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Most Transparent Onboard Pre?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by KayCee, May 8, 2006.

  1. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    I've been doing a number of listening tests on my basses recently, and have become more keenly aware of the differences in onboard preamps.

    I'm a big fan of passive basses, but do enjoy the tone shaping that a 3-band active onboard eq provides. However, when all three of the eq knobs are in the center (+/- 0) position, I would consider it ideal if the sound was as close to the bypassed, passive sound as possible. I'm not a big fan of the modern "sheen" that many preamps have for my playing style.

    My outboard pre is a Glockenklang, which I like very well. It shapes tones in a very quiet, musical way without adding it's own "opinion". I know that they have an onboard pre now that some have tried and liked. Might this be closest to what I'm after?

    Your input would be appreciated.


  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    the glockenklang onboard is very new, haven't had a chance to try it yet.

    In terms of other transparant preamps, I've found the Audere and Aguilar preamps all to be very transparent with EQ flat. The Demeter is also supposedly this way, but I haven't tried that one.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    The three most transparent pre amps that I have encountered are The Audere,Demeter and Jim Williams.(and I have used pretty much all of the other ones,stock,modified and custom).I have not checked out the glockenklang but I have heard nothing but positive things about it.
  4. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    On a club gig this past weekend, I really noticed a difference when cranked through my rig, which has a Mackie SRM450 speaker on top an the powered Mackie 15 sub on the bottom with Glockenklang Pro Art pre. Nothing else in the signal chain.

    That Mackie has a very powerful horn on top, which put out some substantial "niagra falls" noise at high volume and flat eq. At first, I thought that it must just be the room (lighting, etc.), but when I pulled the bypass, it was dead quiet. Kudos to Nordstrand on the quiet pickups, BTW.

    Granted, I think that the horn puts a magnifying glass on it, but I could also hear a difference in the very top end of the bass.
    Not a problem to roll it off, but passive mode wound up being the better option here.

    I'm probably splitting hairs here, and my Glockenklang outboard preamp is SO transparent that it might be unrealistic to expect that performance from an onboard pre.
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I can't hear any difference between the Aguilar bypassed and not, with my EMG pickups. However, depending on the input impedance of your amp, the loading change on the pickups could cause a change in tone. The lower voltage and higher impedance the output of your pickups is, the greater this difference could be.

  6. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I have owned several basses with multiple pickup/pre configurations including Basslines, Aguilar, EMG, and Sadowsky. IMO both the EMG and Basslines add to much of their sound to the tone. This is not a big deal if you're using active pickups, but I feel they tend to owerpower the natural characteristics of passive pickups. The Aguilar and the Sadowsky sound very transparent when flat but the Sadowsky sounds more natural to me when boosted.
  7. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    I still haven't tried the Glockenklang onboard but I expect it to be exactly what you describe : transparent and natural.
    Tripster may talk about it better since he's already used it for weeks but from his mouth, the Glock. pre. is something as great as Alembic series electronics or wal one.

    I plane to install a Glock in my bass soon then the ears will talk

  8. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Jauqo, would you tell us/me a little more about the Jim Williams preamps? I've never heard of them, but I'm constantly on a quest for my perfect electronics package, and so I'd love to hear more about these. Thanks!

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Jim Williams(of audio upgrades)has been building Custom built consoles and making out board and in board pre amps for over 30 years.His systems are some of the best you will ever hear(their really just micro versions of his custom consoles),as clear and pristine as you'll come across.Garry Goodman has one of his pre amp system's in his 7 string Tobias(it's been installed in it since the 80's)and Garry also has a Williams stereo preamp in his Adler 12 string.There is a cab company(don't want to mention it's name)that will be presenting a 2000watt Bass amp later this year that was made by Jim Williams.
  10. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    Sure you do.........


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    To my ears I think the Bart preamp is pretty transparent.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

  13. jeff_bass28

    jeff_bass28 Guest

    Mar 21, 2006
    Ask Chris Larkin(chris@chrislarkinguitars.com) about the Glock pre. He tells me he picked up several right before they were introduced, and that they are fabulous.
  14. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I have to say its F Bass preamp. With the preamp on and all control knobs down, it is the exact sound in passive mode. Noting that all controls are boost only.

    Some might then say the preamp is not powerful enough, but i find it real transparent and in a way "Hifi" sounding.
  15. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    I have a Demeter in my Jazz. It's very very transparent. I like it alot. Really compliments the barts well. It's nice to set stuff up at 0 and be able to move it around (cutting and boosting). And at 0 it seems to get a really bypassed tone.
    Barts + demeter ftw
  16. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    +1. I was going to reply with this as well.
  17. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    Hey ther,
    My Glock onboard pre has just arrived this morning
    Unfortunatly, I'm not able to install it myself so you'll have to wait a bit more (til my bass come back from my luthier) to have a user opinion on tht pre.
    But be sure that I'll keep you informed !

  18. deckard


    Apr 4, 2003
    I agree with Major Metal and ElBajista: I think my Bart NTMB is pretty darn transparent.

    When I set my onboard EQ at flat & switch back 'n forth 'twixt active & passive there is no difference in actual tone at all.

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