WARNING! Gratuitous amounts of reading and brainstorming imminent. Do not read if:- Unexperienced in bass electronics Pregnant Operating heavy machinery within 24 hours. My RBX375 recently let me down after 4 years of faithful service by making a horrendous distorted popping growling sound. It happens when I play too hard and is more common on the deep end (It's actually impossible to make happen on the highs, and I have to smash low E to get it to distort, but anything low D and below is just bad). And it's not a case of playing softer, it's the force any regular bass player would play at for metal. I've got a new bass now because of this, and it will be my main with the rbx demoted to back up (A broken back up, haha), but more than anything I just love the feel of the RBX. Something about it just works with my hands I guess. Me being stupid, didn't even think to ask on this forum what might be causing this problem, but a short search reveals quite a few others had a similar problem, and it was found to be in the preamp, and not the vanilla yam pickups (Which is where I thought the problem lied, but thinking about it obviously not, when I rolled all the blend to the bridge pickup it still happens) But I've always wanted to slap some high end electronics on the RBX and take that playability with me to a higher level. SO! Here's what I've gathered in research and what I plan to do:- PUPS The RBX Pups are huge, apparently they fit 6 string pups, but obviously it has to align to the 5 strings or be a bar. I'm none the wiser on where I want to go with this, but I was thinking of fitting an MM5 on the bridge and something else in the neck, wedging them in and covering it up with a pick guard However I think this might be a BAD idea because it's a bit closer to the bridge than the MM 'sweet spot' and I think the lovely MM tone we all know and love will be lost. For the neck I was thinking a nice deep meaty pick up. The MM would handle most funk/rock fine, but sometimes you just need to get smooth fat creamy dollops of bass. Like Barry White's voice in a bass pick up. I love versatility, and with a balance knob you can find a sweet area between the two. So, any sugestions? I think the RBX pups are 1" x 4", like I said not too fussed about space but I'd like it as full as it can be. PREAMP The problem at hand, it would appear! No later do I learn the bass has a preamp (6 years of constant playing and I never once wondered how the battery powered the signal. Airhead.) than I find it's causing the problem! Well no longer. Everyone seems to be raving about Aguilars, and I was looking at the OBP-3 (top of the range from what I gather). BUT! Everywhere I look, people demonstrate the Aguilar preamp by playing anything but rock. I've seen one metal head who's tone was HORRENDOUS (And he bragged about playing 16ths at 250 BPM. Obviously using his ring finger to pluck never occurred to him.) but I think that was more him just being extremely METUHHLLL. So does anyone know if the Aguilar is a versatile do-all (or the majority of it) preamp? Or would I be better suited elsewhere? I think a lot of people chose it because of it's size and the tiny routed cavity on the back of the RBX, which leads me on to my next point! Knobbage Right, I was trying to work it all out how to wire it and make it sound decent with the RBX's vanilla knob layout (1 vol, 1 balance, 1 treb and 1 bass). It runs on boost so you can't actually cut the treble and bass, so the only way to get mids is turn them down. That's when I realised this set up is never going to work. In a total hollywood diva "I CAN'T WORK WITH THIS!", I decided, I'm going to have to get drilling. I am going to completely rip out the basses electronics, route the cavity to a larger size, 'get mah drill awn' and go for the full shebang 2 pup, 5 knob, 2 switch set up. Is there any advantage to Vol/Vol instead of vol/blend? I imagine vol/vol is more versatile, but I don't have a single bass with vol/vol. Also the switches, one is A/P, the other is "msw"... What is that? Is that mid switch like I think? I thought that was built into a push/pull pot with the Aguilars, not a separate switch? Unless both switches are in push pull pots, in which case I might not even have to route the cavity and just drill an extra hole. The End. So, if you actually read all of that drivel, you probably got bored and forgot half the questions, (I know I did, I'm reading back through it now to see what I need to know haha!) tl;dr, basic summary: - Is the Aguilar OBP-3 versatile? As in not just 60/70's jazz sound. - Is there any point to a MM in the bridge slot if it misses the sweet spot? If not, what would be a better choice? - What neck pick-up? I'm a lover of fat creamy bass sounds. Creamy cream creamer. - Vol/Vol or Vol/Blend? - what on earth is an 'msw' knob? I have previous experience in electronics and soldering, I went through a phase of buying "broken" guitars from a local music shop and fixing the electronics, but I've never had to do anything with bass electronics, especially not active. It's going to be a fun learning experiment, that should theoretically yield a superior one of a kind bass that I can rock up to any situation with. (I have a fetish for custom instruments actually, the best bass I have ever laid hands on was a Fender USA P-Bass that had a custom neck and bridge pickup. It was being used by a guy in a professional Green Day tribute band and it played like an absolute dream. Each to their own!) Anyways, let the games BEGIN! Bestow me with your electonic pup knowledge almighty talkbassers!