which preamp is better: bartolini, seymour duncan, or EMG?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by groovboi, Oct 5, 2001.

  1. groovboi


    Oct 5, 2001
    Hello, my name is Josh and this is my first post on the forum. I'm hoping I might find a solution to a problem I've been having with my onboard preamp. The preamp in question is on an Ibanez Ergodyne 5 string with a 3 band EQ and volume and blend knobs. The electronics have been acting up and I can't seem to isolate the problem, so I've decided to look for a new preamp in hopes of getting rid of it completely. I'm currently playing in a loud and heavy rock band that tunes down to a low G (buying custom gauge strings is a bitch) and I'm looking for a preamp to help give my bass tone that will kick ass and cut through. Reliability would also be a plus. =) I also want it to be compatible with the passive humbucking pickups that are already on my bass. If anyone on the forum has experience with onboard preamps and could make a recomendation on what to buy and where to get it, it would be GREATLY appreciated


  2. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    Don't you hate it when you ask, "Should I buy A or B?" and someone comes back and says, "Buy C!" Well, that's what I'm going to do. ;)

    Seriously, I don't have any experience with the preamps you mention. However, I have a J-Retro made by John East in my Lull, and I think it's a great preamp. It has treble boost/cut, a sweepable midrange boost/cut, and a bass boost. Also has a passive switch. The sweepable midrange in particular really gives you great control over the tone.

    The J-Retro is specifically configured for the Jazz bass, but the preamp is available in a more generic configuration called the U-Retro. For more info, go to


    By the way -- If you want to buy the preamp, I highly recommend Steve Barr at Vintage Bass (link above). He's well known on the web as a great guy to deal with. I bought my Lull from him and couldn't have been happy with the exceptional customer service I received. Good luck!
  3. If you're getting a new Preamp, get the Aguilar OBP-1, you won't regret it, ask anyone here with an American Spector
  4. Aguliar here to 18 db boot to bass and treb no cutting. Clean powerfull easy to install. AWESOME. I have one in a Toby and one in a Spector. Basslines in my fake MM

    Of your list I vote anything by duncan basslines for rock followed by EMG but you are going to have a hell of a time finding EMG pickups for that bass.
  5. You cannot say one is "better" than another, they are all quite different.
    My question is; It does'nt matter what your band tunes to, you have a 5 string bass, why do you need to tune down? With a 5 string you can cover any tuning while staying in concert pitch. Two points, first, most bass speakers are only just coping with a low B, trying to go lower is going to require top shelf equipment, second, every rock band I've ever seen has had problems with the B string notes being heard. At volume, and with lots of drums and distorted guitar to compete with, any notes below D tend to disappear. They can be felt, but the definition just goes down the toilet. Most savvy players that are playing in down tuned bands will let the guitars do the power chord thing, and play notes that can be heard.
  6. groovboi


    Oct 5, 2001
    in reply to Marty Forrer who said:

    I understand that each preamp is different, but I am just searching for one that fit my discription. I wanted it to be compatible with my current bass, reliable (3-band eq with volume and blend and passive pickups), and maybe be able to help my bass cut through in a loud rock setting. If the preamp just sucks tone and buzzes all night long or doesn't come with a 3-band eq, then I was hoping that someone would tell me about it and maybe suggest a different one.

    also, in reply to Marty's question:

    I would be TOTALLY fine if my band played in standard tuning. I personally think a low B is low enough to be considered "heavy". But, the band that I joined doesn't think that B is low enough. They were tuned to G before I ever started playing with them. In tuning my bass to G, I wanted to be able to double their some of their riffs note for note. And really, the G string is the only problem. With this tuning (low to high: GCGCF); I use a .130 on the C string, a .100 on the G string, an .080 on the higher C string and a .060 on the high F. Those strings are loud and clear. The G string though (a .145) is a little floppy and I'm looking to get a .150 on there from conklin to keep it solid. For this music and this band, I feel that this is the best way to support them. SO,....this why I tune to G.

    aka groovboi
  7. Copycat

    Copycat Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    While I agree that the Aguilar OBP-1 is a tone monster, I'm pretty sure it's a two band preamp. Anyway, Seymour Duncan Basslines has a three band preamp with some sort of funk switch that sounds interesting on paper. Haven't heard it in a bass, though. And I think it's pretty reasonably priced. It's available for both passive and true active pickups like EMGs. I don't think you can go wrong with a Bartolini preamp--I have 18 volt Bart preamps in my Roscoes and they sound huge.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    What kind of amp/cab do you use?
    I have been on the quest for a LOW set, but there is none - below $2000, for the woofer only. So, the band is not likely to hear those low notes, anyway, especially not at high volume.
    Hence, to double those riffs, you have to play them one octave up - if you want them to be heard.....

    OK, I admit, those LOW notes are big smiles:D , but awful expensive:eek: and can hardly ever be heard:mad:

    Tune up to std ($.02)
  9. groovboi


    Oct 5, 2001
    For my setup, I'm currently using a trace elliot 4x10 with a tweeter and an eden 18. They are both connected in series and connected to a mackie 1400i which is connected to an ADA bass preamp. I also have a Tech21 bass sansamp which gives the otherwise clean tone a little more grit which cuts through very nicely. But, I'm not satisfied with the 18; it puts out a lot of bass but mostly because i have it sitting DIRECTLY on the floor, not on its casters. I can't really hear it, though, cuz I'm so close. It basically turns the stage into a huge woofer =) that you can feel, but doesn't help me hear myself any better. My plan is to try an ampeg pro 4x10hlf and see if I can get better low end audibility and tightness. I would also put that one directly on the stage so the rest of the band can feel me (a compromise between what I want and what the rest of the sub-bass-addicted band wants.

    aka groovboi
  10. Scok


    Apr 20, 2000
    GCGCF eh? That's the first person I've heard that uses the same tuning as me. Scary. My band tunes to open C. So I drop the B to G to make things easier rather than remembering which postion I need to play in for every different string. I prefer to play in standard tuning, but when your guitar player crys, what are ya gonna do. My rig is Northwood custom basses, Avalon DI into a SVT-CL head with a 2*10 eden and a 2*15 boogie. Sounds good.:D