My basic review of the Sadowsky UV70 5 vs the Atelier Z M265

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chris.gotfunk, Oct 30, 2009.


  1. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I have been trying some new basses recently and have settled on two. So, here are the contenders.

    Sadowsky UV70 5 string- Ash body/Morado board w/vtc
    34" scale
    20 Frets
    Weighs about 9.6lbs
    70's pickup spacing- *edit* Single Coils

    Atelier Z M265 5 string- Ash body/Maple board Bartolini XTCT preamp with internal mid-trim pot.
    34" scale
    21 frets
    Weighs about 11.5lbs
    60's pickup spacing

    On to the review-
    I got home last night and spent every second with the Sadowsky and the Z. Two totally different basses. There is not one tonal quality they both share. Which honestly shocked the crap out of me. Now, part of that may be due to the Z having a super fresh set of DR High Beams and the Sadowsky having a used set of Sadowsky Blue SS ones. So, not completely a fair comparison. But, I can usually see past that.

    They both play amazing, feel incredible and since the Sadowsky is lighter, it is a little better to play standing up. The pre on the Z is not near as loud and powerful as the Sad. But, the Z sound is that monster poly finished ash body/maple board tone. After hearing the live recordings of the Z, I really think that bass sounds killer both fingerstyle AND slap. The Sad has the perfect ash bodied/rosewood (morado) tone nailed to a T. The fingerstyle tone is huge and round while the slap tone seems to be almost too midrange heavy. Popping on it sounds monster, but the slap tone will take some time to get used to.

    I could sit and play the Z by itself all day and love the tone I hear coming from it. The Sadowsky, not so much. The issue and IME, with basses that do not sound so great by themselves, they usually fit perfectly in a band mix. If I go on my logic (and since I love the Z in the band), the Sadowsky should really kill in our mix. For any of the fingerstyle stuff I do, I bet it will be right there with everyone. I am VERY curious to hear how it sounds with the funk stuff.

    Enough about the tone (who cares about that right?). The feel: Since the Sad is lighter, it feels a lot better to stand and play. The body is a bit smaller, the string spacing is not as wide and the Z pickups are really big looking in comparison. The neck on the Sadowsky feels way better than the Z neck. While I like the flatter profile of the Z, the neck finish, shape and the smooth buttery feel of the Sadowsky is a hands down winner for me.

    Controls: I am not a fan of Vol/Vol for some reason. I like having one master and just blending the tone that I want. So, in that department the Sadowsky wins the battle. But, the other controls (VTC, Bass, Treble-Sadowsky/Bass, Treble-Z) I am torn a bit. I know the Sadowsky is boost only so there is no need for a center detent, but this bothers me for some stupid reason. Now, the Z does not have a center detent either, so this one is a tie. Where the Z takes a victory in this category is the feel and sweep of the pots. The Sadowsky treble control is really loose. The bass control and VTC are pretty tight and feel good but the treble just turns if I look at it funny. Which will make live adjustments a potential risk until I get used to it. The Z on the other hand has a firm smooth pot feel and I know that once I set those controls, I will have to intentionally make an adjustment (which I do all night long).

    Summary- I love both of these basses! I thought the Sadowsky was going to do what the Z does, but be a bit more versatile in the fingerstyle arena while maintaining a killer slap tone. This is not the case... yet. They both are a powerhouse inside two different octagons. The Z nails the 70's tone (or what I hear as the 70's tone) without having the 70's spacing, while the Sadowsky nails the typical J-bass tone that is not the 70's sound that I hear in my head. They both have a place in my current gig/band setup and I only hope to be able to keep both of them, but I think one has to go.


    Disclaimer- This was meant as a review from my own personal opinion and should be taken that way. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences you may have had with either or both basses.

    Peace,
    Chris

    Here are pics of the two-

    uv70-3.jpg

    AtelierZ5Cls1.gif
     
  2. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Nice review. Which ever one you choose, I hope you don't regret it. I love Sadowsky, but have never played a Z, so I can't contribute to your dilema. Both beautiful basses.
    You definetly have to try the Sadowsky in a band setting, that's where they shine.
     
  3. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Thank you. I too love Sadowsky. To be honest, I will be keeping the Sadowsky. I used to have a beautiful NYC that had a flame maple top, flame maple fretboard and it just killed in our mix. The Z's are amazing basses. And, if I am not mistaken, Mas Hino used to build with or for Roger at one point. They are just as flawless and every attention to detail is taken as serious as Roger does.
     
