Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

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Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by kepallino_hh on Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:51 am

Hello Westone Owners!

I own a westone spectrum ii since uhmmm 1991.
http://www.westone.info/spectrum2bass.html

Here a couple of pictures:



I have a problem: I can't find a reason to get rid of it!


Really: Solid mechanics, barely looses the tune, straight neck after 20 years, pots silent, punchy sound and efficient active eq.
I can play it hard or mellow, it always delivers a viril response Smile

It is equipped with 2 soapboxes magnabass iv and v, can't say about what is inside the bass, the eq, i mean.

There is just twthings that do not make me happy, which are:
- The general lack of brightness, when plaied passive
- The middle pot, (treble blend?), whose effect on the sound is pretty much none, if not for the last tenth of a turn, when the sound gets nosy, muddy, ... bad Sad Always being like this, not only in the last years.

I have been long considering an electronics upgrade, but don't know where to start from: pickups, electronics or both?
Is there I shoud try, before undergoing the long, dark(to me) and expensive process of upgrading?
Any advice will be appreciated!

Thank you in advance and cheers from hamburg, germany.

Sergio

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by Warrn on Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:18 pm

As long as you've had it, I assume you've tried different amplifiers. Have you ever tried playing with the graphic EQ settings on one? I find that the right EQ setting on the amplifier can usually pull the brightness out of a mellow sounding bass without messing up the overall tone. The middle pot is almost certainly the pot itself being ineffective, as I've found Magnabass pickups to have an appropriately large spectrum of sounds. I'm not good with wiring or pot upgrades though, so someone else will have to give a suggestion for that, if you do decide to go through it.

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by kepallino_hh on Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:16 pm

Hey Warn,
thank you for your reply.

Yes, of course, as you say, I have tried several amps; lately I have also bought a boss bass EQ stompbox, and I can break through the brightness issue quite well. You are right. It's just, that baz playing other basses, also passive, I have noticed a relevant difference in brightness, when switching for example to the bridge PU and rotating the middle pot to the brighter tone. Thought that it could be an issue of the PU's themselves, rather than a carachteristic of the bass itself.

Regarding the the pot, I had it replaced twice in the last uh twenty years, with no changes in the response.
that's why I still can't be sure that's just the pot.

It would be interesting to know what other Spectrum II owners think. Are you by any chance one of them?

cheers,
Sergio.

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by Westbone on Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:55 pm

Try replacing the capacitor. Cheap and easy test.

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by kepallino_hh on Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:11 pm

Hey Westbone!
Westbone wrote:Try replacing the capacitor. Cheap and easy test.
Cool.... ahh errr hmmm I could not find a capacitor unless there is written "CAPACITOR" on it Embarassed

But i want to try:
Is it something on the green plate in the back of the bass, i guess?
If yes, how does it look like? is there a picture shownig it to me?
Has it got a specific code, i should retrieve it.
In case I find it, I would maybe be able to order from our german "radio shack" version, conrad.

Should I order the same one or... is there something better on the market?

I know... I should bring the bass to a technician, but if it's just soldering, I could try alone...

Grazie,
Sergio.

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by Westbone on Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:16 pm

Yours should be a .047nF
http://www.westone.info/spares/index.html
soldered to the back of the pot.

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by Warrn on Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:02 pm

I do not own a Spectrum II, but I do own a Spectrum GT bass and a Dimension IV bass which both have Magnabass pickups. The Dimension's pickups are closer to the strings than on the Spectrum, and it seems to have a much stronger high end response. As for that pot, I don't really know, my basses are passive only and feature a volume knob and two regular tone knobs. Have you tried a brighter type of strings? Steel wound as opposed to nickel wound? I'm not 100% certain what to suggest, as Magnabass pickups do tend to be on the darker side (as humbuckers usually tend to be). I personally wouldn't change them out, but you can easily get different pickups to fit under the big plastic casings if you wanted to keep a somewhat stock look (not sure how easy it would be to get the pole pieces to line up though).

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by bowenjaybee on Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:44 am

Hi Sergio

The green plate is the active circuit board, I wouldn't touch it if i were you, or the pickups....but I would recommend changing the pots, I used to have the same bass and know that the pots are those cheap mini pots, they are pretty bad and not very responsive at all.... there is a wiring diagram here looks scary though! good luck

Jason



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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by kepallino_hh on Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:04 am

Hi mates,
thank you all for your opinions and proposals! It really helps me getting slowly into the subject at first and building up my own picture.
I will start by investigating the pot, in the schematics it's written 500k linear: should i go for the same value i guess? K is for Kohm? Has anybody a brand/ type to suggest?

I will also order the capacitor from westone.info, as a second operation - mini-project.

Thanks again for not leaving me alone!
Ciao,
Sergio..

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by Westbone on Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:07 am

Have you changed the batteries, lately?

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by kepallino_hh on Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:16 am

Yes i did!
After reading yor advices, i have opened the back cover an identified the dark red capacitor Smile at least now i know what it is!!!
I have noticed loads of canles converging to the middle pots, whereby some of them badly soldered. I would try an re-solder them, but i fear to f*k things up... Which is my best practice in this field ehe

I think i will bring the bass to the shop and ask the guy to replace the pot and capacitor with better ones. Would it make sense? I mean, would he do that?
Ciao, sergio

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Re: Westone Bass Spectrum Series II - Electronics upgrade?

Post by corsair on Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:07 pm

I'm sure any good tech will be more than able - and more than willing! - to do this little job for you!! Very Happy

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