How the Z-Mode System Works

The Z-Mode system gives you multiple sounds from your bass pickups.


To understand how the Z-Mode system works it helps to know a little bit about how pickups are developed.


Pickup Development


Pickup makers, by and large, are experimental focused individuals. They try things - most of the time they do not work out - maybe they sound dead, too thin or have muddy bass response etc. Sometimes they like the way a prototype sounds. They show their friends the prototype in a bass. Next they repeat the design to show more players. If they get good feedback maybe the pickup design goes on to become a product.


Pickup winders most commonly experiment with

    A) Magnetic wire which comes in different gauges (diameters), insulations types, and colors

    B) What pattern the wire is laid down in - scatter winding vs uniform machine placement

    C) Magnetic types - AlNiCo, Ceramic or Neo + steel pole pieces at different diameters and lengths and placements

    D) Bobbin materials and insulators


The winder mixes these characteristics together until they have a viable pickup in the market place.


Pickup Characteristics


How a pickup's design looks from a more scientifically oriented view -

Winders make different types of pickups by selecting characteristics of the pickup's basic parts which include:


1) The Coil(s)

    A) Wire gauge - which effects a pickups resistance and capacitance due to the fill factor

    B) Insulation type, thickness and color - effects a pickups actual wire lay down pattern and mainly capacitance (note color of insulations often changes the plastics stiffness)

    C) Winding pattern - as above

    D) Turn counts - affects output level and inductance

    E) For dual coil Hum-Buckers - coil arrangement and electrical connections which changes output level, inductance and capacitance


2) The Pole Pieces

    A) Are they also the Magnets - this will effect the permeability significantly

    B) If steel - What is the steel's permeability

    C) What is the top surface shape - this has large effects on the magnetic fields

    D) How far is the pole piece normally from the strings - as above,effects magnetic fields


3) The Magnets

    A) Which magnetic material - the magnet's material changes the magnetic field pattern, output level, inductance and capacitance

    B) How are the magnets positioned - as above


4) Hum-Buckers

    A) Series wiring will increase the inductance by a factor of 2 compared to a single coil pickup - parallel wiring will decrease the inductance by a factor of 2

    B) How the coils are located relative to each other will have large impacts on the magnetic field pattern


You may not have thought about it this way but pickups are an AC generator - they generate an output when the strings vibrate and just like any generator the output varies with it's electrical loading.

You might think a passive bass has no load applied to the pickups but this would be incorrect.

In the case of a passive setup, the pickups are connected to pots (2 volume pots) and 1 tone pot (which is a volume pot plus a capacitor) and these load the pickup. The cable between the bass and amplifier is a significant capacitive load. The front end internal parts of the amplifier are the last significant loading electronics.

All of these external to the pickup parts change how the pickup's coils are electrically loaded and therefore the way the pickups sound.

Players empirically realized this a long time ago; for example, players forever have been changing the values of their passive pots in a guitar to change it's tone.

A higher ohm resistance set of pots will make the sound of the pickup brighter - the pickup actually changes it's response to the vibrating string as opposed to a change that occurs after the pickup.


Three classes of pickup construction trade offs are common in the market - deeper, standard and brighter - it will be helpful to look at how pickups are changed by winders to make these different variations of tone.

To go from a standard pickup to a deeper sounding pickup a pickup maker could increase the number of windings on the coils or use a ceramic magnet with steel pole pieces. This increases the inductance and capacitance so you get more lows and less highs.

Standard to a brighter sounding pickup is a harder change but you modify the winding pattern to reduce capacitance in the winding.


The Audere Difference


These pickup construction changes are required because the load is assumed to be a standard passive system.

At Audere we decided there was a different way to look at the problem.

The sound of the pickup is controlled by the ratio of the pickup's characteristics to the electrical load characteristics - so either could be changed to get the desired tone changes.


The Audere Z-Mode system takes control of the pickup's loading to change the sound instead of having the player trade out the pickup to get a different tone.

We have a passive system load which is Mid Z-Mode so you still have the traditional passive sound so many players like.

The brighter loading is the High Z-Mode.

A unique Low Z-Mode loading produces more bass and less treble from your pickups.


With the Audere Z-Mode System you get all of these tones, selectable with a switch, and a more advanced preamp than anyone else offers, all at a great price.



  541 867 6878


  Audere Audio

  4909 S Coast Hwy, STE 295

  South Beach, OR. 97366

Copyright 2024 Audere Engineering LLC