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Villex pups and a pre?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by chrisp2u, Oct 1, 2005.


  1. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Just curious if anyone has wired a pre to their Villex pickups?

    I just bought a bass (don't have it yet) with Villex soapbars installed (passive). I was just curious if anyone has ever wired them to a pre, what kind of pre, and what the outcome was? From everything I've read the Villex's do pretty well without a pre for passive pickups... just curious what other people have experienced or done with them.

    Thanks.
    Chris
     
  2. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    Let us know what you think of the Villex soaps when you get the bass, I'm quite interested in how they sound. Also, what size they are.

    I'm pretty sure someone here has hooked a pre up to Villex pickups, but someone with more experience in the matter will have to chime in (paging Mr. Wilson?).
     
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I've only heard of Villex p-ups used passive, never with an active preamp... It is their forte that they have passive mid cut/boost.
     
  4. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    I have some Villexes and they certainly don't need much in the way of a bass boost (I have double pole dual-coil humbuckers). I just finished recording with them recently and they sound HUGE.

    Mind you, I was using the 3-way booster that you can buy seperately on the middle setting. This boosts the signal and simulates over-winding of the coil.

    However, some people say that the Aguilar obp-1 (Is that right?) is a good match. A search should reveal more.

    What make is the bass by the way?
     
  5. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Actually, looking at the pic again... they look like they're probably the humbuckers :confused: ... the seller didn't really say much about them other than they were Villex, which was good enough for me since I've only heard/read good things about them. Just emailed Villex to see if I could get a wiring diagram.

    Pic attached... it's a Warmoth Gecko 5 ash body with a koa top. I picked it up as a bit of a project to mess around with. It needs some electronics work so I figured while I was messing around in there maybe I could juice it up a bit. I was considering the Ag OBP-1 possibly. My 55-02 has the Bart pre, so I want to get something that is a bit different tonally. If the Villex's are good enough without I won't bother.

    Thanks for the replies so far.
    ---
    Chris
     
  6. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Hey John,
    Is this an option from Villex? Unfortunately the Villex site has little to offer at the moment :(. How does it work (ie. what are the settings and how do you set them)? It's a bit unclear (been through a couple owners it seems) whether this bass had a pre with different pups previously that were switched out for the Villex-- there is a switch on there that isn't wired to anything.
    ---
    Chris
     
  7. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    Well, there is a two way and a three way booster available. The three way that I have is like a potentiometer shaped like a fairly large cube - but I think they have made them smaller now.

    It makes the signal loader, puts emphesis on a lower frequency (I think about 400 hz) and lowers the resonant frequency.

    So, I have a normal setting, then a setting that just adds some bass and makes the top a little more crispy and brings out the midds a little, then the maximum boost makes it a fair bit louder than with nothing (about 1/3 louder), removes some of the high frequencies and gives a large bottom/mid.

    The maximum setting is good for a dub sound or a more old-school type of slap without all the high-frequencies.

    When you have the booster up, the mid attenuator sounds different. It isn't so possible to get a real scooped sound and you get a more mid-strong, slightly nasal sound.

    It is hard to explain and there might be other variables (bass, exact pickup type etc.) It is nice to have though and not too deer. If you want to do some mods then it would be worth considering. It just goes in between the tone pot and the jack.

    [Edit] That looks like a nice bass by the way and there is plenty of room for extra knobs.
     
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've used them with a preamp, worked perfectly well - no reason why it shouldn't.
     
  9. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah, I was mostly curious if adding a pre would just be overkill as it seems these pups were created to work well without.

    I contacted William Villex regarding the booster stuff which he sent me pricing for. These look like an interesting option... I'll probably go for the 3-way as it appears the the bass is currently without this option.

    Basically, I'm bored and I want to mess with this bass to get as much tonal variety as possible since I have to do some work on the electronics anyway. What about something like the Ag OBP-3? Would that be too much? Should it work in conjunction with the booster???

