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Aguilar? Bartolini? Sadowsky? need help with preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jacob Bartfield, Mar 19, 2003.


  1. I have a Warwick Fortress One, and I feel like the MEC preamp isn't good, and that I should replace it. When I have the treble and bass controls set flat, the sound I get is really bright, and almost brittle sounding. To get the sound I want, I have to back the treble up all the way. I want a preamp that sounds good flat, and that has a passive switch. I was thinking that maybe the boost only Sadowsky or Aguilar would be more natural sounding, but I don't want to risk being stuck with a sound that's too bright, and not being able to cut the treble. I was wondering if anyone could suggest one of the mentioned preamps, or something different.
     
  2. My bad. This was supposed to be a pole. Oh well. I'll just list the ones that I was thinking about:

    Aguilar OBP-1
    Aguilar OBP-3
    Bartolini NTBTG
    Sadowsky OTB
    U-Retro

    I'm looking for something that will accurately bring out the sound of my bass, without the nasty brightness that the MEC preamp is causing.
     
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I'm not totally fimiliar with the MEC p/u's & pre-amps, but usually when the pre-amp is set flat, it is like a "pre-amp off" postion. You might wanna try to wire the pickup's totally passive & see if you like the sound of the pickups before you change the pre-amp. Maybe a new set of p/u's with the MEC pre might be a more cost/labor efficant change.
     
  4. I have an Aggie OBP-1 in my Euro Spector and really like it. Its boost only though, so that might not be to your liking. Killer sound though. Still thinking of dropping one in my Korean Spector.

    You can get the same in the outboard db-924.
     
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Warwick FNA's/Streamer Jazz/Infinity use the MEC's with a Basslines 3-band preamp. There has to be an owner-pleasing reason for this instead of using their usual MEC preamp.

    If you're hearing too much "brightness" and "brittleness" you might also consider looking at Bart pups. Each model is available with different winding/coil options that range from "deepest" to "brightest."
    Also, the Bart catalog specifically addresses Warwick basses.
     
  6. What do you mean when you say to wire the pickups passive? How can this be done?
     
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    BTW, those MEC's are passive pups that Warwick uses with the Basslines preamp.
     
  8. No, they're definately active. They have gold letters on them. And the preamp is an MEC as well.
     
  9. I just thought of something. Is it possible to wire the electronics so I'd have two seperate volume controls for each pickup, rather than having one volume and a pickup pan?
     
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Take the preamp out & wire it in a V/V/T configuration. 500K of 250K pots should do the trick & a .05 ( I think, I'm really tired:)) Capasator for the tone.
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    the J-Retro is my knee jerk pic for anything that calls for an onboard. sounds glassy, yet FAT.

    but, i'm dying to try the new 3 band Aguilar. kinda wished Demeter also did a variable mid 3 band, but they're only doing OEM these days.

    :(
     
  12. I have the OBP1 in my customized, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Unless the OBP3 is even better, but I have yet to hear it.

    Rock on
    Eric:bassist:
     
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I have a VERY bright bass (graphite neck, maple body), and I installed the Aguilar OBP-1. No need to cut the treble; it mellowed instantly. Very warm tone. If you need treble cut still, boosting the bass just a smidge on this thing seems to roll the treble off a bit.
     
  14. Even though your bass mellowed out, did it still sound like your bass? I'm not really looking for added coloration. I just don't like how the MEC sounds.

    Also, you say when you boost the bass, you get a little treble cut. Does anyone know if this is the case with all preamps? It doesn't really seem like that sould happen.

    One more thing: Does cutting the treble do basicaly the same thing as cutting the tone on a passive bass? What's the difference between those two things?
     
  15. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Yup, my bass still sounds like my bass, only more so. Increasing the seems to make the whole tone a little darker. I don't know why, but it is very pleasing.
     
  16. I don't know. I may just leave my MEC preamp in. Lately I'm thinking it may not be worth the money to change it, and it won't really make that big a difference.
     
  17. 3rdEye

    3rdEye

    Nov 30, 2002
    CA.
    Hey Jacob, maybe you should consider the Bartolini NTBT. Warwicks usually sound good with Barts in them. I have a Spector Czech 5 and had the Aguilar put in just to see what the hoopla was about and I didn't like it. I took it right out and installed the Bart NTBT18v. I didn't like the boost only and the treble side of the Aggy(even slightly boosted) was too harsh(clackity clack sounding) for me. I really had no use for it since Spectors are nativlely bright and have natural attack to them. I usually leave the treble flat or cut it slighty to get rid of excessive string clatter. It provides for more versatility in tonal options. But hey it all depends from bass to bass. I stuck the the Aguilar in my Fernandes Jazz bass copy and it sounds great.
     
  18. Well at least you were able to make use of the Aguilar preamp. I've been thinking about the Bartolini. I would definately get the two band version. How does the Bartolini affect the sound when it's set flat?
     
  19. 3rdEye

    3rdEye

    Nov 30, 2002
    CA.
    To my ears, when set flat, the Bartolini keeps the natural tone of the instrument intact. Its when you boost and or cut the frequencies that the tone changes. The Bart is a lot smoother sounding to me than the Aguilar or EMG/BTS. On the Spector I usually either have the EQ set flat. Or the bass is slightly boosted and treble slightly cut for a very smooth scooped sound almost. In this position there is no excsesive string clatter or fret noise; just real warm smooth tone and smooth highs yet still articulate. Mine is wired to 18v. and has just as much headroom as the aguilar plus it has an independent gain switch(if that means anything to you) to make your bass loud as hell.:D
     
  20. willrwilli

    willrwilli

    Jul 15, 2002
    I recently had the same issue with a Warwick Dolphin, and I had the Sadowsky pre-amp installed in the bass, and it fixed the problem. Just for your info the bass control on Warwicks is voiced at 100 htz. Most bass controls are around 30 or 40, and sound much lower. What I did to make sure the Sadowsky was right for me was buy the outboard pre-amp. I used the Warwick in passive mode, and just ran the Sadowsky, and that let me know it was the one. If you can get your hands on one from someone who will let you have a try out period, this might solve your problem.