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Guitars & Accessories

Best Bass Onboard Preamp

So you want to equip your bass guitar with active electronics? At one point in time, this was quite an ordeal to pull off, requiring an installation of a completely new system, something that costs money and takes a significant amount of time to do. With onboard preamps, you can now introduce an entirely new level of control and flexibility to any kind of bass guitar. These are the best bass onboard preamps, with each one we've chosen providing multiple bands of EQ to manipulate your bass tone, can be installed without having to gut your instrument, and they also control the volume of your bass guitar.

Audere 3ZB Bass Guitar Preamp

Audere 3ZB Bass Guitar Preamp

One of the integral components to the Audere 3ZB bass guitar preamp is its three way load switch, which gives bassists the ability to raise and lower the impedance of their pickups. Choose between a bright thin sound, a natural range, or a deep and thorough low-end, using the first, second, and third positions, respectively. The 3ZB also can he equipped with active/passive switching and and LED battery indicator. You also get an adjustable gain which enables you to set levels for each pickup.

Aguilar OBP-3 Onboard Preamp

Aguilar’s OBP-3 onboard preamp is the company’s most flexible design, with multiple wiring options to best fit your needs. The preamp is able to provide18dB boost/cut at 40Hz, 16dB boost/cut at either 400Hz or 800Hz, and 16dB boost/cut at 6.5kHz. The OBP-3 also features separate treble, mid, and bass pots. There’s also a black mini-toggle switch to select your preferred midrange frequency. Now you have the ability to really harness that fat tone which will turn every head in the venue when you play your bass guitar.

Bartolini 5.3 A/P Preamp

Bartolini 5.3 A/P Preamp

Bartolini set the standard pretty high for active electronics when they first started pioneering the technology in the 1970's. The company’s 5.3 A/P preamp utilizes a three band EQ designed for two-pickups to help you achieve the desired sound for your bass guitar. It also features a mid-frequency selector switch. The volume control on this unit provides Active/Passive push-pull function and functions off 9V.

Demeter BEQP-1 Bass Onboard Preamp

Demeter BEQP-1 Bass Onboard Preamp

The Demeter BEQP-1 bass onboard preamp doesn’t discriminate against any type of pickup. This unit will control the balance between any two pickups, whether that be active, passive, or piezo. It also provides active three band EQ for treble, bass, and mids. Each octave has a 6dB slope to reduce phase shift and offer up a more natural sound. And of course, each unit also includes a master volume control. The BEQP-1 operates from 9 to 27 volts.

Mike Pope Flexcore Internal Bass Preamplifier Core

The Michael Pope Flexcore bass onboard preamp provides anywhere between one to four bands of EQ. No soldering is required for most installations, as the pickups are able to hook up to the preamp via screw terminals. There are many expansion modules that can be added to the installation of this preamp, including a coil tap switch, kill switch, mid frequency switch, and more. When you have configured this preamp to your liking, you’ll find that your harmonics expand beyond what they once were, and punch and warmth are just some of the enhanced attributes that you’ll find with every note that you play.

Sean Kramer
I'm a guitarist/music producer with 18 years of experience playing on-stage, in the studio, and everywhere in between. I have toured and recorded on projects both independent and major, in styles such as rock, pop, funk, hip hop, electronic, and more. My axe of choice is probably always going to be the Fender Stratocaster, but I've been known to pick up other guitars when the music calls for it. I'm a big fan of using a multitude of effects (both hardware and software-driven) to manipulate the sound and atmosphere of an instrument. In addition to playing on records, I have also contributed to the score/soundtrack for shows and spots on MTV and ESPN, as well as for a variety of independent films, web series, and television shows.
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