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Steinberger Synapse... what would YOU do?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wideyes, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    So the steinberger bug has finally bitten. I've been drooling over the Synapse XS-15FPA (5-stringer), but all reports call them kind of meh. I'm attracted to them for several reasons:

    - headless
    - weight (apparently lighter than older steinies)
    - cheaper than an older steiny
    - the strap hook. sucker for the strap hook

    Basically, I'm wanting a small headless 5er. Should I just get the Synapse and decide for myself whether it was worth it? What are my options? What would you do?
  2. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Well, given your criteria, what are the alternatives?

    Zippo, right?

    Buy and enjoy. I own a Spirit, which ain't no Synapse, and I'm happy.

  3. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Yeah, try it out! What's the worst that can happen? You don't like it? THen just sell it.
    The best that can happen, you bought an inexpensive bass that you really like! :)
  4. Mister_argentum


    Aug 30, 2011

    I've own an XL2 and I like it a lot.

    I've tried a synapse at Sam Ash in NY, it was not my cup of tea but it was more than fine.

    Very different from the old ones (but not sure if that is the tone you are looking for), I'd say more polite.

    However if you are going for a 5ver forget about getting one of the old ones (they go for crazy ebay prices).

    Go for the synapse, they are sold cheap in the second hand market.
  5. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    Ok, thanks for the input, guys. I was faltering, because I'm unlikely to find one to play in my small town. Argentum, yeah, I pretty much decided against trying to find an original 5er, though a man can dream... So ok, I'll just have to take a chance. I was hoping there'd be more options in the headless 5er category, but it's still a Steinie niche, I guess... So thanks, guys! Keep my eyes peeled for a used one.
  6. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    My XL2 4-string became my "go to" bass years ago, and when I started working with 5-strings I decided I really wanted a headless, graphite, 5-string. So much so that I oredered one built by Status Graphite in the UK - and it's an absolutely wonderful bass. But it was an expensive path to go down. The Synapses are somewhere in quality (and price) between the all-carbon-composite L and XL series and the mass-market Spirit line. The electronics are very different from the L/XLs, but whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on your taste and amplification system. Personally, given your description of your situation, I'd go for it.
  7. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Every now and then I check eBay to see if there's anything interesting on this very front (or to see if an Ibanez Axstar surfaces…me want!). I get the best results using the search strings "headless bass" and then "steinberger bass". A lot of sellers will put "Steinberger" into their titles, despite the fact that what they're selling isn't a Steinie or even licensed by them.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  8. Well I am a headless guy. My main bass is an XQ5, see my sig. I just joined a new band and they play 3/4's of a set tuned down a half step and one of those tunes needs a drop D tuning on the E as well. Then they switch guitars and go back to regular tuning. I don't have a second fiver and found I couldn't re tune fast enough to use the XQ5. I found a Synapse on EBay for $700 including shipping. Bought it. I recall buying one of these when they first came out but sent it back. I have only played one gig with it so far and it is OK. Plays well and the PUPS are very loud. Both have EMG PUPS with an active PRE Amps. I think I like the sound of the Q better but the Synapse plays well. I also feel the Synapse sounds like the pickups are out of phase if that makes sense. Not a bad sound just different. Finally I needed to be able to get it on and off fast so that meant using the same strap. I added a strap lock to the body along the bottom and then placed a tie wrap on my strap so i can use the tie wrap to slip onto the hook and use the strap lock end on the body. Sounds funky but I can change in about 20 seconds.

    I would like to hear from other Synapse owners.
  9. joenoone


    Mar 21, 2009
    Clermont, FL
    Gotta agree with most of the posts above. I fell in love with Steinbergers when I was first starting off and tried out one of the old XL2 4-string fretless - loved the bass & the sound.

    I started off with a 5-string spirit and was underwhelmed, then got lucky and got a synapse off eBay at a great price. I hated the Spirit because it had two volume pots and the neck was lacquered paint (and the sound was "meh"). As soon as I strapped on the Synapse I LOVED the feel of it. the balance and feel is wonderful (it even has a "beer gut" cutout in back so it's in the right position), but it takes work to coax a great sound out of it.
  10. If you love the feel and balance of headless instruments, I'd skip Steinberger and save up for a Status - Do the job properly. If you like the little bodied basses, the Status Streamline is excellent.
    dannster likes this.
  11. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If it's "meh" sounding I think you should look elsewhere, the design is just one part of the package and not what will make you happy in the long run.

    If the sound leaves you up the creek with this one, at least you do have a paddle though. ;)
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  12. I love my Synapse, and would buy another were mine to meet some sort of untimely demise, super stable, light, well made, and while it doesn't provide the tone that the original ones did, it sits in the mix very well, my sound man loves it! It has plenty of useful tones thanks to the EQ, EMG pups. I have to disagree with the detractors, I really enjoy pretty much everything about it, except that I am large, and it is small, so it might look a little odd, think Andre the Giant driving a Mini Cooper. Well, maybe not quite that odd, but you know what I mean.

  13. joenoone


    Mar 21, 2009
    Clermont, FL
    Status graphite basses are amazing and I would love a Streamline, but they're around $2,500 which puts it out of my price range...
    dannster likes this.
  14. Ritchie_Darling

    Ritchie_Darling Bass @ AZ Supporting Member

    May 22, 2006
    Impulse buyer...
    BUY IT!! I love 'em!

    Had a Status Streamline which I also loved.

    But, it's a serious bit of cash!
  15. donnyrocker


    Aug 5, 2014
    no commercial affiliations
    How so? I a/b'd mine I've had for three gigs against my 2001 USA P-bass while trying out a new GK Neo 410 cab (1001RB-II head). The Fender had more beef and compression with its passive p'ups that I tried dialing in w the Steinie's active ones.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  16. ricknote


    Aug 3, 2006
    I borrowed a Synapse 5 from a friend to try it out on a gig a few years back. I really liked it. Real punchy and clear for live.
  17. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    Status half wound strings on a Steinberger generate, to my ears, a really great tone.
    If spirit or synapse tone isn't working for you I'd suggest trying those strings.

    kind of woody -- almost upright sound up the neck -- what I don't like on the spirit is how wooly the tone can be. could be cleaner/clearer.
    sustain is equal to anything I've played.
  18. I have used it for a full gig and rehearsal now and really dig it. sound is nice and it plays easier than my XQ
  19. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    Ugh... the streamline is such an ugly instrument, though! I mean, I know the synapse isn't exactly a looker but... ugh.
  20. i think it is cool
    Baird6869 likes this.

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