  4. chris lykins

    chris lykins Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    phoenix az
    I would put the same strings on both for a better comparison as the sads are somewhat midheavy and the DRs definitely somewhat tame in the mids and sizzly up top. Agree with many that strings are a huge contribution to the overall sound.
     
  5. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Thanks for the advice. I plan to slap some High Beams on there to get a direct comparison. I did last night slap a little bit of an older set of HB's and the tone completely changed. I think I really need to get a set of the Sadowsky Blues and HB's and see which I prefer for an all around string. I need a good slap tone because we do a lot of funk related stuff, but I also need those precious mids. So, somewhere I am going to have to compromise.
     
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Nicely detailed review! They're both beautiful. Certainly, you put your own preferences out there... nothing wrong with that. I can see that the Atelier pickups are much wider... I'm guessing that their fivers and sixers use the same pickup route.

    Good point that the comparison would be more fair with identical strings... or both sets being fresh, anyway. That said, I'm a big believer that strings should be matched to the bass, i.e. a set of strings that sounds best on one bass might not be best for another.

    I *definitely* agree that you have to try them in a band setting!

    Good luck, and let us know which way you go. :)
     
  7. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Nice comments. A couple thoughts...

    Do a redux AFTER you get some fresh blues on that Sadowsky (they should have some more in a couple weeks), and also after you gig them both. I think you'll have some fairly significant new data to post after that.

    Also, these basses are really very different animals, so I guess I'm surprised you're surprised you had those results, but it's all good. :) On that note, it does make them hard to really "compare", BUT, the good news is, that means you really don't have to necessarily pick a "winner"... in fact I think that might be a bit of a disconnect since they weren't designed to go after the exact same sound. Different basses with different sounds... I'd say that's the makings of a particularly effective collection. :)

    I've had some limited experiences with the Atelier Z basses, and they really go after that "over the top" 70's sound... kinda' like the Celinder Updates do. Fairly different from a lot of other J style basses... even with the 70's theme. I think that's also why (like the Celinders) they tend to be heavier. Most of the Z's I've seen and played are 10-12 pounds (yours is like 11, right?). You DEFINITELY get an impact on sound when you have that kind of density in the instrument!

    Anyway, FWIW/IMHO
     
  8. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va

    Vic, I appreciate your comments and I plan to do a part 2 once I get to take the Sadowsky out with some new strings on it.

    I think the reason I am shocked is that I was expecting a closer comparison since the Sadowsky has the ash body and 70's spacing while the Z has the 60's spacing but is going after that over the top 70's tone. I know the maple vs morado was going to be a big difference, but not that big.

    While I think I may have mislead some that I was looking for a winner, that was not my intention. I was attempting to basically make a comparison of the two. At which I used some terminology that did somewhat turn it into a competition between the two.

    You are correct about the weight of the Z. It is around 11lbs. While the Sadowsky sits around the middle to high 9's. I think the pre's are a bigger factor than the weight as well. I have always been a Bart fan because of "that sound". But, I really love the transparency of the Sad pre. It really reminds me of my Dingwall in a lot of ways. I could not stand to just sit with headphones and practice with that thing. But once I get it out to a gig and heard or watched the DVD, I could not stop from listening over and over at the amazement in sound.

    I am not a solo bass player and I really consider myself to be a team player in a band. So, my preference to stand completely out in front of everyone is not high, but I want to be able to step out let the bass smack people upside the head somtimes.

    I am really trying to find a way to keep both, but I am just not sure how the wife will feel about me just spending $3500 in basses over a week. My heart and hands scream Sadowsky, while my ears and the twinge to slap people upside the head say Atelier. That is my true dilema here.

    I love what Roger stands for with his no BS, no marketing crap approach to his instruments, strings and everything else he does. I love the fact that he is so upfront about who he is and what he does. I cannot deny my affection towards people like that. He puts his stuff out there and says, this is who I am, this is what I have and if you like it, great! If not, that is fine as well.
     
  9. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    If the bass in the picture (and your avatar) is your new UV70, then it's my old bass. That's my floor in the background. :)

    FWIW, I swapped out the stock humcancelling for single coil Sadowsky pickups in that bass. You might want to note that in your review (assuming no one has swapped them out again since I sold it less than 6 months ago). I sold off the HCs long ago, and definitely preferred the singles.

