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What is "THE" pre-amp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by davec, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. davec

    davec Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 4, 2006
    bartlett illinois
    Owner; Cody Electric Basses
    Just a general vote,
    I'm not looking for the logical, "well it really depends on the bass, your strings, style ect. "

    But just what is "the most desirable Pre?

    Free free to through out factory pre's as well Wal? MM? ????

    For me its the two band Smith pre. Anyone else?
  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    I like basslines blackout and emg preamps best.
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I'm not up on the latest & greatest, but IMHO the Aguilar OBP-1 is really badass. :bassist:
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Wal? Mike Pope?
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    There is no best. Just personal preference. They all do more-or-less the same thing, but are voiced differently.
  6. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Totally subjective - the best I can say is I recently put a U-retro setup into a PJ bass and find it has a very, very wide range of tone adjustments and an enormous number of usable sounds. I would bet combining different pickups with a retro could get you just about any sound you wanted. The only slight knock on this preamp is it's a little bit vulnerable to old neon signs and badly grounded electric service in bars.
    I've had good experience with the Aguilar OBP-3. Very manageable adjustments - nice in all three bands.
  7. BrBss

    BrBss Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    J-Retro and Audere get a lot of props around here, but I haven't used either.
  8. Whatever Yamaha put in its active BB series in the 1980s. If someone could clone it, I would buy a bunch, for all my basses.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I like the East J-Retro and Aguilar OBP-3. The J-Retro is in my Lakland JO5, and the Aguilar is in my Drozd. Both have great tone and versatility. I imagine the pickups have something to do with it, too.
  10. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Noll 4-band. The parametric mid 3-band is nice too.
  11. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Glockenklang is my favorite.
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I like Audere and US Bartolini. Affordable, reliable and great sounding!
  13. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    i prefer the acg filter pre line (have a series one), readily available, filter based goodness, great price.
  14. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I just put an Audere 3-band in my jazz, and I'm really impressed. Think this is going to be my choice preamp now.
  15. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    You want "the" most desirable preamp? Well it really depends on the bass, your strings, style etc. :)

    I presume you are talking about pres that go inside the bass...

    BUT, given that, my vote goes to John East preamps because he does have them in different styles etc. Jazz, MM, etc. and they are not just what I judge to be the most modern and reliable electronic designs, but ALSO someone (John East, I presume) has actually taken time to listen to them BEFORE they started selling them and has them voiced to FIT the various basses they are for. Pretty impressive in my humble opinion.

    Ahem. But be sure to take your wallet if you want one!

    I don't vote for Smith. I have a Smith bass and the pre is nice sounding and working, BUT electronic design has several mistakes in it. The worst one was mounting the modular circuit boards ONLY by the pot terminals. Which (of course) caused the (special) pot to snap in two. High school design.

    And by FAR the WORST electronics around is the stuff they jam into a GNL L2x00 bass. Full of high school design from start to finish. Even though it's been "upgraded" (original amp has been discontinued) and made smaller (which helps since it's not mounted) most of the bad design remains. Cripes and it's only a "highs booster" anyway!

    Two honorable mentions are whatever it is Sam Ash has built inside my Carlo Robelli 8 string (doubled) bass. That cheapo three bander is hands down one of the best sounding preamps I've got, even though the bass is a piece of crap.

    The other is the preamp in my Conklin Bill Dickens 7 stringer. It wins the prize for most complex bass circuit on the planet. Electronics is pretty standard construction, but MAN can you tweak your tone! There is a HOST of knobs and switches top side as well as a bunch of trimpots in the cavity. If you are a knobophobe don't even THINK of going near one of these!
  16. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA

    That said... Music Man 2 Band Pre Amp.
  17. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    On board pres?
    None really, but...
    I kind of liked the pope when trying it but it had some weird loading thing going one which I really didn't like a bit.
    MSD do nice ones( musiciansounddesign)-no such problems and not as many buttons either(which to me is a good thing), but possibly fewer features too...possibly.

    At the end it really depends on the instrument and how any given Pre goes with it.

    I personally have none in my bass but a really nice out board pre.
  18. xav_paris

    xav_paris Gold Supporting Member

    May 9, 2003
    FRANCE, near PARIS
    FBass preamp, see there :


  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Thats what I have in one of my basses. Well my version of it anyway.

    Sounds like this in my Ibanez with my Jazzbucker pickups:

    2-band with Jazzbuckers
  20. J retro, very versatile, yet pricey. Works great in my fretless with Di Marzio js.

    I do want to try a p retro.

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