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V/V/T vs. V/B/T

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Awesome Sauce, Jan 20, 2012.


  1. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Aside from having 1 Master Volume, can anyone expound on the merits/demerits of either system? Thanks!
     
  2. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Independent volumes may give you better tonal control of the amount of sound coming from each of the pickups compared to a master blend. A blend control, however, lets you set it and forget it, if you have a preferred blend (say 30% neck, 70% bridge) and just change the volume to match your needs.

    A good blend setup needs a proper blend pot (a so-called M/N-taper pot) so once you're in the mid position, both pickups are on full, and as you turn towards the neck or bridge, one of the pickups stays full and the other is gradually silenced. Sourcing an M/N-taper pot could be trickier depending on where you plan to get it, but it's imperative - a "bad" blend pot won't have them both on full in the middle.

    There's also a third option if you're inclined that way - a 3VT (three-way switch with master vol and tone) - that's a no-nonsense system for when you like the tone of each pickup independent, and you like them both on full, but nothing but.
     
  3. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I recently put in a v/b/t setup to see how I like it. It's different than the v/v/t for sure, but the more I use it the more I like it.

    It's nice to be able to dial in a pup mix and tone that works well for a particular room when I first set up, then it's just a matter of how loud do i need to be with (very) minor changes to blend/tone as we play and I can turn the volume down to zero and don't have to hunt my pup mix again when I need to come back up to playing volume. I've got a bypass stompbox tuner so killing it with the volume pot is not something I really need, but it's nice to have the option if I need to kill my sound and I'm not right at the stompbox.

    It's also much faster if I need to make a big change for a certain song. Occasionally I get caught out with a way wrong tone for a particular tune and scramble trying to adjust it without dropping the groove. I've found this to be much easier with a v/b/t than with a v/v/t.

    As usual, YMMV, but so far I'm liking the new control setup.

    Oh and BTW, you can get blend pots from Stellartone. I'm sure you can get them other places as well, but that's where i got mine.
     
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    The advantage of V/B/T is that the volume and blend are independent, you can adjust either without touching the other. With V/V/T the volume and blend adjustments interact and to change either means you have to change both pots appropriately. Does V/V/T have an advantage other than the fact that many basses come that way and sticking with it means no soldering!? I'm trying but I am not seeing one. If you went V/T/V/T you would get independent tones on the two pickups -- when you run partial volume. At full volume on both the tones are paralleled. Personally, I prefer V/B/T due to the independence of the controls but then my bass is really V/B/3 band EQ so if there is any advantage to V/V/T on a passive bass, the way the tone control works perhaps, I would not see it.

    Ken
     
  5. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    There's the thing - you cannot have truly independent tones on the two pickups because it's an electrically passive network and everything interacts with everything - you'd have to have a pickup connected to its volume and tone, and then have an active buffer for each V/T stack. Otherwise, you turn one tone down and it'll affect both pickups.

    Edit: and I just noticed what khutch said and it's completely accurate - if the volume is partially down, part of the resistance is in-series, providing some isolation from the other tone control. Fender did a fixed-resistor version of that on their 62 Jazz basses with two stacked knobs, where they put a 220K fixed resistor after each volume pot, prior to joining the outputs of the pickups towards the jack.
     
  6. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    I was going to order a prewired passive harness from Best Bass Gear, either V/V/T/T or V/B/T/T- so I would have dual tone controls. I guess I should have originally posted that as I gather the extra tone control makes a difference. BBG states they use 250k Noble pots in their harnesses. I'll email them to find out if it's an M/N-taper pot.
     
  7. acebase62

    acebase62

    Jun 29, 2010
    V-V-T with a 3 way switch is versatile. Solo either pickup or activate both with independent volume controls like standard V-V-T.

    The 80s Fender Jazz Bass Special (passive) had this set up. It give more variety than V-T with 3 way switch used on some of the Yamaha BBs.

    Some have said that V-V-T works best with passive and V-T-B with active, but not I'm not sure (never had V-T-B basses.)
     
  8. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Thanks for the list. I often forget about the search function as I have not had good luck w/ it. Didn't realize I was posting one of 'those' threads though. ;)
     
  9. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Most volume blend setups I have seen are 250K volume and 500K blend. They do not blend like a pair of 250K volume / volumes. A 500K blend is more like an "on/off" switch. There is a small range of blending but nothing like the 250K volume volume setup.

    On my Sadowsky I am running a 500K volume with a 250K blend along with some single coils. The 250K blend pot is very close to the 250K volume volume setups I have played.
     
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    a balance control works better with active electronics.
     
  11. prd004

    prd004

    Dec 3, 2010
    My Mike Lull Jazz originally came V-V, but I had it switched to V-B last year and I like it better.

    While it's true that it does not blend as well as separate volumes, what it does is allow me to adjust volume on the fly which was very difficult with the old setup, especially in noisy environments where I was getting hum.
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That depends on the blend pot. If the taper is A/B (audio/reverse audio) it will often work like a switch. The better blends use M/N taper which has the pickup on full volume at the detent, while the A/B blends don't. M/N tapers are linear, which works better for blending.

    The reason you might want to use a 500k blend is that it is two volume controls in parallel. Two 500k resistors in parallel equals 250k. Add to that a 250k volume and the pickups see a 125k load, just as they would with a VVT setup.

    But sometimes the 250k blend works better because the range is a little more spread out. If you used that with a 250k volume, your pickups would see an 83.33k load, and that might darken the tone a bit. So you want a 500k volume with a 250k blend.

    I generally use 500k volumes and blends. The blend works fine, but the range is just a little past the detent and not spread out very far. An active blending system would fix that.
     
  13. I used to have a Volume blend setup and when I upgraded to EMG's, I got 2 volume pots. So I now have the 2 volume setup. I miss the volume blend configuration. I like that much better. But that's just my opinion. Both configurations have their merits. I now know what I want after having experienced both - it's volume blend.
     
  14. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    A 500K volume with a 250K blend is 100K load which is what I have in my latest Sadowsky wiring. I used to have a push pull pot where I completely pulled out the all the old wiring impedances and I could barely hear a difference as I went from a 125K load to an open. This was the stock Sadowsky HCs with 250K volume and 500K blend.

    On my latest setup with 250K blend and 500K volume, I get quite a bit more "blend" and less "switching" behavior with the blend pot. Thing is with the single coils I now have in the bass, I tend to like the center spot just fine for most things. Also the lower impedance of the 250K plays differently with the pickup inductance and allows more low end to come thru as the pup is blend.
     
  15. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You bypassed both the blend and volume and went to the jack? Did that bass have a preamp?
     
  16. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Bypassed the volume and blend loading. Still had the passive tone control in circuit (250K 47nF). Had a bypassable preamp. The bypass push pull did not result in a signficant difference in acative or passive.
     

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