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Newbie question re: onboard preamps

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Steeplemouth, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    Hi all, new bass player here, please go easy on me.

    I have got a Spector Legend 5 string bass (Korean made) with EMG Hz pickups and an EMG B30 onboard preamp. I love the bass but it is quite noisy with a noticeable hiss, especially when the treble is up past 12 o'clock. I want to do some recording with this bass but it is too noisy and I believe it is due to the onboard preamp.

    If I replace the preamp, will this fix the noise issue? If so, could somebody please recommend a decent preamp? I know nothing about them. I play rock and metal predominantly, along with some softer ballad-type stuff.

  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    IIRC the HZ are passive, so if you want to figure out if it's the preamp, just bypass the preamp temporarily & see if the problem persists.
  3. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    Thanks for the reply. That's right, it's a passive bass with active preamp. Any idea how I bypass the preamp? Apologies if this is a stupid question, as I say I know nothing about it.
  4. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    The noise is a hiss, not a hum?

    Is it steady no matter how you hold the bass??

    What's your amplification situation? Have you tried any other basses thru it??
  5. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    It's a hiss that is steady and always present. Boosting the treble boosts the hiss and cutting the treble reduces it, but I like a bit of treble in my bass. Putting a noise gate on it cuts the hiss completely but it is still noticeable when I play a note and the gate opens.

    I'm not amping the bass, I run it into a MXR M80 DI pedal and then into my Focusrite 18i20 for recording. I have tried skipping the DI pedal and running the bass directly into the Focusrite, and I have tried plugging the bass directly into an input on my Elektron Octatrack sampler, and the hiss is present and sounds the same regardless of what I have it connected to. I have also tried different cables to no avail.
  6. fast slapper

    fast slapper Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    It's the preamp. You'll have to take a look at wiring diagrams for volume/volume or volume/blend and go from there. You can also wire the pickups directly to the jack as well.

    Most onboards have some noise. That's the trade off for having long battery life. I prefer using decent outboard studio channels for recording.
  7. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    Dude the thought of that terrifies me, I struggle to change a light bulb. I'm assuming the preamp that came with the bass is a cheap crappy one, would that be a fair assumption? If I bought a decent one and had it installed would that fix the noise issue? If so, what kind of preamps should I be looking at? I know a local luthier who can install it for me but I have to get the preamp.
    catcauphonic likes this.
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You won't know until you do a basic diagnostic test. Wire the pickups, one at a time, directly to the jack and listen for noise. If it goes away then the preamp is the problem.
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If you’re going to replace the preamp you’re going to have to disconnect the pickups and the jack anyway.

    So it’s a good idea to positively rule out the pickups rather than buy ($$$) a new preamp only to get the same hiss even though from the symptoms I suspect the preamp is the mist likely culprit at this point.

    As far as preamps go, Audere puts out a decent preamp you can configure with pretty much whatever features you want. The sound quality is excellent and their prices are reasonable.
  10. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    Thanks a lot guys, all responses very much appreciated.
  11. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Does your Legend have the 4 knob configuration of vol/blend/Bass/trouble?

    I've got an Aguilar OBP 2 that came with my Spector ForteX that I've been meaning to move since I went all out and put in their reissued classic US9/Hazlab pre a few years ago
  12. Steeplemouth


    Aug 25, 2016
    Yes I believe so. It definitely has four knobs, I thought they were bass, treble and a volume for each pick-up but you may be right.
  13. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    You could be just as right. Maybe only true actives have the blend, but if it has the space for four pots and you got the correct one for the blend, I would think it could fit. I'd Google it but haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet. Let's just ask @Killed_by_Death :smug: He would make a great tech for somebody or a great snarky proprietor of a place that offered such services
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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