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Onboard Preamps

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bucephylus, Dec 27, 2004.


  1. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Perhaps, I'm just being too picky, but I've searched through a number of discussions about various onboard preamp characteristics, but have yet to find one that addresses an issue I've had with many of them.

    I am currently playing a Tobias with a stock Bartolini setup that displays the issue. The wiring is configured so that the toggle switch turns the 3 band EQ on and off. With the preamp switched off, the Bart pups have a very nice tone and seem to be very even; lots of upper harmonic structure and low mid growl etc. However, when the EQ is switched into the circuit, there seems to be no "flat" setting which preserves the original sound of the pups. Furthermore, I can not find a single setting which approaches flat. The engaged preamp seems to compress the nice tone from the pups and lose a lot of desireable qualities which can not be recovered with any setting.

    The only active circuits I've used that do not sound this way to my ears are the Alembic Series, and perhaps the F Bass and the Stingray. Every other active bass I've played seems to have this issue.

    I really like this particular Tobias for it's acoustic and playing qualities. So, I generally get by with the active preamp disengaged, and get tonal variation with the passive sweep pot. My objective is to replace the preamp with something that would provide a decent "flat" response, but offer some tonal modification from there. Is such an onboard preamp commercially available?

    If not, is it possible to just put in some kind of passive tone controls that wouldn't kill the flat signal? I'm perfectly happy doing amplification off board.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've definitely had that issue with Bart preamps sometimes, where the flat passive sound isn't the same as the flat sound with preamp active.
    I've found it more prevalent on older bart preamps, pretty much not at all on newer Bart pre's and never on Aguilar or Basslines preamps.
     
  3. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Thanks for your reply, David. I checked out the Bartolini Web site to see what other options there might be. I must say, that is one of the more obtuse web sites I've ever seen. The information there is hardly useful. Also, they have no contact information except a FAX number. Shades of Walter Woods. Do you know of any sales folks who might have some idea of what the options/performance characteristics are with the Bart products?
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    What options do you want to know about re: the barts? They make the 2 band and 3 band preamps available in a number of different knob configs - see most of them at http://www.bestbassgear.com

    There is a lot of information on the bart website, just not in a logically laid out manner. Clicking on the same link from different pages will often take you to two different pages. Annoying to say the least.

    If you want to talk to someone, TJ Wagner (distributor) has always been helpful when I've talked with him. His number should be on the bartolini sales page.
     
  5. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I've had Barts, EMGs, and Aggie 2 and 3 bands and none of them could match the passive tone except with pup sets that were already hi-fi in nature. People rave about Sadowsky's so maybe that's part of it. I jetisoned all preamps before landing a Sad so don't know.

    Edit: forgot to mention, when I said passive I was talking about a true bypass, not a pre-bypass (typical active/passive switch) which only cuts the lead feeding the preamp and results in no sound in passive mode if you pull the battery. To me, the difference in tone between active and a pre-bypass mode (typical active/passive) is of no significance using the mentioned preamps.

    The Bart site I know inside and out, it's the other sites I have trouble with.

    Bart email's has been down for ages but if you call the guy Dave mentioned, he'll return your call promptly - just leave a message cause you probably won't get him direct.