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Preamp battle...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Reinholds, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Reinholds


    Jun 26, 2006
    I have currently looking forward to upgrade my Fender VB5 preamp. The reason is that it's humming, I guess it's Fender signature :smug: . So I'm looking for the most versatile preamp available, so I ended up with those who fits in my bass:

    1.Bartolini NTMB 4.6 A/P
    2.Glockenklang 3EQ 4 pot
    3.Aguilar OBP-3
    4.Audere 3ZB
    5.U-Retro 01 Deluxe
    6.Sadowsky preamp

    Here is my needs and thoughts, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    My needs:
    Good slap sound
    Keeping natural bass tone ( when EQ not used )
    Bass sound not so much solo bass sound. ( Graham sound, not Wooten)

    If you use any of those preamps please say:
    What is the slap tone quality - I like current slap sound, it fenderish, but this "stock" preamp is hummin'.
    How versatile is it?
    All your thoughts or advices is very welcome.

    ....and what would be most easy to wire.

    Thank you very much!

  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Just as a note of caution, I would not assume it's the Fender preamp that's humming- at least not by itself. I had an ADPV which had some noise and hum, and it turned out to be the pickups, not the preamp. And those pickups were supposedly humcanceling, too.
  3. Reinholds


    Jun 26, 2006
    Thanks for advice, but humming is just when I don't touch any metallic part so it's grounding issue. I checked all wiring, gave this bass to professional, shielded it etc. but this the same problem. Fender sad that it's preamp plate problem...
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    If you're serious about a new pre, check out the ACG.
    I just installed one, and it KILLS.
  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    3zb hands down.

    Why ?

    It's the most neutral when the EQ is flat.

    z-mode provides a nice adjustable goose to the low end or the top end that is adjustable to your preference. I like my shifts to be relatively subtle. I use my right hand, picking hand placement as a big part of my approach to tone so having subtle shifts really compliments that.

    It's highly configurable in terms of 2 band, 3 band, 4 band, 3 way z mode, 5 way z-mode on a rotary. Stack this on that on the other thing ... Active/Passive if you want.

    For the slap thing, I want to move from my normal slight scoop to a more dramatic scoop - I don't need that a lot and when I do it is more often in the context of a song where I'm alternating between finger style and slap 'n pop. I can get some of that with the low z-mode if I start with a sound that is over all - a little brite. Or I set up a little heavy in the low's, use the neck pickup but pick back at the bridge. Then I can flip to the hi-z setting for some additional briteness. The low end bump comes naturally as I also move my hand up to slap at the neck...

    More often than not - I'd rather use a good stomp EQ - not 'cause the on-board can't get there but because I'm challenged to play the line AND work the EQ ... easier to step on the switch and off.

    On my 3ZB equipped L2500 I have the Bass & Trble stacked. I can grab both knob's with my pink and dial in a nice scoop and then back the scoop off pretty easily. I just find it more convenient to do it with my feet. I keep a Radial Bassbone and a Trace Elliot SM-7 stomp EQ around just for that sort of thing - The Trace is friggin' amazing at it... Makes me wonder if I should have taken that Mark King head more seriously back in it's day ...

    ... an over all caveat - I don't slap much these days. I'm not a gospel guy and outside of that - I don't see a lot of call for it except as look at me! I'm solo'ing stuff! Your mileage may vary...

    Personally I don't see any real advantage to the 18v requirement. I keep hearing that folks want it for headroom. Well, if the MFD humbucker's in my L2500 won't melt the 3Zb in 9 V - I can't really see where more headroom is an advantage - those things are HOT. The 3ZB can go there of course - I just don't see a need ...

    If there were one thing that I would single out for the 3ZB that is just better than any other pre I've tried, I would have to say the audio quality of it is just unsurpassed. I've done the Aggie, the U-Retro and a couple of Barts. It isn't even close IMO...
  6. leocesario


    Aug 11, 2008
    Are Bartolini preamps any good?

    Audere JZ3 won this year's Bass Player Reader's Choice Awards in the Preamp category, but I was wondering, between Bartolini and Audere, is the Audere worth the extra hundred $$?
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Personally - I really don't like Bartolini electronics. I haven't tried every pre they've made by a long shot. Those that I have - I didn't like. They sound like my bass being run through some processing thing. The Audere - it sounds like my bass ...

