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Mini-review: Arcane Inc. 57 Experience split coil P (Precision) bass pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Snaxster, Apr 24, 2016.


  1. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Background

    It took me only eight months to install this pickup. In hindsight that was advantageous, since in that time I tried and lived with several other split coil P pickups. Notable for this review, they included the Arcane Inc. 65 Experience P, the Lollar split coil P, and in the past few days a second test of the Klein Epic 1959 P.

    Arcane Pickups 57 P Bass Experience.

    The Arcane Inc. 57 Experience P replaced the superb Klein Epic 1959 P in the same bass, an alder/maple/rosewood Bluesman Vintage (BMV) P/J J/J. The BMV’s stock pickups are Flying Mojo P/J, which formerly I said I would not toy with. But I needed an alder/rosewood/roundwound P bass for choosing a P pickup for an upcoming bass build. The Klein was the first one I retested (and the only one, since it was perfect).

    Sound

    Again this worked out well. From the eight-month timeline, to hearing three P pickups in quick succession in the BMV, I gained (was forced to gain) a useful perspective of the Arcane 57 Experience P pickup. In summary:
    • punchy low midrange into solid, but not heavy low end
    • spitting, slightly snarling, lowish highs; not sibilant
    • harmonically rich midrange that just doesn’t quit; sonorous and growly, not overtly midrange-y
    • sweet and clean, but not too
    • bold and clear
    Adjusting it at first, I thought this was a hot pickup. Then I lowered it and its sound relaxed and came into focus. That’s when I heard its character in common with the Arcane 65 Experience P: the same even-keeled refinement, purity and sweetness, only constructed and voiced differently.

    Less interesting that Lollar, but overall as strong. Less raw than Flying Mojo, and less soulful than Flying Mojo or Klein (or Novak, I should add), but perfectly musical. Generally voiced somewhat like Lollar, but with more growl; highs similar to Flying Mojo, but less wild, more refined.

    Conclusion

    All the pickups I mentioned here feature Alnico 5 magnets. And they all have heavy FormVar coil wire, except the Arcane Inc. 65 Experience P and the Klein Epic 1959 P, which have plain enamel wire. This week, after playing the Klein P again for a while, if forced to choose one wire type it would be plain enamel. Yet recently I mentioned to The Pickup Wizard (whose fine split coil P features FormVar) that I had no favorite, and that it depended on how each maker designed and constructed each pickup model.

    However, though each maker may interpret materials’ characteristics differently, heard in enough different examples those characteristics emerge. If so, then as it is used in bass guitar pickups, I hear a FormVar sound. Novak makes it be spongy and wooly; Flying Mojo makes it be big-bottomed and nasty; and so on.

    In its 57 Experience P, Arcane Inc. makes FormVar be bold, clear, and growly. I think it’s a gem. I like it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
    jebmd, Pbassmanca and Laurent like this.
  2. MarkA

    MarkA I believe in countermelody. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Groovy. Thank you. Appreciate this and your other perspectives on off-the-beaten-path pickups.
     
  3. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Thank you, Mark. It is always my pleasure to share (my mostly unsolicited opinions about obscure stuff!)
     
  4. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Thank you very much for this interesting review. How do they compare or differ with the Arcane Experience 65?
    Many thanks in advance for your insight on this one.
     
  5. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    You are quite welcome, Laurent; only I'm sorry it took me so long to do.

    Similarly the Arcane 57 P's midrange to low end response is a near inverse of the Arcane 65 P's response. My recollection of the Arcane 65 P is that it is comparatively hollow sounding, whereas the Arcane 57 P has a "sonorous and growly" midrange.

    Mind you, I didn't quantify that with a scope; and I played those two pickups in two different basses.

    Like its Arcane 65 P sibling, the Arcane 57 P also has wonderful balance, openness, and elegance. But the balance is "voiced differently"; it is open-sounding, but in a different acoustical space, so to speak; and it is more tough than elegant.

    I might say that in character the Arcane 57 P is a more rocking pickup than the Arcane 65 P. I resisted saying so in my review, almost commenting that "modern rockers" would like it, but it's a point of reference.

    Et voila. Given only these two examples, my experience with audio equipment makers tells me that the respective voices of the Arcane Inc. 57 P and 65 P pickups were designed by the same mind. Two distinct expressions of the same way of hearing things.

    The tendency for audio equipment makers to have a house sound or voice is why I avoid using multiple pedals by the same maker at once, for example: I want my sound not to reflect their sound too closely.

    That said, I did consider the merits of a two-P pickup bass with the Arcane 65 P in the neck position and the Arcane 57 P in the bridge position. ;)
     
    Pbassmanca and MarkA like this.
  6. sheltjo6

    sheltjo6 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    California
    I recently had the opportunity to compare Arcane's 57 Experience and 65 Experience precision pickups.
    Snaxster summed it tonal differences in his review above.

    '57 more low mid frequency response.
    '65 slightly mid scooped frequency response with more pronounced lows than the '57.

    Both pickups are extremely balanced in tone and volume across each string, just voiced differently.

    Either pickup is a good choice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  7. MarkA

    MarkA I believe in countermelody. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    String-to-string balance is important to me -- good to hear from you and from Snaxter that these pickups have that. Thanks to both of you for sharing your impressions of that and of the pickups' other qualities.
     

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