Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Should I replace my Preamp??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kp_funk, Dec 8, 2004.


  1. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    Hi all,

    I play a custom made 5 string bass made of Zebrawood. I have installed some bartolini 72M45C (deep Tone) pickups into it (I replaced EMGs b/c I wanted more colour in my tone), and also have the Bartolini NTMB preamp in it. I LOVE the tonal characterists of my bass now that I did that. I do not want to change that. I do however want to get a brighter and less warm attack out of it when necessary and cleaner sound. I am thinking of changing the preamp to the Aguilar OPB-3. Will that help brighten my sound? Are there other preamps of there that are better? Is the Bartolini NTMB a good preamp? If so, how should I EQ it to get the best attack out of it.

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    In my experience with the OBP-3 it can be very bright, more so than any Bartolini preamp I've ever used (whichever preamp is in a Cort Curbow, and then rather limited experience with a Bartolini NTBT). This is just a shot in the dark, but to get a brighter tone, brighter versions of the Bart pickups might be able to do the trick a bit better. From what I can recall the deep tone versions are meant to be dark and stay that way without some extreme EQ'ing. Just a thouht though, I could be completely off track.
     
  3. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    so would you suggest changing the preamp or the pickups?
     
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I would think that hitting it at its source would be a wise choice. In other words a more bright toned pickup. That's just my thought on the subject, but there are some WAY more experienced people here on TB that could likely give you a better answer.

    If you'd prefer to keep the pickups the same and would prefer to change the preamp you might look into a John East U or J-Retro (depending on bass configuration) that has an integrated bright switch that boosts the high end frequencies specifically.

    Again, I say pickups, but others might say preamp.... where's David Wilson or one of the more experienced TB'ers?????
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The bart ntmb and aguilar obp-3 are both fine 3 band preamps. The treble on the obp-3 is slightly harsher sounding than the bart IME.

    I agree to some extent with the 'attack at the source' suggestion. But if you're happy 90% of the time with the sound, changing the pickups for 10% of the time could result in you being overall less happy. Or not - you might love the sound EVEN MORE with different pickups.
    Having said that: I'm not sure how much brighter and less warm you'll be able to get the deep tone pickups - they're wound that way specifically to get that sound. The coloration you mentioned is hard to take away with eq.

    If this answer seemed like no help at all, then I'm sorry. Just wanted to give you some things to think on. There's no one answer, and what works for me might not work for you etc etc. I don't mind some low end coloration on pickups, but I generally haven't liked pickups with a muted high end. Other people DO like that, and that's fine - it's just not my thing.
     
  6. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I'd probably try some capacitors first since they're about 50 cents apiece. Personally, I have found EMG, Bart, & Aguilar preamps to be too similar to bother with changing. You can go through tons of pups - EMG's not colorful enough, Barts not clear enough, etc.

    If those Barts are along the lines of a 5 string version of M34C's, I'd give some thought to switching that yields series HB/inner coils/outer coils. Gives you series HB and two J tones all humbucking. I found those M34C's to be too dark to be of any use otherwise.
     
  7. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    My pickups are exactly the 5 string version of the M34C. So you think they are too dark as well. How different would be the tone by switching that yields series HB/inner coils/outer coils. Would it still sound good? Is it difficult and expensive to do that? David Wilson, I would love your opinion on this as well if you can give it.
     
  8. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    also what would it do to the coloration of tone to my bass?
     
  9. Larzito

    Larzito

    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    Have you tried a brighter set of strings? Something known for a snappy top such as DR Highbeams might be all that is needed. You can alwasy dial out the treble and add as needed. Also, pickup height can affect the tone a lot, especially with Barts. You might experiemnt with these inexpensive easy options before replacing p/u or pre.

    I put an OBP-3 in my Modulus to tone down the bright EMG pickups it came stock with. It is not as bright as the OBP-1 IMO.
     
  10. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    Hi Larzito,

    I bought some DR hi-beams but I haven't put them on my bass yet. Right now I have D'addario Slowwounds on my bass. They are definately not as bright as DR's. B4 I do anything I am going to change my strings. I just wanted to know if it was b/c of my bass why I couldn't get the highs I wanted. I pray that it is the strings b/c I don't need to spend anymore money on my already expensive bass.

    Also, I never played with the pickup height yet. Is higher better for or lower?
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I've played through probably 50 sets if pups or more and there is one set of pups that stand out as being dark beyond practical application - deep tone Bart M34C's in a Schec I had strung with TI Flats.

    Another thing I changed in the bass at the same time was adding capacitors in with a Les Paul vol/tone/vol/tone wiring scheme. I would guess the capacitors had a significant impact and would probably be sufficient to get you what you need. At 50 cents a piece, hard to beat. Higher ohm pots will also yield more treble.
     
  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    kp, the strings recommendation is a good one and it's a lot cheaper to try than new pups/preamp.

    Coil switching will give you more tonal options with the same pickups. Another good suggestion since you can at least go between series/parallel humbucking. Series, which is probably how they're wired right now, will accentuate the mids. Parallel will give you more lows and highs.
     
  13. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    Thank David,

    So is it hard and/or expensive to change the coil config from series to Parallel? Since I will be losing some mids, will my bass sound thin? Will my bass have presence?? Will it lose presence? If I do this, I want to make sure it was worth while and that I LOVE to sound. I like versitility
     
  14. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'd recommend making it switchable, either via a push/pull volume pot or installing a separate switch if you want 3 way switching.

    Wiring instructions for 4 conductor Bartpickups here: http://bartolini.net/instructions/pickups/passive/switching/Switch_Wiring_DualCoil_Pickups4_cond.pdf

    For terms of reference, a large part of the Stingray sound is it's single humbucker wired in parallel. Stingray doesn't sound thin, right?

    I can't tell you what you'll like or not like, I can only give you the options and my opinions based on my experience.
     
  15. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    Well you seem very experienced and I value your opinion. I am going to call my bass tech and see if I can put this option in my bass. I hope it is not difficult to install a switch onto my bass. All my knob holes are being used. Unless I replace my Active/passive switch. I don't want to do that.
     
  16. rpatter

    rpatter Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2004
    Round Rock, TX
    I wouldn't replace the preamp. You may want to consider changing your bridge pickup to the 72M45K. It is a brighter pickup and since you have the 72M45C in the bridge position, you shouldn't lose any depth.
     
  17. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    Did you mean "...since you have the 72M45C in the NECK position, you shouldn't lose any depth" (since I would be changing the bridge pickup)


    That's what I was told by someone before. I think the main reason I want a brighter sound is for slapping and popping, as well as bright clean harmonics Other than that I'm fine. Now since I slap closer to the neck, will changing the bridge pickup still make the difference I need. I do play my finger style over the bridge pickup 95% of the time (probably b/c it is brighter and more midrangy).
     
  18. rpatter

    rpatter Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2004
    Round Rock, TX
    D'oh! Yes, I meant the NECK position. The "K" pickup should give you what you're looking for. You may want to talk to Tom at T.J. Wagner (the US Bart distributor) and he can tell you exactly what pickup you want.
     
  19. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    I think he was actually the one who told me about it (I called a Bart distributer when I was trying to get barts) I justed needed to get some advice from other bass players. In your opinion, will this change help my bass to cut through in a band setting as well? That's what I want to ensure also. Or are Barts just too mellow for that.
     
  20. kp_funk

    kp_funk

    Jun 9, 2003
    sorry for all the questions