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Dr. DIMENTOS ONBOARD PREAMP & BOSS GEB-7 GRAPHIC EQ EXPERIMENT

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by luknfur, May 22, 2004.


  1. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    This thread started with onboard preamps that were typically addressed in the pup forum and it's kind of gravitated into the Twilight Zone - and it continues to do so. Regardless it's all about tone, which is inherently a pickup thing.

    The following units were included with bold print highlighted to identify the beginning of an experiment and ran in the order listed.

    Page 1

    AGUILAR OBP-3

    BARTOLINI NTMB

    EMG BQS

    BOSS GEB-7

    YAMAHA NATHAN EAST NE-1 PARAMETRIC EQ

    DEGRATION OF SIGNAL AND COMPONENTS

    KORG PX4B MULTI EFFECTS PRECESSOR

    LINE 6 BASS POD

    ART MP TUBE MIC PREAMP


    Page 2

    FENDER VICTOR BAILEY PREAMP

    SANS/MXR DI COMPARISON

    OUTBAORD SADOWSKY DI/PREAMP

    ALEMBIC ACTIVATOR PREAMP (mounted onboard and outboard)

    Presonus EQB3 ( 3 band parametric)


    This was an interesting clip I ran across written by a recording engineer. I condensed most of it simply to extract the meat. So if you ever wondered what frequencies you're playing for a given note, the following will give you an idea.


    Using an FTT analyzer, A '64 Fender Precision slap/popped to an open E produced frequencies ranging from 41.25Hz to 22KHz (22,000Hz). 41.25Hz is actually the lowest note on a 4 string bass to standard tune. The percentage of the fundamental open E to the 17th harmonic (700.4Hz - which is an F) was only 0.06%, which gives you an idea of how little was at 22KHz. However, quote:


    Fig.3 shows you why: a real instrument like the bass guitar already has large amounts of second harmonic present in its spectrum; adding a little more can hardly be expected to change the instrument's basic tonal quality. But because adding even small amounts of high-order harmonics changes the ratio of harmonics—hence the timbre of the instrument—by a relatively large amount, they will be more audible.

    It is the precise ratio of harmonics to the fundamental tone that give a specific instrument it's characteristic tone, the equivalent of a human fingerprint.



    Lastly:

    Equalization charts often identify frequencies that you may want to boost on the bass guitar as being 400 Hz, 800 Hz or 1.6 kHz. boosting one of these frequencies will often make the bass line more distinct and clear. You choose which frequency to use based on which one works most effectively in the particular mix you are doing.

    Notice any similarities with stats on these units?
     
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    SETUP

    Bass for the test is an acoustically midrange 4 string strung with TI JF 344's, loaded with an active EMG J-L5 at roughly mid position. Wired direct to two separate output jacks (no controls). The same pup signal is fed to both jacks. Each jack feeds two seperate preamps being run which in turn feed seperate channels of a 2000 Polytone Mini Brute V.

    All trials are played fingerpick style to the same tunes in the following styles: Reggae, blues, country, Rock - some Jazz, 60's R&B, and Latin, with a few Stanley Clarke riffs thrown in solo.
     
  3. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    This should be good - looking forward to any comparisons between the aguilar and the bart, especially since people mostly say they sound the same. Sounds like a nice experiment!
     
  4. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Yeh, I'm looking forward to it too - especially the part about figuring out exactly how I'm going to go about doing it. But the setup is established and that was a prerequisite. Whether that was the easy part remains to be seen.

    But in normal use they strike me as so much alike I can't tell the difference. You have to tweak them different to get like sounds but otherwise don't know, will see.
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    interesting. I definitely notice differences between the Aguilar and Bart 3 band preamps. Again, this just proves we all hear things differently:

    Bass - the Aguilar feels like it gives a fatter bass boost, and a little goes a long way with it.
    Mids - The bart can give more girth to the sound using the 250hz boost, but it can make it boomy. I generally use 400hz on the Aguilar and 500hz on the bart.
    Treble - The Aguilar has a slightly harsh sounding treble boost, it's centred round 6.5khz I believe.
     
