Replacing Bartolini MK-1 Pickups and Bartolini MK-1 EQ

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by George Law, May 23, 2018.

  1. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    Hey everyone, I've been using a Cort A5 plus as my main bass for a few months now, I had it set up and it plays fantastically etc the only thing I'm finding is that I don't really like the pickups all that much, it has Bartolini MK-1 Pickups and a Bartolini MK-1 EQ all running form a 9v battery (which I have replaced a few times so it's not the battery) the sound just doesn't seem to have the balls I'm looking for, I've seen a lot of people in forums complaining about these pickups and the preamp, does anyone else find them a bit weedy sounding? when I set it to passive it just sounds thin and rubbish pretty much pointless as you still need a battery in the bass to use it in passive mode, even in active mode you have to give the bass a slight boost to stop it sounding thin, can anyone recommend a nice all round set of pickups, I play anything from Jazz/Rock/Funk/Slap through a GK2001RB head and Ashdown ABM410H cab, if anyone could recommend a nice preamp to go in the bass that would be great. Cheers :)
     
  2. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    First of all, the MK1 preamp doesn't have passive mode. The mini toggle switch on your A5 is only an EQ bypass switch. This explains why you would still need the battery despite you've put it on what you think as passive mode.

    Second, there's nothing wrong with the MK1 pickups. They just have their own sound. But, since they are being used on so many basses as factory pickups, thus like many things in this world, they may sound good with some combinations but may not work with others. I agree that they could sound thin, at least on my old Cort Artisan A6, but they sounded good on my Ibanez SRF705 fretless. They even sounded better than USA Bartolini MK5CBC pickups that I have put on to replaced them on this specific bass.

    Next, same thing on the MK1 pre... despite I also agree that it shouldn't be used on Cort Artisan A series, some might hear it as good sounding preamp. At least some like it when paired with USA Bartolini pickups.

    I also had taken off the MK1 pickups and pre from my old A6 years ago and replaced them with USA Bartolini MK6CBC pickups and HR-5.2AP/918 pre, and used the mini switch hole to install a mini 3-way switch for coil switching feature of the MK6CBC pickups. These combination could produce thicker sound inherent with the MK6CBC due to its dual coil, with lots of other tonal options from the pre and the additional coil switch.
     
    George Law likes this.
  3. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    Ah, that would explain it, I'd assumed they were active pickups and the "passive switch" was just switching the preamp out of the circuit lol, would you say it would be worth me getting some USA MK5CBCs then? or are there better choices, I've seen a lot of people raving about the nordstrand and aguilar pickups
     
  4. Ravenblack67

    Ravenblack67 Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    South Carolina
    I have four basses with the MK1 Pickups. Replacing the preamp with a USA Bartolini improved the sound quite a bit. In one case, I also replaced the pickups with a Bartolini MK5CBC set. The improvement was minimal. I'd go for preamp first.
     
    George Law likes this.
  5. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    Can you suggest a preamp? there seem to be almost as many options as pickups haha, I've heard good things about the east preamps but not had any experience with them
     
  6. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    if you want thicker sound, then yes, the USA MK5CBCs would get you there. Since this means you are changing from MK1, which has split reverse-P coils inside, to MK5CBC, which consists of dual full blade coils. But will a pair of these MK5CBCs would fulfill your goal? Only you can judge.

    More or less would be the same about Nordstrand, Aguilar, or any other available replacement pickups out there.
     
    George Law likes this.
  7. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    Thanks a lot I'll have a look :) what would you say the sound difference between the HR-5.2AP/918 pre and the mk 1 pre is? more output on the HR-5.2AP/918 pre? cheers :)
     
  8. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I don't have the USA Bartolini H.R-5.2AP/918 pre and the MK6CBCs installed anymore since I've sold my A6, although I still have them. They worked well together. I remember the HR-5.2AP/918 pre was transparent sounding with all EQ knobs centered compared to its passive mode (vol knob pulled).

    TBH, I mostly use the onboard EQ on any of my basses centered. The amp's EQ is always number one to tweak (well, actually the preset EQ on my pedal is number one, then the amp's EQ. But, I don't have my board with me all the time), then I use the bass on-board EQ as minor adjustment (which most times when felt needed in the middle of playing).

