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Aguilar OBP-1 and Sadowsky on-board pre's

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mgmadian, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking to modify my early 70's Fender Jazz. It now has the stock pickups, which I use with an outboard pre made by John Suhr.

    I plan to install DiMarzio UltraJazz pickups plus an onboard pre (I'll use the outboard pre for other basses). I'm primarily considering a Sadowsky onboard pre, as (i) Roger is a true professional who's business I'd prefer to patronize, and (ii) I'm a sucker for the "Marcus" slap tone, which Roger has always been associated with. It also uses one battery, which will presumably reduce the amount of routing the bass might need.

    A friend recently recommended an Aguilar OBP-1. I've heard that Alex Aguilar designed, or helped design,the Sadowsky pre, and that the two are "essentially the same". So... a couple questions (didn't really see these address in previous posts):

    1. Are the 2 pre's really "the same"? Has anyone A/B'd them on the same bass (maybe the outboard versions), and if so, what was the difference in sound?

    2. Anyone know if the OBP-1 can be used with a stacked bass/treble control, like the Sadowsky can? I asked Aguilar Tech Support this a couple weeks ago, and they said it would be difficult, since the OBP-1 uses 25K pots, and they haven't been able to find any with the right specs (audio-taper, correct physical dimensions, etc). But Aguilar Tech Support didn't really know, which is somewhat concerning...

    3. Anyone know how the OBP-1 sounds with a single battery (apparently, you can use a Fishman "voltage doubler" to obviate the need for 2 batteries with it)?

    Any other thoughts overall on the OBP-1 vs. Sadowsky onboard pre with a Jazz bass? The Sadowsky is $198, versus about $100 for the Aguilar, but if it's a better choice, I'd prefer to spend the extra $$.

  2. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I learned today from Aguilar Tech Support that the OBP-1 *is* compatible with a stacked (i.e. dual concentric) pot, however, they do not supply these pots, so I'd have to find a suitable one.

    Fortunately, it seems that EMG has an appropriate pot with the right specs (25K, audio-taper, no center detent) for $12.50.

    So... that question's been answered, but I look forward to hearing anyone's thoughts overall on the sound/design/etc of the Sadowsky pre vs. the Aguilar pre.

  3. Joe'sBass


    Mar 3, 2003
    I'm not sure who designed what but they sound different to me. A friend of mine was in love with Marcus and put the Sadowsky in his Jazz. Very bright.

    Another friend of mine decided to try the ObP and when we compared them the Aguilar had clarity but sounded more organic and natural. The Sadowsky sounds good but kind of steril by comparison.

    For some reason I thought I heard that the "Marcus Sound" was actually an old Bartolini TCT? I think that was what Sadowsky nocked off when he had his designed...
  4. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    alex aguilar did design the sadowsky pre. however the aguilar pree is voiced differently. i liked them both but felt that 8db of boost is too freakin much. i dint care for the fodera and havent played the j retro. i bought the sadowsky belt clip model!:bassist:
  5. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    The bass is going to sound bright w/ either the Aguilar or Sadowsky.

    From what I've read, Marcus does indeed, have a Bartolini circuit. He barely boosts the bass and cuts the treble - He estimates both by 1%-2%.

    I've installed a Bart circuit in my jazz and here are some observations:

    The flat signal buffering alone brightens up the bass considerably. Very accurate, modern sound. If you want anything close to a passive sound then you have to cut the treble.

    The bass control seems voiced a little low for my taste. If you turn it up more than a little, the sound gets very dark. Less is best.

    I can see why Marcus uses such small adjustments it seems like any powerful EQ...it's easy to abuse.

    Another setting that works well is the "Will Lee setting" with both the bass and treble slightly boosted and the mids bumped upon you amp.
  6. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks all, a couple follow-ups:

    Joe'sBass: you found the OBP-1 to be somewhat more organic and natural compared to the Sadowsky... were they installed in similar basses by any chance? Just curious to know what types of pickups + woods each of these Jazzes had.

    I've also read that Marcus uses a Bart pre-amp that Roger installed, and agree that the bass (alder body, maple board) will sound bright... that's what I like from this Jazz!:D I'll leave intact the passive tone control, as well as the series-parallel wiring I currently have in there, so this will allow me to tone down the high-end when necessary.

    My outboard John Suhr preamp also yields a noticeable boost in highs when I engage it, even if the controls are rolled off. Just lowering the impedance of the output reduces the high-end loss caused by the instrument cable.

    stingrayguy: I hear about the 18 dB of boost... that's a huge amount. Even 12 dB (which is what I believe the Sadowsky, and my outboard Suhr, produce) is a boatload, and I typically don't boost either treble of bass that much. So that might obviate one of the benefits of the 18-volt system in my case... which would mean less routing!

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