  6. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Yeah it is interesting. As far as I can tell no one has done real head-to-head comparisons so its difficult to judge different onboards. I had no experience with either when I shopped for a pre. Now I'm installing the aguilar. I picked it mostly because it looked fairly easy to install (based on aguilar's easy to read wiring schematic) and generally had good reviews.
     
  7. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    BOSS GEB-7 GRAPHIC EQUALIZER TO MUSIC

    This is a stomp box with 7 band graphic (lever controls) EQ and volume control.
    +/- 15 dB @: 50Hz, 120Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 800Hz, 4.5KHz, & 10KHz


    The bass is that mentioned previously under SETUP and it was run direct out a single jack to the 3 band channel of the 2000 Polytone Mini Brute with Bass, mid, and treble set flat. Fingerpicked.

    A few things struck me off the bat. Initially it seemed like a lot of adjustment. I’d be through a tune before getting a handle on it. But once I started getting use to it, didn’t seem any more than a preamp. But when I got lost, it took longer to find my place and when there were consecutive tunes that required considerable variation in adjustment, it was cumbersome.

    I could really tell the boost/cut frequencies in terms of volume out the strings. I quickly learned to minimize adjustments in terms of extremes in variation and keep some kind of curve going - isolated frequency adjustments are blatant. By curve I mean a pattern from the frequency levers (ie. V = scooped). The curves are done for you with the preamps but not here. Even with curves, at times I had to compensate for variations in string volume.

    I would guess that familiar curves would develop in short order so that I would know what curve I needed to get the sound I wanted. But it’s more tedious than a preamp initially. More complicated than a preamp but I feel with some familiarity with the EQ, I wouldn’t be limited by the frequencies programmed into a preamp. That is, it seemed the graphic EQ would be more flexible and less restrictive, though not necessarily produce better tones.

    Another thing is the sound struck me as clearer through the Boss than the preamps - in using them in the past. Not that I couldn’t muddy up the tone but the clarity struck me a number of times. Along with the clarity came noticeable finger transfer but nothing that presented a problem.

    The graphic EQ is neat in that it forced an awareness of what I was doing. With a preamp it’s almost an unconscious thing, and I still don’t know what the variable mids are doing on the Aggie. And I didn’t know with the EMG BQS till I saw the graph. A few things have struck me a bit odd in normal use of the preamps, but I use them minimally and do what I need to get what I need and leave the rest. Long way from when I had a wall of basses with onboard preamps.

    No change whatsoever in running the Boss (flat) as compared to running the bass without it. This is an active pup so don’t know how it would affect a passive pup with some character to it. Worked acceptably or better to all the tunes. Did add control over the amp itself and got some tones out of it I hadn’t with the amp alone. Added some versatility to the pup. Seems I originally bought it to try and work some issues out with the LightWave but have kept it around cause it seemed liked something that would come to use from time to time – and still feel that way.
     
  8. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Wassup David,

    in attempting to get a setup down starting out with the Bart and Aggie, sound's like I'm hearing the same things you mentioned. Also the Bart has about 25% more output (for real this time), and it's wired with a single 9 and the Aggie is 18. In routine use, not only do I not use the preamps much, I use two at a time run direct stereo out seperate pups - not a good way to distinguish variations in a preamp. But most people have them onboard and there you have so many variables (acoustics of the bass, strings, pups, etc.). One of the reasons I went to outboards was in part to help isolate where my tone was coming from.

    All hot fun in the summertime.
     
  9. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    YAMAHA NATHAN EAST NE-1 PARAMETRIC EQ TO MUSIC

    This is an outboard parametric (rotary) EQ with a volume, deep/shallow/flat select, and 10 position rotary frequency select. The frequencies I’ve listed are ballpark to give you an idea. Obtained from looking at a graph and not specifically listed on the website. It looks like positions 1 and 2 on the deep setting are both 10KHz with different curves.

