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Zon models - custom special standard studio ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kurisu, Jul 21, 2004.


  1. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    So, after killing the search engine I still haven't got a definitive answer: What are the differences in tone?

    And what does the 2D preamp do? Is it only avaiable on the custom, or can you get it installed on any model?

    Which has the most growl? And is the Studio worth the mega bucks?

    (btw, I know this is a subjective thing, but since I can't test them myself, and I'd be looking for a used model anyway, may as well try the TB. :) )
     
  2. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Atlanta
    The Custom has dual coil pickups and the ZP2D pre standard. I think the sound is probably considered deeper and more organic than the single coil Sonus and Sonus Special.
    The Studio is the hyper Sonus, with individual EQ per pickup.
    As far as the growliest, I'd have to say the Special, due to the pickup placement closer to the bridge, the specially wound pickups which enhance the low mids, and the bubinga. I don't buy as fully into the sound characteristic of the wood. I know that bubinga is considered a mid-rangey wood, but I think the electronics/pickup/pickup placement play the largest role. I love my Special for the fact that it cuts through just about anything.

    I'm sure other TB members have a better experience of all these models.

    Love them Zons.
     
  3. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    If you're looking for mid growl, I would say that the ZP2D preamp is your poison. The preamp is designed to bring out the low mids of the bass. I'm pretty sure that the ZP2D pre can be ordered custom on any bass if you like. I know it comes standard on the Customs and the Legacys if I'm not mistaken.

    As far as Zon basses go, I'm partial to the Customs because to me it's the most versitile. I've played the Special and I think those sound best as a fretless bass. The p-ups and their placement really compliment the fretless sound IMO.
     
  4. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I've spoken to Zon about this very recently. You can get either the ZP2D or the Bart pre on ANY bass, but what comes "standard" on the Sonus is the ZP2D except for the Special, which comes standard with the Bart.

    On the mid-growl, I'm not so sure. I'd bet the tone diffs are a little more subtle than that, though I must admit, I'll be playing my first ZP2D tomorrow. However, I have a Sonus 5 (not Special) with the upgraded Bart pre (to keep the same as my Special fretless) and it's got TONS of mid growl, and I can really tune it in with the upgraded mid-control, too.

    Pics here:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=136636

    Coming from an owner of this exact bass, you are ABSOLUTELY correct!

    I guess in short, I'd say more generally that ALL Zons will slice through about any mix you throw at them. I can actually turn down an still hear myself on stage (a beautiful thing), and our drummer's pretty loud... has a strong snap to his wrists. I'm somewhat new to Zons, but most of you already know this, as I'm learning it's a (great) characteristic trait of ALL Zons.
     
  5. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Gah! Okay, so the ZP2D pre is standard on all Sonus's except the Special. And if you want you can get the Bart pre on any model as well.

    So, the Legacy Elites have the ZP2D pre standard, right?
    And if I wanted to get a Sonus with the most Legacy Elite sound as possible, I should get the Custom, which has the same pickups and pre, right?

    Hmm.. Or maybe I should just get the Legacy Elite... Why aren't they as popular?
    Is it because the neck is fatter? Is the string spacing still the same as the Sonus?
     
  6. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I personally totally agree with this regarding tops... they're more about a tonal nuance than they are tonal definition, IMHO. I'd change my tune if we were talking about necks, tho.

    BIG DITTOS on both points. My Special is fretless, but I have a fretted 5, and they both slice very nicely, but also maintain good depth. How the heck do they do it??
     
  7. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes. That's what Jake told me.

    I didn't ask about the Legacy, but I would (dangerous word here) assume so.

    This part I won't be able to have an opinion on until tomorrow, since I haven't touched one yet. I'm going to the NAMM Summersession and will be specifically targeting the Zons in the GK booth (since Zon won't have a booth at that show).

    I'll have to guess at this one, but even though the Legacy is their "premium" instrument, Zon defined their tone with the Sonus line from the beginning - "The Jazz bass of the 90's", to quote their website. So, I figure most folks appreciate the Sonus as the definitive "Zon tone", and want that.
     
  8. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    The ZP2D isn't standard on all Zon's unless something has changed as of late. The regular Sonus has a Bart 2-band. There are a few models with Duncan electronics, and I believe the new Trujillo Sig comes with EMG electronics. Like I said before, I'm sure that the ZP2D can be had on any model if ordered that way.
     
  9. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK

    Gah (again)! If you could do me the favour, could you compare the Legacy Elite with the Sonus Custom?

    The reason I ask: Tetsu from L'Arc~en~ciel uses the Legacy Elite on all his recordings, and I just love the tone and cut of that bass. He's able to get great growl at times, as well as a nice smooth warm tone. I know I can't play like him (probably never will) but I want to know what bass I should save up for, you know?
     
