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New Bass - Spector Greatness

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Posted (edited)

Got this delivered today. Its a Euro 5LX with EMG BQC pre-amp and soapbar EMG 40J (bridge) and 40P (neck) pickups. Holy crap this thing is great. Lighter than my other Euro 5LX and much more tonal variation than the Tone Pump. Got a gig on Sunday so will be giving it a blast through the Ampeg

 

IMG_20190812_153103.jpg

Edited by WHUFC BASS
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A stunner! More Spector greatness to be celebrated :)

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Here's a clip of the previous owner playing some Rush on it ... sounds amazing and believe me, these strings were as dead as a door nail when I got the bass .. 

 

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Damn that's tasty!

Should cheer you up no end after being Man handled in the City and given a recent 5-0 drubbing.

I might just have to do something similar 😁

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29 minutes ago, cetera said:

That grind.....!

That's what sold it to me. You'd should hear what it sounds like with new strings ... it's insane!

18 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Damn that's tasty!

Should cheer you up no end after being Man handled in the City and given a recent 5-0 drubbing.

I might just have to do something similar 😁

Ha ... ! I knew we'd lose but not in the way we did. This has more than made up for it !

 

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If you're playing rock or metal you're probably totally set, but when I had my 5LX I turned the trim pot in the control cavity down to about 50% which sweetened the tone up massively. 

These things ship from the factory with the preamp gain set to the maximum and it was clipping the input on my amp heavily unless I dialled the input gain right down, even then it was very grindy. I like a middy growl tone and the extreme grind wasn't working for me. 

Also as you may already be aware, the Tonepump preamp is often incorrectly referred to as a "cut-only" preamp, even in Spector's old official marketing materials, probably as a result of a mid-communication with the guy who designed the Tonepump, who was a Czech if I remember correctly. I'm sure I recall a Spector employee acknowledging the error on Talkbass however the website still referred to the Tonepump as being "cut only" while this was happening.

Iirc, the designer posted the wiring diagram and demonstrated that it's cut / boost, with the flat 0db level for each knob being in the middle of the knobs rotation, albeit there is no centre detente to help you find that position. The fact so many people run it with both knobs maxed in the belief it is "cut only" is probably part of the reason a lot of people get such scooped, grindy tones from these. 

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3 minutes ago, Mastodon2 said:

If you're playing rock or metal you're probably totally set, but when I had my 5LX I turned the trim pot in the control cavity down to about 50% which sweetened the tone up massively. 

These things ship from the factory with the preamp gain set to the maximum and it was clipping the input on my amp heavily unless I dialled the input gain right down, even then it was very grindy. I like a middy growl tone and the extreme grind wasn't working for me.  

Also as you may already be aware, the Tonepump preamp is often incorrectly referred to as a "cut-only" preamp, even in Spector's old official marketing materials, probably as a result of a mid-communication with the guy who designed the Tonepump, who was a Czech if I remember correctly. I'm sure I recall a Spector employee acknowledging the error on Talkbass however the website still referred to the Tonepump as being "cut only" while this was happening.

Iirc, the designer posted the wiring diagram and demonstrated that it's cut / boost, with the flat 0db level for each knob being in the middle of the knobs rotation, albeit there is no centre detente to help you find that position. The fact so many people run it with both knobs maxed in the belief it is "cut only" is probably part of the reason a lot of people get such scooped, grindy tones from these. 

This particular 5LX has had the Tone Pump removed and an EMG BTQ pre installed, however my other 5LX has the Tone Pump and as you say, it was incorrectly set up. The output was waaaaay too hot and it was causing clipping on all my amps. This may have been the reason the previous owner sold it on and I had to open it up and turn the trim pot down to make the signal output lower. Now it's really nice. The official blurb on the Tone Pump describes it as bass and treble boost now which is a much more accurate description. The real downside for me regarding the Tone Pump is the lack of centre detente which would be really useful as a reference point.
Comparing the two basses, the sound is completely different. At the moment, I prefer the EMG pre-amp as having that mid boost is great and gives much more tonal variety. That being said, the Tone Pump in my Doug Wimbish 4LX is really suited to a PJ setup and sounds fantastic.