    Did it has more output? Can't remember for sure. But for certain the MK6CBCs dual coil series mode gave the A6 more oomph, especially when doing slap stuff, while the outer single coil mode gave it more clearer sounding.
     
    George Law likes this.
  9. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    That's fantastic, thanks a lot, that basically sounds like exactly what I'm looking for, the same but with more "oomph" :) I'll definitely have a look into them cheers
     
  10. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    You might want to consider whether you need the coil switching feature, since it will require a mini switch or two (or it can also be done by utilizing a push-pull pot or two) and whether you feel like to drill another hole on the bass body for adding another mini switch or not.

    If you'd like to keep the bass body original and you don't need the coil switching, you can opt for Bartolini H.R-5.4AP/918 pre, since this one came with a mini switch for 3 mid frequencies selector (instead of only 2 mid frequencies on the H.R-5.2AP/918, since this one is using push-pull pot for mid freq selector).

    In my case, I also prefer to keep the bass body original and prefer to have the coil switching instead of 3 mid-frequencies (2 mid-frequencies is enough for me). This is why I opted for the H.R-5.2AP/918 pre (which didn't come with a mini switch, thus I can use the mini switch hole for coil switching switch).
     
    George Law likes this.
  11. George Law

    George Law

    Jul 16, 2017
    does that have a dedicated passive mode? if so I would probably wire that to a push pull on the volume control, I suppose if it didn't have one I could just wire the push pull to switch the pre out of the circuit anyway? the hole for the existing passive switch (which isn't actually a passive switch lol) would have the mid control switch which would be nice because then I wouldn't need a dual concentric mid control (I really don't like using them), that configuration would probably suit me best, the only reason I want a passive switch is so that I'm not buggered on a gig if I forget to change the battery or misplace my spare, just a bit of peace of mind :) as for coil splitting switches could I not just put that on a push pull as well instead of a dedicated switch or would I need more than 2 positions? I don't mind drilling another hole if I need as there seems to be a fair bit of room in the cavity but I'd prefer not to
     
  12. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Yes, as long as you get the Bartolini preamp with "AP" model (which stands for Active-Passive), then you'll get push-pull Volume knob for active-passive switching.

    Yes, coil switching can also use push-pull potentio(s).
     
    George Law likes this.
  13. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    I've replaced MK1s and their preamps with USA MK4CBC sets and an Audere preamps, and I was extremely satisfied with the improvements in tone that resulted. It was a great combination!
     
    George Law likes this.
  14. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    Thick, full and big bottom should go with P2 (original) Dual or Quad soapar. I replace my MIK SR705 with the Quad coil model in 2009 along with NTMB 3band EQ preamp.

    Do you found the both pickup placement is more forward to bridge side compare to ibby SR 505 which have same pup but pup placement sit more close to neck side . Maybe that is the reason make A5 sound thin and lack bottom´╝č
    I own Cort B5 plus few months ago and I sold it. She sound ok if just solo and room practice. While in mix, sound thin even I just use neck pup plus bass boost.
    My new SR300E and Cort Arona 4 sound much better in mix compare to B5 plus.

    My2cents
     
  15. tnil

    tnil

    Sep 23, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I have had my Cort Arona 4 since 2015 and I love it. It sounds so great, even in passive mode.
     
  16. baldmusician

    baldmusician Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    Midvale, Utah
    Do you still have the MK-1 Preamp and eq? If so I want to buy it
     
  17. baldmusician

    baldmusician Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    Midvale, Utah
    Do you still have The Bartolini MK-1 Preamp and EQ with harness and pots? Im looking to buy
     
  18. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Sorry no. I've put them back into the original bass prior selling it.
     
  19. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    On my Ibby BTB845V, I replaced the Asian MK Barts with USA Barts: a CSC in the neck position and a C (which turned out to be wound half-way between the advertised neck and bridge version specs - perfect for me) in the bridge position. I then replaced the actives with an EMG active preamp. Quiet, Smooth, Clean, roars when I want it to.
     
  20. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    But those stock Bart BH2 pickups on BTB845V aren't the same as Bart MK1 pickups.