NS Design WAV Radius bass guitar - pickup swap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DenverKen, Sep 4, 2017.


  1. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    Hi all, I've been away for awhile but recently bought a WAV 4 Radius bass. While it's playability is unquestionably excellent, I find that the tone is weak and thin to my ears. The piezo helps but that EMG pickup is just too trebly for me. Has anyone tried replacing that pickup with something else to get a fatter tone? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!
     
    TanglefooT1959 likes this.
  2. IIRC, I believe the pickup is custom-designed specifically for that bass, arched to match the bridge and/or fingerboard radius.

    I also think in the control cavity is either a fine-tune trim pot or dip switches. I downloaded the owners manual from the NS Design website, but it's on my PC, while I respond presently on my phone.

    External to the bass itself, you might employ some effects, tone shaping, modeling, EQ, etc.
     
  3. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    Thanks, you're right - that PU is designed for the bass. I forgot about that. I do need to RTFM, so to speak, and see about the DIP switch. Appreciate the help!
     
  4. NP...haven't been on my PC yet, so I might be confusing models. It might have been the Steinberger Synapse that had that...but given its DNA, maybe both have it.
     
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I own a Radius CR4 and the pickups, like all EMGs are not thin or trebly IMO, they are just very clear. Even at max treble rolloff they retain clarity rather than getting dull. The bass boost is insane (I was able to get the instrument to feed back at full bass boost) so I don't turn it up much, but it definitely gets corpulent if you want. Dialing in some piezo adds even more bottom end (I always use the piezo in the "low" mode). Actually, the piezo by itself sounds much fatter than the mag pickups. Hopefully you have already done enough dial twisting to hear all this for yourself.

    Maybe just change strings? The factory roundwounds are really bright. I bought my Radius used and it still has the factory strings two years later, plenty of zing available. Maybe just switch to some darker strings?

    PS: the manual does not show any available trim adjustments for the preamp...I'm too lazy to open mine up to see.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  6. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    I put different strings on as soon as I bought it. I use GHS Pressurewound or Big Core bass. I couldn't locate a DIP switch but there was a trim adjustment on the pre. I dialed it up and it boosted volume, but didn't add any noticeable bass. Even though the instrument has a pre, it doesn't offer any boost. Yes, the piezo adds more depth but when I play this bass live I find I have to anchor my thumb at the end of the neck to get any real bottom out of it, and that's with both the EMG and the piezo dialed up. Which I can do, but then I forget and slide down closer to the pickup, where the bottom drops out. Haha, maybe the real problem is my memory! Next gig I'll just dial up some more bass/low mids on my head and see if that works. Thanks, all!
     
  7. Without looking up what the trim adjustment actually does, maybe dial it the other way? Sometimes adjustments can be counter-intuitive. I figured it was either a trim adjustment or a DIP switch, the latter of which apparently it isn't.

    Another option would be to contact NS Design and see if they have any suggestions. I'd suspect they'll be helpful.

    Memory is a funny...uh...what was I going to say? Who are you people? Get off my lawn!
     
    DenverKen likes this.
  8. Be_eM

    Be_eM

    Jul 27, 2013
    Bavaria, Germany
    According to Ned the trim pot sets the piezo volume, while the magnetic output is fixed. I haven't been able to find out what the dip switches do.
     
  9. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    Thanks! I'll look in the cavity again tonight. I did turn up the piezo I guess. I'd really prefer a CR5 but can't afford it. Ah well...
     
  10. jro

    jro Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    Did you ever succeed in your quest for a fuller sound? I have this same bass and have also been thinking of trying a different pickup or possibly a preamp. I did get some more oomph by raising the height of the EMG quite a bit. Once I got the EMG raised I adjusted the piezo level to match its output. Its better but still not fully satisfying.

    I need to measure to be sure but it looks like any 35 size soapbar pickup would fit. There are a lot of options in that size. Unfortunately, the custom pickup case NS Design uses has rounded ends so a standard rectangular pickup won't be a perfect fit.

    Here is a pic of the stock pickup back. There are 5 pins which could be wired series/parallel according to the emg 35hz installation sheet. Have to dig around and see how its wired from the factory.

    wav4_pickup - 1.jpg
     
  11. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    Hi and thanks for the info. I'm actually selling the bass. I decided to go with a Lakland DJ 5. That said, if it doesn't sell I might need this info, so I appreciate it.
     
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Late addition...looks from the photo like the pickup in the WAV is an HZ series passive pickup, the ones in the CRs are active. So different PUs, different preamp, different woods, no graphite in the neck = very different sound.
     
  13. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    Yep, from what I researched it's a different beast altogether. The WAV does have active controls and battery but it's just for a preamp and might not even impact the magnetic pickup. I don't know for sure.
     
  14. jro

    jro Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    I think the battery in the wav model is only used for blending the piezo and magnetic pickups. There is a small circuit board on the blend pot that is powered by the battery. The board has a pot on it that adjusts the level of the piezo.

    I think the piezo sounds great but the magnetic pickup somehow is lacking. If I get the time I'd like to try wiring the pickup to a switch for series/parallel/single coil. If that doesn't do it maybe get an active EMG or add a preamp. Anyone out there experimented yet?

    View attachment 2865630
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  15. DenverKen

    DenverKen

    Dec 20, 2001
    Mile High City
    That might be a good experiment. Myself, I have mine up for sale and haven't been playing it at all. I probably won't risk any experimentation since I'd really rather sell it.

    That's probably true about the battery; I can't remember exactly how that works since I don't play it any longer.
     
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