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GisserD

Sandberg appreciation society

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Not a fan of Sandberg's 2-band EQ:

I've been playing my VM4 a lot for the past 3 months, since I collected it.

I was never entirely convinced by the preamp (2-band). I found ways to make it work, but it's just not there. Lately I've been playing it mostly in passive mode and enjoying it a lot more. There's something going on in the low end with the preamp engaged that I'm not liking.

So it's going to happen. I'll either install the John East U-Retro that I've got in my drawer, or... most likely... I'll make it passive. I really like passive tone controls. As there's room for 4 controls, I could do volume, blend, Tonestyler and 'Tonestyler depth'.

The pickups are nice (standard Sandberg), no problem with those.

 

Does anybody know what Sandberg uses as standard for their 2-band preamps? I didn't specify anything so I got whatever is standard for them. I'm curious to find a bit more about them.

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I've just picked up a VM4 with the Sandberg own label pickups in it (I'm assuming that's what they are as they have the Sandberg 4 dot logo on the covers).

I've read a lot of posts,/reviews that say the Sandberg 2 band pre is made by Glockenklang. I guess the German connection makes sense but I've seen no proof and the configurator supplies no information about the electronics. It might even be that each pickup manufacturer has a different pre amp configuration?

It would be interesting to know more.

I lack the knowledge about active eq to form a judgement. My other bass (Yamaha BB614) is active but the eq on that is like a sledgehammer compared to the more organic, subtle Sandberg. I do however miss an active mid as I like to boost that a bit on the BB to give an überburp, jazz-on-steroids kind of sound. That said, the humbucker on the VM4 is pretty much in that territory anyway, without eq. I'm preferring the passive sound at the moment but it's early days and I just noodle at home. I'd expect the active option to come into it's own in a live setting.

Edited by Baceface
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Sandberg EQ’s are made by a company based very local to them so if Glock are based in a Brunswick industrial estate with an address similar to sandberg then it’s them. I know their EQ’s are made to Sandberg spec but they have used Glock pre’s before.
 

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My early and defo was glockenglang. I replaced the preamp and the boards were almost identical. The new preamp sounded no different of corse.

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Pre amps are defo Glockenklang but latterly they have of course used the Darkglass tone capsule in their Grand Dark bass.

That is an option, Glock do a 3 band, Noll electronic have a preamp with a different flavour that fits, you can utilise stacked knobs for these and these are pretty good, of course there are the Aguilar ones. Buckets of options, all have their pluses and minuses - but crucially you have a wonderful bass template for you to tinker with

Edited by Cuzzie
Early morning typo tired corrections
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Must admit i like that low end thing that you talk of @mcnach. I've never really tried the bass on passive mode to be honest.

At the very least i'll have it on active mode but all EQ centred. Because the treble control becomes your tone control you can't go straight from active to passive and have same tone like my Thumb bass. 

I have been running my VM4 with pick ups on centre point with a slight boost on bass. Thru the Mesa rig it gives me a deep warm tone. Not my usual or preferred tone for a bass but it suits my band at the moment. Normally i'd go for a more hi-mid punch to a treble edge sound with a fair bit of low end depth.

If i turn the PU selector slightly to the P pick-up i do get more edge on the tone. It doesn't take much on the bass to get a tone i need or want. Such a versatile bass. 

Plus i'm using flats at the moment on a trial run. Wasn't sure about them on Sat nights gig but hearing the various youtube clips posted by audience with phones i'm really liking the tone i have. My perception on stage while playing is different to what i hear on the clips. Weird !!!!! 

Dave

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9 hours ago, Baceface said:

I've just picked up a VM4 with the Sandberg own label pickups in it (I'm assuming that's what they are as they have the Sandberg 4 dot logo on the covers).

I've read a lot of posts,/reviews that say the Sandberg 2 band pre is made by Glockenklang. I guess the German connection makes sense but I've seen no proof and the configurator supplies no information about the electronics. It might even be that each pickup manufacturer has a different pre amp configuration?

It would be interesting to know more.

I lack the knowledge about active eq to form a judgement. My other bass (Yamaha BB614) is active but the eq on that is like a sledgehammer compared to the more organic, subtle Sandberg. I do however miss an active mid as I like to boost that a bit on the BB to give an überburp, jazz-on-steroids kind of sound. That said, the humbucker on the VM4 is pretty much in that territory anyway, without eq. I'm preferring the passive sound at the moment but it's early days and I just noodle at home. I'd expect the active option to come into it's own in a live setting.

 

I opened it up to see if I could find some tell-tale label, but found nothing. Then again, I used to have a really cool 3-band with passive tone control Glockenklang preamp a few years ago and I don't think it came with any labels.

