Mastertone SPA pickup problem

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Thread: Mastertone SPA pickup problem

  1. #1

    Join Date: Jan 2013
    Location: Belgium

    iTrader: 0

    Mastertone SPA pickup problem

    Hi all

    I'm having a problem with my recently installed Mastertone SPA pickups, both bridge & neck. These havent been in production for nearly a decade, I've had one lying boxed for a couple of years after having it installed in a Jackson Kelly for a while, and i bought another 2nd hand online. I loved the pickup in the Kelly and never noticed anything wrong with it.

    Now i've had a friend install both pickups into an ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe, and i'm noticing some noise/fault which i've never heard before, and neither of us can determine what's causing it. It's like some electrical buzzing that's quite noticeable on a ringing chord, but is basically there on every strum.
    It reminds me a bit of the internal clipping/compression going on in the EMG81's that were in the guitar originally, which i was trying to get rid of by installing other pickups, only much mother noticeable. The EMG only had it on really hard strumming, now it's pretty much there all the time. Both the 81's as these SPA's are active, running at 18V.

    The sample i recorded is the ESP with Mastertone SPA bridge, into a NI Komplete Audio 6 into Sonar. Neither the interface or DAW were clipping, but i'm getting the same kind of problem in devices like a Kemper and my Marshall amp (which should be able to handle the really hot output of these pickups). The problem persists at lower volumes with the volume knob turned almost all the way down as well, so it's not a matter of a too high input level i'd say.

    The waveform ends up looking fairly odd as well, the bottom part is like.. cut-off at some point, which i've never seen in other recordings with different guitars/pickups. (not on soundcloud tho, prolly the re-coding...) : pic from in DAW :

    Can anyone share some thoughts on what might be causing this ? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Join Date: Jan 2009
    Location: London, Ontario, Canada
    ME: WarmothTele/SE245
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    MB: Fender Jazz Bass V
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    It's definitely clipping, probably in the pickups active circuitry/pre-amp somewhere. But that's what that sound is. Maybe lower them away from the strings a bit?

  3. #3

    Join Date: Jan 2013
    Location: Belgium

    iTrader: 0

    On the bright side, that seemed to help quite a bit, up to the point where at first glance i couldn't audibly detect any clipping anymore (didnt get to record to watch the waveform).

    On the downside, the thread from the spring-mounting hole just crapped out so now the screw has nothing to hold on to -_-

    Any suggestions on how to MacGuyver that ?

    Thanks for that suggestion btw, didnt stop to think that the proximity to the strings really is the first way to control output level, i assumed faulty wiring or so

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