active and passive pick ups?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Newman, Nov 18, 2000.

  1. Newman


    Jun 6, 2000
    what are they whats the difference in sound and price and which is better or is it all opinion? i have no clue about this. ive seen basses with batteries in em is that active or passive? mine doesnt have a battery and if it does it is not visible so what kind of pickups do i have? and also, on an amp i am lookin for it got 2 inputs -15db and 0db i think? whats the diff in them? ok i think i asked everything so thanks to all who reply.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Active electronics (pickups and/or on-board pre-amps) need 9 or 18 volts in the bass to power them. Sometimes the batteries are in easily-accessible compartments, and sometimes they're under the control cavity cover or pickguard. There are a few basses that can use external, or phantom power sources.

    Active basses usually have wider tonal variation because the bass, treble and sometimes mid frequencies can be either boosted or cut. Passive basses are limited to cut only on the tone controls. This isn't necessarily bad. The Fender Roscoe Beck V is generally acknowledged as one of the better passive basses. It uses a fairly funky combination of switches to get a nice variation of tones.

    Some active basses, like the Lakland 55-94 can bypass the active electronics and be used entirely passive. This can be handy if your battery dies in the middle of the set (it's in the control cavity). You can just pull out the volume knob to bypass the pre-amp and turn up the volume a bit. Alternately, you could plug it into the passive input of your amp, which brings us to your other question.

    The two inputs on the amp are put there to accommodate both passive and active basses. Some amps label the inputs as such, but on the one you mention, the -15 dB cuts the input signal of a hot active on-board pre-amp to match it to the pre-amp in the head. The 0 dB input runs the passive bass signal in without cutting or boosting it. So plug an active bass into the -15 dB input, and a passive bass into the 0 dB input.

    So what kind of bass is it? I'm sure someone in here will know whether it's passive or active. Or you could just take off the control cavity cover and look for a battery. No battery, it's passive.