    Try it with fresh strings, I'd advise. With a new set of HiBeams on her, she is an absolute slap monster. If I were still a five-string player, I never would have sold her. But something had to go to pay for my new Will Lee (on order).

    Lastly, I recall the weight being around 10 lbs. Has she lost weight? :confused:

    Enjoy!!!
     
  10. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    That's just it tho, there's SO much more to the diffs here... even beyond the pickup spacing, which is significant as well. Totally different pickups, totally different preamp, totally different woods (lightweight ash will not sound like heavier ash... you can't consider them to be "the same wood"), etc.

    Anyway, good stuff, and I know how you feel about spending tons of cash (trust me :rollno: :D), but give it a bit of time, and definitely do the gig thing as you plan to... and make sure that comes before you might have to make a decision between them (if it comes to that.)

    I've had GAS on and off for the Z basses, but the weight has pretty much held me off, though I know they play and sound great. Any more tho, I don't really miss having the uber-ultra-J sound (I used to have an incredible Celinder Update 5... ironically, in exactly the same finish as your Z :)), tho I didn't arrive at this until after really A/B'ing both tone genres at gigs. At home, I definitely preferred the uber J tone more.

    YMMV, but I'm interested to see what YOU think. :)
     
  11. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Interesting! So if it is, then yeah, also, switching to SC's would really make a noticeable diff too, and would also move the tone a bit further away from that modern J tone. Just a bit, but you can tell. I currently have NYCs with each loaded, both ash/maple, so I have a good A/B case.
     
  12. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Yes, the UV70 still has the SC's in it.
     
  13. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I love the wood floors.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this bass. So much so, that if it comes down between the two, the Z is on the chopping block (technically it already is).

    I am headed up to GC today at lunch to grab some HB's for her and I will restring it up once I get home to get a feel for it.

    I will update my thread this weekend once I get the new strings on it and have a chance to hear the tone difference.
     
  14. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    YES! definately a string change should make a very significant change in the tone.

    When I got my RV-4 I put a set of new Fat Beams on the bass and thought this sounds great. But found that I was getting a little lost in the mix. Then Jonno and KungFuShariff said that the High Beams work much better on the alder/morado basses so I slapped a set on. Holy smokes what a difference at practice last night. I had to turn the amp down since it was covering up the sound from a blaring Marshall half stack next to me. It was almost like night and day. The Fat Beams sounded really great on the bass but the High Beams just smoked.

    Another thing that I noticed from the string change was that the sustain with the High Beams was almost to the point of being rediculous. Places in the songs where I was filling with 16th notes I was now just doing 1/4 notes since they rang loud and clear for the full measure. Crazy!

    Nice, well tought out review Chris.
     
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yeah, this should be expected. The hex cores of the LR's and FB's (which I think are based on the LoRider cores) make for a stiffer string for lower action (hence the name), but that rigidity does cut sustain a bit. If you don't mind putting up with a little bit more slinkiness, and don't mind having to be careful about installation (make sure you crimp before you cut!!!!), HB's are still my all-time favorite overall string set. I have a set on my ash/maple NYC J5 and not only do they enhance the "alive" thing, they just last forever and sound fantastic. I like the Blues a lot, but HB's still win in my book.
     
  16. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    ^Why exactly do you have to crimp before you cut?
     
  17. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    The instructions in the pack are CRUCIAL for HB's due to the round core. You MUST crimp (bend, angle) the string BEFORE you cut the end off (if you cut your strings, that is... I do.).

    Otherwise, you can literally ruin a string... it can spring out on you and then you have loose windings and all the nasty unfocused mass of sizzly overtones to go with. Toss'em. You just cost yourself a string, and maybe a whole set if you can't find a single to replace it.

    Don't go there. :)
     
  18. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    ^ I've been using high beams for a while now and have always just cut the ends with a wire cutter without any problems. I guess I should read the instructions next time.
     
  19. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    +1. They're my favorite strings for my Sads, and I've never had a problem.

    Then again, that's not to say I might have been lucky.

    But what guy actually reads the instructions first??? That's like asking for directions. :p
     
  20. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Question for you guys. I noticed on my UV70, the bridge pickup is really high. It is about as high as it can go without touching the string. But in relation to the neck pickup, which is fairly low, would that have any impact on my slap tone? I just got to thinking about that. I normally do my own full setup on my basses, but last night I just never thought to raise/lower the pickups. I know the bridge pup is usually a bit higher than the neck, but not as exagerated as this one is. Anyway, I am going to give it a try when I get home.
     
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