are getting.
  14. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (10/14/09 - 12/16/19)
    We get asked this question fairly often here at the shop. Honestly, Mike's preamps will get any bass sounding better...as long as the underlying build an electronics are sound to begin with.

    That said, our instruments sound and play like they do because of many, many little things that all add up to their being Foderas. We have had many folks do a lot of upgrades to their basses in order to make them more Fodera-like (e.g. add a used Fodera bridge, our pickups bought off eBay and one of our preamps) and they definitely feel that things improve, but the vast majority do not feel like they approach what a real Fodera typically plays and sounds like.

    Not sure if this helps or not...



  15. Thank you. Your answer is very helpful and honest. Can't wait to own the real deal. Keep up the giod work!
  16. rogerwilliamsen


    Jul 18, 2004
    I just finished dropping the flex core in. To my Great amusement everything worked the first time I tested my installment. I was cocky enough to screw the lid back on before I knew it was ok.
    I will test it further the following years, but my initial feeling was that it was a audible upgrade or step up from the old haz-lab pre. In my ears the haz sounds nice, a bit old school, and the controls adds wide coloration to the sound. The flex in comparison sounds more open and headroomy. Eq is precise. I like the added clarity to the b string.
    I will come back to this after spending some time live with it the following weeks.
  17. thehess


    Jun 15, 2011
    Just put my order in. Getting a 2t.2stk:
    • Master Volume (pull for passive)
    • Blend
    • Passive tone
    • Stacked Bass/Treble
    • Stacked hi/lo mids
    I'm actually going to put this in my Ibanez SR405 to start, and I'm probably going to put new pups in that as well. I love how it plays, and I am going to get it a bit more tonal range. I just am not ready to tear the LH3 out of my Lakland 55-02...yet.
    The 405 is going to be interesting, as I may go so far as to have David at SGD make me a pair of J pups, and may make a somewhat configurable arrangement, since the soapbar routes are going to be larger than the Js. Pics and notes will be taken and shared on a new/separate thread.

    Thanks to Mike for email responsiveness (fresh off of vacation).

    More to come....
  18. thehess


    Jun 15, 2011
    So, the FlexCore install is done. What on the surface looked like it was going to be an easy install required a bit of soldering, patience and a few tradeoffs. Overall, this is a great product, and Mike's responsiveness and customer service are top notch (see my note below about how I butchered the battery harness).

    I am going to post before and after clips in the Ibanez thread. (I'll update this post with a link when I do) Suffice to say that the improvement is substantial. I know that it might seem crazy to put a $300 pre in a $450 bass. However, this now makes this a definate usable member of my growing bass family.

    Here are my lessons learned and other notes:
    • Going 18v. If your bass isn't already routed/wired for 2 9V batteries, you'll have a little thinking to do. I decided to just nestle the second battery in the control bay, since I wasn't comfortable that I had enough clearance to route a second one. It's a tight squeeze, which will keep the battery from rattling around.
    • Wiring the battery harness. I totally screwed this one up. I tried to pull out the wires from the PCB connector. Don't do that. Just snip the battery snap connector, and solder the wires to your battery output. Mike was kind enough to send me a second harness.
    • Output jack variations. My Ibanez had a long barrel output jack. Mike ships the FlexCore with a pre-wired standard jack. It's no big deal to refit, if you are comfortable with soldering. I am going to suggest to Mike that he include the wiring schematic for the output jack harness for anyone who has to do the same thing.
    • Tinning the wire ends that go into the screw terminal. Old habit...not sure if it's really necessary, but it does help keep things together when you are trying to thread the ends into the terminals.
    • Clearance for the modules. The SR series has REALLY thin bodies, around 1". There was just enough clearance on the balancer board, since the pups and grounds are screwed in at the top. Most basses should be fine, but keep this in mind if you have a really slim-profile instrument.
    • Cleaning up. Once I got everything wired, I plugged her in and checked it out to make sure everything worked. Then I went back to the bench and focused on cleaning up the wiring. This might be second nature if you do this all the time. This is where the solderless module connections came in very handy.


    Ready to install.

    New battery bay installed. Got the Fishman-style from Darren Riley's. I swapped out the original (the one on the right) since it had the snap-style.

    Had to replace the nice standard output jack that Mike ships with the unit for a barrel style that fit the Ibanez.

    Modules connected.
    Update/Correction: I noticed when I plugged it in last night that only the hi-mid EQ was doing anything. Note that the mid eq board, the one at the bottom right, has only one connector plugged in. Duh. I misread Mike's install instructions "connect any connector on the stacked mid EQ" to mean "only one". Realized this when I woke up this morning. Cracked open the case, plugged in the second jumper, and - poof - puchy low mid now active. (man, I love solderless rigs!). So, if you get one of these with a stacked mid, you should have both of those orange connectors filled. (I am too lazy to update the pic.)

    Pickups and grounds wired to the terminal block.

    Battery nestled into place.

    And...here she is, sporting new knobs from Best Bass Gear.
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Nice work.

    Is that the second battery on the inside? Why not use a battery box made for two batteries?
  20. thehess


    Jun 15, 2011
    Thanks, it was fun...been a while since I had the soldering iron out.:)

    As for the battery, the Ibanez comes standard with the one 9v Fishman bay routed into the back. I got a second bay, but with the body only 1" thick, there aren't many spots left to put it. There isn't a lot of clearance in the back between the bridge pup and the bridge. Last thing I wanted to do was route right through the bridge screws. So, for now, it's tucked inside. Mike said you can run the pre on 9V, too (18 required for active pups, and for more headroom of course). You just have to do a little wire mating on the battery harness.


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