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Spector Tonepump specs, questions, wirings..

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by davidak, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. There is a lot of Tonepump Tonedump discusions over here, so I decided to bring some information from the source, since there's nearly no info on Spector's web.

    I live in Czech Republic, where are Euro Spectors made and know, that preamp also comes from Cze.

    It was designed for Spector and made by little company called Michalik. They sell this preamp here under name BP-4, and sell it to Spector under name Tonepump. I'll try to translate it's description, apologize my english. It could be called stupid marketing talk, but I think it is useful:

    Well, I was little bit confused from that Boost/Cut EQ parameters, so I've asked directly mr. Michalik.

    He told me that Tonepump is exactly the same circuit as BP-4. That eq is really cut/boost, not boost only, in spite of Spector says it is boost. It means, preamp is not flat at all when EQ is turned fully of! It is IMO very important fact. There's no middle dent on the pot, so it looks like on my old preEB MM Sabre,which was cut/boost too, with no pots dents.

    I asked him for some wiring diagrams- I would like to rewire my Spector to Volume/Balance, too. He sent it to me and I translate them from czech to english. Again, hope it's translated correctly, I've just edited it in Photoshop :)

    One pickup wiring

    Two pickups with two volumes

    Two pickups with volume and balance

    Hope it clears some doubts about Tonepump and will be helpful for someone.

    Cheers, David
    Radio likes this.
  2. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Not exactly,
    Spector's owner's manual states the Tone Pump is "flat" when slightly boosted.
    This seems to fall right in with your stated Bass +/- numbers, although not as well with the Treble numbers stated, which are almost equal.

    Thanks for that info though. Although they are working on a new website with more (and hopefully more accurate than in the past) info, Spector has not exactly been real "on the ball" on this front over the years.
  3. In fact, it is true. But-

    Spector official web description says:

    • Active Tone Controls: Spector TonePump™ boost only active bass and treble

    And downloaded Spector manual says:

    The Spector TonePump® Active Bass
    and Treble control is provided by means
    of 2 continuously variable controls.
    There are no center detents on these
    controls. In that way, you are in control
    rather than having “normal tone”
    dictated to you. Slightly rolling in a
    touch on both the Treble and the Bass
    control will provide a flat frequency
    response. Continuing clockwise, the
    Spector TonePump® will provide 18 dB
    boost in both the Bass and Treble
    range. We have “A/B’d” the TonePump®
    against all of the major bass “pre’s” in
    the market and have found that it offers
    greater headroom, gain, and control
    that anything out there. The Spector
    TonePump® is a 9 vDC circuit and is our
    most aggressive preamp to date.
  4. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I'd forgotten about the 18db statement.
    Plus they contradict themselves with the the "boost only", yet flat is "rolling in a touch".

    I play Spectors exclusively, but it has been a little frustrating getting not real accurate info from them over the years. Even things I've discussed with Stuart or PJ directly have been often vague, if not downright incorrect. It always surprised me they didn't seem to know the correct info on their own product on many occasions.

    FWIW, I became a fan of the OBP-1 that came in my "Euro4". I've since installed it in all my Spectors. It is also boost only (which I disliked...at first). I find both Treble and Bass boosted to about 40% to be about right.
  5. Well, I have some words about it from basschat.co.uk member cetera, who wrote him about it:

    Very nice :)
  6. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    And that, in a nutshell, is pretty much the way Spector has been spewing information/dissinformation for many years. Not intentionally, mind you. They just don't seem to be very on top of tech and historical info about their own products.

    Cetera is here on TB also.
  7. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    I am indeed.... :)
    PJ is going to clarify the workings of the Tonepump in the info on the new Spector site (due live anyday now!)
  8. BigGWilly


    Feb 16, 2004
    Tewksbury MA
    Uhhg, very frustrating. I have an 09 euro lx5 and the signal is way too hot for any of my gear. I have written Spector and was given the "boost only" explanation. Now I roll off all the bass and treb and run the vol/vol at around 2.5/10 leaving my tone lacking definition (but still over-saturated). It has been very frustrating for me and I am finding the Spector doesn't get out of the case too much any more. I am considering selling the bass or replacing the pre so I can get the bass back into circulation (I don't really want to do either). Any suggestions?
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It would seem that Spector uses at least three different preamps. You have this one, then there is the US HAZ Labs preamp, and then this one from G&B in Korea:


    So you have at least three different circuit designs. There's nothing wrong with op amps, and when used properly they are better than JFETs as far as lack of distortion.

    I think the thing to realize is if you are a manufacture of instruments, if you don't make your own electronics, you have to buy it from someone else. Then you are left to what the manufacturer of the electronics lists as their specs.

    A lot of passive tone stacks are not flat when set on flat. The Fender style circuits only boost the bass and treble, and only cuts the mids. But they are highly interactive controls. Because of some insertion loss, you often have to boost the highs and lows slightly for flat.

    I wouldn't worry about flat settings. Just dial in something that sounds good.
  10. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    If you have an "09" Euro LX, your problem is not whether it's "boost only" or not, it's that you need to turn down the internal gain pot on the Tone Pump (standard issue for this bass).
    byoung93888 likes this.
  11. NS2A


    Apr 3, 2008

    And we have a winner....
  12. KsPiNeSh


    Mar 28, 2008
    Kansas City
    +1. There should be a small dial on the preamp in the control cavity. Per the recommendation of other Spector users, the swee spot seems to be right around halfway up - find the full range of the dial and set it in the middle.
  13. dlvalure


    Oct 26, 2009
    Man I wish I had this setting on my euro lx....jus gonna replace the tone pumper with a sadowsky pre amp
  14. vates


    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Another question, don't want to start a new thread.

    Will the TonePump work with 18v setup? Thank you
  15. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    If it's not too early of a version, you shouldn't have a problem.

    The earliest versions supposedly had an internal voltage doubler. When I installed what I believe was one of these extremely early models in one of my Spectors and tried to run it 18 volts (primarily for my EMG's) it didn't like it at all because I suppose the internal doubler now had it running at 36 volts.

    I've since wired up other Spectors of mine, with later models of Tone Pumps, to 18 volts with no issues at all.
  16. vates


    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Thank you for a quick reply! Which year is supposed to be "early"? I think this particular TonePump is from the bass made in approx.2003.
  17. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    They started using the Tone Pump around 2002 so you're on the border line of what version it could be (and no, there's no marking to tell). I don't think they made many with the voltage doubler so you're probably OK. They added the trim pot in 2008.
  18. vates


    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
  19. jlfpercello


    Dec 13, 2011
    So i have an '04 euro 5lx with the tonepump preamp and every once and a while i get these weird static screeching noises. On top of that every interface i plug into has to have all the levels dropped like crazy in order to get a clean sound and even then it sounds like a bunch of transformers brawling. Is there something wrong with the preamp? emgs? me?!?!
  20. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    You should have a trim pot on the tone pump that controls the output (unless you have an early tonepump) . They come almost maxed out from the factory usually. There's a sweet spot around 3-4. That will bring the output down to normal levels. Any scratchy noise is not normal and is probably a dirty pot or possible bad solder joont, usually on the jack.