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Nice one, if I ever own another Spector it will be a Doug Wimbish. 

Interestingly enough I'm just watching the Andertons review of the new Spector basses on their YouTube channel and they're still perpetuating the myth that the preamp is "cut only". I often find they get quite a few things wrong in their reviews, I think they should have the spec sheets for the basses they're reviewing printed out and in the room with them! 

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4 minutes ago, Mastodon2 said:

Nice one, if I ever own another Spector it will be a Doug Wimbish. 

Interestingly enough I'm just watching the Andertons review of the new Spector basses on their YouTube channel and they're still perpetuating the myth that the preamp is "cut only". I often find they get quite a few things wrong in their reviews, I think they should have the spec sheets for the basses they're reviewing printed out and in the room with them! 

The neck on the Doug Wimbish is probably the best 4-string neck I have ever played on any bass ever (and believe me, I've owned a hell of a lot in my time). It's just perfect, the right combination of width and depth. It really is a fantastic bass.

I noticed the same on the Anderton's site too. The spec is also wrong on a couple of their ads as well. They also claimed they'd beat any genuine price but when I found a Spector cheaper than theirs, they refused saying the offer didn't extend to Spector basses ... Grrrr !!!

4 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

Lovely.

 

I'd love one. But until they make them under 8lb it will never happen.


The Doug Wimbish is way lighter than 8lbs and this new one of mine can't be any more than 8lbs. I'll admit that my other one is a lot heavier, nearer 10lbs or more.
They're doing a new Euro LT series for 2019 that has "weight relief" applied to them (I can only think that means they're chambered or the alder used is lighter - they don't say on their site). Check out the second bass down:

http://www.spectorbass.com/EuroSeries

 

 

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The LT's listed on the Bass Direct site are all still 9lb 8 ish.

I realise BD is not particularly accurate with weights but I'd be surprised if they were 1.5 lb out.

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Gents - if you don't mind me asking, is there much of a difference in sound / quality between the Euro 5LX and the Legend Custom 5ers?

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Gents - if you don't mind me asking, is there much of a difference in sound / quality between the Euro 5LX and the Legend Custom 5ers?

The difference is significant. The pickups and preamps in the Euros are better though there are some combos I don't care for much, they're undoubtedly all better electronic packaged offering a higher quality of sound. 

The main difference is in the build quality. The Euros are through necks, the woods are nice and the attention to detail is fantastic. People with a lot of Spectors say they're up there with the quality of the US stuff and I have to admit, I couldn't find a single flaw with mine. It was impeccably built and the quality of the clearcoat finish was as smooth as glass and totally free from imperfections. Apparently Stuart Spector had them running a tight ship in the Czech shop and I can believe it. 

It's not really a fair comparison though as a Euro is a £2000 bass and a Legend is a £600 bass. I know you're a man of good taste, I definitely think you can see, feel and hear where the extra money goes on a Euro. 

 

I wish I'd taken some better photos of mine when I had it. It was sold to another Basschat member who got the train from London to Newcastle to collect it. 

YL10fXc.jpg 

Edited by Mastodon2

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Hmmm... the Legend "Custom" I referred to is also a neck through (the "Classic" is the more budget bolt on model, I believe). Do your comments still stand when comparing with the higher end Custom version? 

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Just looked up the Custom model, in truth they won't sound a million miles apart but I doubt the Custom is close to the Euro in terms of quality and feel. It comes down to whether the extra £1000 for the Euro is worth it. For me, once you get to that price, you can really start getting some nice used pieces.

Personally if I were you I'd be looking for a used Euro. There's no way I'd spend £1000 on an import Asian bass, other than Japanese instruments of course. That said, you could probably get a used Custom for £500 vs a used Euro for £1000ish, they're going to sound broadly similar but one will feel nicer. It's up to you whether it's worth the extra. 

