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MY cort A5 sucks! the electronics?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by sratas, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    hi guys, I purchased a new Cort A5 and, after 7 months, I still like the overall fit and construction of the instrument, and the acoustic sound too. the problem is the amplified tone, and obviously, this is an electric bass...the acoustic tone is well balanced, somewhat muted in the attack of notes, nor real long sustain but sufficient, grat midrange presence and alligned highs. When I plug-in, the sound is muddy, with too much lows and lowest mids, with an unpleasant peak at 70 hz that kills the overall sound. Mids are good, so the highs, even though they are quite metallic to my ears (active bass...). when I play with my band, my bass literally shakes the walls with a boomy and indistinct bassy feel, that my bandmates and I hate. Moreover, no matter what I play, the notes are not intelligible. It is not my amp, I use a great Markbass rig that is brilliant and precise, with tons of clarity (with other basses).
    I'm sure that the cause are the crappy active electronics, a full Bartolini MK1 3 tone preamp and pickups. I'm seriously planning of swapping out the whole harness and pre and trying to connect the PUs in passive mode, since the original outfit of the instrument does not have the chance to play in passive mode. So, I need some advice. Are the stock MK1 PUs usefull if used as passive units? How to rewire them in passive mode using only the volume and blend pots? please, I'm really desperated. I have not much money to buy other PUs or even active preamps...really need some help if anyone knows what to do...:help:
  2. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    I agree. I am loving an A5 that is in a local shop, but the electronics are unimpressive. Why not find a new preamp? I think a modern active tone would fit that bass's feel and look.
  3. Rufusdewfus


    Apr 18, 2003
    My Cort has Barts too. I go through a lot of batteries. Try changing your battery before
    you do anything else. Once I change the batt I find I really like the tone but the Bart pre
    literally eats batts in hours.
  4. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    excuse me, I don't understand...the quality and type of the battery has a direct influence on the sound? if yes, what was the most evident change in the basic sound of the instrument? moreover, if you tried a lot of batteries, can suggest me what's is the best in your opinion? I have noticed one possible fault in the electronic functioning. when I leave the bass (plugged or unplugged) without playing it for a certain amount of time, some hours or days, happens this thing: when I plug the jack and instantly play a note, the sound is totally absent and appears after 2-3 seconds with a transient and brief distorted feel. no problem if I play subsequently, the EQ works regularly and so on...this behavior happens even with new battery and is not limited to my own bass. I noticed the same in another CORT, an A4, new in the store, that has the same electronics...have you ever noticed this? is this kind of thing a defect common to the type of electronics, is normal, or means that something is not ideal (ex: the battery)?. hum...so many troubles and questions...than you all for your suggestions!:bassist:
  5. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    Rufus Dewfus is suggesting the battery is probably low. as long as it's an alkaline battery, you should be set. Brand name/'special' battery etc. is not important.
  6. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    in terms of pure theory I agree with you, and, in my experience, the battery life with my a5 is quite long. The bass still works after 7 months, with the original battery substituted when I purchased the bass. Has anyone tried to rewire the stock Barts in passive mode? Do they sound less harsh in the highs? I walked on a TB thread, in which someone was suggesting a replacement of the PUs claiming a great tonal improvement. The major problem in planning to do so, is that the only replacement for the mk1 are the USA mk4...of bartolini, that will cost an arm and a pint of blood (around 100 dollars each), the 30 % of the value of the entire stock instrument. and, after having made such a kind of deal, you may still have a partial result coming from the stock mk1 preamp. I don't know if the real problem is the PUs or the pre or both, but I cannot try in a blind way and throw away my money...
  7. schwartz37


    May 6, 2008
    I found a used Cort A5 in great condition and picked it up cheap. It plays great, but as you all have said the electronics suck! I had the pickups and pre replaced with REAL Bartolini MK-1's and it is now an amazing bass! The pickups that come in the A5 say Bartolini on them but they are not made by Bartolini. Bartolini licensed out their name to Cort in Korea. If you take a look inside the wiring on those things make no sense at all.
    If you switch out the electronics it will make a huge difference.
  8. Hi Sratas.

    I recently acquired a 2nd hand Cort A5.
    I love the action and playabilty of this bass.
    However, I think the electronics need improving.
    I have been looking into maybe throwing in some MEC's (the pickups Warwick use).
    They have some the exact same size.

    I noticed you posted this a while ago. Did you ever replace the p'ups/circuitry?
    If so, what success did you have?
  9. JazzyLambert


    Dec 8, 2008
    My Cort A4 is beautiful in every way except the PUPs do sound very polite. They are great when doing a solo in my Jazz fusion band, they are quite vocal, but they are really not punchy at all.

    Do I have to replace the PUPs or could I just put a D'Aguilar onboard preamp instead? With good electronics this bass will be absolutely superb.

    I have noticed that Cort are now offering custom A4s & A5s with better PUPs.

    Can't Groove @14

  10. bass07


    Jan 11, 2009
    Pleasanton, CA
    Sratas, I have no experience with the Cort A5 myself (I'm actually looking into getting one, which is how I ended up on this page), but as far as the battery problem I do have a suggestion.

    I use a Cort C4P (discontinued) and it eats batteries for breakfast. This was getting pretty expensive until I switched to rechargeables. Grabbed an Energizer battery recharger (the only one that I could find for 9V batteries) from eBay, and started using POWEREX 9.6V rechargeable batteries (true 9V; most 9V batteries are about 8.4-8.6V when you get them) and they've lasted me a long time. I haven't had one die on me yet. They're like $15 each, but over time it really adds up to a lot saved, and it actually did help the tone.

    When my batteries started dying before (or when I haven't recharged the battery for a long time now) the tone of my bass started getting really muddy, weak, and a little distorted. Don't know if that helps with your problem, but I thought I'd offer what I've learned in case it does.

    Thanks to schwartz37, too, for the info about the electronics. I'll definitely take into account the price of new pickups if I wind up getting one. Is the actual electronics system all messed up too? Or is it just the pickups?
  11. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Strange I have an Ibanez BTB 555 with MK-1's, and I believe that the pre-amp is also a Bartolini design. I think Ibanez Manufactures these all under license. I Think that Cor-Tek builds basses for Ibanez as well. So to make a long story short I'm absolutely in love with the tones I can get from that bass. Since I got it my Spector has not been seeing as much love as it used to. It really comes as a surprise that the A-5 would sound so bad to so many of TB'ers. I had my eye on a couple when I was shopping but ended up buying the BTB.
  12. Woodhouse


    Jun 19, 2016
    Hello , does the cort b4 also suffer from this problem ?
  13. ghostinthemach

    ghostinthemach Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Brea CA
    IMG_2250.JPG Not sure about the B4, but i have a Cort Fretless (that i cannot identify the model of) that i bought used at GC with MK-1 pickups and pre. I hated the klanky upper mids it had until i had my tech remove the 'Bartolini' pre and presto i LOVED the tone. Some of the electronics are questionable in those otherwise great value basses. Currently looking into a fretted Cort to add to the family.
  14. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    That's an older (1999-2000-ish) Artisan B4FL. I have one in the lighter finish, and it sounds great.
    ghostinthemach likes this.

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