Originally Posted by Robad
Thanks for the clarification. The Take12 (anyone tried one?) does have an input clipping LED and input gain control.
What about footpedals/effects? Do they turn all basses into 'active'?
Not exactly. "Active" is just a reference to either the electronics (EQ, volume, etc.) on a bass, or the pickups themselves. True "active" basses will have active pickups. Most of the time, though, you'll find that basses have passive pickups and active electronics.
However, running effects can potentially boost the input level depending on your settings, which would be like running an active bass direct to the amp. This can potentially clip the preamp. If you run your effects and notice that the clip LED is flashing, then use the active/passive (or "pad") button on a single-input amp, or the high-gain/active input on a dual-input amp. Or, you could lower the volume on your bass, and it should stop clipping.
In most cases, if your effects are at unity gain, clipping will likely not happen at all.
The input gain control happens after the clip LED stage. It's a separate but useful tool for cranking up the gain without "bad" overdrive.