S1 Classic 5 Fretless - Active circuit upgrade

Last updated on 4 months ago
N
nivek
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Hi there,

I bought a very pretty S1 Classic 5 strings fretless in 2003:
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/1.jpg

It plays and sounds great (I had Dominique Di Piazza try it during a masterclass and he was amazed), BUT I've always been frustrated by the lack of control I could get with its 'simple' active circuit : volume, pickups balance and treble cut/boost. The lows on this bass are HUGE and on all my other basses I also love being able to adjust some mids depending on the room and band. The lack of mids control is even more frustrating on a fretless, all the color of its voice can be tweeked in the mids.

So, I've been waiting for years (nearly 20 actually) and re-evaluated recently some active circuit replacement options. I was considering a markbass preamp but was a bit scared by all the wiring (I'm not an expert in electronics) and finally order a board 303 directly from Rob and Dawn after getting Rob's confirmation that the upgrade from board 100 to a board 303 was quite simple.

Indeed, the board is the same size, the existing pots placement are the same, the re-wiring is the same and the pots are already soldered to the circuit.

I ordered the circuit beginning of February and received it in France 10 days later... with the additional customs taxes (73€), thank you Brexit.

I started with removing the original board without unsoldering it and placed the new board to be able to mark the spots for the new holes. A 8mm drill was perfect for the pots :
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/2.jpg
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/3.jpg

I measured the mids cut/boost switch at 6mm so I used a 6mm drill for this one. It occurred that this new hole was not perfectly centered so I had to enlarge it and while doing this a chip of wood got off of the top wood Frown. I was expecting this actually as I was drilling from the inside of the electronics cavity and I'm quite happy that it's the only visible damage I did so far...

So far, the new board is now ready in the cavity but it's still the old board that is wired:
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/4.jpg

I was a bit anxious about the soldering phase but it was actually really straightforward:
* Each pickup has its dedicated hot + earth spots pair on the board
* 1 "+ volts" spot for the battery (the - wire stays on the jack plug)
* out + earth to the jack plug
* a bridge green wire on an earth

Everything is clearly written on the soldering side of the board and all the soldering spots are already prepared with tin, you just have to put the wire on it, apply the iron instantly melts the tin and fixes the wire. No need for additional metal on the solder.
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/5.jpg

Now, I thought I was done. But that's where it gets a bit crazy.

I plug the bass... no sound.
Long story short: I notice the contacts on the battery box are corroded. I try to scrap, I get some sound but low and fuzzy. I wire a second battery, it gets better but noisy. I bypass the battery box and leave only the second battery connected, the sound is big and clean.

Now I'm in this situation:
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/6.jpg

Not as bad as it looks, it works and I have now 2 options :
* change the battery box with the same (Rob confirmed that the board 303 works with a single battery)
* change the battery box with a 2x9V one, requiring to enlarge the battery cavity, but, hey, why not ? S2 basses ship with 18V powered board 303 so...

What would you do ? Wink
R
Rogiarte
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
1-- change the battery box if that is not dificcult for you , and you sure the final wood work will be Good, this EQ are prepared for 18V
or
2--if you newbie in working on wood, maybe is better not to try to open space for a bigger battery box, use just one battery, this EQ board also good work with 9v, they are prepared for 9v also
or
3-- if you really want 18v without open a hole in the wood , easy way is to put 2 battery , i mean, 1 battery in the Battery box, and the second near to the the EQ board ,offcourse if have space there to put the battery
( you have to put some king of isolation between the battery and the Eq circuit.)
N
nivek
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Hi Rogiarte,

I feel like the woodwork is doable with the help of my Dremel and wood carving bits I already have.

I wired the 2x9V battery box today, sounds perfect.
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/7.jpg
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/8.jpg

Next step: enlarge this hole.

Additional benefit of the electronics upgrade : I can now adjust the output gain to match my other bass!
Edited by nivek on 22-02-2022 12:07, 4 months ago
R
Rogiarte
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Nivek you have a good sound , that nice, make the hole :-)

and show us the final work
N
nivek
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Done:
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/9.jpg
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/10.jpg
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/11.jpg
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/12.jpg

Next step : record and post some sound ;-)
N
nivek
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Tonight I worked on Blue In Green:
https://soundcloud.com/kevin-gaudin/b...e-in-green
I added the 2 bass lines with the S1 to a backing track I found on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfXm0...fXm0N2Wd78)
Bass direct in the interface (Scarlett Solo), a light reverb with a plugin in Reaper.
This is definitely not a single take.

Oh and I forgot to send a final front photo with the new knobs (I had to buy new ones from Thomann as they were not included with the new circuit).
radio.gaudin.tv/S1upgrade/13.jpg
Edited by nivek on 24-02-2022 01:32, 4 months ago
R
Rogiarte
Junior Member
Posted 4 months ago
Ohh you already done it, and the battery box fits and look ok .

you have 18v now
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