I have to say I am impressed at the hardware they used. Those pots/switches look solid, quality stuff.

The preamp is not a bad one, but me and 2-banders don't usually share a deep love, and every preamp seems to colour the sound slightly. The Sandberg one is pretty neutral, I would say, but there's still something there. At home I can live with it, and in many live settings it's just fine even if I still prefer the passive flavour. But sometimes it's just too much in your face (my face, baceface ;) ). It's subtle, I suppose, for most people, but it's at a frequency range that I guess I listen to a lot, and once you hear it it just bothers me.

I'm a fan of onboard active EQ, just not every option is to my liking. I do love passive tone controls... A single passive tone control and an active semiparametric mids module would be my ideal.

 

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9 hours ago, dannybuoy said:

 

Mine looks a bit different, especially the treble control. It's got a dual pot of some kind. In passive mode it does change the sound a bit, but it's marginal, nothing like a standard passive control. :shrug:

IMG_20191211_093956949.jpg?dl=1

 

edit: to clarify, left to right we have

- bass

- treble

- balance

- volume (push/pull for preamp bypass)

Edited by mcnach

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2 hours ago, Cuzzie said:

Pre amps are defo Glockenklang but latterly they have of course used the Darkglass tone capsule in their Grand Dark bass.

That is an option, Glock do a 3 band, Noll electronic have a preamp with a different flavour that fits, you can utilise stacked knobs for these and these are pretty good, of course there are the Aguilar ones. Buckets of options, all have their pluses and minuses - but crucially you have a wonderful bass template for you to tinker with

 

If I were going to use another preamp I'd use the U-Retro I have. I really like those. It uses three stacked knobs, so I could leave one knob as dummy for those moments "oh, sure, don't worry, let me adjust this... -turn dummy- any better now?" :D or, better, add a passive tone control (it can be added easily to the U-Retro).

But I'm really enjoying the basic passive sound, so that's what I am leaning towards right now.

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54 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

Must admit i like that low end thing that you talk of @mcnach. I've never really tried the bass on passive mode to be honest.

At the very least i'll have it on active mode but all EQ centred. Because the treble control becomes your tone control you can't go straight from active to passive and have same tone like my Thumb bass. 

I have been running my VM4 with pick ups on centre point with a slight boost on bass. Thru the Mesa rig it gives me a deep warm tone. Not my usual or preferred tone for a bass but it suits my band at the moment. Normally i'd go for a more hi-mid punch to a treble edge sound with a fair bit of low end depth.

If i turn the PU selector slightly to the P pick-up i do get more edge on the tone. It doesn't take much on the bass to get a tone i need or want. Such a versatile bass. 

Plus i'm using flats at the moment on a trial run. Wasn't sure about them on Sat nights gig but hearing the various youtube clips posted by audience with phones i'm really liking the tone i have. My perception on stage while playing is different to what i hear on the clips. Weird !!!!! 

Dave

 

It is versatile indeed. 

I tend to favour the P pickup. Anywhere between both pickups on equally and all the way to P alone. Bass control flat or slightly up, treble down somewhat, sometimes completely. The treble is not wide enough for me, and removes part of what I want to remove but not all. The two controls interact a bit, and it's relatively easy to adjust your mids once you have experimented a bit. 

If you love it, don't try passive, just in case ;)

 

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3 hours ago, GisserD said:

My early and defo was glockenglang. I replaced the preamp and the boards were almost identical. The new preamp sounded no different of corse.

This is the one i replaced.

 

image.thumb.png.0f07c906d3eccb70cfad18b447d654af.png

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1 hour ago, GisserD said:

This is the one i replaced.

 

image.thumb.png.0f07c906d3eccb70cfad18b447d654af.png

If the boards were exact same i don't get why you changed it ?

dave

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The knobs had become very loose through years of use. I was looking for an upgrade so put a glock in not knowing that it was glock already in there! Oops

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9 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

If the boards were exact same i don't get why you changed it ?

dave

 

I suspect he only found out after the deed was done...

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2 minutes ago, GisserD said:

The knobs had become very loose through years of use. I was looking for an upgrade so put a glock in not knowing that it was glock already in there! Oops

 

I sold an OLP once to a guy, I had put a Nordstrand MM4.2 pickup and the 2-band preamp from my Stingray (I had replaced it with e 3-band John East MMSR).

The guy liked the bass, and was talking about some preamp he had found that was supposed to be an exact copy of MusicMan's 2-band preamp. I told him "but that's what you've got in there now". He was surprised, he thought I I couldn't possibly have put a real MusicMan preamp in there. Good job we got talking or he would have ended up with two similar preamps unnecessarily :)

 

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21 hours ago, GisserD said:

The knobs had become very loose through years of use. I was looking for an upgrade so put a glock in not knowing that it was glock already in there! Oops

Now i get it. :lol:

That's the kind of thing i would end up doing :laugh1:

Dave

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I've previously owned a TM4, TT4 (active) and VM4. All of my Sandbergs now are passive only.