    Shallow: -10dB @ 150Hz, 175Hz, 250Hz, 450Hz, 600Hz, 800Hz,1.2KHz, 2KHz, 5KHz, 6KHz

    Deep: -20dB @ 200Hz, 300Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz, 1KHz, 1.4KHz, 2KHz, 4KHz, 10KHz, 10KHz


    Ran the same as the Boss GEB-7. Chose the NE-1 tonight just because I haven’t touched it in months. The first thing I noticed was my frequencies are backwards from the graph on the Yamaha site. But, I tore it apart once so maybe that has something to do with it. I remember when I use to use it with some regularity I was always around the same settings on the opposite side so I must have turned the pot around before sticking it back together.

    The unit revolves around the mids. What the frequency control seemed to do to the extreme left (extreme right on everybody else’s) was give clearer definition with focus on the bottom end, centered it loaded up the mids and got muddy, to the extreme right gave clearer definition with focus on the top end. Rotating the frequency control gave graduations of those mixes. More than enough top end but a tad shy on the bottom.

    The deep select could produce a clear, moderately full, punchy, Jazz tone with a noticeable bulge on the E and A strings and some growl. Made me think of both a decent hot Fender tone and the Seymour Duncan Hot P/Hotstack J combo (without the penetrating highs and pronounced finger transfer). There was noticeable finger transfer in the settings I used with the NE-1 at times but not enough to be a problem. The shallow was very much the same in tone as the deep but softer and lacking the clarity – almost P-like. Both sounds were fairly useful and fairly interchangeable depending on preference. The deep was good for cutting and presence while the shallow was good for background and blending, very practical options. The flat select is also handy for being able to quickly disengage the NE-1 if desired.

    Played acceptably or better to all tunes but was especially toastie for southern rock, Reggae, and some Dire Straits. 90% of the time the amp was left flat. A few times I had to make some amp adjustment. The bright half of the NE-1 I don’t think I ever used. In other words, I never really went above a center frequency of 1KHz. No solo sounds noticed.

    Nice, simple, useful little gadget to have around. Cheaper than a preamp. You don’t have to install it. Can use it on any bass. And the battery lasts forever in the thing. Maybe I’ll start using it more often now.
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    AGUILAR OBP-3 & BARTOLINI NTMB TO MUSIC

    STATS:

    OBP-3:
    BASS: +/- 18 dB @ 40Hz
    MID: +/- 16 dB @ 400 OR 800Hz
    TREBLE: 16 dB @ 6.5 KHz

    NTMB:
    BASS: +/- 15 dB @ 30Hz
    MID: +/- 10 dB @ 400Hz
    TREBLE: +/- 16dB @ 10KHz


    These stats are factory states. In these experiments the NTMB mid switch is 250/500/800 while the OBP-3 has the variable mid.

    The OBP-3 was ran into channel two of the Poly and the NTMB into channel one. Channel one has a “blues circuit” instead of mid range but with that circuit off and all tone controls flat (which they are in actuality), if the difference in channel was affecting the tone, I couldn’t tell it. Close enough.

    Interestingly, the tones as played to music were as much alike between the two preamps as they were different. Could pretty much get the same sounds but the NTMB had more apparent bulge and growl as tones in general were much more clearly defined. The OB was noticeably softer and less defined putting out a wall of sound of sorts. NTMB was more hi-fi sounding while the OB was more vintage, Fender-like. In general the NTMB had a J-like punch and the OB had a P-like softness.

    It was easier to create less definition with the NTMB by boosting bass or mids or cutting treble or moving up the neck, or using a light scrape attack than to get clearer useable tone definition from the OB – best accomplished by using a punchy attack. But in the process of enjoying playing the useable tones the preamps gave me, I couldn’t get the clarity out of the OB or get the really softer less defined tone to match the OB out of the NTMB. Both tones were decent, useable, fairly interchangeable, and a matter of preference.

