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Active Basses that Sound Great Passive

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My Peavey TL-5 absolutely kills passive! The neat thing is that the treble control acts as a passive tone control when it not in active mode which really gives this bass the same versatility as a nice Jazz, which is what my first generation TL-5 sounds like. The only other active bass that sounded this good passive was a Sadowsky Metro that another TB'er let me borrow for a weekend.:bassist:
  2. Dave Campbell

    Dave Campbell

    Jul 13, 2006
    The G&L L2000's have a great passive mode. I have a 1984 and it stays in the bridge pickup mode, passive. Sounds very very much like a P bass.
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Yeah! I forgot how good G&Ls can sound passive!:bassist:
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Most of the basses I've played with Bartolini soapbars and Bart NTMB preamps sound nearly identical with the preamp on or off (assuming the gain on the preamp is turned down to match the passive volume). This is my preference with just about any active bass- that it'll sound more or less the same as passive when the preamp is on but no EQ adjustments have been made.

    I've been using an Ibanez Prestige as my main bass for the past six weeks, and I really need to take a look at the preamp as I haven't yet. The passive volume is currently louder than the active :D
  5. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    The TL-5s and the Dyna-Basses sounded better passive than active, IMO.

    I owned two Dyna-Basses and one TL-5. All of them had Super Ferrite pickups. All of them sounded fantastic, but the preamps were hissy. I wish I still had them.
  6. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    I always have my Dyna Bass switched to passive. It doesn't get much play time anyway lately, it needs a new pot.
  7. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    my son's Reggie Hamilton sounds great passive, but it just roars actively!;)
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Ain't that the truth! I am waiting on a Aguilar Tone Hammer Stomp box, and when I get it, I will probably run my TL-5 through that when I want that active vibe.
  9. Too often people get tricked into thinking active sounds better when its usually only just louder. Assuming the bass is well constructed from the right materials...resonant woods, responsive pickups etc...any instrument should always sound better passive! Introducing an active circuit only increases noise and reduces dynamic range. Should you need EQ it makes more sense to use a higher quality Amp EQ if available rather than on the bass itself.
  10. LouieV2


    Jan 9, 2011
    Boston, MA
    My Warwick Corvette std. 5 KILLS in passive mode... I always run it passive. No need to use the onboard EQ IMO, because it sounds perfect to my ears.
  11. Did you mean neck pickup, or did you actually mean bridge? My G&L L2K is used for cover songs requiring P bass, but in those cases I choose neck pickup. Bridge pickup sounds more like Stingray to me
  12. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    not quite,...

    active separates the frequencies with the benifit of cut and boost! if all your active bass does is sound louder, then it's not working right, IMHO. :)
  13. If working right means being able to "seperate the frequencies" then perhaps the bass isn't sounding good to begin with.
  14. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    you know,...

    lows, mids, highs vs. treble roll-off
  15. I have always found the best basses I have played or listened to required the least amount of messing around of EQ....if needed, a high quality amp eq will do a better job IMO.
  16. My Clement sounds BEASTLY passive. Best sounding passive bass I've ever touched. The Brubaker sounds great passive too but the pickups are really low output so I pretty much have to run it active.
  17. Firesalt

    Firesalt Is good enough. Supporting Member

    May 18, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    I play my Sadowsky PJ in passive mode thru the Sadowsky outboard preamp, it has a warmer sound to it than the onboard preamp does IMO.
    I switch to the onboard preamp if I want more punch.
  18. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man

    Sounds great passive. I wouldn't say "better" than in active, but I've been using it in passive mode a lot lately.
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses

    My Jaguar sounds pretty dang good passive too.
  20. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Great active/passive basses are:

    Ibanez SR4500E Prestige with Bartolini USA Custom soapbars...

    Ibanez SR1200E Premium with Nordstrands BigSingles soapbars

    Fender Reggie Hamilton w/P/J pickups & active/passive switch

    Fender American Deluxe, Precision/Jazz (I'm coming to the conclusion that a deluxe Jazz body with a deluxe Precision neck should be "The Keeper")

    and, as an outsider: Clover Apèiron Hj/Hp (depending on what center pickup - jazz single or precision split - doubles "hybrid" bridge humbucker)


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