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Cheap onboard preamp/eq for acoustic bass?


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Looking to upgrade the guts on my long-suffering acoustic, currently has a passive volume/tone rolloff in there which is fine up to a point, would rather have something which buffers the signal and gives a bit more flexibility though.

 

Been looking for a decent budget option (the bass itself is worth very little) but as you would expect there doesn't seem to be anything bass specific until you're looking at spending nearer £100, has anybody used normal guitar preamps in their acoustic bass? Seen some budget ones on eBay/AliExpress including a Fishman PreSys 2 & 3 (used on some Harley Bentons) and some no name units (EQ 7545 seems to be rebranded a fair bit), I know Ibanez use the AEQ2T in a lot of their acoustic basses. Ideally want something compact with the battery compartment in the same enclosure.

 

 

 

 

Btw for anybody suggesting an external preamp I already have a Fishman Pro Platinum EQ and a QSC K10.2 so am already sorted in that regard, just looking for something that fits in the bass that gives me more options if I'm jamming somewhere and need to plug in for some reason.

Edited by lemmywinks
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First of all, the preamp needs to be piezo compliant = sufficient input impedance. If the preamp can not handle the impedance, the lowest frequencies will be sacrificed.

 

Artec makes some attractively priced units including a preamp, but I do not know the input Z. Trial seems to be reasonable pricewise. Practically any preamp is a possible choice - if you have any at hand, please try one.

 

@Passinwind has a very interesting and attractive design presented here in BC. If you like tinkering...

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Pretty much everything I'm looking at is designed to work with a piezo, some (Fishman Presys 3) also have a small onboard mic with a blend control. Artec don't seem to have a dedicated acoustic bass unit but they do show frequencies, bass looks to be usable at around 80-120hz. I have their preamps in electric basses and quite like them, also use their bass piezo strip in my travel bass.

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Look at Schatten Design's offerings if you change your mind on budget. I've not heard them in the flesh yet but I had a nice chat with Mr. Schatten at the last Winter NAMM and was very impressed by his build quality.

 

If you are comfortable with DIY building then some variation of the ubiquitous Tillman circuit is a great low cost solution. I do have an open source/non commercial buffer in the works, but if you need a little gain and very low cost the Tillman may be your jam.

Edited by Passinwind
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It was mainly the conventional side mounted pre/eq units I was looking at, I'm assuming the Fishman Presys ones on eBay etc are all fake given the price but honestly they would probably be ok for this particular bass, something like this which was presviously used in Warwick Alien basses:
https://www.teknologi.co.uk/product/fishman-presys-blend-301-acoustic-guitar-pickup/

 

 

It's for an old fretless Ozark I bought used 23 years ago, it has a ton of battle scars so is basically borderline worthless, I don't gig with it so the preamp is just for convenience.

Having had a look at various manufacturers it seems that they all just use generic acoustic units so will probably just order one and see how it goes.

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I think I may have one I took out of an old Gear4Music acoustic bass I was going to repair but never did. Let me look in my parts bin in the morning. If it’s there your welcome to it for the cost of postage. 

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1 hour ago, JPJ said:

I think I may have one I took out of an old Gear4Music acoustic bass I was going to repair but never did. Let me look in my parts bin in the morning. If it’s there your welcome to it for the cost of postage. 

 

I've already ordered one of the (presumably knockoff) Fishman Presys ones so I'll try that first, thanks for the offer though.

 

Tbh I'm not sure how much of a knockoff they are - you find them in the Alien Deluxe (and listed on the Warwick site as a 90 Euro part) but then you find them on £200 Harley Bentons.

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