active controls superior?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Alex, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. does it defeat the purpose of having active pups on your bass if you don't have bass/mid/treble etc. controls on your bass, or is it just as good to adjust settings on your amp? DO the active pups still sound better than passives if you do this?
  2. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    This is my advice and response to the 5 or 6 electronics posts you've made. Stop posting and start reading. Don't take it the wrong way, but it would be a lot easier on everyone if you took the time to read up and get a good basic knowledge of instrument electronics instead of asking so many specific questions.
  3. ok, koch's book in shipping right now. I'm sry to all you guyz. No new threads until Wednesday. I promise. :cool: :bassist:
  4. well, does anyone have an answer ot my question? (Koch's book coming Tuesday!)
  5. Firstly, I wasn't aware that active pickups sounded better than passive pickups. An active pickup is simply a passive pickup with the active circuit built right into the pickup.

    Not having onboard bass/mid/treble controls doesn't necessarily defeat the purpose of active pickups. It depends what you want on the bass. If you simply want a hotter output from the bass, but no tone shaping then you could use an active circuit without the added tone controls.
  6. I always thought they did sound better. I am I wrong? What does the active circuit do?
    by "hotter" you just mean louder?
    I can still tone shape just as well on my amp, eh?
  7. I would say that you're wrong. I don't think that one sounds any better than the other, in general. The active circuit allows for gain, be it a boost at a certain frequency or an overall boost to all the frequencies.


    You should be able to... depends on what amp and what onboard circuit we're talking about.
  8. Ampeg 410 HLF + B2R Head
  9. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    All active circuitry does, is in essence, give you onboard control over tone, beyond what you get with passive controls.
  10. It depends what the onboard circuit is and what you want out of the tone shaping. More than likely the tone shaping available on the head is adequate to get a tone you like. It depends if you wanted to be able to adjust the bass/mid/treble from onboard the bass.
  11. Which I don't

    So you're saying that onboard active controls ARE better than the tone shaping on my amp?
  12. Then don't put the bass/mid/treble controls on.

    No, the tone controls on your amp are active.
  13. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Sure, it active electronics are just another tool.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    A lot of people like active electronics (usually in the form of passive pickups and an on-board pre-amp that provides tone shaping controls and gain boost) for several reasons.

    1) if you use longer cables, you retain your tone and your signal level over longer distances.

    2) you have the convenience of having more control of the tone of your rig from the bass rather than having to tweak your amp. If I'm in the middle of a song and *just have* to adjust your sound, it's much easier to do so by just reaching down instead of dealing with your amp. It's also easier between songs.

    There are some down points too.

    -If your batteries die and you're on stage, you're SOL.

    -If you can switch from active to passive, but you don't have a 'passive' tone control (often refered to as a 'vintage tone roll off' , then you're stuck with a bass with no tone knob.

    -Tone 'shaping' can get pretty have the tone controls on your bass, and also maybe one or two sets on you're amp can work yourself into a mess if you over EQ yourself!

    I find that 'active pickups' like EMGs sound kind of soul-less. The circuit has been designed to balance out the tonal character of the pickups and make them even across the tonal spectrum and lack the character of some of the great passive pickups out there.

    My next bass is being built with an on board pre-amp (Aguilar OBP-1). It will only be a 2 band EQ (bass & treble), and those will be 'boost only'..that means you can ADD bass or treble, but you can't REMOVE it from the signal. On top of that, the bass will have a passive tone control. Traditional passive tone controls attenuate (remove) treble from your sound. So I'll be able to add or remove high end, but I'll only be able to add bass. Perfect for someone who usually removes high end only but is always looking for more lows.
  15. AHA! :cool:
    that's EXACTLY what happens to me when I play active basses w/ like 3 EQ knobs! Another thing is that the knobs usually don't have markers to show you what your knobs are set at! I get so screwed up I just end up rolling them all the way up. This is why I started this thread: to make sure I didn't need onboard EQ.
    Oh, man. Now you're giving me ideas! :D
    Thanks for the help guys. :bassist:
  16. You can get knobs with center detents so that you can feel the point of no boost or cut on the eq knobs. Most basses with onboard eqs that I've played have these knobs.
  17. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    The Bartolini preamp I bought had knobs with center detents. It has treble/mid/bass, and a three position switch to select the mid frequency.

    I usually set the EQ on my amps flat.