active electronics versus passive with preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Shaky, Mar 9, 2014.


  1. Shaky

    Shaky

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    I am sure this has been discussed before, but I have not been able to find a satisfying answer.

    I have never owned a bass with active pickups or electronics. Several years ago I test drove a Deluxe Jazz with active electronics. I was amazed at the response of the controls on the bass and punch I was able to dial in.

    My question is; If you have 2 identical basses with the exception of one having an active on-board preamp, can you get the same response out of the passive bass if you use a good out-bord preamp? Is the main difference between the two setups that you have to dial it in at the amp instead of at the bass?
     
  2. Hapa

    Hapa

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    Kinda, there are many threads on this to search through. But functionally for playing, yes. It also gets rid of signal loss in a longer cable. The signal is usually boosted from a passive level so it hits the preamp harder.
     
  3. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination Supporting Member

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    Like them or not, but there is a reason there are so many basses available active. I have done both and I always lean back to an active simply because I like the flexibility of adjustments at the instrument instead of going to the head or kicking pedals. But, that is just me.
     
  4. line6man

    line6man

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    The main difference is the fact that a passive instrument usually has a high impedance output, while an active instrument usually has a low impedance output. If there is an instrument cable between your pickups and the first buffer in your signal path, the capacitance of the cable will cause "tone suck."
     
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  6. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination Supporting Member

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    I know you are correct here, but I always wondered how guitarists deal with that? They are usually passive and get great tone.
     
  7. line6man

    line6man

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    Guitars usually need to be tamed, anyway. A lot of people complain when they hear what their instrument really sounds like, when using a wireless system.

    It's not significant enough to be a problem worth dealing with, to most people.
     

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