Bartolini NTBT vs Aguilar OBP-1

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kirkdickinson, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I picked up a Gary Willis GWB35. It has one pickup and two knob, a volume and a bass/treble stack. I am looking to improve the tone. I have a Bartolini pickup that I am going to put into it and was looking into a Bartolini NTBT preamp also.

    Found a website called that sells all different types of preamps. A Bartolini NTBT wired to fit my bass is $140. This is a direct swap, no work required except for soldering.

    For curiosity sake I looked into the Aguilar preamps. I really like the Aguilar stuff, I have some of their pedals.

    Aguilar OBP-1 wired like above is $189

    More expensive. More better?

    If I want to do some modifications, I can jump up to an Aguilar OBP-3 for $204

    If I go that route, at the least I will have to add a knob. They have a control set listed as: Vpp, Mpp, T/B stack
    Not sure what all the those letters mean, but guessing:
    Vpp means that you can push pull the volume to make it passive or powered.
    Mpp means that the Mid volume control push to adjust sweep point and pull to adjust volume.
    T/B stack means Treble and Bass on the same knob (like my GWB is now)

    Any opinions?

  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    This is definitely not a case where more expensive = better. The Aguilar costs more because you are paying to have it wired. Barts come pre-wired. An Aguilar without the wiring charge is around $149.

    Both make very nice sounding preamps. One major thing to be aware of with the Aguilar OBP-1 is that it is boost only. No cut. The Bart is boost/cut.

    If you want to jump to the OBP-3, you should compare the Bart NTMB since they are both 3 band. Either can be pretty much configured any way you want it.

    I personally have put Bart preamps in 3 of my basses and my Spector came stock with an OBP-3. Overall I prefer the Bart preamps. With the Aguilar, the controls are very sensitive..a little bit goes a long way. You really can't use the full range. Aguilar also lacks the output gain control trim pot which really annoys me. If Aguilar would add the output level adjustment to their preamps, I'd say they are even but until then, I think Bart preamps are the way to go.
  3. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    This guy does a decent comparison of a bunch of preamps. I went with Bart when i was trying to decide. I like the preamp a lot, it sounds pretty good for the most part.

  4. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    The Aguilar is more powerful than the Bart. But it also sounds a bit darker and is more transparent. The Bart preamp adds a very tiny hint of color and is a bit brighter sounding. You can't go wrong with either one. I have a bass with an all-Bartolini setup and I have another bass with the OBP-3 preamp. I love them both. I wouldn't be able to choose between the two.
  5. BigBassBob


    Jul 17, 2005
    Wales, UK
    I quite like the OBP-3 I've got in a Deluxe P-bass but it's definitely a bit on the hot side... boosting the bass more than a slither past flat is ridiculous.
  6. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Thanks for all the info. I will look into the Bart NTMB. Does anybody here have this setup? On the single pickup, three band setup... for the Mids, is that control have a push for sweep and a pull for volume, or does that mean that there are two different mid points... one with push and one with pull?

    I wonder how difficult it will be to add one more control? I have been unable to get the control panel off this bass. I took the screws out and it seems to also be glued in. I can't get a screwdriver beside the plate to pry it out because it fits so tight. I need a dental tool to hook under the screw hole to pull it out.

    Any opinion on 9v vs 18 v?

    Looks like I didn't search hard enough here. Just found a thread that asks almost the same question:
  7. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I like both. The bass control on the Bartolini is more usable. The Aguilar has a better flat sound, though in my opinion.
  8. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I have had Barts in some of my active basses since the old TCT that was in Marcus Millers original modded bass... Love teh Barts!!! Sadowsky used Bartolini preamps before he went with his own design... So all those real early Sadowskys had teh early Barts..
    I think teh Bartolini is more usable with a great bass control.. Their wiring schematics are very easy to follow... And i like the company itself...
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Personally I prefer Bart preamps paired to Bart pickups. It's just a better fit, IME!
  10. I have an Bart NTBT in a PJ and a OPB-2 in a single coil P / J bass. Boths basses are 5 strings with Fender flats

    I prefer the NTBT because the low end SEEMS to be cleaner and the treble crisper. More hi fi. I think the bass EQ has a lower or maybe less wide band peak than the OPB. And the OPB has a wider range of cut and boost, too. I originally had the OPB2 bass set up with 2 J PU's, and I changed the front to a single coil P bass style, thinking the PU was the problem I heard with a kind of boomy bottom and kind of brittle highs, but it seems to be the OPB2, rather than the PU. However, I think that with roundwounds the OPB2 could work better. It seems to favor slap style, too. I had rounds on both at one time, and I thought the NTBT was maybe a little too clean, and the OPB worked more like a bass amp preamp. I thought I could get a wider range of sounds from the OPB with rounds, too.

    If you can hang on for a couple of days, I am planning to swap out my OPB2 with a NTBT, as soon as I can get the time, and I'll sell my OPB2 prewired as a 4 knob.
  11. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    No experience with the ag pre but the bart paired with bart PU's are a nice combo, I like it
  12. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Wonder how difficult to add one more control to the GWB35? Anybody know?

  13. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Never heard of Audere. I suppose they are good or you wouldn't have recommended them.
  14. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    What control are you wanting to add? You might be able to do a stack configuration, but if not, if the control you want still needs a hole then you will have to drill a hole which is really easy to do.
  15. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    The GWb35 has two controls, one is concentric Bass/Treble and the other is Volume.

    If I go with a three band preamp, there will need to be another control for mids.

    Is see that the Audere pre has a 2 knob configuration for 3 band. B/T M/V
  16. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Audere isn't just good. They're excellent. Not necessarily the right flavor for you, however, just because they're excellent. :meh:

    It doesn't work quite that way. Audere can provide almost any configuration you might need - including a one-off custom configuration.

  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    My experience is only with the three-band versions of each make - the Bartolini NTMB and the Aguilar OBP-3 - so you might want/need to make some inferences.

    My impression is that the NTMB is a little tamer, a little more subdued, and a little more balanced than the OPB-3, while the OBP-3 is more aggressive and more powerful by comparison - especially that low-end EQ, which is anything but a linear taper, and will shake down the house with just a nudge upward. For me, the NTMB is a wonderful all-purpose preamp, good for jazz, pop, funk - whatever. But the OBP-3 is the one for rock! :bassist:

  18. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I have Bart pickups & a 3 band Bart preamp(not sure which model) in my Roscoe. I like the Bart/Bart combo quite a bit, the lows sound controlled, the mids have a lot of punch, the highs are sweet and sound a bit compressed. I sent the bass back to Roscoe because I was getting a lot of noise in certain bars I was playing, they replaced the preamp with the a new Bart preamp, but unfortunately the noise problem didn't go away.
    Overall, I think it's a great sounding setup.

    I have a Ristola with Bart pickups and the Aguilar OBP-3 preamp and a Mike Lull 5-string with Bart pickups and the OBP-3. As already noted, the OBP-3 is very transparent and the controls are super sensitive to adjustments, a little goes a long way.

    Overall I prefer the less colored sound of the OBP-3, YMMV.
  19. azwipe

    azwipe Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2013
    Washington, DC
    It may be worth mentioning that a lot of people agree that the NTMB sounds much better at 18 volts than with just one 9 volt battery. Do a search and you'll see what I mean. The extra battery provides more headroom, meaning you can boost the frequencies more and play harder before getting distortion.

    I have an NTMB and can confirm that it distorts when I roll up the bass or mids, even when the amp's input pad is engaged. Haven't got around to wiring in the 2nd battery yet.