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options to replace Ibanez Vari-mid Pre?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by buddyro57, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. buddyro57

    buddyro57 me and PJ (living with the angels now)

    Apr 14, 2006
    Cedar Falls Iowa
    Just got an older Ibanez Prestige, it is a great bass, but I just can't warm up to the preamp, it is the 4-knob vari-mid design (along of the lines of the one below). Any ideas on a good option to replace it? If there is something out there that is good and which does not require major surgery would be of great interest.
    Many thanks

    Attached Files:

  2. buddyro57

    buddyro57 me and PJ (living with the angels now)

    Apr 14, 2006
    Cedar Falls Iowa
    C'mon fellas.....
  3. samurai1993


    Jun 6, 2010
    Mmmm any specific functions you would want in the pre?
  4. jg42


    Jul 12, 2012

    out of curiosity - what did you replace it with? I have EMG BQC ordered for my SRT900DX.
  5. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    The pre is actually pretty nice. Maybe change the pickups to Nordies. Big difference. Never did like stock Ibanez pickups.
  6. kdubb24

    kdubb24 Supporting Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    The "DMV" Maryland
    I replaced it with EMG BQC w/EMGX 40P5 & J pups. The sound I was looking for now in a bass body I love! Even after replacing the pre 1st, the 40DC's still sounded too cold.
  7. kdubb24

    kdubb24 Supporting Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    The "DMV" Maryland
    True DWBass, maybe it was the pups but I went for pre replacement first. But there is a noticable different in the mid freq range with the EMG BQC. The vari-mid sounds like a wah-wah to my ears.
  8. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS

    I don't have a problem with the pre so much as the pickups pick up 60 cycle hum. Ideally, I'd like to get an NTMB and different pups, or go all EMG to see if that fixes it. I read that EMG is all self grounded, so there is no hum.
  9. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    from another forum:


    Really the Ibanez Vari-Mid III that many throw away is everything, AFTER the Elixer Strings of course.

    Vol. 100% (Of Course)
    Bal. 3min to the Bridge
    Bass: + 7.5 db
    Treb: -7.5 db (attenuate up towards 0db as the strings age)
    Mid: + 3db
    Mid Sweep: Right below the Mid Boost Dot (my guess is somewhere between 1K-500Hz, but it might be 200."

    Haven't tried Elixers but I like the older Vari-Mid in a SR506,
    once I played around with it.
    Lots of tone difference to be had with the strings that 'fit' a particular bass...
    May take a few sets to find them, tho.
  10. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS

    I never liked or disliked the tone of the Vari Mid EQ on the Ibanez Prestige. I actually think it sounds good and I like the setting. What I do mind is the 60 cycle hum.

    I called EMG today and asked about their replacement pickups. After I told him the measurements (4" long and just under 1.25" wide) he said I would indeed have to route new cavity for their pickups, and that Ain't gonna happen.

    He suggested I use copper foil for the pickup routes. Since I had some on hand, I did just that and it seemed to make a big difference. The control cavity is already shielded, but the pickup cavities are just bare wood, so it had to have made some positive difference.

    I am lovin' the Ibanez Prestige, but I am still NOT opposed to the idea of getting an NTMB some day. Also, the pickups that come stock DO have the capability of coil tapping !! VERY cool and something I never knew.

    The Prestige is like a muscle car ; You can customize it and trick it out to your liking, or just drive it bone stock.
  11. Madelineid


    Nov 23, 2012
    You can go with SGD Lutherie Pup's and it will become an awesome bass.
  12. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS

    Thanks I will check it out, but I actually like the stock Barts now that I've shielded them and see that they are able to coil tap in case I want to add that switch in the future.

    I hope this also helps the OP, as it helps me ...
  13. Dan Bass

    Dan Bass Banned

    May 26, 2014
    Virginia Beach.
    The ibanez bass your talking about has EMG dc40 active double humbuckers stock with that ibanez bass,with active 18v vari mid 3-band eq, what's wrong,that's an awesome package!
  14. Juan Lauda

    Juan Lauda

    Sep 14, 2008
    My 2009 Prestige SR 4005 has US-made radiused Barts, not EMGs. Although I love the curved shape, I'm still looking to replace them as I've never really warmed to their sound. I love the feel and playability of the bass, but it lacks the punch of my Delano-equipped Sandberg TM5 or the EMGs on my Spector NS2.
  15. Juan Lauda

    Juan Lauda

    Sep 14, 2008
    Maybe I'm talking about a different Ibanez model, Dan. The PWC vari-mid pre runs on 4x1.5v AAA batteries.
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Most likely a modded bass.
  17. Juan Lauda

    Juan Lauda

    Sep 14, 2008
  18. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    There are several versions of the vari-mid since the first (around '95 or so), and they've changed pickups as well, with the diff models the vari-mid is in.

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