    Sorry if these are lame questions... I don't have much experiece messing around with the pre stuff and just want to know if my bordom/curiosity is just stupidity that will end up as a waste of time/money. :)

    Thanks.
    ---
    Chris
     
  10. Maurice Carr

    Maurice Carr

    Aug 7, 2004
    Mt Wellington, Auckland, NZ
    Authorised BFM and fEARful cab builder: New Zealand
    This is a very topical thread for me as well - I've just bought a Villex MM and Villex Jazz to put in my BTB405 fretless and it goes to the luthier this week for installation.

    I was advised by Villex not to bother with a pre-amp as the signal strength from the pups was very strong .

    I'll watch this tread with interest as it would be great to hear everyone's experience.

    Mo
     
  11. Maurice Carr

    Maurice Carr

    Aug 7, 2004
    Mt Wellington, Auckland, NZ
    Authorised BFM and fEARful cab builder: New Zealand
    David, what type of pre-amp if you don't mind my asking? :)

    Mo
     
  12. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Hey Maurice,
    Are you installing one of the boosters as well?
    ---
    Chris
     
  13. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah, I didn't even bother asking William since I figured that would be the reply :)

    Think what I'm probably looking for the most is getting as much fexibiliy in tonal variety as I can. If these pickups can do it without (or with the booster), that's cool too... just want to know if I can take it a step further at all.
    ---
    Chris
     
  14. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    I've experimented with some single coil, as well as some P/J Villex pickups with my own design preamps. Worked fine.

    William is correct that there is no need for a pre, usually, but you can't get cut/boost EQ onboard (except for the inbuilt midrange control) without an active pre. A preamp also doesn't need to boost the entire signal, ie make it "hotter" with the EQ flat as the Villexes do have a reasonably high output level on their own.

    The Villex mid control is around 400Hz iirc, so if you go for a three band, make sure that the preamp's midrange is adjustable up to around 1khz to get max flexibility out of the unit.
     
  15. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Hmmm... thanks for the info Dharmabass. Yeah, extra cut/boost options are what I'm looking for. Have you had any experience with the Villex booster stuff too?

    Looking at the Aguilar OBP-3, looks like it only goes to 800Hz. Any other pre suggestions? Preferably something without a lot of colorization.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  16. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Nope, not interested.

    The OBP3 would probably be my first choice in commercial pre's, based on the fact I like the sound of the OBP1. The 800/1000Hz mid difference shouldn't be much in practice.
     
  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Given the Villex mid control, I'd say it's over doing it a bit to use them with a 3 band preamp. The pickups are boosting mids when the control is on full.
    I'd personally probably either use an obp-1 with a tone control for high end cut, or a bart two band preamp.
     
  18. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Wouldn't the OBP-3 controls replace all the existing tone controls? Apologies if this is obvious... I'm really not familiar what's included with the Villex stuff and I won't know what's really in there til I get the bass. It seems some stuff is either missing or not working correctly as is.

    I did manage to pick up an "as new" OBP-3 for the price of a OBP-1, so, how could I turn that down? If I don't dig it with the Villexes, I can always throw it into something else.
    ---
    Chris
     
  19. Maurice Carr

    Maurice Carr

    Aug 7, 2004
    Mt Wellington, Auckland, NZ
    Authorised BFM and fEARful cab builder: New Zealand
    Booster?...mmmm...not sure what this is and does, would you mind explaining please. The pups have arrived from US and all that came with them was one pot - I haven't even looked at it and figure the luthier can sort it out...but now you have me intrigued!!!

    Mo
     
  20. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    While I've never done it, it should be possible to wire the villex pups so that they don't have the passive mid pot. But, I think that is one of the major plus points of Villex pickups - the mid control sounds much more natural than any active mid eq boosting / cutting I've heard.

    This is why I suggest using two band eq with it. This is also what Spector do in the basses they equip with Villex basses - passive mid control plus two band active eq.