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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive through January 19, 2005 » Noisy Electronics and Upgrades « Previous Next »

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Username: smuprof

Post Number: 5
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 6:28 pm:   Edit Post

Just looking for information. I have an '84 Exploiter and have been cruising for a second hand Clarke or BB or maybe a Series 1.

I've seen references in several threads to noise in electronics during a certain time frame, since solved. Can anyone fill me in on what models and what time frame and what exactly was the issue?

Username: dfung60

Post Number: 53
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 10:26 pm:   Edit Post

Well, the story here is that sometime in the mid-90's Ron Wickersham developed improved onboard electronics for the Series bass. The pickups on a Series are single coils and would be quite susceptible to picking up hum and other noise on their own. The other Alembic basses fix this in a fairly conventional way, by putting two matched coils side-by-side in a humbucking setup. Tonally, there is some effect from the two coils (in addition to cancelling the hum, you usually lose some of the treble as well because the two coils in a humbucker see slightly different parts of the string's motion).

On the Series bass, the electronics are very crafty. The dummy coil between the pickups doesn't have magnets and therefore doesn't "see" the strings or have output. But by carefully matching the dummy to the pickup outputs, the Series bass maintains all the tonal advantages of a true single coil pickup, but cancels most of the noise.

I believe the improvement in the 90's was that the components were matched to much tighter tolerances and the frequency response of the cancellation circuit was increased. This allows less high frequency noise while still maintaining full output in the treble.

So, the result is that the newer basses are *more* quiet. The old ones were not slouches in any respect, but with all the radio and electronic equipment in the air these days, the older circuit would have more high-frequency hash than the newer one.

I haven't had the mod done, so you may get better info from someone that has. But, I think if you don't have a problem with high-frequency noise now, you probably don't need to consider the upgrade.

David Fung

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