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Upgrading Pre-amp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Don Boyd, Dec 7, 2018.


  1. I have recently purchased a Michael Tobias 1995-6 5 string bass. I would like to up-grade the three band pre-amp. Anybody done this? Any suggestions?
     
  2. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    Any pics of the bass? What model is it? I'm going to go ahead and recommend the Burbank Era TCT preamp, Bartolini P/N HRTCT-5.4AP. The model you have will determine which pickups you have which determine which buffer to use.
     
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    What’s wrong with the preamp it came with? Mike Tobias is no slouch.
     
    JeffC23 likes this.
  4. IMG_0931.JPG
     
    ctmullins likes this.
  5. Here's a pic of the bass. It's serial number suggests that it was made in the Gibson factory around 1995-6
    Compared to my other basses the pre-amp does not have as much tonal control as I believe it should and there have been some very successful up-grades which have enhanced the sound significantly.
     
  6. I believe it has less tonal control than other pre-amps that I have in other basses I have owned. I have also heard that some players have up-graded the original pre-amp (especially in the Gibson era Tobias series) and it has significantly improved their sound/tonal control
     
    ctmullins likes this.
  7. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    I forgot, your pickups are probably hardwired for series (assuming they're the dual coils) and you'd have to run the extra wire yourself to change it. If you go through the trouble, you could run the HRTCT5.4AP preamp with the quad buffer and have pre-gibson Tobias tone.
     
  8. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    It has (what I like to call) the Gibson cluster pre. They tried way too hard to make it to do way too much and as such the preamps were unreliable and many had battery drainage problems. I have a 97 Tobias Classic V that I changed to the Burbank Era preamp setup I already mentioned as well as re-wired the pickups for parallel. Now the bass sounds as Mike intended.
     
    HolmeBass, steelbed45 and ctmullins like this.
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    :thumbsup:
     
  10. Hey thanks for that info! where did you/do you source this particular pre-amp? I live down-under in New Zealand and though I won't be doing the pre-amp up-grade myself, I quite likely will have to source the new one
     
  11. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    www.danabgoods.com

    Bartolini 'Burbank Era' BR-HRTCT-5.4AP Preamp & Harness - Best Bass Gear

    Dana. B Goods usually has a couple in stock, not sure how much stock Best Bass Gear keeps. The preamp does not come with a buffer, that is a separate part/part number.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    @bucephylus has swapped in the Pope preamp with great results.
     
    lowfreqman and bucephylus like this.
  13. hs123

    hs123

    Aug 11, 2011
    Westminster CO
    I've upgraded both my basses. 73 Jazz to Sadowsky On Board 4knob, and my custom bass has Nordstrand 3b4a
    The Sadowsky gave me the Marcus Miller sound, the Nordstrand gives me almost unlimited tonal variation with his FatStack pickups.
     
    lowfreqman likes this.
  14. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    Fun fact, the Sadowsky pre is designed after the TCT ;)
     
    hs123 likes this.
  15. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    As @kesslari mentioned, I have installed the Pope Flexcore in two Tobias basses, a Hollywood Signature and a Nashville Classic; and also in a Zon Sonus Special fretless; all with superb results. I used to purchase the preamps at Best Bass Gear; but, they aren't listing them all of a sudden. Don't know what's going on there. AFAIK, Mike Pope is still making and selling them. A phone call might clear things up.

    Anyhow, the Pope is extremely well suited to the Tobias. @tombowlus put me on to that modification. It is a VERY good one. The Pope really brings out the wood in the Tobias bass designs.

    The original Bartolini circuits are now available. The Nashville instruments shipped with a later gen NTMBP Bart preamp, which I completely detested. The original TCT, which Mike Tobias used before the transfer to Nashville sounded better; and those are available again. But, compared to the Pope, they are a bit weaker and more tame; though many like them for their behavior in the recording studios. Hope that helps.
     
    tombowlus likes this.
  16. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Waterford, MI
    The Pope pre's are fantastic pre's, but they will make the Tobias sound different. Not bad different, just different. The TCT circuit had alot to do with the sound of the OG Tobias basses.

    Also, I have to agree on the Gibson era NS2TMB pre's, they were awful. They only sounded decent in "slap mode" which meant my volume knob stayed pulled out and got damaged, ALOT. And many suffered from battery draining problems due to faulty internal switching power supplies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  17. Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Apr 16, 2001
    ICT
    My favorite era / style of Tobias basses.

    (I've no preamp suggestions, just wanted to say that).
     
  18. mustBmtd

    mustBmtd Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2012
    Tennessee
    I have the actual preamp that was used in the Tobias basses.
     
  19. leche

    leche Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Audere makes great stuff
     
  20. nilorius

    nilorius

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    What exactly do you want to upgrade in that 3b.eq?
     

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