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Aguilar OBP-3 vs MEC BEC III preamp side by side comparison!

Discussion in 'Bass Clips' started by Sean Fairchild, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    Using my SSII 5 string, I go through some variations between the two preamps in my latest Youtube vid. I installed the stock MEC preamp that came in my '08 Streamer Stage II into a pedal, just the same way that the pre would be wired into the bass, and have the Aggie OBP-3 installed in the bass itself. Both have a preamp bypass, allowing for a nice comparison.

    In previous videos, some folks rightly criticized my choice to record the audio with a room mic, including the acoustics of the room and the character of the amp, so this time I recorded everything direct at 44.1khz.

    I know which one I like more, so check out the video and let me know what your opinion is!

    [video]http://youtu.be/eCOL-nUm-ps?hd=1[/video]
     
    imabuddha likes this.
  2. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks Sean for the clip :)
     
  3. siderocks

    siderocks Fatass

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    Great comparison!
     
  4. shaftbass

    shaftbass

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    The MEC stuff sounds "clearer" to me. I lack the terminology to explain further.

    I'd probably have to sit down and play both through an amp and cabinet to decide which I prefer. For now, I am happy with the MEC electronics in my SSII.
     
  5. da-vonk

    da-vonk Warwick Enthusiast forevah

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    Very kewl comparison vid Sean ! Up until now I often read from guyz who did change da preamp of their basses but I never knew if it makez any sense ... da vid clearly showz it does indeed, tho I still have da impression that with an outboard equalizer U can achieve more or less da same ... but I'm (still) no expert ...:)

    U also asked uz to pick our personal favorite and I'd go for da MEC... my english (terminology) isn't good enuff to really describe why, but to me da Mec soundz more clear and livelier than da Aguilar, that seemz to compress da sound a bit ...imho ..8:
     
  6. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    Thanks, guys!

    Shaft311, I think I understand what you mean. That's probably due to the lessened mid range, which does have a "clearing" effect on the overall sound, at least to me. And the MEC is definitely not a bad preamp! There are times when I actually prefer the higher-centered treble frequency. However, I don't like the bass control on it - it's centered too high, I feel, and affects too much of the low-mid spectrum. It's centered at 100hz, but with a significant boost, probably affects frequencies up to 200 or 250, and I don't know what the Q is like on the controls for either preamp. For that reason, I prefer the Aguilar center, which may only affect up to 100 or 125, leaving the low mids pretty much as they were, to my ears.

    Also, interestingly enough, it sounds to my ears that the treble frequency of the Aguilar actually shifts upwards, acting more like the MEC treble, when the mids are cut pretty far at 800hz. This is probably just a perceptual thing, since the boost at 6.5khz isn't raising as many high-mids/lower treble frequencies with the 800hz already cut as it would if the mid control were left flat. It's cool! I didn't realize that about this preamp, which I've been using for at least 5 years, until I played around with both like this.
     
  7. ROOT

    ROOT

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    IMHO
    both preamps are nice but:
    1)for slap I think little bit better is MEC
    2)for fingers(and pick) obp would be better

    I would buy Aguilar because it's cheaper; you can get almost identical with MEC sound; I have bartolini which I don't like in my old Thumb and I'm not using slap almost :)

    P.S. too much slap in comparison. need more fingers and pick and little less slap
     
  8. schlobodan

    schlobodan Warwick Streamer Specialist Good Vibe Sponsor

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  9. jester

    jester ocdemon

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    I love A/B comparisons! Thanks for your contribution.
     
  10. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    My pleasure, folks.
    I would have loved to have a couple other pre's on hand, built into pedals, that I could have included. But it seems that a great many Warwick players have at least seriously contemplated the switch to Aguilar on board at one time or another.

    I have to say, it's pretty cool to have an MEC preamp in pedal format! I need to try it with a couple of my other basses - it just might find a new permanent home...
     
  11. siderocks

    siderocks Fatass

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    If you get your hands on other preamps like Bartolini, Glockenglang etc, it would be very nice to see a comparison.
     
  12. jaunelis

    jaunelis

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    Cool!! Thanks very much for the comparison. I switched my preamp to Obp2 and I like it much better and for the slap and for finger style. MEC pre sounds sort of thin for me.
     
