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Spector TonePump


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On 28/05/2020 at 22:03, Al Krow said:

Hey that's a huge thumbs up for the TonePump! Is yours the same as the one I posted in the pic? Mine was in a "new old stock" bass with an est. late 2016 build, based on the serial no.

I'm guessing you've been through a fair few basses over the course of 15+ years - be interested to hear from you a bit more about what makes you rate the TonePump so highly compared to the rest?

I had a 2013 Euro SE5, released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Synchronicity tour by The Police.

The bass and treble frequencies were superbly judged for the instrument and really felt like they were extending and enhancing the Spector sound, rather than being integrated at random, it really sounded to me like it had been thoughtfully designed specifically for the instrument. Unlike the Bart NTBT currently on my Flea, which is a great pre-amp but completely on the wrong bass.

Wonderfully crisp treble, deep and clear bass with that Spector snap and snarl.

Other people may have differing opinions etc, but I massively rated it.

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  • 8 months later...

Just revisiting this excellent thread that started me down the road of getting a great sound out of my Euro 5LX.

One thing that we didn't touch on and I've not yet been able to find is what the EQ bass and treble centre points are on the Tone Pump - anyone know this?

Oh and I came across this clip of the Spector Euro 5LX while looking into the EQ point - and I think he's captured that the Euro 5LX sound, which I'm loving, very well.

 

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8 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Just revisiting this excellent thread that started me down the road of getting a great sound out of my Euro 5LX.

One thing that we didn't touch on and I've not yet been able to find is what the EQ bass and treble centre points are on the Tone Pump - anyone know this?

Oh and I came across this clip of the Spector Euro 5LX while looking into the EQ point - and I think he's captured that the Euro 5LX sound, which I'm loving, very well.

 

The Tonepump is a complex pre amp to my ears 

Flat setting, again to my ears, is around 2/10 on the bass pot and 4/10 on the treble pot.

I hear the frequencies change as the pre amp is adjusted, especially when opened up.

YMMV.

Edited by bagsieblue
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On 27/02/2021 at 23:28, bagsieblue said:

Flat setting, again to my ears, is around 2/10 on the bass pot and 4/10 on the treble pot.

 

Can't remember the exact settings but that sounds about right! it's around 2 - 3/10 on each...

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2 hours ago, cetera said:

 

Can't remember the exact settings but that sounds about right! it's around 2 - 3/10 on each...

But any ideas on what Hz frequency ranges the Bass and Treble controls are boosting on the TonePump? 

That's the bit that has me stumped! 

Edited by Al Krow
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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

But any ideas on what Hz frequency ranges the Bass and Treble controls are boosting on the TonePump? 

That's the bit that has me stumped! 

Bass is 70Hz.

Treble 5 kHz

The preamp is interactive between each pot.

As you wind open the pre amp more - the Q on the Bass EQ increases too.

Also, the mids change as the pre amp is opened up changing from around 600 Hz, to 300 Hz depending how much the bass and treble is opened up.

Theres a few TB / FB discussions on this, and the clever guys have captured these EQ points through their scopes as clear as day.

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2 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

@bagsieblue - super useful, thank you! 

No problem - reading that back I should clarify on the mids.

The mids are actually pulled out  (that is to say mins about 7 dB), this starts at around 600Hz with both pots fully off, both halfway moves the frequency to approx 400Hz (-7 dB) and both on full shifts the frequency to approx 300Hz (-7 dB).

 

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This thread from the basic comments about absolutely needing to dial back the TonePump to release its true potential (when the reasonable assumption would be that the manufacturer's default setting should be a very decent one. It's not!) to more detailed insights such as those above, IMO make this a "must read" for all newer Spector Euro owners like myself. 

Has played a big part in transforming my view of my Euro 5LX from being "really good" to "truly outstanding"! 

Edited by Al Krow
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These are from the OEM designer and manufacturer of the Tonepump.

Tonepumps in pedal format and a 3 band version:

Michalík Designs (michalik.cz)

Michalík Designs (michalik.cz)

Also, the BP4, which depending on who you believe is a Tonepump under a different name, or a variation of.

Michalík Designs (michalik.cz)

Things to note from those links.

EQ points are quoted as, Bass - 55Hz. Treble 6.5kHz.

Note that is different from the clever / techie scopes I mention above at Bass  at 70 Hz. and Treble 5 kHz.

Note the gain is: - Bass +14db to -4 dB, so lets say a quarter of the way for flat.   The Treble is quoted as   +14db to -12 dB, so lets say a almost half of the travel on the pot for flat.

 

Edited by bagsieblue
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11 minutes ago, bagsieblue said:

 

Note the gain is: - Bass +14db to -4 dB, so lets say a quarter of the way for flat.   The Treble is quoted as   +14db to -12 dB, so lets say a almost half of the travel on the pot for flat.

 

Spector should have printed that on a little card and supplied it with every bass they sold with a Tonepump in it.

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Indeed! Alternatively they could leave a little note in the gig bag with a helpful suggestion that we each spend several hours randomly trawling the internet in the vague hope that something coherent and knowledgeable (like we've had on this thread and also just very recently on the Spector thread from Billy and Paul comparing the Euro LX to the NS2, 4 and 5) randomly turns up! 😄 

But even a useful summary card probably wouldn't say "think about dialling back your TonePump, 'cos we couldn't be bothered to do that bit"...and unless someone mentions it, a lot of folk (me included) probably wouldn't be thinking of asking the right questions, but assuming that's just what the TonePump was like - and therefore to never dial our bass EQ on Spector Euro LX basses above 1/10, lol! 

