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Villex

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by David Wilson, Jul 7, 2003.


  1. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Well, I got my box of Villex toys today courtesy of Matt @ FBB. I got a P/J set, which I'll try out in my hot rod precision. Also got a 5 string Jazz set, which I'm going to try in my Warwick Thumb 5 (I certainly tried every other type of pickup in there, so why not Villex?)

    Look at the attached wiring diagram, for anyone familiar with passive wiring diagrams this is totally insane. I can tell WHAT is going on, but I have no idea WHY. Actually, strike that. I have no idea what's going on with the mid pot.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Balor

    Balor

    Sep 24, 2000
    Montréal, Québec
    It seems I'm not the only one taking the plunge for Villex... I ordered a set of 7 string pickup from him (there not installed yet). I received the same diagram... odd looking isn't it?:eek:

    take care
    PL
     
  3. NioeZero

    NioeZero

    Sep 2, 2001
    Are they available in soapbar or MM-style configurations?
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    yup. email him at tovillex@aol.com and he'll be able to help you with specifics
     
  5. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    i too got my villex pj set courtesy of matt. so what do you think of them? i currently have 'em on my warwick stage 1 (with extra light guage La Bella flatwounds which i wanted to test, but don't like, so now i'm going back to my beloved elixir nanoweb super light guage; incidently, if anyone reads this and wants to buy a brand new set of 760fx la bella flats at a decent price, let me know).

    once i get the nanos back on i'll be able to make a more proper evaluation. but for now i'm amazed at the sound. the villex are repacing emgs, which i liked the clear deep piano sound of, but not the electronic attitude. i always liked the response of passive pickups, and these villex have that in spades, plus some strange kind of active-like quality to them that's hard to pinpoint. in fact, the lows are almost too low - and this with extra light guage strings! - but this may be tempered once i go back to the nanos.

    as regards the mid and high tone controls, it's true, a variety of sounds are available, and it sounds like they interact with each other, so having the high tone half way down, for example, and gradually reducing the mid control will not only affect the mids but the highs as well. looking at the installation diagram it appears as though even the two volume pots interact with each other and the with the two tone controls in this manner. wierd!

    also strange is that tapping on the pickups themselves produces almost no noise, this with the volume full blast. hmmm. there's also no noise from the pickups at all. it's an odd sensation to hear these piercing, active sounding highs without any electronic buzz. also, let me tell you, reducing the highs just a bit, and reducing the mids all the way produces one of the best modern slap sounds i have heard. playing over a pickup itself accentuates the quality of that pickup. for example, playing over the bridge pickup really clarifies and nasals the tone. i should also mention that the j pickup is extremely loud, no output anemia there. turning both pickups up produces a sound somewhat like that of the millenium falcon when it flys slowly across the screen. you know, that sustained, noble, magnificent, rumbling holler.
     
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I have the P/J set in my hot rod precision, it's very cool. I've been away a lot the past few weeks, so haven't had the chance to give it a full run through but they're very impressive.

    The output is very much comparable with that of active pickups. I had EMG's in the P/J before, and I loved their sound but these seem to have larger frequency response range. I'm probably imagining this, but the emg's sound almost compressed in comparison.

    I also installed the twin J's in my Thumb 5. The wiring is pretty tricky, as per the diagram. My thumb only has 3 knob holes, so I wired the master volumes as a stacked concentric 500k pot. The leftmost lug on the neck volume pot has four connections in / out, so you probably don't want to use small pots for these. As you can imagine, the stacked vol pot looked pretty scary when I finished soldering.

    With regards to the whole interaction of volume / mid controls,
    Mr Villex described it as a feedback circuit. This is true, and if you don't ground the mid control correctly you get a large amount of high frequency feedback. Can you tell that this happened to me :) I don't think my dog has forgiven me yet.

    The mid and tone controls don't interact in the way that the volume and mid controls do, the tone control is a standard post master volume tone capacitor bleed. But using both controls you can get many different sounds.

