Ok I am shopping for a pre-amp for my Kingston Z5. The main issue I have in doing so is 1. I'm completely electronics illiterate, 2. I have never bought or installed a pre-amp before. So I don't really know what to expect. My idea is I am going to upgrade the pre-amp first, and see if I can keep my wood covered pickups. If the pre-amp doesn't provide the desired results I will look into some pup. These are my main two choices for a pre-amp. I want to use the 18v version of these pre-amps: Bartolini NTMB - 3 Band Preamp 5.2 A/P 2 Pickup - 5 knob configuration Controls: - Volume (with Active/Passive push-pull) - Blend - Treble - Mid (push/pull freq selector) - Bass or Nordstrand 3 Band Preamp 3B-5a 2 Pickup - 5 knob configuration Controls: - Volume (pull passive) - Blend - Treble - Mid (pull frequency selector) - Bass Why I chose these two pre-amps: I know Michael Tobias uses Bartolini electronics in both his US basses, and the KZX series. Granted they are custom to MTD specs, everyone who owns them are very happy with the range of tones they provide, and they are supposed to be very strong signal vs. the stock KZ preamp. The NTMB should be as close as I can get to that sound. I do not want to drill my bass to install a switch, and do not care for switches in general. The KZ comes with 5 standard knobs (no push pull knobs used) One for vol - blend - bass - treble - mids. Nordstand has an excellent reputation on TB, and I have NEVER heard a foul word from anyone who uses them. So purchasing a Nordstand pre-amp would be based solely on reputation and owner satisfaction alone. These two systems allow for a lot more headroom, much more tonal range, and keep the standard 5 knob set up without having to drill new holes. They also provide active/passive tones which would be a very nice bonus. Here are some of the things that I do not know: When you buy a pre-amp does it come with everything needed to install them (except maybe knobs) or will I need to buy knobs, batteries, a wire harness, and pots in addition to the preamp? Does a 18v system boost the headroom more than a 9v system or does it just help with battery life? Perhaps both? Is it a worth while upgrade? I see no disadvantages to using a 18v system. Are there any? Can you purchase pre-amps as a complete system already wired so it is just a matter of attaching them to your bass? What do you use to attach the pre-amp to your bass anyway, glue, some kind of epoxy? In a active/passive set up, can I leave the signal cable plugged into the bass while in passive mode and not run down the battery(s)? These are all the questions that I can think of right now, but I am sure I will ask more questions as I learn a bit more about it. Thank you all for your help and opinions.