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Want to upgrade preamp HELP!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Strat Hater, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. I have a Raven West 4 string bass. I love the feel and the look, but not so crazy about the preamp. It ha an 18 volt system in it now.

    I want to get a tome similar to that of a music man. Any ideas??

    The bass has;
    two humbuckers
    active passive switch
    3 band eq

    When in passive mode there is no tone variation with the buttons, when in active mode I only have to make slight adjustments and it makes huge tonal differences, but it is hard to tune in tones I like.

    Could it be the pots and not the preamp?


    Here is a pic of the bass
  2. bump
  3. bump
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    it ain't gonna sound like a music man; it's the wrong wood with the wrong pickups in the wrong locations for that.

    i don't see a different pre really changing the "character" of the bass like that either; a better one might have more fidelity or less noise or smoother boosting and cutting (your issue apparently) or the EQ in slightly different frequency ranges.

    aguilar, EMG and bartolini all make nice clean 3-band preamps, with the EMG being the easiest to install.
  5. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    You may also want to try an outboard preamp to try to color your sound a bit. Aguilar makes the Tone Hammer which people seem to like, and there's always the Tech 21 Bass Driver DI, which I use to add a bit of warmth to my sound - I like it a lot. Try to experiment with things that don't require gutting the insides - try different strings, adjust pickup heights, outboard preamps... there's a lot of ways you can manipulate your sound, but like walterw says, it's not going to sound like a Music Man.

    Hey, why don't you just play the one that's on the stand in the background? :bag:
  6. The Ray 34 you see cost too much, had to return it to bring my account balance down to earth.

    My main concern is probably the pots. In passive mode there is no tone control. I like the sound in active mode, but the no tone control in passive mode is bugging me
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    now that can be dealt with, by adding a passive tone before the pickups get to the preamp.

    if there's no room, the volume could become a volume/passive tone stacked knob.
  8. It is already stacked, that's part of the frustration. However the (what I figure to be a tone control) has no response when adjusted, and the 3 knobs for the EQ are the same in passive mode. I don't know, perhaps a bad capacitor? I am confused on this one:meh:
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    usually you have a volume and pickup pan that work passively, then get fed into the preamp which has the actual bass/mid/treble EQ; bypass the actives and the EQ gets bypassed too.
  10. A lot of those cheaper basses come with poor quality pickups and preamps. You could probably do a full swap for $350 or so. Measure your cavities and see what size will fit in there, then take a look at the different options - Bartolini, EMG, Lindy Fralin, Nordstrand, Seymour Duncan, just to name a few for pickups. Aguilar, Bartolini, Duncan, Audere, etc... For preamps. All will,sound better than what's in there now, but each has it's own unique flavor. My personal favorite preamp is the Audere classic 4 band, but on a 4 string you may not need 4 bands of on board eq.