Bartolini vs Nordstrand 3 band preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by NelsonNelson, Dec 22, 2012.


  1. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    I have the "real" Bill Lawrence jazz pickups and want to replace the pre with a 5 knob setup. Debating between Bartolini 5.2 and the Nordstrand 3b-5a preamps. I love Bartolini but have read great things about the Nordstrands too. Any help?
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    The Nordie is nice but I personally don't feel it's 'better' than the Bartolini. I have the 5.2A/P in my bass. It's a great preamp.
  3. hs123

    hs123

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Location:
    Westminster CO
    I have the 3b-4a, and I love it. An amazing range of sounds
  4. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

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    Sep 25, 2011
    How would you describe the sound of the Nordstrand? Transparent and noise free is what I am primarily looking for.
  5. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

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    May 19, 2012
    Then you should get that Nordstrand 3b-5a preamp right away ;) Nordstrand is all about transparent sound en noise free.

    I don't like Bartolini at all. It's a fantastic builder of pickups and preamps, but Nordstrand is more my taste..
  6. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

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    Atlanta, GA
    It's really going to be a toss-up between the two. You should also probably consider the amount of boost and cut that you want. Or perhaps that's not something you are concerned with at all. Just in case, here it is:

    Nordstrand:
    - Treble: +/- 12 dB@4KHz
    - Mid: +/-12 dB@1K (mid freq selector toggles between 1kHz and 400Hz)
    - Bass: +/- 12 dB@50Hz

    Bartolini:
    - Treble: 10 KHz (+/-16db)
    - Mid: 250, 500, 800 Hz (+/-10db)
    -- Preamps with a push/pull mid selector allow for changing between 250 and 800 Hz.
    -- Preamps with a switch allow for changing between 250, 500 and 800 Hz.
    - Bass: 30 HZ (+/-14db)
  7. BFunk

    BFunk Gold Supporting Member

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    Rhode Island , USA
    Bart bass and treble freq centers seem odd to me.
  8. LikeRaphael

    LikeRaphael

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Barts are sweeter, Nords have more bite. I know, that's completely subjective, but that's all you're gonna get.
  9. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

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    Sep 25, 2011
    Nords I've read don't color the sound at all and Barts do a small amount. This is going on my Carvin Bunny bass and the Lawrence pickups with the alder body sound very clear but slightly mellow and modern and I just want to retain that sound.
  10. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

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    May 19, 2012
    Nordstrand does give it all more colour. You can find a lot of Nordstrand pickups and preamps on High End basses.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    I don't think anything is more transparent than an Audere preamp. Nordie pres have a bit more boost like Aggies. Way too much for my taste. Barts boost and cut are way more subtle and useful. But it also depends on what pickups you match any preamp with. I have Nordie Big Splits mated to my Bartolini pre.

    Here's a vid of me playing that bass.
  12. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

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    Sep 25, 2011
    Thanks for that link, does that have the Bart or the Audere pre in it? My biggest issue with Audere is how confusing their website is describing the preamps. I want something thats 5 knobs and three band prewired...
  13. B String

    B String Supporting Member

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    Apr 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    I don't mean to be argumentative, but I believe its just the opposite. With the Nordy preamp in my mia dlx J V, I can dime the bass control and its still useful and not over powering. You could NEVER do that with a Bart preamp. The Nordy is nothing like the Aggie or Bart. Very transparent with no "cank" in the tone.
  14. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    I think it also has to do with what ever pickups you pair the preamp with. As far as NEVER being able to dime a Bart pre.......that's a broad statement as I can definitely dime mine and it still sound useful but with any preamp, I don't see the need to do so. I usually keep mine flat or slightly boosted. The Nordie Big Splits are pretty HOT pickups. I had to adjust the gain pot on the preamp ALL the way down so it wouldn't clip my amp!

    Aggie pres have way more boost than is actually needed.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    My bass has the Bartolini 5.2 A/P preamp.
  16. Pitter_Patterns

    Pitter_Patterns

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    Dec 31, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I haven't tried the Bartolini preamp, but I absolutely love the 3B-5b that I paired with my Nordstrand P/J set. If you are going to go for a 5 knob setup, I STRONGLY recommend you get the 3B-5b instead of the 3B-5a. The only difference is the addition of a tone knob, but let me tell you... I use that tone knob like nothing else, and when you're in passive mode, it can really be a blessing.
  17. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

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    Sep 25, 2011
    Aguilar vs Bartolini vs Audere .....they're all around the same price so what are the differences?
  18. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    Jun 7, 2005
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    NY/NJ Metro Area
    Wrong, inaccurate information. Facts show the Bartolini to boost cut more at bass & treble.

    Bartolini:
    A: Bass - 30 HZ (+/-14db)
    Mid - 250, 500, 800 Hz (+/-10db)
    Treble - 10 KHz (+/-16db)

    Nordstrand:
    Bass: +/- 12 dB @50Hz-
    Mid: +/-12 dB@1K (mid freq selector toggles between 1kHz and 400Hz)
    Treble: +/- 12 dB @4KHz

    The Nordstrand pre has the most usable, predictable boosting and cutting I've EVER used out of ANY preamp. Unlike the Aguilar where you just slightly boost the bass and get a HUGE boost - the Nordstrand is quite the opposite. You can in fact boost the bass to max and get a great usable tone....

    In addition, the Nordstrand Preamp has an overall preamp gain control +/- 10db... yup -10db... so you can actaully voice the preamp to be less hot then your passive pickups. Usefull if you like to have a setting engaged for active that requires some boosting like a "slap setting".

    Tone / color observations - the Nordstrand is overall much more transparent too. Going from active/passive - the "color" is minimal... Carey went for the most transparent preamp possible.

    Bartolini on the other hand colors tone to be more "warm", choking the high end a bit and overall sounding more compressed. Its deff "voiced" where the Nordstrand is not - quite transparent in fact.

    When Carey built his pre, he took a look at the onboard preamp market and looked for a way to perfect it. His preamp is designed similar to the Aguilar, but "fixed" in all the right area's. db boost/cust isn't as drastic. 50hz is TRUE 50hz, not 100hz like the Aguilar. Active/Passive switching is very transparent and subtle... -/+ overall db gain is just genius... the list goes on. It's quite possibly the best preamp on the market - IMO anyway.
  19. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    I personally am a pretty big of Aguilar fan for the most boost and cut and the price is just right. It's just insane! The only thing is that the Aguilar preamp seems to darken the tone slightly. This is just my own personal observation. For less subtle boost and cut at an even better price point, I like EMG. EMG has sweepable mids and can be used with active or passive pickups.

    Nordstrand preamps will ABSOLUTELY sound fantastic when paired with Nordstrand pickups. This you can take to the bank!

    Two other FANTASTIC transparent 3-band preamps that will not color your tone and have very reasonable boost and cut are the Delano Sonar preamp and the Glockenklang 3-band preamp. I seriously don't think you can get any more transparent than these two preamps. Either of these preamps will decimate anything else out there when paired with Nordstrand preamps.
  20. NelsonNelson

    NelsonNelson

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Thanks modern growl, incredible reply with little biased information and great facts. I have a Bartolini 2 band in my Warwick thats nice but I am just wanting the "best" and have no preference when it comes to brands. I love my Aguilar TLC and use a GK amp...I don't get hung up on brands. I'll be going with the Nordstrand. Thanks Pitter Patterns I am gonna use your suggestion for the greater flexibility the 3b-5b offers too. The stacked pot uses standar knobs too?

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