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please help me decide NTBT or OBP-1

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by [SD], Oct 15, 2004.

  1. [SD]


    Feb 24, 2004
    OK, i've been reading all afternoon about 2 band preamps and i have narrowed it down to Bartolini NTBT 3 knobs diagram with activa/passive control and volumen, blend a bass/treble stack. And the OBP-1 from aguilar.
    From what i've read the aguilar is hollow but brighter and the bartolini is darker with more low end.

    I'm really getting a preamp cuz i need more treble(maybe a little bit more low end but that's not the real problem), i love the sound i have finger playing but when it comes to play with pick on the D and G strings i need a lot of treble kinda justin chancellors sound and i'm not getting that with my current setup (only when i have really new strings).

    I like the fact of the passive and active switch on the bartolini but since i haven't had an active bass just tested some i'm not sure if once i have a nice active tone i would use that much the passive one.

    So what do u guys would advice me?

    Also does anyone knows the specs of the NTBT 2 band? how much boost and cut do i get and at what freqs?

    I have a warwick corvette 5 string with the MEC pick ups
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    fwiw (I'm picking that up from luknfur!) the active/passive switching has little to with the preamp itself and more to do with how it's wired.

    You can buy the ntbt prewired with active/passive, and you can wire the obp-1 the same way.
    It's a good idea to have active / passive bypass in case of battery / electronics failure although there are several basses with preamps and no bypass (e.g. the Stingray).

    One thing: I don't think adding more treble will necessarily give you the sound you describe, that's more the sound of midrange-heavy Wal humbuckers although there's definitely treble in there.

    I believe the NTBT can boost/cut +/-12db, with bass @ 40hz (don't know the treble freq).

    Of the two, I personally prefer the Aguilar - fatter bass boost and it's more transparent. With the Aguilar, the passive sound is the same as the sound with preamp engaged and eq flat. The off the shelf Bart preamps definitely put a color on the sound even with eq flat in my experience. Having said that, so does the U-Retro / J-Retro and plenty of people like that sound so you may well dig it - just something to be aware of.
  3. I would get the Bartolini. More useable tone control. The Bart is boost and cut. The OBP-1 is boost only. IMO the OBP-1 treble is unbearable. It wasn't feasible to just turn the treble down. I never could tweak it right. I think the treble frequency is just tuned to high.
  4. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    would it be possible to install both? like, dont they have like 6 or 7 wires that go to pots that you could just wire together so it would still be 2 band but have more bright end and a warm boosted low end?
  5. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm a big fan of the Aguilar on-board preamps. The OBP-1 has centres at 40 hz and 4Khz. The OBP-3 has a higher treble at about 6Khz. I have gotten great results from both. The 3 has cut, as well as boost, so you can roll off highs if needed. I like the simplicity of the 1, though, for Jazz or Music Man setups.

    I find the low end of the Ag to be really fat and warm sounding, and the treble adds a great snap when needed.
    The 3 has variable midrange settings depending on wiring in a couple of resistors.

    (I do get a luthier's discount on these, so take my remarks with that in mind.)

  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I think David has a point. Some eq'ing should get you what you want. Seems like a pic click is a 2 or 3 KHz thing and it's not something you should have to jack with so if you have no amp controls that will give you that you might think about a GEB-7 graphic EQ stomp box that will give 7 band control from 50 Hz - 10 Khz with +/- 15dB of boost/cut plus you can use it as volume control with the same boost/cut. Last check they were going for less than an onboard preamp. You can use it with any bass and you won't have to change anything in your bass and if you want passive just stomp on it.

    The onboard preamp will basically just boost or cut what you've already got (which you could basically do with the amp control). It will give you some tone shaping but I'd say there's a good chance such a move will not resolve your problem.

    But the boost/cut on the NTBT is 16 dB boost/cut on the bass and 18 dB boost/16 dB cut on the treble. Plus they usually have a seperate gain control. And if you wire it (or any preamp) with a true by-pass, it can't affect the passive tone. I've had both NTBT and OBP-1 and I'd definetly take the NTBT with few exceptions.

    Also, if you haven't tried a thinner or metal pic - I'd go that route first. Pic thickness and material makes a world of difference and will probably resolve your problem if you're using the typical thick plastic pic now. I'd think different strings would do it as well.
  7. [SD]


    Feb 24, 2004
    ok, thenks for your answers then i might go for the OBP1.

    Now can anyone show me which of the wiring diagrams on the aguilar site is the one i would use for bypassing the preamp. Or i can use any by just getting a pull/push volume knob?

    Can anyone explain that to me? thanks again:D
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    the second one down on the obp-1 wiring page has it for you. When wiring it to a push/pull volume pot, imagine the pot 'underneath' the switch (i.e. where it says 'see other diagrams') with the pot shaft pointing down and wire it that way.
    If you wired it looking as with the pot on top, you'd have it passive by default and have to pull the pot to get in active mode.
    I'm on my way out the door, so if I haven't explained it properly let me know and I can go into more detail later.
  9. [SD]


    Feb 24, 2004
    ok i pretty much get it, i just have to wire the push pull volume pot like i would with any dpdt switch i haven't seen a push/pull volume pot but i guess it will work the same way a DPDT works and it would be wired similarly.

    GREAT HELP! i might end up wiring it myself and buying the pots my self to save some money.
  10. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I went Bart, because I was going w/ Bart pups,,, AND, because of the cut-only vs boost-cut... I've got an NTBT, & its just fine... Truth be told, I really don't have to tweak it all that much.