I guess that's the beauty of the knowledge sharing that we have on forums such as BC and TB. 

Here’s a raised glass to you all 🍸 

Edited by Al Krow
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17 hours ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

Agree and then they should finally fix the wrong "boost only" info on the website too:

Euro4 LX by Spector Bass Guitars

CONTROLS Volume, Volume, Treble Boost, Bass Boost

They have been putting that misinformation out there for so long, I can only imagine they know they are wrong are just doubling down on it.

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The Tonepump is one of my favourite preamp. 

The first thing is that the very hot reputation is IMHO to temper a bit with the pickups used: I find the prempa to be fairly tamed with pasive pickups. 

Second thing is what has been said before : the mids are affected by the relative stance of bas and treble pot. 

I tried the tonepump with a lot of basses and pickups, and I found it makes wonders with Bartolinis and Delano pickups (which are both quite mid voiced). 

My Stradi bass has two Delano Extender, each has it's own Tonepump. It seems fairly complicated, but once you get used to the "find a spot where it sounds good" instead of 'id' like to boost the 70Hz by 10%", the versatility is amazing. 

The use of JFET also, in my opinion, gives a "tube-esque" quality to the output sound that I find quite appealing. 

Thanks y'all for the very informative and intersteting thread. 

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On 02/03/2021 at 11:35, Mastodon2 said:

They have been putting that misinformation out there for so long, I can only imagine they know they are wrong are just doubling down on it.

PJ Rubal was told about this before he left (he has left, hasn't he?). There were comments made to the effect that the Spector material would be edited but it looks like that fell by the wayside. 

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I Agree the Tonepump (non adjustable) output is on the high side - it's not 100% ideal...but I don't think it's such a big deal that many make it out to be.

Of course, we can always turn down the volume pot to reduce the output.

Another option is to lower the pickups.

Also, another solution I've used is to have a pot between the pre amp and the output jack (enclosed in the cavity) and to adjust the output in this way.  Think of it as an added manual trim pot.

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4 hours ago, bagsieblue said:

I Agree the Tonepump (non adjustable) output is on the high side - it's not 100% ideal...but I don't think it's such a big deal that many make it out to be.

Of course, we can always turn down the volume pot to reduce the output.

Another option is to lower the pickups.

Also, another solution I've used is to have a pot between the pre amp and the output jack (enclosed in the cavity) and to adjust the output in this way.  Think of it as an added manual trim pot.

I thought her point at [1.50] was interesting though. If I've understood correctly the volume knob is post TonePump and therefore if you're getting an overly hot signal with lost definition coming out of the TonePump, then by reducing the volume you're just scaling back the output but not restoring the definition.

Lowering the pups as you suggest should work just fine, however, as this is a pre TonePump volume adjustment and akin to dialling back the TonePump.

She also mentioned [0.23] that the pre 2008 TonePumps don't have a trim pot.

Edited by Al Krow
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On 01/03/2021 at 14:42, bagsieblue said:

These are from the OEM designer and manufacturer of the Tonepump.

He's the designer but it's G&B in Korea who build them, they ship them to the NBE factory too.

 

Bit weird that, Roswell (another Korean outfit) supply NBE the Spector pickups. You'd think they'd use the same place for both.

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On 01/03/2021 at 14:42, bagsieblue said:

...EQ points are quoted as, Bass - 55Hz. Treble 6.5kHz.

Note that is different from the clever / techie scopes I mention above at Bass  at 70 Hz. and Treble 5 kHz.

Note the gain is: - Bass +14db to -4 dB, so lets say a quarter of the way for flat.   The Treble is quoted as   +14db to -12 dB, so lets say a almost half of the travel on the pot for flat.

TonePump: Bass EQ at 55 to 70 Hz. Treble at 5kHz to 6.5KHz. 

Those are two very sensible / useful EQ centre points. 

Compare that with:

Glockenlang 3 band EQ which has centre points: bass 40Hz (a touch low, but ok), mids 550Hz (ok) and treble at 18 kHz - so above most peoples' hearing range! Why on earth bother?! That one's getting dropped from my list (not that I'm thinking of replacing my TonePump on my Spector anyway!)

Aguilar OBP3: bass 40Hz, mids at 400Hz or 800Hz and treble 6.5 kHz - much more similar in approach to the TonePump

The best in terms of on board EQ control, however, seems to be John East's kit.

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Have you considered the Tone Capsule? Lows at 70 if I recall, 500 for the mids and hi mid (rather than treble) at 2.7

I’ve used these settings on my amp eq and it’s not bad. I still prefer the mids a bit lower for my jazz but depending on a few variables it’s a good even range. The issue as raised before is that with sweepable mids like someone mentioned on the Bongo (I’ve experience with that preamp and it’s very powerful) we’re more likely to mess up the tone rather than find a sweet spot especially as a gig progress and we get ear fatigue. The other issue of using ear plugs we tend to push a certain frequency until we hear it but the overall sound can be terrible.

 

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Pleasant surprise when I opened up my Carvin BB! Saw what looked remarkably like a Tone Pump mechanism - the bass was built in late 2005. Adjusted the screw so that it ended up being a 1/4 turn off the max, which was an increase from previous setting, immediately filled out the tone from what had been pretty anaemic beforehand.

Preamp - Carvin BB.jpg

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