  13. joekickass

    joekickass

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    In the video we can heard there is too much different between OBP & MEC preamp but MEC sounds thin than OBP, I don't think the way those preamp connected is right to make a comprisson, even bypass the OBP, the MEC is still connect after the OBP, the bypass sound is "OBP bypass sound"....., so I think we heard the OBP+MEC sound when the pedal on.


    The OBP should be replaced by MEC and record 2 videos, also I think it should be better to use Thumb bass, Streamer is always the safe choice.
     
  14. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    Hi Joe,
    I understand what you mean: that perhaps one preamp is coloring the other. You could be right - there's definitely some coloring that's happening through the MEC preamp, since it does not use a true bypass type of signal bypass, meaning that even when the MEC preamp is in "bypass" mode, the signal is still running through part of that preamp's circuitry. I know that, because I had to figure out the purpose for all of the MEC's wires when I built it into the pedal. The same thing may or may not be happening with the Aguilar preamp, but I can't tell because that preamp, like Bartolinis, is completely sealed in epoxy and it's impossible to see where the wires go and what the signal path is. So that preamp might be coloring the overall sound when bypassed, too.

    However, there are several points in the video where I switch to complete bypass (or as near as the wiring for either pre will allow), and that completely bypassed sound really varies quite a bit from the engaged MEC preamp sound, to my ears. I notice a difference that's a bit smaller between the complete bypass and Aguilar being engaged with nothing boosted, but I notice a much more considerable tone change between the preamp bypass sound and the engaged, nothing boosted, MEC pre sound.

    I can guarantee that the sound of both preamps engaged was not featured in this video, and you can hear them get switched on and off - even see that being done in some cases - and there wasn't an example when I left the OBP engaged and then turned on the MEC. I did play around with that myself just for fun, off camera, and it just sounds a lot more extreme; more bass, more treble, more overall loudness. I appreciate what you're saying about this not being a "true bypass" scenario, but it comes pretty close! I do have a Thumb NT 6 with the Aguilar pre installed, but I wanted to focus on one instrument for the whole video, so the same bass' sound was being compared at all times. And now that I've done it, I don't really think I'd get a significant difference using the Thumb. I feel that the differences that exist between the two pre's are evident enough here.

    I dunno, what do the rest of you think??
     
  15. ROOT

    ROOT

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    I'm waiting for OBP-3 from Ebay. so I can try to make sound comparison with bartolini 918f but without bypass mode when it arrives to me.

    Bypass mode have sense to use when you have passive pu's(like delano or smth else) IMO
     
  16. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Good stuff man. Thanks! I always wondered about the sound of the OBP, your vid shows it is more than decent.

    I read somewhere OBP are quite noisy/hissing. Is this true?
     
  17. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    I wouldn't say they're noisy at all! In fact, and I know I'll take some flak for this, I think the OBP-3 might actually be less hissy than the MEC BEC III, but that could be due to the different frequency centers of the two treble controls. Actually, I don't think either is very hissy though. In the video, the treble control gets to about 60% of the available boost, so you can use that sound for a benchmark! And, the mids are cut by about the same amount that the treble is boosted in parts of the video, which always tends to bring out hissiness, and I can't say I notice any appreciable hiss. But I imagine it depends a great deal on the pickups, amp, and room you're in. I get a lot of hiss/electrostatic noise in my friend's music room, due to the really lousy and old wiring, a ceiling fan, and dimmer switches. Horrible sounding room. Proximity to a computer monitor will cause a lot more noise, too.
     
  18. CliffHNZ

    CliffHNZ

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    Hi there. Have you had any experience with Glockenklang 2 band or 3 band onboards? I"m seriously thinking about getting one to try as the setup is reasonably priced and would be something a bit different. I figured if I don't like it on my RB, I'll flick it on the bass I'm making :)
     
  19. Sean Fairchild

    Sean Fairchild Warwick Endorser

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    Hey!
    I have never played a bass with a Glock pre or even heard one first hand, but they kind of interest me, too. Isn't that the one with the treble frequency up in the double digits of khz, like 18 or something crazy?? Get one and make a comparo video!
     
  20. lasteffect

    lasteffect Forum Nudist

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    Sh!t, I don't know.
    Dingwalls usually use Glock preamps, very striking in tone, I must say.
     
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