  10. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'm pretty sure this is wrong. I spoke to Jake at Zon and I think he was also talking to Joe a bit during our call. He told me the standard pre on all the Sonus' except the Special, is still the ZP. Don't know if this is a recent change, but that's what he said.

    Not only that, but both the Bart and ZP have "mid upgrades", but they're different. i.e. The ZP mid upgrade I think is just a knob... no 3-position switch.

    NOTE: I did not ask about other models such as the Legacy, Lightwave, Hyper, etc..
     
  11. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    If both are there, absolutely, and I'll at least offer my opinion (noting that's not necessarily definitive, of course.)

    Check out Cliff Engel's website (http://www.cliffengel.com/media/). He's got some great Sonus videos, but admittedly, the tone is thin because of the camcorder mic recording the audio, but some of the audio is pretty good. I'm pretty sure he uses stock Sonus 5's with the ZP preamp.
     
  12. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Oh man, so totally true. I'm not a super technical player, and my slap sux (gotta' get that!) but I've been fortunate enough to be complimented on "my tone" (makes the quest worthwhile). A very flattering comment I remember most distinctly and treat as a "lesson", is I've had people tell me a few times a given bass and rig "never sounded that good before" (usually by the soundman, when sitting in with friends' bands). So much of your "tone" is in your FINGERS!! Never forget that!

    If you play technically within the bounds of the music, people will enjoy it, and maybe even be impressed if you're fast. However, if you play from your soul, you will be emotionally released, and people will be moved and respond to it. That's what I strive for.

    (I really hope this doesn't sound wrong, I do NOT intend to sound egotistical, and I have A TONS to learn yet!!!) :bag:
     
  13. 6-3-2

    6-3-2

    Sep 20, 2003
    OHh I dunno Tetsu uses lots of different basses, he's probably used at least 10 different ones in recordings. Also his Trace Elliot amps and pick playing probably add a lot to his cutting throw.
    So I dunno if the fingers have to much to do with it.
    Here's a website I found that lists basses played with certain songs, it's mostly in Japanese but it might help.
    http://www.1point.jp/~mobius/TETSU/TETSUBASS.htm
    and this website lists his amp and all the stuff in his rack, plus effects pedals.
    http://www.1point.jp/~mobius/TETSU/sound.htm
     
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'll go as far as to say that fingers aren't all of it, and I'll also admit gear is a very big part of it. However, I would have to disagree that fingers (or, more generally, overall playing techniques) don't have much to do with it. :meh:
     
  15. 6-3-2

    6-3-2

    Sep 20, 2003
    My point being, he plays pick, so it's all in the pick.
     
  16. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    I'd be wary believing that website... Although I'm going off of seeing videos, he used to use Zons often on the early albums. I think that website is referring to their recent tour, which I had noticed from another source (again, suspect as well) didn't include Zons, but rather different permutations of his ESP models and a classic Fender Jazz. :)

    Who knows what he uses on the albums. I guess I shouldn't have said that he uses the Legacy on all songs, since I have no way of actually knowing that. :ninja:

    But, for certain he plays with pick. And incredibly fast too... (how!?)
     
  17. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Ok. You got me. DANGITT!! :)

    I wish he had sound samples. I don't know if I should admit this, but I've never heard or heard of the guy.

    Bottom line is, I really shoulda' said "playing technique," 'cause that's really what I meant, and I personally really believe it does matter a lot to yer tone. :)
     
  18. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, folks, blastin off to NAMM, so I'm gone fer a while, then Wisconsin next week. Hope there's a bunch of cool posts for me to catch up on late next week. :)

    I'll take a bunch of pics. I think there's a NAMM pics thread started. I'll try to post pics and/or a link there.

    Peace!
     
  19. 6-3-2

    6-3-2

    Sep 20, 2003
    He also used a ESP Forest bass in the early days, a white one with humbuckers, similiar sound to the Zon. Also he used a ESP Forest with a PJ set-up the tone is somewhat similiar, so I have a feeling the tone lies in the Bartolini pickups, and probably his amps but I don't what he used back then.
     
  20. TRAX

    TRAX Guest

    Sep 16, 2005
    Tetsu didnt use a ZON bass..i think the bass model ur thinking is the ESP-ELT. If u go to ESP Japan site and see Tetsu's basses ull see the ESP-ELT model which has the design similar to ZON basses. Tetsu has been with ESP from the start. He even uses a custom ESP strap and custom ESP picks design by himself. U can see the Tetsu strap/picks in ESP Japan's accessories page.