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Swapping a Spector TonePump

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gasman, Aug 20, 2012.


  1. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I'm considering buying the Spector USA preamp for my Euro4LX. It currently has the Tonepump, which just isn't doing it for me. Has anyone done this? Your thoughts, if so? I've read (and yes, I did a search) that the Spector USA 9-volt is, more or less, the old Hazlab pre. Is this true? Finally, I've also read that the pot holes in a Euro are too small for the pots of the USA version and require redrilling. Can someone tell me if this is the case?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya

    Dec 28, 2007
    You should ask this question in the Spector Club. They talk about preamps every other day. :)
     
  3. sumgruuvz

    sumgruuvz Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Kansas
    i have a korean haz lab im trying to trade for a tp. save you some money :)
     
  4. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    We talk about it every day! lol
    This is a nice option, it is a great preamp.

    First I would ask you, what you don't like about the tonepump. Is it the trim or non trim model (little blue square with a white dial)?

    I love the TP, but it is a lot to handle if you aren't familiar with it.

    The US 9v preamp is a great preamp tho. You may need to enlarge the holes for the pots on your Euro. Most people have to but some will fit. There is no soldering with the US 9V, so install will be easy, apart for enlarging the holes.

    There are a few people who have swapped out the Tone Pump for the US 9v in EuroLXs and have found not much difference in tone. It seems to be more effective in the older Euros (all maple) and CRFMs.

    You may consider the EMG BQC as another alternative if you have given up on your TP. A few of our clan have made the jump and really like it. It comes stock on the Spector Alex Webster sig model and really sounds great.

    So above all, I would say, let's find out what model TP it is and what exactly you don't like. We may be able to save you some money. :bassist:
     
  5. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I wasn't crazy about the TP in my CR4 either so I dropped in an Aguilar OBP-3 and I couldn't be happier. The EMG products are also good.
     
  6. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    +1. The tone pump turned down to about 3 or 4 and run at 18v dare I say I like better than the haz. Turning it down and running it at 18v being the key. Not much difference than the haz when you do that except more bass and treble boost on tap than the haz I believe.
     
  7. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the responses guys. I truthfully didn't know what TP was in it when I posted (didn't even know about the trim pot) and it turns out I've got the trim pot. I'll be messing with it later today and let you know how it goes.

    I've tried the BQC in another Euro that I sold. I honestly couldn't tell that big a difference, although that was several years ago and can't remember what it sounded like.

    I take it the trim pot reduces the gain in the preamp signal? Mine was completely open, and as a result I have never had my volume knobs beyond 25% because it was so hot. That's I guess part of what I wasn't liking about it: it seemed a bit harsh, even with the bass knob cranked. I realize it's a different bass, but the Spector tone I absolutely adore is Mike Starr's. Been trying to get somewhere near it for years, and just couldn't because of the amount of treble I was getting.

    Again, thanks for the suggestions and I'll update you with how it goes today.
     
  8. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    Yep turn it down to about 3 so you can run your treb and bass up full with no issues, then do the 18v mod to open up the emg's . I get mikes tone with my setup. I like something in-between him and rex though which is easy with the pump.

    Once you get your pump dialed in with your amp and how hard you want to drive it. Drop your action till you get a bit of buzz. It changes the tone a bit and should give you some of that clunk we all like. Enjoy :)
     
  9. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    +1000
     
  10. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the input- probably saved me a chunk of change. If you don't mind my asking, what is the 18 volt mod? How does it "open up" the EMG's?

    Thanks again
     
  11. madbassplaya

    madbassplaya

    Dec 28, 2007
    Paging limaguy!
     
  12. Alex1984

    Alex1984

    Jan 16, 2010
    Vancouver
    This is one way people have done it:

    http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/hosted/13148c310a859d26.gif

    Many EMG preamps can run on 18 volts, I'm not sure about the TonePump though. Mine came modded by smadder with PJ-X pickups, EMG BTS preamp @18V. I think the 18 volts mod increases the headroom of the preamp and increases the dynamic range.

    This is based on my observations on my guitarist's guitar.
     
  13. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    That is a great picture.... note the clip connecting to the original harness has the wrong colors. I think I have an extra harness wired laying around here, if you want it.

    The mod on the TP gives the bottom end a bit of a "tighter" sound. Overall a bit smoother tone, but still plenty of growl.

    PM me your address... I'm pretty sure I have an extra wiring harness.
     
  14. Alex1984

    Alex1984

    Jan 16, 2010
    Vancouver
    The key thing is just to make sure that one positive joins the negative of the other, so that they're in series, then link the remaining + and - onto another harness that will hook it up at the right polarity
     
  15. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Dec 23, 2006
    SoCal
    I may jump in on this bandwagon as well. I have a new (to me) Poplar burl Euro 4LX with the nontrim tonepump and am not really a fan of the sound. I was considering the 9 volt usa upgrade but at $350 for something that I can't hear first hand or A/B with what I already have I've been a little shy to make the swap. Not to mention I'm not fond of reaming out my pot shaft holes. So the idea of an 18 volt trimpot tonepump sounds interesting if it gets me more control of the overall tone of my bass and allows me to actually use the volume knobs on the bass.
    I read in an older post that one of the Spector club members has done this mod and he feels it's close enough to the sound of the 9 volt US upgrade on the non CRFM Euro to make it worth while.
    If that's anywhere close to true I'll just go the 18 volt tonepump upgrade route for about $100 and see how it goes.
    Anyone else done this before or have any sound clips to post of the 9volt US vs the 18volt trimpot tonepump. Also, I assume there's enough room in the cavity for two batteries.
     
  16. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    plenty of room. LimaGuy has clips on his soundcloud of TP 9v vs TP 18v vs US 9v
     
  17. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Dec 23, 2006
    SoCal
    Thanks worship! I'll check those out.
     
  18. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    The emg's run out of gas in the 9v configuration and tend to distort a little and loose some range. You wouldn't notice until you run them at 18v. They they sound much more hi fi. Most clips don't do the mod justice. Its just hard to hear on a recording I guess. Sam's comparo. However is a good one. You can hear how close the pump and haz are. Nice thing is once you get the pump setup . You can drive any amp as much or as little as you want. The tone pump is probably the most underrated and misunderstood pre out there imo. The hi's and lows are centered a little different than the haz too for a little more modern edge.
     
  19. What would be the reason to change it then?
    Not trying to be a smart#ss but I cant think of a reason to change ANY thing in my setup if it wouldnt be caught on a recording.
    Remember that this is supposed to be a soundmod.
    When I finally get my P/JX's in I will try the 18V mod just to see if I hear a difference myself.
     
  20. worshiprocker

    worshiprocker Tonepump Junkie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    it is subtle. but you can hear it. keep in mind recording and playing live are 2 different beasts. Amps react different when in a bar/venue.

    EMG recommends not to run the X series pups at 18v :(
     

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