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Spector vintage tone question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Severu, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Severu


    Oct 6, 2010
    I have a question for all you Spector gurus out there - I'm a Fender P guy but I'm really getting fascinated by what I would call the late 80's early 90's Spector sound that's heard on albums like "Metallica" and "Operation Mindcrime". I know that these are recorded with vintage era NS2's. Just wondering what the affordable "modern" option would be to get exactly 'that' sound. I read a lot of threads on TB about Spectors, Euro, US, SSD, Kramer era etc and I must say I'm a bit confused. Not interested in cosmetics, btw.

    Example below: http://bit.ly/U3VDEl

    Thanks and a Happy New Year, everyone!
  2. Put EMGs in your Fender.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Hunt down an SSD NS4CRFM. It's all maple just like the US NS-2's and can usually be found for significantly less money.
  4. That tone is friggin' awesome. I've always wanted one so, so bad. Yet, I've never pulled the trigger on one. I just wished they used the same damn h/stock on the 5'er as they did on the 4-string.
  5. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Registered Rickenbacker Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    The Spector Euro LX - it absolutely nails the old Queensryche, Metallica and Alice in Chains tones.
    An even more affordable option would be to find one used. These are phenominal basses that are bargains new, and incredible steals whan purchased used.
    My white Euro LX pictured here sounds almost as good as my blue USA Spector NS-4.
    The plum CRFM (predecessor to the Euro) is also an amazing bass, and I scored it used for less than 1/2 of what the Euro cost. :bassist:

  6. Severu


    Oct 6, 2010
    Thanks for the tips: any preamp preferences for getting that sound? I read the preamps can pretty much make or break a Spector...
  7. gene beauchamp

    gene beauchamp Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    The euro nails it. In the 80's I had an ns2a with a preamp power amp combo and got that sound. I am a big Queensryche lover. It is the bass, I have never heard that sound from any other bass.
  8. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Registered Rickenbacker Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State

    The following are my own humble opinions of the various Spector preamps - YMMV.

    The Tonepump pre that comes stock in the Euro is Spector's attempt at a lower cost production version of their USA 9-volt circuit, and it sounds very similar. This is the way to go for those on a budget. These are great sounding preamps, and newer versions come with a volume trim pot to help tame the rather powerful output.

    The Spector USA 9-volt circuit - still hand-made for them by Haz Labs, by the same gentleman who has been building them for decades - is the top of the line preamp, and while it has undergone some minor tweaks & circuit revisions due to parts availability, it sounds much the same as when it was invented. This circuit can be purchased separately, but availability is scarce, and it is currently on back-order. The sound is slightly overdriven, with deep lows, punchy mids and glassy highs - in other words, the tone is Classic Spector.

    The Spector USA 18-volt circuit (also built for Spector by Haz Labs) has a simlar character to the USA 9-volt circuit, with a slightly less aggressive stance, & uses a balance pot rather than the separate volume knobs on the 9-volt, and it also has stacked bass/treble pots, making it the only Spector preamp with a 3-hole configuration.
    This is the preamp in my blue USA NS-4, and I love it. Combined with the dual humbucking EMGs of the NS-4, the sound, while similar to a USA NS-2 w/9-volt circuit, has it's own character, with more lows, a bit less "grit", and some of the classic "bark" of the EMG P/J setup is absent here as well.

    The Forte models come with an Aguilar preamp, and while I have no personal experience with them, the recordings I've heard sound nice.

    Some of the older Euros & CRFM basses (including my CRFM) came with the EMG BT preamp, and IMHO, while they are not exactly dogs, the EMG preamps are the least desireable. My CRFM w/EMG BT pre sounds very good at home & at rehearsals, but when played live in larger rooms with serious wattage, the preamp sounds sterile & brittle compared to the others. I plan on upgrading it's pre to a Tonepump or USA 9-volt soon...
  9. Severu


    Oct 6, 2010
    I just snatched a 2003 Euro off eBay (NB serial), it has the old TonePump (no trim pot). I'm pretty curious if I can get the tone I'm after from it. I'll let you guys know. In the meantime, what do you guys think about the Haz Labs Mighty Mite clone? Should I get it to replace the old Tone Pump for the tone I'm after?
  10. johnsonabq

    johnsonabq Hanging on in quiet desperation... Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    I'd like to add my two cents here. I've been on a quest for that Eddie Jackson sound from Mindcrime and Empire. I now have a Euro5LX w/Aguilar OBP-3, but have also just ordered a USA NS-5XL. I found an interview with Jackson on the web where he describes his sound and it's more than just the bass. It's a hybrid sound that combines the sound of his GK amps totally overdriven (in his words, "it sounds like garbage") with a DI. The key is in how you mix the clean and dirty. I am going to attempt this using my SansAmpVTBD in the effects loop of a Mosquite Blender. Since I'm in a cover band I'm hoping this will allow me to cop, Queensryche, AIC, Rush, Tool, and any others that use that over the top grind.
  11. NiteFury


    May 12, 2010
    Akron, Oh
    Find a nice used NS2A with upgraded emg pickups, the stock korean 9v Haz copy, for between $500-$600 and youll have exactly what your looking for with a budget price. Its neck through all maple body, nice skinny fast neck, and grind and growl for days.
  12. NiteFury


    May 12, 2010
    Akron, Oh
    They dont make them anymore.
  13. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    I personally think it's more the bass than the electronics.

    I have two USA Spector Bolt On's..an NS2J with Dimarzio Area J's/TonePump and an NS5 with a single Bartolini MM humbucker/Aguilar OBP-3. Both can nail the Mindcrime/Empire tone, especially the NS5-MM. Both came with EMG's pickups which could also get that sound, but overall replacing the EMG's was a HUGE improvement.
  14. marchone


    Nov 30, 2009
    Great summary. I'm saving this to file. Of course my first and only Spector has the EMG BT preamp in it! I bought a new Czech bolt-on NS-2JA-R to wet my feet and I'm glad I did. Now I'm hooked on Spectors and want an NS-2 or Forte4.

  15. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    I own an early Spector NS2 (SN in the mid-700's) and played a Czech version a few years back that felt nearly identical. Those are real nice basses.