    The following settings from the preamps is from tones that were used interchangeably. These were not exactly the same sounds but close enough to give a ballpark idea of what it may take to accomplish that (or as close as could be had). NTMB: Bass 4 ½, Mid 1, Mid switch at highest frequency setting (probably 800Hz), Treble 1. OBP-3: Bass 5 ½, Mid 1 ½, Variable mid control with low frequency setting at 2 and high frequency setting at 5 ½, Treble 4 (using a scale of 0-10). Sometimes the tones were enough alike that a couple of times I unplugged one of the preamps and just ran the other to double check they weren’t affecting each other, to make sure the sound was the same coming out of one preamp ran by itself as with both of them hooked up.

    Both units played acceptably or better to all of the tunes. The NTMB was probably at least 25% more in apparent volume. With the volume set at 3 on the NTMB and 4 on the OB, the NTMB was still louder with more tone definition and presence. The NTMB would likely be more inclined to produce useable solo sounds.

    Don't remember why, but I thought running the preamps like this would't work out very well or be of much use in learning anything. Kind of looks like the individual frequency range thing was more of a useless endeavor.


    CORRECTIONS:

    Before the test, I'd checked the Poly for variation in tone and volume between the two channels just by swapping one preamp over from one channel to the other. But it was only after I swapped the two units back and forth between seperate channels and played them to music that way for an extended period that it became apparent that channel one of the amp had slightly clearer tone definition and more output than channel two.

    I concluded that if there's any variation in volume between the two units, it's splitting hairs. The NTMB produce a noticeably, clearer, more defined tone across the board and has the edge on growl (and probably bulge - although they're very close), probably due to more clarity; while the OBP-3 retains that softer, vintage texture. For most of us, either unit would likely get the job done fine. But there is a slight difference I'd guess that any of us would be able to tell.
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    AGUILAR OPB-3 – EMG BQS CONTROL COMPARISON

    AGUILAR OBP-3
    BASS: +/- 18 dB @ 40Hz
    MID: +/- 16 dB @ 400 OR 800Hz
    TREBLE: 16 dB @ 6.5 KHz


    EMG BQS CONTROL
    BASS: +/- 10dB @ (somewhere below 100Hz)
    MID: +/- 12dB @ 300Hz & 3KHz (variable mid)
    TREBLE: +/- 12dB @ (somewhere above 10KHz)

    By the way, the BQS control can be used with any manufacturer's pups, active or passive. The BQS system is specified for use with EMG pups only.

    In general, it's difficult to actually nail the differences going on between any of these preamps. I believe that a player would be very satisfied with any of these units but I'm trying to pick out some distinguishing factor(s) that would benefit a player using one over another - and it ain't easy. Basically you can ditto the OBP-3/NTMB run. I'm curious to see what the Bart/EMG comparison will produce.

    Ran as was the OBP-3/NTMB comparison – with frequent switches back and forth between amp channels. Very similar to the OBP-3/NTMB comparison. OBP-3 with a softer quality with bottom end focus and the EMG noticeably clearer in tone with more midrange, which is not to say the bottom end was lacking. Very similar tones and very interchangeable in use. A set of settings using a 0-10 scale that worked for many of the tunes was; OBP-3: bass 3, mid low 0 and mid high 5 with mid volume at 4, treble 2; EMG BQS: bass 3, mid frequency at 2 with the mid volume control at 4 ½, treble 3.

    In regards to previous confusion over volume levels, obvioulsy a major factor regarding apparent output levels of the preamps is simply the settings selected. These are all boost/cut units so anything above or below 5 is adding to and subtracting from the signal. That is, the Bart site states that the detents are a flat setting - I'm assuming a similar case with the OBP-3 and EMG cause it pretty much sounds that way.
     
  12. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Interesting stuff. I have a Spector NS-2000 with an EMG circuit - I think it's the BTS-V7 - and I've thought some of replacing it. You've given me a lot to think about.
     
  13. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE

    I had a BTC in a bass with a pair of active EMG PJs and had no complaints.
     