    I'm going to keep it as is in the Hot Rod Precision, but for the warwick I'm going to experiment a bit more.
    I do like having mid boost so I'm going to leave the J pickups in, remove the mid control (remembering to ground those wires correctly so I don't scare any more animals!), and put a preamp in. I'm putting in an aguilar obp-3 preamp this weekend, hopefully I'll get the best of both worlds with great pickups and great tone control. Wish me luck!
     
  7. hibeam

    hibeam

    Oct 16, 2002
    USA

    So they are passive?

    forgive my stupidity.
     
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    yes, the breakthrough is that they have achieved output levels similar to active pickups in a passive circuit. The mid cut is also a first for passive circuits
     
  9. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    So do the Villex PUs work well with preamps, or does that sort of kill their thang?
     
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    They work fine with preamps, however I didn't get finished on the weekend.

    I swapped my EMG's back in for now so I can do some before/after recording with Villex vs EMG.
    Since I also changed the preamp from URetro to OBP-3 I wanted to be sure I'm doing a fair comparison or Villex+OBP3 to EMG+OBP3.
     
  11. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I'm sooo glad I found this thread. I am considering Villex as an option in an FBB. I love passive sound and active sound but when I read about these things they really sounded interesting.

    I did think tho that using a preamp with it was not the point.

    So how are you liking them so far ?

    I am either hoing with the nordstrand pups and U-Retro or the Villex.

    THoughts ?
     
  12. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I'd go with the Nordstrand's :D :D :D
    Just kidding, go with what you think will work best for you.

    I should mention though that the mid control is not a new thing entirely. It may be new to the world of bass pickups, but John Suhr has been doing it for years on his guitars.
    It's actually a pretty simple circuit, at least the way Suhr does it. It's simply an inductor, like an air coil, in series with a capacitor across a pot to ground.
    I can't tell from the schematic what the Villex is doing, but it's very interesting. I'll have to try a set some day.
     
  13. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Carey, you are a shameless salesman...;)

    what do you think of the U-retro with you pups ? Actually, what preamp are you using in your basses ?
     
  14. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Don,
    I use the OBP-3. I think it makes for a great fingerstyle tone with lot's of flexibility.
    I have not tried the U-Retro with my pickups, but I'd imagine it also would be a pretty powerful and flexible setup.
     
  15. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The Villex are great pickups, but for my Warwick Thumb I think active pickups work better.

    I currently have the EMG's and an OBP-3, sounds great. The fat bass on the Aguilar helps counteract the thinner sound out of the Thumb 5.

    Anyone want to buy a 5 string Villex J set? :)
     
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm not 100% sure, but I think the innovation of these Villex pickups is that there is some kind of magnetic circuit that gives the pickups enough midrange punch to make a passive mid cut worthwhile. Is Suhr doing the same thing, or does he just add a passive mid cut to his own stock pickups?
     
  17. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Matt,

    Suhr doen't make his pickups any different. The circuit is most effective on a Strat with a neck pickup setting for a scoopy rhythm tone.

    Now you've got me really curious to figure out what Villex is doing. What do you mean by "magnetic circuit"?

    David,
    How much for the set? PM me a price.
     
  18. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Carey, he describes it as a mid feedback circuit. I tried to understand the wiring for a while. Then my head hurt.

    PM sent re the J set
     
  19. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Carey -

    William Villex told me this via email:

    "Magnetic circuit inside of pickup which interacts with sensor coil making it more or less sensitive to mid frequencies."

    This is about as verbose as William Villex will get. I'm sure he's perfectly happy with none of us knowing what goes on inside his pickups. You can see in the wiring diagram that black is output, and then there are the yellow and red feedback lines that make David's head hurt.
     
  20. Carey

    Carey

    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Hmmmm... very interesting.
    I'm just naturally curious, and I really dig this kind of stuff.
    I guess I'll have to give the system a try...