Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taurus TM-2 Bass Preamp Downstream From Nordstrand P-J Pickups

Here she is, (note to self:  Will you name this one too?), just plugged into the SWR Workingman's 10 up on the file cabinet, ready for about a zillion scales while I listen to the notes.  No string buzz, no playing effort of note, everything as it should be.  Retune.  We have Pyramid black tapewounds on board here.  Nice feel.

The pickup specifics:  npj4SE set.  More information on the Nordstrand page.  Recommended!  Nordstrand stuff is designed and built with great intentionality.  If you are a fan of the P-J array, this is the one you want.   In my opinion?  Succinctly?  The best there is. 

Disclaimer:  I'm no expert on preamps--I have put a couple different ones in Barker Basses and played them for a few months.  Not much experience there for comparisons.  However, the Taurus has a nice feature which will aid in this report:  Pull up on the volume knob and you've got passive signal.  My A-B tests will be against the passive.  The SWR is set all flat.

Volume:  Does as it says.

Pickup Blend:  At the detent, the volume active is very close to exactly the same as passive.  If you move off the detent either way, there is a slight volume drop but not an important one.

Treble:  I don't get much variety with this pot.  The sound so far has too much treble for the particular sound I am seeking.

Bass:  This one makes my feet happy as I start to feel the lower frequencies like I want to.

Mid:  I think this is a scoop.  Lots of treble available here.

Conclusion:  The possibilities seem wider than I have encountered in other setups.  That said, personally I'm not interested in range so much as a certain woody sound for my JazCru casuals.  And that woody sound is very much there with the pre, not so much without it.

More about the Taurus here.

Later that same day, as they say in radio dramas, Craig Brown, first call bassist from nearby Bend, Oregon, came by to do his own testing.  His report:  "Sweet, man!" 

There you are--two reviews for the price of one!

Installing the Taurus Tm-2 Bass Preamp in a Barker B1 Bass

Taurus is to be applauded for their creative thinking in the physical design of this unit.  This image shows the completed wiring!  Wow!  Their idea was the tape-like wire that shows as a red line.  This gray material, of multiple conductors, has plugs attached periodically.  These plug into the pots, in any order.  This gives you terrific flexibility when the cavity space is limited.

The Barker B1four cavity is roomy for three pots, adequate for for, cozy with five.  I could have added two more switches from the Taurus kit if there has been space.  That said, changing a pot for a switch is a simple, no solder process.  Amazing.

I chose the volume, pickup blend, treble, bass and mid pots.  The only soldering was the pickup leads, the output, and the switch.  I chose a button switch instead of the usual switched 1/4" jack.

Here's a shot including the Gotoh two-cell 9v battery box:

And the bass at stringup time:

The neck is Ebony over Padouk.   Here's the front of the headstock: 
Next:  Meet B1four #112!

Discounts Claimed, But Many Basses Still Available

Angela in Brighton, UK and Stephen in New Jersey have claimed the two discounts mentioned in the June 12 post.  Angela bought a custom B1five.

Rhonda has found a new home in a remarkable neighborhood band called The Bottle Openers.   

More basses are making their way to the front of the shop including a B1four with the Taurus TM-2 preamp aboard.  This bass featured in a prior post; progress report coming up!