A short Q&A between Neal Walter and Kevin Brubaker on the features of the BIPS system.
When you say you can change preamps, I didn’t know basses had preamps...so do active basses have preamps?
Basses can have either a passive circuit or an active preamp. So if a bass is active it has a preamp.
And I guess some sound different than others?
Yes, they all pre-amplify and EQ the tone before the signal gets to the amp. Many preamp makers have a "signature" sound while others portend to have a "flat" response.
Which preamps have the most desired sound among players?
Each preamp has its own character like a guitar amp really. Musical tastes, style of music, and other factors go into determining which preamp or preamps work for a player and her bass.
And how do our Brubaker bass by Rockready incorporate this?
We have an exclusive patented method for changing the preamp that’s mounting on a Jazz Bass plate. The standard rr/Brubaker bass will have a factory installed 2 band EQ preamp. The player can choose any other preamp on the market that will fit in a standard jazz bass routing and mount in on a new BIPS plate to use in her bass. We will also be working with preamp manufacturers to supply players and dealers with a selection of preamp options.
How many aftermarket preamps are there?
About 20 really famous ones. Here's a short list of the more famous brands. Most of these have already agreed in principle to supply us with preamps to be mounted in a BIPS control plate.
How much are they? (Roughly)
Between $150 to $300 but add another $150 to $250 for professional install. Once the BIPS is installed no more install fee.
How would you use this feature?
Bassist change their preamps when they want a different tone (more aggressive, more mellow, rounder, sharper etc....). Since changing a preamp is not easy, many bassists will bring two or more basses to a session so they will have a range of tones on familiar basses. Now with the BIPS it would be possible to bring one bass (your favorite jazz bass w/ BIPS) and just swap the preamp.
How often would you change preamps, or would you?
Depends on the gig or session. If you have a wedding gig and are playing jazz during dinner and funk for the dance part, then you can swap preamps between a warm sounding one and an aggressive funk sounding one for the party. I see most players having at least two or three preamps and swapping between them depending on gig, session, and/or venue. In my experience, it has always been difficult to compare different preamps in a bass because it's not easy to swap a preamp on stage or at a session. Now it will be possible to not only find the "perfect" preamp for a bass, but also to find two or three that work really well in different circumstances.