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difference between onboard and outboard pre?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shwashwa, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i'm trying to decide on if i should buy a jazz bass with passive tone and use my outboard preamp or buy one that has the active electronics. (i'm not talking stock ones though). what are the main differences?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    If you have multiple passive basses, using one stompbox pre lets you share the benefit of it rather than putting preamps in all your basses.

    Generally the stompbox pres have the same circuitry as their onboard equivalents (Sadoswky, Aguilar obp-1 vs db924).
    You can also take onboard preamps not available as a stompbox (e.g. aguilar obp-3) and make a stompbox version of it fairly easily.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    if youre talking about an outboard preamp that's a rackmount for use with a poweramp, then theyre different as far as intended funtionality - if your outboard pre is one of the boxes that is mean to be used between a bass and an amplifier, then there is no difference at all.

    the pluses to having a passive bass is being able to use a passive tone control, which sounds different than active treble cut, and you get to use your preamp with every bass you have.

    the downside is that you may not have the preamps controls at your fingertips unless you have a belt clip version

    personally i much prefer a passive jazz bass, but that's just me
  4. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    ok, cool. that's something to think about... i'm replacing the pickups in my carvin, and i was deciding if i should also replace the active tone controls, but since it also has a passive switch, i think i'll buy one of the boxes so that way i can use it with multiple basses rather than just dedicate it to the carvin. so you're saying these things are exactly the same?? i'm thinking along the lines of the sadowski or the j retro stomp box.
  5. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Has anyone used one of these jazz bass active systems?I have heard that they really kicked a**.Anyone familiar with the .J. RETRO? Thanks
  6. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have installed variations of the J-Retro preamp in 3 different basses, and also own the outboard J-Retro Stompbox. The outboard version of the preamp provides the same tone shaping capabilities as the inboard. The difference is that the inboard version actively mixes the two pickups, which avoids the problem of one pickup loading or interfering with the other. I find that the active mixing works especially well in basses with dissimilar pickups, like a P-J combination.
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Onboard pre: Play with the knobs on your bass.

    Outboard pre: Play your bass.