  14. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    BARTOLINI NTMB – EMG BQS CONTROL COMPARISON

    NTMB
    BASS: +/- 15 dB @ 30Hz
    MID: +/- 10 dB @ 400Hz
    TREBLE: +/- 16dB @ 10KHz


    EMG BQS CONTROL
    BASS: +/- 10dB @ (somewhere below 100Hz)
    MID: +/- 12dB @ 300Hz & 3KHz (variable mid)
    TREBLE: +/- 12dB @ (somewhere above 10KHz)


    I expected a pretty even match – and got one. They sounded so much alike that I consciously took time to try to get the BQS at the same tone the NTMB was at (which was the preferred tone at the time). I got it close enough to where on some tunes (like the Allman’s Statesboro Blues) I couldn’t tell the difference, while on other tunes (like Van Morrison’s Moondance) using the same setting (and playing up the neck to cut clarity and darken up) the NTMB sounded more full and clearer across the board, warmer, with a better balance between mid mids and lower mids and bottom end. That difference was consistent when there was a difference using that setting – but to most tunes with that setting they sounded alike. For a reference point that setting (0-10) was the same for both units - bass 4; mid volume 6 with mid select switch on highest frequency (NTMB) and variable mid on 4 (BQS); treble 3.

    Another setting I tried to get the same sound as the NTMB out of the BQS and just couldn’t get the quality to the tone – a borderline burp/growl/buzz with a dead sort of bulge on the E string, a real nice warm jazz tone. Interestingly I could pretty much get it from the BQS on channel two of the amp that has less clarity (thus lacking the clarity the Bart had in channel one). But the BQS lost it moving to channel one.

    Whether these variations are a result of internal characteristics of the preamps, lack of adjustment, or just a better match between the NTMB and the rigging, can’t say. But the difference was apparent - at least to my ears, through this rigging, played to these tunes fingerstyle.

    In all pretty even up but the Bart's tendency to be a bit clearer, warmer, with a more full and balanced tone across the strings - sounded pretty appealing to me.
     
  15. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Hey again luknfur,

    Now you got me thinking about putting an EMG system in my bass (Carvin XB75). My problem is that I have a bass with great lows (especially with the OBP-3), but not enough mids and highs that sound musical when cranked....The tone in my head is very clear with great highs that cut through a loud rock mix...similiar to what a peavey cirrus or a warwick sounds like. Not that I expect this bass to be one of those, but just to give you an idea of the direction I want to go in with this bass. I think I made a mistake with the aguilar (not that it's bad) but it hasn't been my cup of tea...
     
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Could be wrong but I'd guess the absence of what you're looking for is not in the preamp (Smash, DavidWilson, everyone feel free to jump in here). I've don't recall any such experience with the OBP-3 in all the pups I ran through it. The preamp really can only work with what your pups send it and most rigging (amps/cabinets) are designed to output the entire frequency range (although some will significantly color tone). Make sure you've got the OB wired correctly for starters and know what mid frequencies you're dealing with. The wrong mid setting for a given song can really wash out tone and make tone seem thin or weak. The 250/500/800 mid settings I've found to work acceptably well to most everything with bass & trebles adjusted in accord. I had the variable mid set up on mine so I can't say how the OB switching is or what it is for mids. Seems the variable was 250-650.

    Otherwise, pups would be my focus personally, not the preamp. I only play TI's so string options are out or I'd consider that as well. Another consideration is the acoustics of your bass. In my experience, it's a lot easier to get lows out of an acoustically bright bass that highs out of an acoustically dark bass. You can compensate with pups but the inherent tone of the bass will show thru. I've got a thudder that's a thudder come hell or high water.

    In my experience, it's extremely difficult to find a pickup that covers the bass, mid, and treble spectrums well. You can get two of them without much trouble but all 3 is tough. And this is totally discounting a particular sound you may be looking for - just looking at a pup that will do decent low, mids, and highs that are useful and that play well to music, without being too boomy, brittle, whatever. Acceptable trebles seem to be the toughest to me.
     
