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Aguilar obp-3/bartolini NTMB preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by funkedupbass, Jun 1, 2005.


  1. I wondering what sort of success/failures people have had with either of these 2 preamps. The only diff. spec wise I noticed is that the bartolini ntmb preamp can switch between 250,500,800 on the mid freq.; while the aguilar can switch between 400 & 800 on the mid freq. What do these 2 preamps sound like/their tendacies? I'd be using them for mainly rock in a mahogony bodied "J style" carvin bass.
    Thanks for any sort of input about the 2 preamps.
    For pickups I might go with the bartolini 9k's, Bill Lawrence j-45 or Hot stacks......
     
  2. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    The mid frequency center for the OBP-3 can be set anywhere between 200Hz and 800Hz by using various capacitors. The last page of the wiring diagram at the Aguilar website has all the specs.

    http://www.aguilaramp.com/html/support/downloads/diagrams/obp3wiring.pdf

    I've heard that some OBP-3's did not have this last page included in the diagrams that come in the box with the pre-amp, so some folks are not aware of these options.
     
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    they're both very good preamps, there are some slight tonal differences - I feel the bass boost is a bit 'fatter' on the aguilar for example.
    If you do a search you'll find lots of Bart vs Aguilar comparisons.
     
  4. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    To me the most critical aspect of the two is space. If you've got plenty of space, it's up for grabs - unless you want a variable mid which is optional on the Aggie, the Bart it's not.

    If space is tight or even questionable, I'd go Aggie without a thought. So if 18v is the plan, .........
     
  5. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I've seen a few installation instructions for the aggie say that 27V is possible for an additional 3.5 dB of headroom.... Anyone here doing that / done that?? (got the room to try it and tell us what you found?)
     
  6. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    personally, I ran the NTMB onboard as a 9v (space issue) and it was fine. By the time I got the OBP-3, I had pulled all onboards and converted them to outboards so I don't think I ever ran the OBP-3 on 9v. Outboard, space is no issue and I wired it 18v from the outset and never messed with changing it. I did run an OBP-1 onboard both 9 and 18 and couldn't tell any difference so ended up pulling one of them. I can't remember which ones but there are several onboard pre's that mention 27v. But it seems the EMG and OBP-3 were two of them. Never messed with 27v myself.

    Personally, I'd go with the minimum and add on if there was a problem - it's not like doing so is an issue afterthefact. One battery is bad enough. In the beginning I had a wall of active basses and bought rechargeables from the gitgo - still have a bunch of rechargeable 9v's even though all the pre's are long gone - but the batteries paid for themselves when I had them. I still throw a set of active pups in a bass on occassion and will probably never need to buy another 9v for around the house. First one I bought is still going.
     
  7. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Active Bass Pups.... like EMG or Dingwall? Those are hard to find, and the Smith 6 I have has what I'd call a proprietary size, in that there are no COTS pups that I can buy to replace them. Custom special order is my only option and that takes MUCHO $$.

    I'm only considering this thought because while the playability of my instrument is like the best I've EVER owned, the guts leave a bit to be desired. My Smith plays like butta!! Action, feel, comfort and sheer ease of the instrument to play make it a keeper, but the electronics aren't what I'd ideally like to have. I've been advised that switching the guts will devalue the Smith, but it's that or back on the market she goes. I'm tired of having an 8 when I could have a 10!
     
  8. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    You won't devalue the bass if you throw in a transplant in that's reversible. That should not be a problem with stacked pots available. Don't remember what the control setup is on Smiths but with two pups their should be ample existing controls where you shouldn't have to drill anymore holes.

    But to be honest - I've had two sets of Smith pups and was not impressed with either. I've heard other stories but personally, I couldn't tell one pre from another and I had them outboard where I could A/B them to the same bass through the same rig. Tone comes from the pups. The pre gives more onboard control over tone. I have had pre's though that seemed like there was no difference from passive controls - some of the non-boutique factory basses and the OBP-1.

    Routing to change pups would be a different story.
     
  9. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I prefer NOT to drill and that's why I'm goin to go with the stacked OBP-3 version.

    I hear what you're saying on the tone from the pups thing, but there are no off the shelf pups that will fit, and some REAL DEVALUATION would take place if I routed for new pups. I'm thinking that MAYBE I could send one of the pups to Carey Nordstrand or the guy that makes Aero Pups for a custom set to fit in the existing cavity..... the Aero guy wanted $400 for a set and he gave me grief for wanting to use a powered pre like the Ag.

    I'm in a rut.... where's a rock I can hide under? I love this Smith bass, comfortable as heck, smooth and easy to play, I just want a different voice. Given that the wood makes a difference (clearly evident in two identical MTD's, one with a Maple / Rose wood neck and the other with a Wenge/Wenge neck) I'm certain that new guts would save me from selling this thing. I DON"T want to do that.
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Understand. Comfort is my first cut for a bass.

    I've also heard similar things about Aero. The only set of Aero's I had were decent fingerstyle, but not what I expected, and much better flatpicked. I know of at least two guys that replaced Aero's with NJ4SE's and were satisfied. Carey's pretty good with people and probably has top vogue at the moment. Someone that may suprise you that may be worth looking into is Kent Armstrong through DWmusic. I would definetly contact him regarding pups before making a decision.