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MM Humbucker possibilities

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by silky smoove, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. 2 Seymour Duncan SMB-4's and the SD Preamp

    5 vote(s)
  2. 2 Bartolini MM's and a Bart NTMB Preamp

    1 vote(s)
  3. 2 Bartolini MM's and an Aguilar OBP-3 Preamp

    1 vote(s)
  1. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm building a project bass next year and will be using two MM style humbuckers. I can't decide on which type to go with though. The only one I have experience with is the Seymour Duncan Basslines SMB-4DS. Here's the options I've considered:

    2 Seymour Duncan Basslines SMB-4's with the SD preamp

    2 Bartolini MM's (C in the neck, X in the bridge) with a Bartolini NTMB preamp (3 band, with mid select and active/passive)

    2 Bartolini MM's (C in the neck, X in the bridge) with an Aguilar OBP-3 preamp (3 band, with mid select and active/passive)

    How would these pickups sound running in passive mode? Also, would it be worth my time (or even be possible) to wire up this system with a series/parallel switch for extra tonal variety?

    Last questions (I promise), would these setups require an 18V power supply? If I ran them off of a 9V power supply would the preamp quickly run out of headroom because of the two pickups?

    Just to clarify, price isn't a concern (as tacky and pompous as that sounds....), and I'll be using this bass to play in a rock/hard rock/grunge/little bit of metal/little bit of punk type arrangement. I'll mainly be playing fingerstyle and with a pick, with the occasional slap/pop thrown in for spice. Thanks in advance for the help everybody!
  2. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I have a Modulus Flea 5 I got a couple months ago which has a Bartolini MMC 4-string pickup (the gentleman I bought it from sold it to me like that and refused to refund my money.. yay for ebay) and a NTMB preamp. I really like the sound of the single MMC on the three and a half strings that it'll pick up at full volume. The moral: If you're planning to buy used, don't confuse the MM4 and MM5 pickups. They're the same size.

    Active vs passive: I've found that the MMC is hot enough that there's very little discernable volume difference when switching between passive and 9v active. In general I prefer this pickup's tone without the 9v preamp in the way, but they are sonically so similar that there's no way I could tell you which is which without a side by side test.

    Voltage diffs: My NTMB is wired for 9v operation so I haven't heard what a NTMB wired for 18v sounds like in active mode. Four out of the six NTMB series preamps will do either 9v or 18v, and the other two are locked in at one of the other. I'm not sure how much of the standard "18v good, 9v bad" idea is genuinely due to low output pickups or to the voltage itself but I suspect that it depends at least in part on the pickups and preamp involved. I'll probably try 18v at some point but sonically the active vs passive is similar enough at 9v that I'm more likely to just ditch the preamp entirely and do my tone shaping on the preamp.

    Series vs parallel: It came wired in parallel with the wires twisted together (from when the original Lane Poor 5 was removed to auction off separately, sigh). When I resoldered it in series, I found that it sounded a little better. Before I heard the difference I was planning on having a local shop fix it and put in a S/P toggle switch but I'm not going to bother now. The sound difference wasn't pronounced enough to my ears to matter and I guarantee that you couldn't tell side by side unless you were wearing headphones and playing solo. Onstage and/or mixed with other instruments.. forget it.

    To fix my pickup issue I'm planning to route out the body and put in a Nordstrand MM5. I'd be happy to report the results if you're interested.
  3. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Modulus did some funny things with "the Flea", as I recently found out when researching an issue for a customer. A guy wanted a Nordstrand MM pickup for his 5-string Flea, but the route for that particular pickup is sized for a 4-string pickup. He went ahead and pulled the trigger on the Nordstrand MM5, as he wasn't worried about routing the pickup cavity so that a standard sized MM5 pickup would fit. Nevertheless, it just goes to show that you just never know sometimes....just becaue the Flea has what looks to be a 5-string pickup in it doesn't mean that all of the standard size MM drop-in replacements will fit. ;)
  4. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Actually I am that guy. :)
  5. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    DOH!!! :D I should have looked at your location (Kansas City)! :smug:
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Small world, eh?
  7. what are the carvin humbuckers and active/passive modules like?..i was tempted to put the module and humbucker into an sx jazz myself