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I can only compare it to the Korean NS2000 (which was a neck through) which I had years ago. The construction on the NS2000 was very good, but it was really heavy (probably due to it being all maple construction). When I say it was heavy, I mean it was HEAVY ... must have been at least 12lbs.
The sound from such a heavy bass was pretty weak (even though it had passive EMG HZ pickups and an EMG BTS pre-amp). It did put me off Spectors for a while until I heard what the Euro sounded like. Chalk and cheese was the phrase that sprung to mind.

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55 minutes ago, WHUFC BASS said:

The sound from such a heavy bass was pretty weak (even though it had passive EMG HZ pickups and an EMG BTS pre-amp).

This is why I've got some new pickups on the way for my NS2000.

Prepare for a new Pickup Day thread soon !

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Posted (edited)

Thanks gents - if @Mastodon2 is correct that they are going to "sound broadly similar" that's actually a great starting point. 

I'm a bit more relaxed about Asian made basses - after all Apple make their phones in China. And Samsung, also Korean, aren't exactly a pants outfit!

The one I'm looking at also has EMG HZ pups but the EMG B30 3 band preamp. I'm a bit of fan of 3 band EQs so that's a big plus. It's Bubinga so it's likely to be heavy but, combined with the neck through, should have good sustain. Provided it's 10 lbs / 4.5kg or less, then it could be a good entry point to the world of Spector basses for me. Hopefully won't have the same negative impression that the NS 2000 had on @WHUFC BASS! But worst case, as @ahpook has just posted, that could be solved with a pup upgrade, if needed.

Edited by Al Krow
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4 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

The one I'm looking at also has EMG HZ but the EMG B30 3 band preamp. I'm a bit of fan of 3 band EQs so that's a big plus. It's Bubinga so it's likely to be heavy but, combined with the neck through, should have good sustain. Provided it's 10 lbs / 4.5kg or less, then it could be a good entry point to the world of Spector basses for me. Hopefully won't have the same negative impression that the NS 2000 had on @WHUFC BASS! But worst case, as @ahpook has just posted, that could be solved with a pup upgrade, if needed.

If you've got an EMG pre installed already that's a great starting point. If you install active pickups then that'll improve the tone a LOT.

There's a whole debate about the wood construction and whether it affects the tone of an electric guitar (and bass) or not that could go on ad-infinitum and easily fill another thread on here. Some say the type of wood does affect the sound, others say it doesn't. I'm not going to comment on that here but Bubinga is said to have the following characteristics:

Bubinga has reddish and bronze-like colors, with a tone similar to Indian rosewood. It is a bit denser than rosewood, which may contribute to its great sustain and clarity. Provides sustain and note separation with warm even tones, bright midrange, and a sparkle across the entire spectrum.

If you're of the school of thought that thinks wood affects tone then that's what you'll be (supposedly) getting to start off with.
 

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Yup I definitely don't have 'tone wood' religion, that's for sure. My view is that pups, strings and EQ are the main tone drivers and then type of woods next in line (and likely someway behind the first three). Neck-through is supposed to give greater sustain (as well as just looking great!) and Bubinga should further aid that a touch. But it's comforting that the 'research' you've quoted ties in with and doesn't contradict what as at the back of my mind :) 

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The whole neck-through equals more sustain thing is another one that gets me. I'm not sure as a bass player that more sustain is particular useful, or desirable in some cases. It's certainly not as important as resonance. I've had neck through basses (the NS2000 being one example) that weren't anywhere near as resonant as some bolt-ons that I've owned. I do prefer neck through designs as they just appear sturdier and look nicer (not to mention can provide easier access to the upper frets if that's what you're after).

You're definitely right about the pickups, eq and stings being the most important factors in tone (not to mention amplifier choice). IMO the wood choices are way down on the list. The more expensive woods just enhance the aesthetics of an instrument IMO more than anything else - something that Stuart Spector has eluded to when describing the differences between the USA and Czech made instruments.

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