Replacing Cirrus pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Danny Adair, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. Just curious to see if anyone has had any experience with replacing the pickups and/or electronics on a Peavey Cirrus. I recently sold my a fretless Cirrus, but I still love these basses and I would really love to find a way to get the sounds that I am looking for out of a Cirrus.

    I realize that the Cirrus pickups are distinctively shaped (read: no aftermarket replacements), but I may have a solution to that - buy "naked" pickups and commission some custom covers (similar to Aero pickups). I've even seen a Fodera with custom-covered Bartolinis, which makes me think that Barts could be an option as well.

    For reference, I really love the warmth and tonal flexibility I get out of my Lakland, but I am interested in a six-string and I love the Cirrus' flexibility.

    BTW - has anyone (Embellisher!!!:D ) had experience with both the regular Cirrus and the custom Cirrus (w/Millenium electronics and sweepable mid)? Can you give some idea of the tonal differences between the two basses?

    As always, thanks for your help! :)
  2. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    i'm looking into upgrading the electronics on my cirrus-5 to have sweepable mids too~
    i'm still waiting for a reply from the peavey parts dept.
    anyone try dropping in the electronics from a millenium (i think that's the one with sweepable mids)?
  3. I seem to remember A.J. from the Peavey online forums saying that the Millenium guts wouldn't fit into the Cirrus cavity. :mad: Then again, perhaps Peavey just didn't want to undercut a new product idea. Who knows...:rolleyes:
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    There's a Bubinga Cirrus 6 at a local store that has the full EMG treatment. Kind of weird playing a bass that looks like a Cirrus and sounds absolutely nothing like one:)

    EMG's sound good in some basses.... this wasn't one of them. Thin. Really thin. No punch at all. None.

    Did I mention that it sounded thin?

    There was one good thing that I got out of this, I now know that a HUGE part of the Cirrus sound is the electronics. We A/B'd it with a Maple 6 and the diference was silly. Thin (I mentioned that, didn't I?) compared to the stock bass.

    On a bass that is this drastically tied to it's pickups and preamp, I personally wouldn't gamble on a pickup change. It's not a direct replacement and while the EMG's are rectangular and the VFL's have screw tabs they didn't look horribly out of place... but they definitely looked "changed". While the Peavey electronics give the bass the majority of it's character, Bartolini, to me, doesn't give character as much as letting the sound of the bass through.

    If the sound is in the Peavey pickups...

  5. Thanks for the info, Brad. :)

    If you're hinting that Barts might sound good in the Cirrus (just woke up from a nap - slow on the uptake ;) ), then we're thinking the same thing.

    The problem (for me) is that pickups are such an inexact science. I've heard basses with EMG's that sounded amazing, and others that were atrocious. Until recently, I just didn't understand the big deal about Bartolinis. After my D55-94, I've become quite the Bart believer!

    Perhaps instead of gambling everything on a custom bass, perhaps I can gamble only on the pickups....
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Sorry I was vague, Danny. What I'm saying is, the Bubinga Cirrus 6 with EMGs sounded bad to me. I have a feeling the bass was designed as a whole and the pickups and preamp are a big part of that. I'd guess the Bartolinis in a Cirrus would be as ho-hum as when I put them in my Carvin fretless.

    Stock Peaveys have a very distinctive tone, IMO. Barts are my favorite pickups (along with some OEM pickups, like Fender Jazz) but I wouldn't put them in a Cirrus. Pickups and strings are a gamble and you know almost immediately if it pays off. For me, most times it doesn't. Ouch

    You're right, it is cheaper than gambling on a completely custom instrument
  7. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Regarding the sweepable mid issue (putting a Millennium EQ circut into a Cirrus), I posted that question on Peavey's support board in the Parts forum. Here was the response I recieved...
    I called and spoke with Steve from Guitar Repair. He said that the Millennium circut board would NOT fit into the Cirrus control cavity without additional routing. The problem is not just with the length/width but depth of the circut as well. Needless to say, he advised against it. The control cavity of the Cirrus Custom is already routed to the same specs as the Millennium.

    BTW, he stated that to his knowledge, Peavey has no plans to include the sweepable mid EQ as standard issue on the Cirrus. He did say however that Peavey WILL be at NAMM, and many design changes that have incorporated in the past have been (at least partly) as a result from feedback from the show.


    - Frank.
  8. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    thanks for the heads up... very interesting info.
    so, what's up with the cirrus custom then?
    i thought that had the millenium electronics?
    completely different routing and setup from regular cirrus?
  9. Here's a thought. I believe an improvement would be made by leaving the stock pups in, and just replacing the preamp with a 3 band Seymour Duncan, which incidentally also includes a pull-up vol. pot with a slap contour. This is a wonderful preamp, the bass does not get wooly, and the treble does not get harsh. Also, it is very compact, and has two trimpots in it. My opinion is, there is nothing wrong with Peavey's pups, but the preamp ia a bit weak. The beauty is, the cost of the SD preamp is minimal, and if ya dont like it, well ya have'nt lost much.
  10. Good point, Marty. I've wondered whether installing a new preamp would have undesirable tonal effects similar to what Brad experienced with the EMG-loaded Cirrus. Perhaps a Bartolini or J-Retro preamp would also be good candidates...
  11. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Exactly! At least that's what Steve at Peavey told me.
  12. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    well, i, for one,
    love my cirrus electronics and EQ the way it is...
    i was just hoping for sweepable mids (to be a bit more precise in certain musical situations)
    but still it's good to hear about all these options.
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I like mine the way it is too.

    I like what it does and can deal with what it doesn't;)
  14. Please tell me you mean U-retro...
  15. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    If Danny really meant J-Retro, It's a preamp specifically designed as a "drop-in" for Fender Jazz basses (Steve "Dude" Barr would be the expert on this one)

    :confused: I'm not sure why Danny included that one, it wouldn't exactly work as a drop-in replacement for a Cirrus.

    Here's a link if you want to see what it looks like...

    .EDIT: Sorry Muttluk, I thought you asked "What's a U-Retro?", Sorry.

    - Frank.
  16. I had my terminology wrong, I meant the U-Retro. 'Doh!
  17. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    Trying to resurrect this old thread, and see if anyone mentioning changing their pre, ever actually did so. I like my cirrii a lot, and I started to doubt the electronics as turning knobs often took the tone I liked in the wrong direction. But I think I may just try a different preamp and see how that suits it.

    So I'd like to know if anyone else ever actually did do the swap, and what the results were. I think a sweepable mid would be a wonderful thing.

  18. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Yeh, I liked to hear about any pre change and difference. From my experience with preamps I'm guessing there wouldn't be much or at least not enough to bother with a change. But there are always wierd exceptions it seems.

    Sweepable mids to me were of no use. Had them on an EMG BQC control and wired an OBP-3 for them. Hard to find a tone and hard to get back to it, especially on the EMG as the pot had no detents. The NTMB with 3 position mid switch with mid boost/cut was a lot more practical.

    I'd like to check out a set of Cirrus pups but if the radius on them is as extreme as on the Foundation pups, it's not practical for my purposes.