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Aguilar OBP-3 Preamp

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RMosack, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Anybody ever use this? I'm interested in one of these for my 5-string USACG J Bass with Bill Lawrence J-45 pickups.

    I've been hearing good things about the U-Retro, but the Aguilar seems to offer three bands (bass, mid treble) and a selectable mid frequency for a lot less money than the U-Retro - thus, it's aroused my curiosity.

    I'm not looking for anything outrageous, just nice active EQ control for my bass. I currently have it wired in a slightly non-traditional manner. In lieu of the normal volume-volume-tone configuration, I use a Les Paul style pickup selector and a volume-tone-tone arrangement. This way, I can select neck, bridge or both pickups, but can't do any variable blending (not that vol-vol blending is really optimal in a passive circuit anyway). One tone control is assigned to each pickup.

    With my arrangement of three pots and a toggle, I could effectively go active with 4 knobs (replace the toggle with a 4th knob) with little trouble.

    Any input on the Aguilar?

  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    hi there,
    There's been lots of discussion on the U/J retro and aguilar preamps in the pickups forum. If you do a search there you'll find LOTS of information.
    I like the aguilar preamps, nice fat bass boost. Bart preamps are very good too, certain models offer three bands with switchable mid frequencies.
    Like anything, what works well in one bass may not work so well in another (Barts sounded bad in my Warwick, Barts sound great in my Elrick).
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I have an OBP-3 in a module for my Brubaker, along with a Bartolini NTMB module which I can swap. It's an Ash bass and the Aggie goives it a nice Marcus Miller edge on top. Nice preamp,
  4. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I have an OBP-1 in my fretless and it's freakin killer. I can only imagine an OBP-3 to give you even more control (mids) and still be totally awesome. They are definitely worth the money. Especially if you are using active EMG pickups with it too. OOOooooh!!!
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Plus the OBP-3 is cut AND boost.
  6. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Hey RMosack!

    Over on the pickup forum, Luknfur is doing a preamp shootout... check it out! For what its worth however, I hear Roger Sadowsky swears by 2-bands only...
  7. Thanks for all of the replies. I wasn't sure if preamp discussion should be here in the bass forum or in the pickup forum. I'll go check stuff out over in Pickups.

    BTW, FWIW, BL J-45s are not active.

    I wonder why Sadowsky favors 2-band over 3-band.

    To me (outside of price), the main points to cover on a preamp are that
    a) it doesn't add excess noise and/or hiss
    b) it doesn't ALWAYS add its own tone to my bass (I like the passive tone, but would like some AVAILABLE EQ - no automatic preset change to the fundamental tone of the instrument).
  8. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I'll see if I can re-state what was told to me,,, or at least what I got out of it.

    Typically, how people tend to use 3-band eqs is like this:
    If person using a 3-band EQ want more bass, they turn it up... If they want more treble,,, they turn it up... If they want more mids,,, they turn it up... Next thing you know, all the ranges are turned up, pumped up, elevated & effectively, all you really get out of the pre is, just escalated output, But only in select frequency ranges, which ultimately colors the sound.

    On a 2-band, if you want more mids, you have to turn DOWN treble and/or bass,, effectively preventing the coloration of the sound.

    I'm sure there's alot more to it than that, & I'm sure I probably messed up restating the reasons... BUT, that was the gist I got from it.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    This is only true if you turn them all up.

    If you turn up both bands of a two band the difference is boosting two frequency ranges instead of three... the sound will also be colored.


    On a 2 band, if you want more mids AND highs... you'll be heading back to your amp;)

    And any tonal change will "color" the sound, even a one band.

    There is. Either will work fine if that's what you want. Neither is inherently "better. They both can color the sound.
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    EQ'ing at all colours the sound. That's the whole point. However, when the EQ is flat on the OBP-3, it is entirely transparent -- it still sounds just like passive, albeit with a slight volume boost. Check out the review on www.bgra.net that I put up. Great preamp.

    I've never used any NE preamps, but I've heard from a lot of people that the U-Retro adds a colour to the tone all of its own. Combine that with the massive price, and frankly, I just couldn't see the draw. Yuck.