Active and Passive???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 311 fan, Oct 2, 2000.

  1. 311 fan

    311 fan

    Sep 24, 2000
    La Verne, CA
    Do they produce a different sound? I know active takes a 9 volt batt, and passive dosent, but whats the main difference?
  2. Active has a preamp (small amplifier with tone control) and the passive doesn't. An active bass tone controls boost or cut the various frequencies while a passive system only cuts frequencies. Many more tone variations are possible with an active bass - even with single pups.
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I wouldn't call it an amplifier. It's a preamp. With an active preamp, you can control tone like you might on a bass amp's preamp section. You can adjust your sound easily and with more range and precision than with a passive system which just has volume control(s) and a tone knob that just muffles high end.

    311 fan, P-Nut's bass (a Warwick Streamer stage II) has a 3 band active preamp. For the songs where he is making the low end thick and not slapping, he boosts the BASS control, turns down the TREBLE and adjusts the MID according to how much growl he wants. On a song where he slaps (My Stoney Baby) he boosts the bass and treble and cuts the mid to get a clean and snappy sound. Got it?
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Active basses have some type of preamp circuitry in the bass. There are pickups (some EMG pickups, for example) that contain a preamp "in" the pickup.

    You can have an active bass with passive controls (active p'ups only), or any of several other configurations.
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Not only are there different configurations onboard a bass with respect to electronics, there are different electronics.

    My bass is active, but instead of using a 9-volt battery, it uses 2 9-volt batteries (18 volts).

    Alembic uses active controls on it's Series 1 and 2 basses and doesn't have an onboard power supply at all: instead, it has an outboard power supply! This works by feeding a special 5-pin cable from the bass to a box that sits as far as 20 feet away. This box IS the power source.

    Interestingly, this same box that Alembic uses is also designed to send each of the two pickups to separate amplifiers, if so desired!