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4 popular onboard preamp compared (MEC, Seymour Dunkan, Delano, Bartolini)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by SimonQwerty, Apr 12, 2013.


    9 vote(s)
  2. Seymour Duncan 3-band

    7 vote(s)
  3. Delano Sonar 3

    8 vote(s)
  4. Bartolini NTMB 3-band

    21 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Hey people!

    I uploaded a comparison video which might be helpful for those of you who's looking for a new preamp.

    1. MEC BEC III
    2. Seymour Duncan 3-band preamp
    3. Delano Sonar 3
    4. Bartolini NTMB 3-band

    Recorded line-in via Boss Micro BR/BR-80, Logic Pro, MacMini. Edited with iMovie.


    Tell me what do you think. Any kind of feedback is appreciated.
  2. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Great bass face! :cool:

    Interesting to hear those preamps side by side. Would have been great if you had a Sadowsky too.

    Voted for the Delano, because of the neutral flat setting and the somewhat different character of the bass and high boost. The others kind of favour a great bedroom sound. I think the Delano might do well in a mix.
  3. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Thanks for your feedback! I wish I had Sadowsky... Really. As well as preamps by John East, Mike Pope and Glockenglang :D
    I'm waiting for Noll preamp to arrive, but it's unlikely I'll be able to shoot another video comparison of that kind because all of these preamps will be installed into various basses soon enough...
  4. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I have tried all of these except for the Mike Pope. As far as sound and quality, I would vote for the John East. BUT, they are expensive. Of course, you get what you pay for. The Delano is my next favorite choice. But there was one that was not compared here and it's the Aguilar. The Aguilar is the best choice if you want some serious balls in your bass!
  5. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    So far I like the active MEC especially when the bass is boosted. Don't like the Seymour Duncan at all! On the fence with the Delano. I love US Bartolini pres (and pickups) and have full installs in 2 of my basses. And trust me, Bartolini's have plenty of balls! My Lakland 55-01 sounds massive as does my Fender Jazz!
  6. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah, you don't go wrong with a Bartolini preamp!
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Bartolini is my sound. Any/Every bass I have played and liked had a Bartolini preamp. My current Roscoe's do as well.
  8. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Thanks for your thoughts, guys! I really like Bartolini products and would like to have 'em at any bass I've played except Warwicks. Generally, MEC is the best choice for them to my opinion, but it depends.
    I've never met a bass sounding bad with Bartolini pups & preamp onboard. Not a single one!
    But did you notice that there is no difference between direct sound and SD/Delano in flat mode? They are absolutely neutral. If passive pickups were used situation might have been different. Btw, I've noticed the same with Aguilar OBP-3.
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I did notice that but I rarely play in passive mode unless I'm forced to. I do like the MEC's in Warwicks. Some folks take them out though. Dunno why! Maybe they just don't like an active/modern sound, I'm guessing.
  10. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Bart for me to as it is what I have on my Roscoe and I love the spectrum of tone control you can get from it.
  11. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    I took out MECs from that streamer just once to try Bartolini J set. I put Mec pickups back later, replaced the preamp and now I love the tone. Also I had Warwick Corvette loaded with Mec dynamic correction pickups which were not really good ones... All in all Bartolini singles made the job perfectly! :) Awesome tone plus noise free sound.
  12. The MEC pres sound pretty darn transparent, so there's rarely a reason to go passive (though I tend to prefer that passive tone a WEE bit).

    If folks don't want a modern sound *what are they doing buying a Warwick?*
  13. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Damn right ;)
  14. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I've owned & used the Bartolini NTMB 3-band, and the Delano Sonar 3-band. Each of them is a fine piece of work, IME. :meh:

    The NTMB still serves duty in my Carvin LB70F fretless four-string with DiMarzio Model J pickups. A great match, so far as I'm concerned.

    I recently had the Sonar removed from my Carvin LB75 (with Nordstrand Dual Coils) - not because it isn't a great preamp, but because it's a little too pure, refined & transparent for the application I have in mind for that instrument, which is punchy, articulate, aggressive modern rock.

    The Aguilar OBP-3 is a much better match for that instrument, so I'm having one of those installed instead. The Delano Sonar belongs in a boutique instrument. :meh:

  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I'd also like to add that Bart pres sound best with Bart pups.
  16. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Is there one fundamental flaw here? Sorry Simon ;)

    Does the MEC pre voice (even flat) run through each one of those preamps, when you're playing through them? "Double voiced", if you will.......
  17. thebassbuilder


    Mar 7, 2012
    Spartanburg SC
    guitar builder, Meyers Guitars
    I have used Bartolini in a lot of things but these feel they are to hi fi and I like that clear more aggressive sound. I liked the SD and Delano the best out the bunch.
  18. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I can shoot a video with a NOLL pre if you need. I have a build completing with a NOLL. Klaus Noll makes probably the best pre of the ultra high end Preamps in my opinion.
  19. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Certainly not. I turned it off before engaging "the magic box" ;)
  20. SimonQwerty


    Jul 24, 2012
    Hmm it's promising! :) Do you have any other preamps to compare with Noll?