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Tri-tone pre-amp changes, pre/post 2003

Discussion in 'G&L Bass Forum' started by millahh, Sep 18, 2008.


  1. millahh

    millahh Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Hoboken
    I've seen folks say that the sound of the pre-amp is different pre-2003, due to a change in pre-amp design, and I've even seen reference to a specific chip (though the specifics elude me).

    How is the sound different, and is it as simple as a different chip being used?
     
  2. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I know the preamp in my 1982 L2000 sounds significantly different than the one in my old 2006 L2500- the newer one made the tone alot brighter and a little deeper, while the old one seems to make the sound alot deeper, but not really much brighter (the treble-boost mode on my L2000 sounds similar to the normal active mode on my old L2500!). I never used the pre on my L2500, but I use the one on my L2000 for a really thick boost. I don't know the specifics, but I'd be inclined to think that its more than just a difference in chips.

    Karl
     
  3. Once G&L moved to the v1.1 preamp, they have been the same. The chip itself is the same. Even if individual components on the preamp board carry the same values, there can and will be differences from one to the next. For example, the resistors all have a +/- 5% tolerance. The capacitors will have similar tolerances, maybe as high as 20%, though 10% is more likely. The opamp chip itself would be the most consistent, but even there variances can be found from batch to batch. My point here is that these support components, the resistors and capacitors, can make a difference in the way the preamp colors the tone of the pickups.

    This image is of a preamp from an L-2000 made in Aug. of 2000. The preamp in my new L-2500 is the same. The basses sound a bit different, though the G&L tone is clearly there.

    pretop.

    Don't forget that there are slight differences in the pickups. While they are Leo's designs, there have been changes in the metallurgy of the wire of the windings and probably in the poles themselves.

    What people, including me, are probably hearing is the cumulative differences in all these things. They don't make one better than the other - just different.

    Hope this helps.

    Ken...
     
  4. millahh

    millahh Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Hoboken
    Thanks Ken, that clears it up quite a bit. Overall, it sounds like just the bass-to-bass personality differences that are to be expected, and maybe some people read a little bit more into those differences than they should.
     
  5. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    But to clarify- there was an earlier pre (1.0?) that was different- I know my '82 clearly has a different pre...Though I think 1.1 has been around for quite awhile.

    Karl
     
  6. Yes - absolutely. They are slightly different. IIRC, they may have even used a different chip that isn't compatible with the current one. And yes - a notably different voice.

    Ken...
     
  7. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    The frequency response of the Leo era preamp is way different than all the BBE preamps. As for the BBE preamps, there are some subtle changes in opamps. I would doubt that anyone could hear the difference blind folded (other than the fact there is a fair amount of unit to unit variation in all the G&L preamps).

    Dave
     

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