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Longevity/Reliability onboard preamps?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by luknfur, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Anybody have any clue as to the reliability of onboard units: preamps, mids, buffers, etc. Are these things fairly indestructable, any way of testing them without installing them, how do you do know if ones screwing up, do they ever just kind of go bad (like subtle distortions in frequency)? And does anybody know of any hot links for onboard electronics or decent current publications? Not sure where to post this cause onboard electronics don't seem to fit into any of these forums.
  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Try this in pickups.

    Ive never really heard of a preamp dying, at least noy any of decent quality.

  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Yep, referring to Bart, Aggie, and the likes. Ran across comments on other components but do not recall any reference to epoxy type units. I assumed they're practically invulnerable but thought someone might actually know.

    I've posted electronics in pups before but you seldom see it there. Some pretty sharp responses in amps so that may be the place. Also tried luthiers but those guys seem to mostly be into wood/hardware. Any luthier I've know did his own electronics. Maybe that's become a specialty for techs or something.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The MEC electronics Warwick use in their basses seem to be prone to failure. Maybe they've improved them recently, but the 2 band in my '90 Thumb died 2 years ago. Mad Subwoofer had something similar happen to him twice.
  5. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    I’m no expert on the electronics, but I will say that as long as the board doesn’t get wet or battery leak on it, etc the board and components are pretty much going to be around forever. That being said there is always occasions and freaky things can happen. Too much voltage into the preamp might burn it up if your playing with 9 to 18v setups and the preamp doesn’t handle it. Also bad sodier joints occur sometimes with out warning or from bouncing around a week joint comes loose and needs to be reheated. Are very easy fixes, but happen.

    Now Pots are a different story, with sweat and many other element pots can corrode and wear out. You could easily have a bad pot that needs to be changed and your preamp is bad.

    Pickups will loose magnetic pull over time. There's no real way of knowing if and when because I’ve seen 62 Jazz’s with pickups as strong as they where when new and lat 60’s that are so weak you wonder how they work or maybe they don’t :)

    Hope that might answer something and hopefully a smarter electronics guy will pass by.

  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Appreciate the responses.

    If a unit would just croak, that would be no big deal. Was more concerned along the lines of subtle dyscrasia that might have you spending hours looking for something else. Also, I pick up all my stuff used so you would be more likely to get something that may be amiss.

    Was also thinking along the lines of the modular units, NTMB, OBP-3, etc., not the circuit board stuff so much - at least not the massive boards - so EMG BTC-like included.

    Pots I know about. The pup thing I've never thought about but it makes sense.

    Haven't run into the 18v thing but will keep it in mind. Only had one rig I've run on 18V and that was a BTC but yanked the second battery cause I run rechargeables and the second battery made no difference from what I could tell. Plus, space is usually at a premium. Have Aggie OBP-1 that's suppose to run 18v from what I've read but run 9V with no problem.
  7. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    They don't last forever. I have an old pedulla pentabuzz, 1986, and just this summer the preamp died. When it was plugged in it would occasionaly make a very loud popping noise that'd clip whatever amp it was plugged into. This happened 2-3 times during rehersal, i figured it'd go away, but when it happened on a gig, i brought the bass to be repaired. A new Bart NTMB preamp fixed the problem.

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