  17. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    DEGRATION OF SIGNAL & COMPONENTS

    I've been wondering for a some time whether the degradation of signal I experience from an onboard preamp is due to the preamp or the pots, some of both, or what. More of curiosity for me than an issue since I don't use pots or preamps. Recent threads have rekindled the flame and I was motivated enough to look into it.

    So what's the significance? It's been my experience that positive aspects of tone like rawness, mwah, growl, burp, punch - etc
    are enhanced by a more pure signal. Unfortunately aspects which can be problematic, like finger/pic transfer, 60 cycle hum, etc, are enhanced as well. To me, a purer signal is worth the tradeoff.

    Most of the trials and tribulations and details are skipped cause they are just too boring to expect anybody to wade through. It's a bit much as it is. But they're there if anybody wants them. The details provided are included under FLUFF.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    In a nutshell - the more electronic components you run through, the more the signal is degraded. In this experiment degradation to my ears amounted to loss of trebles and apparent volume. Therefore, the most pure signal was true bypass, the least pure was running the bass in passive mode through the outboard preamp engaged (In other words, an active bass).

    To quantify the variations would require equipment I don't have access to - or someone a lot more compulsive than I am. Suffice it to say that with the exception of true bypass, the variations from one step to the next were definite but not pronounced. However, any of which could make the difference between getting and not getting a tone. The difference between true bypass and "active bass" was significant.

    Nothing new here for sure but thinking, believing, and knowing aren't the same things.


    FLUFF:

    The setup involved a active/passive system in the form of : 2 volume 1 tone (all 500k pots) 2 switchs (DPDT & SPDT) installed into a acoustically midrange bass with passive Fender Marcus Miller J single coils which could be ran through an EMG BQS in outboard form, a GEB-7 (has a bypass mode), and an NE-1 (has a bypass mode). This configuration allowed for testing in the following modes and various combination thereof: 1) through a true-bypass (straight to the jack less the SPDT switch) 2) through a bypass 3) through all pots 4) through an outboard preamp in bypass mode and 5) through an outboard preamp engaged.

    The GEB-7 and a NE-1 though not called preamps are in effect preamps as they both have boos/cut and tone shaping. In addition in the past they have behaved similarly to the typical onboard preamps (NTMB, OBP-3, etc).

    The second switch was installed in order to run a "true-bypass." If you happen to have a passive bass with a bypass that doesn't sound much different than going through your pots, my guess is it's not a true-bypass. And if you have an active/passive bass then as far as I can figure you would need three switchs or the equivalent to have a true bypass.

    Worth mentioning is that iinitially I pulled a bass with Bart PJ's off the wall because it had the 5 potholes I needed. Not the best choice in pups due to their hi-fi nature but I didn't think it would be an issue as I didn't anticipate comparisons to be close. Through the Barts, variations were too close to call from my ear. I would speculate that for active pups and pups with a hi-fi nature, variations would be of considerably less significance tha a passive pup with a good raw tone, and probably less critical for a humbucker than single coil. In addition, also out of convenience, initially I used a harness (ala EMG) with all 25K pots - wwwwway too dark.

    Also there is some good related info in the bass forum under matthewfoote's thread "New project - a bass without a preamp."
     
  18. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    KORG PX4B MULTI EFFECTS PRECESSOR

    This is not an experiment or even a review but thought I'd throw this out for the unaware and maybe stimulate some thought. Not a preamp but the unit can be used like an outboard preamp and BP did as much on their review of the older version PX3B which can be read in their archive. It can be noisy on some programs/settings but each program has a noise reduction parameter, although I've never jacked with it. Not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes and just as light, does a ton of cool, practical things besides creating different tones.

    I don't use it much but drag it out periodically when I feel a need to spice things up - and I'm never disappointed. Many of the programs I don't find of much interest but many of them are pretty toasty and just mixing the amp and cab modeling with a portion of the 50 programs gives a ton of different tones. Also has a built-in 3 band preamp but I leave it flat and work off the amp pre.

