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Passive to Active. ...from China.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Raimonds, Apr 23, 2018.


  1. Raimonds

    Raimonds

    Apr 23, 2018
    Hi everyone.

    Long story short - some months ago a bought a passive Jackson Kelly Bird as my first bass and very quickly began to think that I'd be better off with some passive to active conversion kit. This is the version I bought:

    jackson-JS2-Kelly-Bird-IV-620x179.

    The Kelly Bird turned out to be a very good choice for such a conversion because Jackson had already routed the electronics cavity with extra pots in mind, since this bass has an active version too and they apparently made all basses with the same routing. The only thing that I was missing was a place for the battery. This is the active version:

    jackson-JS3-Kelly-Bird-IV-620x181.

    I was initially drawn to Seymour Duncan Blackouts preamp (Blackouts Bass Preamp)

    But I kinda wanted to get the same setup that the active Kelly has. All the reputable brands' preamps come with a price tag that's a bit to much for a DIY experiment, so I decided to try an aliexprex no-name conversion kit. Capture.JPG

    I was acually surprised at how decent this thing is. It has a 3-band EQ, balance and master volume. Price: ~10$.

    Now, here's the problem I have with this particular bass...
    The Kelly Bird is designed for looks, not for playability. It likes to nose dive, the body shape isn't very ergonomic and overall the bass is too big and too heavy for me and I'm looking for a replacement for it.

    I'm looking at the Sire Marcus Miller M3 which has loads more cool features and overall should be much more comfortable. That would be basically swapping one entry level bass for another entry level bass. Or should I save up a bit and buy something one step higher in the bass range? A decent Yamaha perhaps?
     
  2. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    By nose dive I'm assuming you mean the headstock. Do you know how heavy is it exactly? If you're not already using a 3" wide leather or suede backed strap, that can help both keep the bass at the angle you want it, and disperse the weight of the instrument much more evenly, making it more comfy to play for longer.

    Though if you like to play primarily sitting down, this probably isn't the best body style for you.
     
  3. Raimonds

    Raimonds

    Apr 23, 2018
    I posted this to start a discussion about passive to active conversion kits, and
    Yep, I know about changing straps on drilling the strap pin in a different place to fix the dive. The thing is, that the faulty design from factory just pisses me off a bit. :D

    Basically, with this post I wanted to share my experience with passive to active conversion and also discuss switching between entry level basses and is it worth the hassle of selling this one and buying another bass in the same price range.
     
  4. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Gotcha. Didn't even realize the strap pin was not already located behind the neck heel. I dont have any experience with the conversion myself, but f I wasn't going to keep it I would just sell it as is.
     
  5. That pic is exactly the same as used with the one I bought for my Ibanez GSR 205 £10 from China free postage (listed as Belcat). I had to get rid of that Ibanez MUDMAKER the Phat 2. Totally transformed the bass.
    Laurence
     
  6. Raimonds

    Raimonds

    Apr 23, 2018
    Yep, mine's also a Belcat. I'm facing a dilemma here - invest in a good preamp kit or get the Marcus Miller bass. :)
     
  7. Sean89sl

    Sean89sl

    Dec 19, 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    Well, if you find that the Jackson isn't comfortable for you, then it is no point to get another preamp to upgrade.
    Playability over look imho.
     
  8. Certainly the Belcat cannot be sniffed at for the little money. The Ibanez is nowhere near the quality of my Yamaha BB424. Tho the Ibanez can now sound like the Yam, the Yam cannot sound like the Ibanez. I do love my BB424. The Ibanez I just bought as a cheap active 5 string to modify. I bought the Belcat and the Ibanez on the same night on ebay. Some day when cash permits I shall buy a decent active 5 string Yamaha.

    Laurence
     

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