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Bartolini MK-1 Pickups & Preamp Vs Bartolini USA Pickups & Preamp


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#1 Sibob

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 04:13 PM

Recently I purchased a Lakland 55-01, which has been fantastic.
Obviously the stock pickups (split coils) and preamp are the 'budget' Bartolini MK-1 range, gigged the bass a few times, sounds fine, perfectly useable.
However, I had the means to easily swap out the pickups for Bartolini USA Dual Coils (Elrick spec) and the NTMB preamp.
Before I made the change, I recorded a number of very basic drum and bass tracks for the MK-1s, and then the proper Barts when installed.

Below is a link that lets you download 200mb of wavs to have a listen for yourselves. In the main folder is wavs for each setting including the drum track.
However there is also a folder labeled 'DAW', if you have Logic, Cubase or similar, you can use the Wavs in this folder (which do not include the drum track) to drag into a session. The drum track is also included as a wav in the DAW folder to drag into the session. This way you can simply mute and solo tracks within the DAW as you want, to easier hear comparisons.

All EQ was set flat, so we're just comparing both pickups, neck solo'd, bridge solo, and then the same again in passive mode. It would have been too long to then start comparing EQ points etc.

https://sync.focusri...vjMhIO/download

Hope it's of interest. If you're wondering, I'm glad I made the change, I think the USA Barts have more character, are warmer and sound more musical.

Si

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#2 SICbass

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 06:52 PM

View PostSibob, on 14 February 2017 - 04:13 PM, said:

Recently I purchased a Lakland 55-01, which has been fantastic.
Obviously the stock pickups (split coils) and preamp are the 'budget' Bartolini MK-1 range, gigged the bass a few times, sounds fine, perfectly useable.
However, I had the means to easily swap out the pickups for Bartolini USA Dual Coils (Elrick spec) and the NTMB preamp.
Before I made the change, I recorded a number of very basic drum and bass tracks for the MK-1s, and then the proper Barts when installed.

Below is a link that lets you download 200mb of wavs to have a listen for yourselves. In the main folder is wavs for each setting including the drum track.
However there is also a folder labeled 'DAW', if you have Logic, Cubase or similar, you can use the Wavs in this folder (which do not include the drum track) to drag into a session. The drum track is also included as a wav in the DAW folder to drag into the session. This way you can simply mute and solo tracks within the DAW as you want, to easier hear comparisons.

All EQ was set flat, so we're just comparing both pickups, neck solo'd, bridge solo, and then the same again in passive mode. It would have been too long to then start comparing EQ points etc.

https://sync.focusri...vjMhIO/download

Hope it's of interest. If you're wondering, I'm glad I made the change, I think the USA Barts have more character, are warmer and sound more musical.

Si

Hi Si,

thanks so much for this. I'm downloading it as I write. As soon as I've had a listen (bearing in mind I have 2 kids 2 and 5 yrs.) I'll give you my 5 bob's worth.

Cheers,
Paul
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#3 OmeDunk

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:35 AM

Nice, Simon!

Things I did notice:
  • the difference between passive and active MK1's is more noticeable than the difference between active/passive Barts
  • the MK1's are not highly regarded (on TB), but they sound like fine single coils to me
  • the Barts are not better, but different. Warmer, growly indeed
I also own a (stock) Lakland 55-01. And I like the Barts a lot. Not sure if I am convinced enough to invest a large sum of money.
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#4 Sibob

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 01:23 PM

View PostOmeDunk, on 17 February 2017 - 07:35 AM, said:

Nice, Simon!

Things I did notice:
  • the difference between passive and active MK1's is more noticeable than the difference between active/passive Barts
  • the MK1's are not highly regarded (on TB), but they sound like fine single coils to me
  • the Barts are not better, but different. Warmer, growly indeed
I also own a (stock) Lakland 55-01. And I like the Barts a lot. Not sure if I am convinced enough to invest a large sum of money.

I agree with a lot of this, my feelings are that the USA passive sound is (IMO) a lot better than the MK-1 passive sound, but the active is sound is just different (and preferable to me).

The stock MK-1s are actually split coils as opposed to true single coils, but the USA Barts in my case are Dual Coils, so undoubtably some of the sound difference is that.

Si

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#5 geoham

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:54 AM

Thanks for this, very interesting! I've been considering changing the preamp in my own 5501 to something where I could change the mid-frequency. Other than that (which is really a minor annoyance!), I love the bass as it is.

One thing I'm hoping you can clarify - how I understood things worked was that the push/pull pot could be used to bypass the EQ (effectively setting it flat) - but I didn't think this was going entirely passive. Have I got this wrong? How did you set the EQ for the 'Active' recordings?

Thanks,
George

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#6 Sibob

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 06:52 PM

View Postgeoham, on 10 March 2017 - 11:54 AM, said:

Thanks for this, very interesting! I've been considering changing the preamp in my own 5501 to something where I could change the mid-frequency. Other than that (which is really a minor annoyance!), I love the bass as it is.

One thing I'm hoping you can clarify - how I understood things worked was that the push/pull pot could be used to bypass the EQ (effectively setting it flat) - but I didn't think this was going entirely passive. Have I got this wrong? How did you set the EQ for the 'Active' recordings?

Thanks,

Hi,

The Volume control push/pull is indeed a change from active to completely passive, taking the preamp out of the equation.
The EQ on both the 'before' and 'after' recordings is set flat, that's to say, all the EQ controls were set to their centre-detent.

Cheers
Si

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