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Audere Audio Preamp review

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by David Wilson, Apr 15, 2006.


  1. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Audere Preamp Review

    Gear used:
    Bass Valenti Geddy Vee five string Jazz bass with Nordstrand big single pickups
    Amps Thunderfunk TF 550, Eden WT800B
    Cabs Epifani UL-112, Epifani UL-310

    Installation

    I received a pre-wired 4 band Audere preamp for review. Wired with volume, blend, high mid/treble, low mid/bass. While the control scheme seemed slightly counterintuitive at first, it quickly became second nature.

    Installation was straightforward, the pots came prewired with a jack attached. So all I had to do was ground the control plate, attach the bridge ground and pickup wires. Shrink tubing was supplied for the joints, which was handy because I was all out of it :)

    The preamp is slightly longer than a 9v battery, and slightly skinnier.

    Operation

    On plugging in, the led flashes to let you know your battery condition. Very cool!

    The major differentiator of the Audere preamp it it's Z-Mode operation, which puts an adjustable input impedance load on the pickups. It has three modes, which can be very quickly summarised as follows.

    Low Z Low end emphasis, can sound louder than other modes due to this. There are trim pots to adjust pickup gain in LZ mode. Least noise with single coil pickups.
    Mid Z Most typical of standard active bass
    High Z Brighter. There are trim pots to adjust added capacitance. Most noise with single coil pickups.

    More in depth details here:
    http://audereaudio.com/LowZ.htm
    http://audereaudio.com/MidZ.htm
    http://audereaudio.com/HighZ.htm

    I found the usefulness of the various modes depended on the amp I was plugged into. Into the Thunderfunk, the High Z mode seemed a bit too bright with the bridge pickup favoured. Into the Eden, the Low Z was a little bit too high end shy. With EQ adjustments on the amp, such as turning the Timbre ccw on the TF and turning the tweeter up when using the Eden, I was able to get good sounds for all modes. I left the High-Z mode 'added capacitance' trimmers on the preamp at minimum.

    Prior to the Audere, I had an Aguilar OBP-2 preamp in the Valenti. It sounded nice, but my major gripe was that the bass boost wasn't very subtle. It seemed to be either off or at 40%. I wanted something more granular in it's control range.

    I was able to dial in some more subtle bass boosts than I was used to with the Aguilar. To be honest, I didn't end up using the high mid control much at all. Along with the OBP-2, I also had a passive tone control previously. I didn't miss having this, since dropping into Low-Z mode muted the high end nicely for Motown lines. I know Audere offers passive style tone controls for both bass and treble.

    Summary

    I was very impressed with the Audere preamp, and after returning this unit I'll be ordering my own. I think I'll probably order it in 3 band mode only. For my playing style, mostly finger, I used Mid-Z most often and occasionally Low-Z. For pick style, I used Mid-Z and High-Z depending on the sound I was going after. High-Z worked very nicely for some of those Joy Division style riffs. While the price is more expensive than other preamps such as the Aguilar, when you figure in the extra versatility given by the Z Mode switch and the fact that most of the pots come prewired that difference seems much less.

    The Clips

    For each of the various licks, I recorded them 3-4 times each. They're always recorded once each with eq flat in each Z-Mode. If I felt like I could eq the sound better, the 4th sample is the lick eq'd in a chosen mode. So, first clip is always High-Z, second is always Medium-Z and third is always Low-Z mode.
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Slap sample. 4 clips
    Recorded with blend centered. 4th clip is recorded in Mid-Z mode, high mid cut, bass boosted.

    Finger/center sample. 4 clips
    Recorded with blend centered. 4th clip is recorded in Mid-Z mode, treble cut, bass boosted, low mid boosted
     

    Attached Files:

  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Finder/bridge sample. 4 clips
    Recorded with bridge pickup favoured slightly. 4th clip recorded in Low-Z mode, bass boosted, low mid boosted

    Pick/center sample. 4 clips
    Recorded with blend centered. 4th clip recorded with in Mid Z mode, bass boosted, low mid boosted
     

    Attached Files:

  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Finger/neck sample. 3 clips
    Recorded with blend fully towards neck. No 4th clip, I preferred the Low-Z clip

    Pick/neck sample. 3 clips
    Recorded with blend fully towards neck. No 4th clip, I preferred the High-Z clip
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Thanks for the review david. The Z-mode switch is interesting.
     
  6. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    Thanks for the review and sound samples, it's greatly appreciated.
     
  7. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    nice review and thanks for recording the soundclips as well. i'm sure many TBers will be keeping an eye on this pre.

    i've been waiting for emjazz's review also.
     
  8. WOW the pick with it in center is really cool.. love the heavy steel sound..
     
  9. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Been curious of this pre-amp.
    Thanks!
     
  10. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Any comments on the blend? Audere buffers each pickup before the volume and/or blend controls, so I was thinking you should get a much more even taper when you're trying for things like 20% neck/80% bridge. I've found practically all typical blend pots to act like little more than a pickup switch due to the interaction of the pickups impedances.

    I'm really interested in this pre for my Dingwall AB1, 'cause I think the Z-Mode would be great for mellowing out the high end of the FD-3 pickups when I want it - the FD-3's are pretty "zingy", which is sometimes good, but when I want a mellower tone I can't really seem to get it through typical tone controls. By the time I knock out the "zing", it gets too muffled and thumpy. And I'd like a blend circuit for the AB1 that works as well as my EMG equipped bass, but 1)EMG's blend circuit only works with EMG pickups, 2)EMG pickups won't fit in the AB1's pickup routs and 3)I've already got my "EMG sound" bass so I don't want to take the Dingwall in that direction.
     
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Thanks for the review! I have an FBB on order with the Audere preamp; I decided to take a gamble without having heard it. Now I have a clearer idea what to expect.
     
  12. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    David, thanks for the review and the clips .... I'm having the Audere Z-mode installed on a 7 being built by FBB, based on a suggestion by Matt Schmill. After talking it through with him and after a couple of e-mails back & forth with David Meadows @ Audere, I decided to give the pre a shot.

    Your clips are a great example of just what I expected to hear from the pre. I'm having FBB-branded Dingwall pups installed and now I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with the decisions made.

    Thanks again ...... :cool:
     
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    More granular than a typical passive blend, but not quite as granular as a J/U-Retro IIRC. I've been away for 10 days or so with work, so I'll play more and report back later.
     
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Great review David! I love my 4 band pre. I consider it my desert island preamp.:D

    Review from me coming very soon.
     
  15. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Amen to that... the only bass with a blend I've ever played with a blend that actually 'blended' was an EMG-equipped G&L L-5500, which produced audibly-different tones depending on where the blend knob was set.
     
  16. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Does the Audere 4 band have as much low-end capability as the Aguilar OBP-3 or is it a super "hi-fi" affair that doesn't emphasize that?...

    ~S~
     
  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    You can get plenty of low end boost if you want, the major difference in bass boost operation between the Audere and the Aguilar is that the Audere has a far more granular control of the bass boost.
     
  18. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Thanks Dave! I've been intersted in one for a while now & might take the plunge, though the new Glock pre has me scratching my chin...


    ~S~
     
  19. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    David, emjazz or anyone else that's played with the Audere:
    Do you think that a setup with just the Z switch, blend and two tone controls (one for each pickup) would give a good amount of variety (for a bass with two dual coils and pickup switching, let say)? I might go for the active pre, but the simpler setup is appealing.

    Thanks,
    Marshall
     
  20. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I see you posted this question in another thread also. To use the audere, you need to put the signal through an active pre, whether you choose to have any active eq with it or not.
     

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