Aggie OBP3 vs. U-retro

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JayJay, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. OBP-3

    13 vote(s)
  2. U-retro

    5 vote(s)
  1. JayJay


    May 13, 2002

    I am seriously considering to replace the onboard preamp of my Yammy BB1500A to either of the above. I am having a hard time deciding becoz both of them are so attractive and are the hot favourites among many currently.
    The aggie is especially so due to price advantage it has over the u-retro. But the retro on the other hand has so much more tonal flexibility
    Which do you think will be better on a 4-string bass?
    If the cost is not factored in, which is a more killer preamp?
    Is the aggie more "hi-fi" sounding or the u-retro?
    Bassists who owns both pre maybe can share your experience and preferences.

    Thanks all ;)
  2. jivetkr


    May 15, 2002
    Its really a win win situation. Both are awesome.

    I have the aggie in my USA jazz deluxe & its a HUGE improvement. Actually its like a brand new bass.

    I had a bass with a u retro in it also & I got rid of it. I liked the retro, hated the bass. In my opinion the retro only has the advantage of the passive tone control. If you are not going to run your bass in passive its not worth the extra $100 or so dollars.

    The aggie is a great value.
  3. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    I thought you could wire the OBP 3 with a active/passive switch (or a push/pull on the volume knob). The blend knob would still work while using the OBP 3. I like that feature over a 2 way pickup switch.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've owned both, and tried both in the same bass.

    In terms of flexibility, the U-Retro wins hands down. Mid sweep/bright pull.
    Also, the active blend means you don't get the problems that can occur with a passive blend.

    Having said that, the OBP-3 worked better for me in my Warwick Thumb 5. I just felt the bass boost was more powerful, which is very important to me. With the aguilar, you can fix the mid freq at 400 or 800 or some points inbetween and also install a switch to vary between 400 and 800. I find having the two frequencies works fine for my needs, I use 400 for boost and 800 when cutting for slap.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Yes you can do that. I didn't use the pickup switch on the retro at all, although I know some people do.
  6. JayJay


    May 13, 2002
    Thanks for the input... however it's still hard to decide:(
    David, what are the problems associated with passive blend, an area that's new to me. Also in terms of installing the preamps, which of these offer a easier installation. Is it true that Aguilar now offers the OPB-3 pre-wired with all the difficult to find pots?
    For the retro, I really dig the variable mid frequency selector. :p

  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Blending with passive pickups, there's some signal loss. If you do a search in this forum, you'll see some more detailed descriptions of this.

    The U-Retro is a cinch to install, solder the hot and cold pickup leads to the input and you're 95% of the way there.

    Aguilar aren't offering the obp3 prewired, but if you go to they will prewire one in almost any configuration you want.
  8. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I've never tried the Aguilar, but I have a J-Retro (with Fender CS 60s) and a U-Retro (Bart 9J and MM). I find that I generally set my tone, and only play with mid shift and boost, so I don't think that Aguilar would work for me.

    For my next active bass, I am planning on getting the U-Retro Deluxe.
  9. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    The OBP3 is able to be wired with a variable mid frequency if that is an issue (not just a 2 way switch). Prewired harness is a definate plus for the U/J retro (deluxe)
  10. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    Amen, brother. I did the same.

    Never tried a John East preamp, but I can't imagine being any more happy than I am with the OBP-3. Sure, the J or U-retro has a couple more knobs that do other things, but damn, there are still a million options with the OBP-3. The mid boost sounds flat out sweet. Highs are a little to crisp for me, but I keep them close to flat and boost treble on my amp instead.

    Installing the Aguilar is time-consuming and easy to screw up depending on your setup, but I ordered mine from and he offers a preassembled one for an extra few bucks. Worth it in my opinion. There are a TON of wires to solder.

    By the way, I have passive blend knobs in two basses and never have had a problem. If you want less signal loss, go with a 500K blend pot and 500K volume pot. Or better yet, use a Fender "no-load" pot as your master volume. When "clicked" full on you'll have no high end loss.

    Also, besides being expensive, the U-Retro with it's heavy metal stacked knobs will add significant weight to your bass (keep in mind that "sigificant" is subjective). Then again, haven't heard many displeased J/U-Retro owners. They're a happy bunch.