I found that the flattest sound from the 2 band pre was to back the  bass control off from the centre detent by the tiniest amount possible. It kind of defeats the object of an active bass but that's the sound I preferred and is why I'm now passive only.

The 3 band option didn't used to include a passive tone switch, not sure if that's still the case.

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Out of curiosity when playing in passive mode do you change the bass amp from active to Passive mode as well.

Does the output change or does the pre-amp simply by-pass the EQ section.

Dave

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10 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

Out of curiosity when playing in passive mode do you change the bass amp from active to Passive mode as well.

Does the output change or does the pre-amp simply by-pass the EQ section.

Dave

 

I never use 'active' inputs. By default I go with passive and only if that doesn't work well I'd switch to active. I have never had to.

Most active basses have an output comparable to most passive basses. My lowest output bass was a passive Jazz. My highest output basses were also passive. On an active, you may turn all controls to max and then it'll probably have quite a large output, but that seems a bizarre way to do things, certainly not something I ever felt I needed.

 

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54 minutes ago, Opticaleye said:

I've previously owned a TM4, TT4 (active) and VM4. All of my Sandbergs now are passive only.

Did you just remove everything in there, and in its place install a standard passive VVT loom?  I'm considering doing this.

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6 minutes ago, mcnach said:

 

I never use 'active' inputs. By default I go with passive and only if that doesn't work well I'd switch to active. I have never had to.

Most active basses have an output comparable to most passive basses. My lowest output bass was a passive Jazz. My highest output basses were also passive. On an active, you may turn all controls to max and then it'll probably have quite a large output, but that seems a bizarre way to do things, certainly not something I ever felt I needed.

 

I've had issues when i forgot to switch to active on the amp and found the amp distorting. Also found problems using active basses thru the Aguilat AG500 amps in the rehearsal studios where it sounded like a speaker had gone. Spoke to studio engineer and he said it was down to some active basses having a higher output. I tend to run my basses almost flat with volume about 90% up on the bass itself.

At home i've found my passive basses don't have a lot of tone variation when used thru the active input. When i switch to passive mode my Jazz tone has a huge range and its like it gets a boost and just sings..

Dave

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55 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

I've had issues when i forgot to switch to active on the amp and found the amp distorting. Also found problems using active basses thru the Aguilat AG500 amps in the rehearsal studios where it sounded like a speaker had gone. Spoke to studio engineer and he said it was down to some active basses having a higher output. I tend to run my basses almost flat with volume about 90% up on the bass itself.

At home i've found my passive basses don't have a lot of tone variation when used thru the active input. When i switch to passive mode my Jazz tone has a huge range and its like it gets a boost and just sings..

Dave

 

I'm not going to say *all* because obviously I have only tried a small subset of amplifiers of all the ones out there, but I generally found the active input lacking something. I think it most cases it's a very basic attenuation circuit that they add and you're probably better off giving a less strong signal to start with, on the passive input, if it's too hot for it when fully open. It seems to sound better, in my limited experience.

I tend to favour amplifiers with an input gain knob, so I just adjust as required. 

 

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1 hour ago, dmccombe7 said:

Also found problems using active basses thru the Aguilat AG500 amps in the rehearsal studios where it sounded like a speaker had gone. Spoke to studio engineer and he said it was down to some active basses having a higher output.

 

wait, doesn't the AG500 have adjustable input gain?

I think I've played through one of those... 

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1 hour ago, mcnach said:

 

wait, doesn't the AG500 have adjustable input gain?

I think I've played through one of those... 

It does and i had it around 10 o clock whereas i would normally run the Gain up till it clips and bring back a few notches but because of the distortion i've been running it even lower than i normally would with an amp. Typically with most amps and most of my basses i would be around 12-2 o clock. The 10 o clock setting was a compromise setting.

I've found it same with EBS HD360 heads as well. Its fine with my Mesa head and i run that on active input with Gain at 1 o clock but no distortion. Once i get up above 2 o clock i start to hear a little tube distortion coming thru but that's normal for one of these amps as far as i know.

@mcnach you have a lot of experience and have given me some great advice thru BC and you've now got me wondering and might just try my VM4 thru the passive input or even try the bass on passive mode. I'm relatively new to VM4 bass and still getting used to it.

As i always say "Everyday's a school day on BC" :lol:

There are some brilliant electronic techy type people on here that might shed some light on the passive / active thing @EBS_freak might know. He's intelligent and knows all this kinda stuff.

Dave

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