I don't know what it is, but I have owned a Sterling and a Stingray, both really nice basses, but I sold them both. I could not get any low end out of the Sterling, especially if I had to use any backline equipment in NYC clubs. The Stingray was a little better in the low end, but I had trouble with it in a live setting. It did not cut through. Same issue with the Sterling. Both basses sound great when practicing alone. Stingray users may think I'm nuts about these basses not cutting through, but that seems to be a common issue with the ones I have owned. Now, I am gassing for another Stingray. I got a new Trace Elliot tube head (VA400) that has tamed the zing of my Rick 4003 in a good way, and I am thinking a Stingray would sound awesome through this head. You would think I have learned my lesson, but Stingrays keep sucking me in. I think I am going to go for a 2-band EQ, instead of the 3-band. Perhaps the 2-band will thicken the tone up a little bit.