The sound of a graphite-necked bass is hard to describe. I have played it thru 2 kinds of amps and cabinets: a Galien-Krueger RB-800 and Peavey Mark VIII thru both a Peavey 2x15 and Hartke 4x10(aluminum cones). The tone controls on the bass and amp 'should' be good enough to help get the sound you want. If not, buy an outboard eq. I've found I've never needed one. NOTE: I did NOT like the sound of this bass through a direct box, so if you're recording you might want to look into some alternatives(sansamp, etc). As far as live performances go, you won't have any problems whatsoever until the soundman plugs the bass directly into the direct box. Try to convince him/her to also mic your cabinet: this will noticeably improve the sound. Again, because of the neck, you'll love this as a live bass, although the light body/graphite neck combination will prove to be a bit unbalanced. this isn't a total loss; just something that could use some improvement.
First: see above.
Next, I have used this bass w/o a backup for 10 years. the neck WILL last forever. The body has chips and dings from being used a lot, but I guess there has to be something wrong with it to balance out never having to have the neck set up. Battery life is excellent. I couldn't say for sure how long - but I've gone years between batteries with this bass. the frets also have lasted very long, and I used roundwound strings(Rotosound, GHS, etc.). I also own a quantum 5. It was several years old when I bought that one, and I've never had a problem with that one either.
This bass may be more expensive than most, but you do get what you pay for here. I also have owned: an Ibanez SR-800, Warwick Fortress, Spector NS-2, Spector NS4-rfm, and Modulus Quantum five. IF they could come up with some better body designs, and maybe even some new headstocks(they used to market a graphite neck that looked like a P-bass neck), I think a lot more people would consider playing these. This IS a good bass for those who like Steinbergers, but don't like the 'headless' look(I do).