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New Bart Preamp? Should I, or not?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by DaveCustomMade, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. I have a question concerning whether or not I should spend the $150+ for a new Bartolini 3.4 3 band active preamp. Currently, I have a Peavey of mid 1990's age that has the original 2 band eq. in it. I'd like for it to sound better, thus the 3 band eq. that the Bart will be. My question:

    1. Will the difference be negligible between them?
    2. Will a new preamp not make a difference with original pickups still in place?
    3. Will the difference in sound only be marginal, not worth spending the money?
    4. Will it sound a better, but still not great?
    5. Will it sound a LOT better, being well worth the $$?

    Thanks for your help. Feel free to select more than one of the above scenarios if you need to.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Bart make great preamps, as do Aguilar.

    Peavey by and large make great stuff, but I wasn't a fan of the preamp on the Sarzo bass.

    Without hearing the Peavey preamp in question, I can't make any qualitative distinctions between that and the Bart.

    Can you be more precise about what you mean by 'sound better'?
  3. The Peavey (Axcellerator) preamp is an 18 volt system, 2 band with two pickups. Made mid 90's or so. Obviously, the mids are non-present. Sometimes it sounds to muddy, especially in the lower note ranges. It doesn't sound too bad at higher ranges.

    I once took it to a music shop and hooked the bass into an external preamp, then into an amp. I played with the slides for a while, trying to get a better sound. While I did get a better sound, the Cirrus that I played afterwards (just itself, no external preamp) still sounded better than my bass running through the external preamp.

    I hope that helps. :)
  4. So far, . .. . . not helping? :smug:
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    well, it's helpful to an extent. But, like I said, I have no experience with the preamp you mention so I can't make any comparison between the two. I find the mid eq very helpful on the bart 3 band preamps.

    Are your pickups active? If so, you might have to do some extra work since the blend pot that comes with Bart harnesses is always of an impedance suitable for passive pickups.
  6. To be honest, I don't really know if they're active or passive pickups. The current preamp uses two 9 volt batteries, but that doesn't tell me anything about the pickups. The only thing I can give as an idea is that the wires of the pickups have an inner wire surrounded by an outer 'wire' (surrounding the casing of the inner wire), so to cut it requires connecting both the outer and inner.

    Now when I hooked up my Bartolini pickup and preamp on my other bass, I didn't notice that type of setup, just a set of single wires (with no outer wire), unless I forgot how it was.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  7. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I think active pickups should have 3 wires. One usually gets wired to the battery. In my old active p/u's it was a red wire I think. Just having two wires makes me think your p/u's are passive. I could be wrong. David knows more. He got me through my preamp and p/u replacement some time ago.
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    ok, so sounds like you have passive pickups. I've SEEN active pickups with only two wires, such as Alembic and Status, but never Peavey ones.

    But I'm curious about the other barts you mention, all standard P/J barts I've seen have inner hot wire plus outer ground braid. Of course, they have soapbar / MM pickups with four wires (plus ground).

    So, I still can't tell you HOW MUCH better the bart preamp will be than your peavey but I can't imagine it wouldn't be better.
  9. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Why not just replace the pickups?

    FWIW, I replaced the pups and preamp on my late-90s Carvin with Bartolini pickups and an Aguilar OBP-3, and it totally transformed the bass for the better. It wasn't an incremental improvement...it was a whole new ball game.

    AFAIK the Bart preamp is way up there in terms of quality and tone. I don't have any direct experience, but if it's good enough for Mike Tobias to drop into the MTDs, I think it'll be good enough for your Peavey.
  10. Well, the pickups on Peaveys have the screws on the sides of the pickup, thus the pickup has plastic bumps on either side that stick out roughly 1/4 of an inch. Because of that, normal soapbar pickups don't fit, and would look odd with regularly shaped pickups inside route channels that have semicirculur routings. The only pickups that would compeletly cover the old route design would be the MM pickup, but then two of those big boys may be too awkward looking.
  11. Perhaps the Bartolini in my other bass DID have this outer ground braid. At any rate, it would appear then that the Peavey pickups are like that, thus probably passive then?

    Perhaps I shouldn't waste the money on this endevour. May not produce enough change to be worth while, what with the cost of the preamp and most likely the cost of having a professional install it. :confused: