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Yamaha BB 4 PJ 4 string EMGs or bartolini/aguilar preamp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by stingray5bbx, Dec 7, 2005.


  1. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    Hey

    I want my passive PJ Yamaha BB-x to have that little extra..." ". you know.. i'm happy with it, but everynow and then i need it to go to "11".

    My first thought was the installing active preamp. Bartolini or aguilar? Can you give me information on the compatibility of these preamps with my bass? And how they sound different?

    My other thought was just to do the EMGs. I'm afraid that the EMGs will cause my sound to be to "popular", when what I want is to add some shaping ability to my current tone. How will these EMGs compare?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'd go with either the Aguilar OBP3, or Bart HR5.3. Those sound the best to me, the older OBP1 is boost-only, and a bigger unit. With the BB1500, you'll have to either poke another hole in the top for 3-band, or stack some pots. If I recall, it's not the biggest control cavity ever, either...so you have to factor in the two 9v's for 18v operation, or go 9v. So many choices! I think it all boils down to whether you want 2-band EQ, 3-band EQ, or the "EMG sound", which I personally don't care too much for, and also, if you want to modify your bass.

    Another option you might consider, and it's a good one, is a Sadowsy preamp. It's in a foot pedal, and they sound montrous! Another option, if you can find them, is the Yamaha NE-1. It's a parametric mid controller that is small, yet effective for getting you heard in a loud band setting. I use one, and it helps my active basses have a different voice from the onboard EQ, yet it doesn't trash up my sound. I think Aguilar has a two-band EQ in a box form as well, has the OBP1 in it. Any wil help your sound.

    Hope this helps! Let us know what you decide.
     
  3. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    I was looking at the HR3.4.. according to the site, its for vol-vol-tone setups. About the small cavity..... is there a reasonable fix to this? I noticed that bartolini also has a "tone knob replacement" circuit which replaces the tone with a stacked treb/bass... space saver in the end? Is adding a 2band EQ worth the upgrade or should i stick to the 3band?
     
  4. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    It depends- I like having a mid control, personally. It's where the tone of a bass lives. Two-bands, if they're not the cheap Chinese pre's, and are voiced well (think Sadowsky or Aggie), can work fine. A really cheap one will make your bass sound cheap, IMPO. Measure the room you have available, then take a couple 9v's and put them in the cavity. Do they fit? How about 3? That's what I usually do as a "tester" for an active circuit. If it won't fit well, I don't put it in. Unless it's a cheap Chinese bass... ;)
     
  5. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    is this enough room for the HR 3.4? Its VERY tight.. i can put one 9V in there but not much more.. is there a solution?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Yup. Rout a bigger, standard-size cavity with the templates available from StewMac. They also have the back cover. I'd do it. You can screw a 9v battery clip to the edge of the cavity to hold the battery, or rout a battery box into it. That's how I would hande it. That's a pretty cramped little cavity!
     
  7. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    ok, i've determined that there is just NOT enough room in the cavity for a 3band. It has come down to the OBP2 or the Bart 3.3. They are both 2band. Which do you think will have more versatility? Because I am going to be missing the mids, which do you think will compensate for it the best?
     
  8. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    If you don't feel like cutting on your bass, I'd seriously consider an external EQ, like a Sadowsky or Aguilar. The Aggie box is basically the OBP-1 two-band in a box, makes your bass sound like it has the OBP-1 in it, but it's a small pedal. Same with the Sadowsky. That would be my choice. Would end up being ony a little more dough than the pre itself, plus you can use it on any passive bass to give it more "huevos".
     
  9. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    This is what I'm talking about. They show up on eBay from time to time, or you could check out the classifieds here, someone might have one. Or, check with one of the online shops. They should go for around $179. Maybe a little more, or a little less.

    Aggie DB924.

    Or this- Sadowsky Preamp
     
  10. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    i am still going to cut some of the current cavity out for sure.. but the 3 bands just require too much space due to the taller pots and larger circuits. Fitting a 2band should easier adn not require as much space.
     
  11. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    The actual module for the OBP1 is pretty big. If you're gonna do some cutting, router the area with the standard cavity template available from Stew Mac. Order the cover as well. You'll be glad you did. Also, use either conductive paint or copper tape to shield the cavity, and get the back of the control plate as well. If you don't feel confident in your ability to rout the area, see if you can find someone who does it regularly to help you out. If you are gonna cut into your bass, go with the 3-band Bart setup, or the Aggie OBP3. Either will make a difference in the sound, the Bart sounds a little more "polished", while the Aggie sounds more aggressive. Hope that helps, and feel free to PM me if you want.
     
  12. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    I really do not feel like cutting a whole new cavity into this semi-rare bass. Heres the material i was planing on cutting..

    [​IMG]

    The OBP2 is .98x.98x.59 according to the website which is very small.. and the Bart unit is slightly larger than a 9v. With the above material removed, either should fit.

    I dont think the bart 3 band will fit because it has a push pull mid pot which is about .5" deeper than a normal pot, and it also has an extra unit. see below:

    HR 3.4 3band

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    HR3.3 2 band
    [​IMG]


    If you're getting at that 2 bands are not worth it, I understand.. but i'm trying to do as much as I can to my sound without an ir-reversable process.
     
  13. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Oh, two-band is fine, don't get me wrong- I am a big proponent of mid control, though. Your plan might work, see if you can build a mock-up out of 1/4" ply or mdf, replicating as closely as possible your final interior dimensions that you marked out. Don't cut into the bass unless you're sure it'll fit. If you have enough spare pots lying around, you should be able to do a test-fit before you actually cut into the bass. The cutouts you pictured look like they might just give you enough room.
     
  14. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    i was also curious... how does the output jack work? I dont know if you can tell from the pic, but the factory one is a side mounted into about 1.5" of wood... and it looks like the actve ones supplied are for "surface" type mounting. How would i go about doing this? I need the active jack because it has the "on/off" circuit built in.
     
  15. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    That's a stereo jack, TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve). The ring is what acts as a switch. You plug in a mono cord, and it closes the circuit at the ring. The tip and sleeve function as a normal jack. Look on the web for a stereo endpin jack.
     
  16. stingray5bbx

    stingray5bbx

    Feb 11, 2005
    ok, after much frustration, the unit is in. it took forever to figure out the end pin connections, and lets just say the soldering job is sub par. I routed/drilled as much material as I was comfortable with. It is a rediculously tight fit.. theres a slight buldge in my cavit cover.. but its not too bad. The good news... the shielding foil is very pretty.

    This unit replaced my 2 VOL with a Blend... and well ... i'm just curious.. it kinda sounds like with the knob in the middle (both pu) i get a little less than when its on say full neck (P pickup). is this normal when using a blend over 2vol?

    The bartolini preamp did improve the presence of the sound, and now I also have more tonal possibilities. LIke someone else said, with passive pickups I now have to spend a bit more time dialing the tone than with passive plug+play.
     
  17. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Pics? Sound clips? It doesn't exist if you can't back it up with proof! ;)

    Glad to hear you like the preamp. You're right, it's not as plug 'n' play as a passive, but there is so much more that you can do with a little EQing on the bass. Experiment, use your ears first, your eyes last. Start with everything zeroed out, then work the bands individually, both boost and cut. Once you have a thorough understanding of how each affects your sound, you will have a better grasp on how to achieve the same results from your amp.

    It's kind of like using spices when you cook. Many people find a certain spice they like, then use it on everything. :meh: But only after a little experimenting do you start to understand how certain spices work together to form a taste that is different from, and greater than, the sum of it's parts. :)

    Anyhow, glad I could be of assistance. Do post some pics, and soundclips if you can.