    I'm looking for a real organic, not very far off of the Passive sound with tone control cranked up - I want the advantages of on-board electronic's but I still want my bass to sound like my bass...
  8. Never heard anything bad about the aguilar. I did install the OPB-1 in a P-Special. Very flexible and very quiet, but I havent tried the OBP-3. But I have two different luthier friends who swear by them.
  9. Reinholds


    Jun 26, 2006
    Thank you all, there is very important for me also layout think, so I don't need to drill holes in 2000$ bass.
    I need active/passive push/pull volume knob. (found in Bartolini, Glockenklang and Audere )
    I need bass/treble stacked ( found in all )
    It would be great to have mid pot, with push/pull mid freq change (Found in Bartolini, but in Audere I didn't find this option, of course I can buy pair of stocked knobs and put hi-mid/ low-mid instead of mid).

    Audere looks good to me, but I need fenderish sound, not so much solo bass sound. As Fender VB 5 is dark sounded bass, brighter preamp will just even up sound, and I'll be always possible to roll of treble, but I want that it sounds massive and growl. Does audere support that?

    What do you think?
  10. Vetchking

    Vetchking Banned

    Mar 17, 2008
    President G.P.G. Co. "acoustic" USA
    I'd wait and get the new "acoustic" USA 360 Pre-amp... designed by Russ Allee. I have heard the Pro-type and It's amazing.

  11. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU
    well, the Glockenklang 3-band eq pre is not an 18V design.
    Standard 9V but I like it a lot.

    I cannot say I have compared all or any of those preamps in the same bass to be able to give a comparative opinion......
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    now there's a novel suggestion

    That is precisely why Audere is the pick. Your Fender will still sound like a Fender - not like a Fender running through a pre-amp box of some kind. That's my beef with most of the on board electronic's I've tried. Most seem to be designed as tone sculpting tools. Huge amounts of boost and cut - at frequencies and in bandwidths chosen by the designer. OK - great but what if I already like the basic sound of my bass but want more subtle tone options and a buffered blend ? That's where the Audere shines. You want a bit of low end 'boost on a switch' ? just dial the low z-mode into that, want a little hi end roll-off ? dial the hi z in for that. It's your choice - not some other guy's idea of what your bass ought to sound like...
  13. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    Check out the Roscoe forum, we have had a lot of discussion on onboard preamps. For my taste, it is the Demeter than the Glockenklang.
  14. humming when not touching strings (metalic part of bass) is a shielding issue. your bass isn't well shielded, and throwing an active pre in there won't fix it.

    search shielding
  15. Reinholds


    Jun 26, 2006
    I have control "room" in base shielded with aluminum foil, as well as it's plastic cover, but pickups isn't shielded. But I have seen other "stock" Fender Victor Bailey jazz basses with out this issue, and with out ANY additional shield.
    I have red many shielding articles, but could you please make short tutorial for me - Like what foil to use, some specific tips if any of them, for not pickguard bass.
    Any advice will be highly appreciated!
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    StewMac sells a kit for about $14 that includes copper foil shielding, some accessories and most importantly - instructions. I'ts a great way to learn how. There's enough shield material for at least 1 bass, maybe 2 - and when you get done - you've learned the process. later I bought rolls of the shielding tape to have on hand. Getting started - the shielding instructions were helpful.

    Here's a link to the kit
  17. Its pretty simple really, use COPPER foil, not aluminum foil. Line the entire control cavity with it and connect it to ground somewhere. Presto, no more hum.
  18. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Respectfully, the only preamps and pups I have really liked on my basses are Bartolini. Demeter was nice, too. Th eJ-Retro was OK, but not my fav. I haven't tried everything, but FWIW, I like Bartolini.
  19. Reinholds


    Jun 26, 2006
    Do I need to line the pickup space as well?
    And what is the difference in between copper vs aluminum?( I have self adhesive aluminum tape what is for electronics.)
  20. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Does your bass buzz everywhere, or just in one location? Some rooms are just noisy. You have bad power sources, and things like light dimmers. Even a well shielded bass might make noise in these locations. And Fenders are not well shielded. One thing that helps is using shielded wires in the bass, especially coming from the pickups.

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