Onboard or Outboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tortoise.sg, Apr 13, 2004.

Onboard or Outboard?

Poll closed Apr 27, 2004.
  1. Onboard

    22 vote(s)
  2. Outboard

    9 vote(s)
  3. No preamp, just passive

    10 vote(s)
  1. If you had only one passive Jazz bass, would you buy an outboard preamp and be happy with it or go through the hassle of installing an onboard?

    What are the differences? I'm talking tone... not convenience.
  2. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I think that with any active pre, you get more range of sounds. The knobs you twist do more, that is, change the tone more. But I think that I have read that the passive mode of an installed preamp may not be the same as your previous passive setup. You may lose your current sound on the path to the new/different sound.

    Do a search here for [retro and jazz] and I think you will get some interesting reading. The "J-Retro" is a new preamp that people are putting in J style basses.

    Do a search for [active passive] and I think you will get some more interesting reading.

    Oh, and I am inbetween. Sometimes I want a J-Retro. Sometimes I want an outboard Sadowsky. But I am not looking for new/better/different tone. I like my tone. I just want to be quiet.

  3. frodebass


    Apr 11, 2004
    If it's an old original Fender bass, definately don't mess with the electronics, unless they are broken.
    Value would decrease a lot!

    If it's another brand of jazz bass copy, it won't really matter. Personal choice, however the previous poster is right about you might loose the original passive tone, or probably will loose it.

    So question is: does your bass now have an organic happening sound, or is it characterless and bland?
    If it has character, you will want to keep this and add some options, then the only way I think will be an outboard pre.

    Be aware that how a bass sounds on it's own doesn't mean anything compared to how it sounds in the band or studio.

    I have been in situatiuons with very expensive basses and ending up playing my old P bass with years old strings.
    It doesnt sound spectacular on its own, but often in a studio situation, what is called for is the meat and potatoes sound, lacking the frequencies like the old passive basses do.
    New hyper active basses can simply contain too many frequencies that they take too much room to sit well in a mix.

    Good luck whatever you choose,
  4. Yeah, because the price of the J-retro is more than most outboard preamps I just wanna know if it is really worth the buck.

    Example: What is the difference between a Jazz bass with an onboard Sadowsky compared to a passive Jazz bass with an outboard Sadowsky?

    Is the one with the onboard suppose to sound better?

    Oh BTW, does Sadowsky make any passive basses? Cos all I see on his website are basses with his preamp.
  5. My bass has a U-Retro preamp and is really versatile compared with other preamps and the tone control makes it more versatile...

    Any bass with onboard pre-amp sound more modern and you have more EQ on your sound (and that's cool), if I want vintage sound then I go Passive.... :ninja:
  6. Oh no... I'm still not getting my question across... :help: :crying:

    Okay if you have a Jazz bass from Saowsky,

    Sound 1: You play it active setting the treble and bass boost to your liking on the bass.

    Sound 2: You flip the switch to passive (BYPASS the active circuit in the bass) then go through a Sadowsky Outboard Preamp setting the treble and bass boost to your liking.

    Both outputs passes through a preamp.

    Would Sound 1 be different from Sound 2 in any way?

    Am i getting through? :confused:

    I'm not really talking about Sadowsky basses here... Just wondering about the difference between an Outboard and and Onboard Preamp.
  7. Bump...

    so many volted onboard? Why?
  8. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    I think its because its easier/faster to dial in your tone. Especially when you are playing live.
  9. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    IMHO, I sincerely doubt that there'll be an audible difference to the audience, or whoever you're playing to between the 2 scenarios you gave
    - if you have a sad with vintage tone control, what's the logic in switching to passive and then running it through an outboard - unless of course you have a different outboard pre that is... then what's the point of the sad? You getting what I'm saying?

    Anyways, I think the crucial bit you're trying to get at is whether there's a difference in tone between an onboard vs outboard pre, and I think the answer that ppl have been giving is that there's none, or that it's negligible. Hence all the other answers that seem to be beating ard the bush.
    They've been voting more on the convenience of being able to dial up tones on the bass rather than having to do it on an outboard, or with the consideration of affecting the existing electronics in your bass.

    Hope that clears up stuff :)