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Raven Labs PBR-1 P Bass Preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by David Wilson, May 23, 2004.


  1. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I installed one of these in my MIA 2000 P today. Installation was a cinch, just had to wire the pickup hot/cold wires to the preamp input and the bridge ground to the jack ground.

    For those who haven't seen or read about it, it's a bit different from the usual onboard preamp. Instead of multi-band, it has a single eq control.
    With tone control centred, the sound has no discernible difference from the passive sound (apart from it being louder than passive).

    Cutting the tone from center boosts the bass and takes down the treble. Very K.I.S.S. and feels very intuitive. Great for fat fingerstyle and pick playing. Boosting the knob from center boosts the treble and thins out the bass somewhat. I'm not sure how much I'd use that mode, given I'm using brightish strings (DR SS Hi Beams). But with some bass boost on the amp, a slight treble boost yielded a crisper slap sound.

    I was originally intending to keep this bass passive, but I really feel this is a truly transparent preamp when tone control is centred so I think I'll keep it in.

    I'll post some clips over the next few days. I also have the new JBR-1 Raven Labs preamp which I'll be trying out in my passive Jazz bass soon. It uses the same single eq control concept, but has an active blend to alleviate some of the usual issues with blending two pickup signals.
    edit: it's not an active blend, but a buffered input. There's still two volume controls.
     
  2. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I've been using the PBR in my '78 Musicmaster for a bit over a year now and love it totally! Taking the tone knob much higher than 7 thins the Musicmaster out a bit too much for my taste, but rolling it down to about 3 adds so much round bottom... Really makes this little bass thump with authority!

    I'm interested to hear your take on the JBR...

    -robert
     
  3. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Im interested as well. Thinking of building my own P-bass and possibly adding this preamp or purchasing a Skyline Glaub and adding this preamp.

    My main concern was that at center detent the tone would be colored.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I haven't noticed any evidence of that, I'll be recording it tonight and comparing to the passive sound. I'll post some clips.
     
  5. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    Oregon
    Good to read your thoughts. I know there are many, many fans of this product on the 'pit. I've been close to ordering one but I'm just not thrilled about the idea of taking my bass apart to change the battery. Did you have any worries about that before you bought yours? And, would you consider it worthwhile to buy this upgrade if a bass has the stock MIM (late model) pups?

    Thanks.
     
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    ahh yes, it got caught up in a general P pickup shootout which I recorded badly and need to do again. But I certainly knock up a quick clip with the nord P and raven labs tonight. Watch this space!
     
  7. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx

    David Im in the process of having a P built for me with the Nord P pup. I definitely want to hear your clip with the Nord P! What are your impressions of the Nord P? What about with the Raven and the P?
     
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I hear you. What I do love about it is that flat the passive sound is intact.

    I've only used it for bass boost, i.e. cutting from center rather than the treble boost. So technically I guess I could do that (bass boost) on the amp but it's nice to have the onboard flexibility .
     
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've been doing a mini P shootout myself. Unfortunately I messed up some of the recordings so I'm waiting for some spare time to go back and rerecord the various pups.

    I tried:
    stock P
    Nord P
    Dimarzio P
    Dimarzio Split P
    EMG P

    I've also still to try the Villex P, which I just got yesterday.
    I'll be writing it all up later. The Nord is my favorite of the bunch so far, has the thump of the stock but more frequency range so you get a bit more of the top end. Which is what I like, but you might not :)
    Anyho, the clip I'll do tonight will be Raven Labs and Nord P. I'll do it with the Raven flat, then do the same riffs etc with the Raven doing some bass boost. The preamp is a bit of a one trick pony, but it's a very good trick.
     
  10. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Awesome David, that is exactly what I am looking for!
     
  11. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    ok, here we go

    go to http://briefcase.yahoo.com/david_wilson , under the NP4 folder

    First minute is with preamp flat, second minute (second time round the riffs) is with eq knob cut about 40% from center - which cuts the treble and boosts the bass.

    Played on a 2000 MIA P Bass 62 reissue, rosewood board and DR hi-beams. Recorded on to a Korg PXR-4

    Done in a hurry, so a little bit sloppy in places :oops:
     
  12. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    David that sounds excellent!!!! Man I am even more stoked about getting this bass built now!
     
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Yeah, the main difference between the stock and the Nord was in the frequency range. The difference comes out more through an amp - the recorder I use does high quality mp3 compression, but I think there's still some loss there.

    But with the Raven, I agree that the character is retained and that's what I like about it. I may not keep it in there for ever, depends on how much I like the Villex P which is incompatible with the Raven Labs pre due to the insane Villex wiring.

    I forgot I do have a Bart P to try as well, largely as a result of your recommendation.
     
  14. One thing to watch for is that the pot spacing on the Skyline Glaub may not be exactly the same as on a Fender P. On mine, there was a difference of 1/8", which meant that I had to remove one pot from the PBR-1 circuit board and rewire it with jumpers (the other alternative was to replace the anodized aluminum pickguard with a new blank and drilling it fresh).

    However, I am pleased with the results.
     
  15. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx

    Hey Big O, actually the PBR-1 fits in the Glaubs there are a bunch of guys at The Pit that have done it. However I am not going that route anymore. Im having a bass built for me now.
     

  16. That's cool - I'm just relating what happened with mine. Dave at Club Bass couldn't believe it either - and he sold me both items, but made it work...

    Hope the new custom P works out for you. :)
     
  17. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    This is great! What's up David? Still enjoying the P? I told you it is a good one. ;)

    I have the Raven Pre in my Lull-P and I like it. It's not the same as being able to tweak a tone control, but it's nice. I haven't heard my bass without the Pre yet; I may do that this weekend.
     
  18. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    How does the Bart compare to a Fralin P-pup?
     
  19. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Yes, it is a very cool bass. Now it's been gigged it's not in such pristine condition any more :)
     
  20. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Well, this pre didn't fit in my skyline Bob Glaub. I think the pots are about 1/8" to 1/4" wider than the holes in the pickguard. I would rather not widen the holes in a $50 pickguard (especially since I got the pre used, who knows if it will work 100% right). Was it easy to remove the pot?