    If you don't have desire, room, money.or time for a bunch of gear, it's actually a very viable alternative to trying a bunch of pups out or having a bunch of different basses or amps for different tone - for the price you'd pay (about $150 used) for one good set of new pups (or new onboard preamp). Great inspiratonal gadget to have around during those periods when practice sessions lack enjoyment. Easy to use and doesn't require a lot of time jacking with knobs to get tone so you can play instead of tweak. Great for motels and/or late nights while others are sleeping. Sounds good through an amp but pretty amazing through even a mediocre set of headphones.

    The preamps I had are gone but I've kept the PX4B and a GEB-7.
     
  19. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    LINE 6 BASS POD

    Have acquired one of these recently and pretty much read over every TB thread posted about it before purchase so thought I'd condense a shpiele and add my own take in case somebody's considering one. People either seem to love it or hate it for the most part and it definetly has it's up and down sides accordingly from what I've witnessed so far. But such response is to be expected depending on what it's used for.

    Condensed from reading TB threads.

    Recording is it's strength from what I've gathered but I'm into tone searching and not recording. It's not a real intuitive gadget so probably not ideal for live performing -although there seems to be concensus that run direct to PA the sounds are impressive - so a viable option if you don't change settings much. It's not a multi-effects unit so effects are not where it's at. The amp/cab models apparently are fairly accurate reproductions of the originals.

    My Tone Searching.

    It does easily distort on some settings with some options as I've read - and that is irritating. But it doesn't distort on others that are very useful. Also, if the gain or compressor is barely tweaked so that it kicks in it will often knock out the distortion. Plus some of the distortion is actually appealing. It produces LOTS of choice tones to select from. I've been gravitating toward a playing option of running a single pup through something like the pod and it is working out very well. I've recently picked up a Lane Poor soap and the tones through the pod with it are really a treat. Also, I have a late model Poly Mini Brute 15 and the amp modeler for Jazz on the Pod is an older Poly Mini Brute 15 (they haven't changed much) and it is very close to mine which supports other reports on the pod of the amps/cabs they've had that the pod models.

    As a tone searcher, from subtle to major variations, I've found the pod very useful. It's great for exploring tones and in the process I've gained a familiarty with amps/cab models I'd never have had otherwise - very much a truckload of choice gear in one hand. Playing different amps/cabs to tunes is also useful for learning the affects of various eq'ing on music styles, which tones are appropriate for which styles, and which ones WORK that aren't appropriate for the style (great inroad tool to be innovative). If you've got a decent pup and rig, the pod can really throw some versatility into the setup that expands options exponentially in a compact form that is as least as inexpensive used as a new set of pups. Takes the amp/cab modeling on the Korg PX4B to another level in terms of quality output but the Korg is designed to be a practice tool not a preamp - and for that it's hard to beat cause it does so much in a palm-sized unit. Output on the Pod is sufficient to drive most power amps and it is designed for application, not practice. I've read it was too low to drive a couple amps - one seems was a QSC PLX. But it drives my QSC RMX 1450 fine.

    In all, a worthy purchase for some serious tone searching and someone wanting to maximize use of the pickups they have.
     
  20. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Art MP Tube Mic Preamp

    I've been looking into some small tube pre's lately and picked this one up for about $30 shipped. New there only about $60 I think. Boosts the signal up to +48db and that's the primary use I've found for it as it will run my power amp. One of the main reasons I picked it up since I've sold my MB-1 and Pod. Rarely fire up the QSC but if I'd wanted/needed to, I didn't have a pre on hand for it. The Art should work as a DI as well.

    Beefs up tone noticeably at a lower volume, which can be handy for dinking around, but can't say as I've noticed much else including warming up tone - something I was hoping for as well. A little tube exploration is forthcoming so will see. Fairly quiet unless cranked which is not necessary as the tone doesn't change in accord. So unless there's noise in the signal otherwise, it's quiet. It will boost noise present as it does the rest of the signal.

    I've read tons of reviews on different units and I don't see any screaming success stories out there but there's a concentration of reviews, including the MP, in harmonycentral.com under effects.