active: how much better is it really?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SuperSonic!!!, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    i have the opportunity of getting either an active or a passive jaydee bass. What i am really after is that classic mark king tone. My question is, how much better is the active bass? would the passive still have that mark king tone?
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Active is not better or worse than passive. They're just different.
  3. Oxblood

    Oxblood Inactive

    Apr 17, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Active is a lot better.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Generally speaking, that's true! However those who want a modern "hi-fi" bass tone -- and by that I mean Mark King, Marcus Miller, Vic Wooten, some of Flea's work -- would probably be better off with an active bass rather than passive.
  5. Although I prefer passive basses for the most part, I think that an active bass will probably be better for a Mark King tone.
  6. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    how are the actives different? more punchy, responsive etc.?
    Would a passive still get a good mark king-type tone or is there no comparison?

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I dont think it is a question of which is better but a question of the usable dynamics of the 2. For me the Sadowsky Preamp is a perfect match but i also have a few older passive basses that fit a certain style as well.
  8. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Active gives you a LOT more tone variations. If you want best of both worlds get a bass with an active/passive switch.
  9. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    But would having an EQ pedal be pretty much the same as having that active EQ on-board, with the variety of tones?
  10. First, by active what do you mean?
    An active eq allows you to boost frequencies but you can also have an active preamp which boosts the entire signal.
    About the latter, I can confidently add that the dynamic of the instrument is greatly improved. The signal is boosted in the whole range at the pick up. Most of the times, the those preamps are also tuned to balance the imprefections of the pickup.
    Anyway, active brings more punch, more responsiveness. It is especially effective for percussive style playing, ie slap and tapping.
    And IMHO, if you want the MK sound, get a Status :D
  11. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    Im hearin ya! :bassist: But theres this JD going cheap that i know of...
  12. Hello, yeah john diggins builds his own active pre-amps for his basses so if your looking for the JD/MK sound you would be better of with the active as that sound is built into the active circuit board, the passive won't quite have that JD twang, the active will sound more alive and have that high mid thing that JD's are renound for. :cool:
    as for sonding like mark king, it's in the hands, and no amount of active will make that happen :bassist:
    as I said before I had a 1985 JD mark king and I never sounded like mark king :bawl:
  13. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For me, passive is better. It's a matter of preference.
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    It depends what kind of tone you want. I used to be into a passive vintage tone and my passive bass with bartolini pickups sounded wonderful.

    Now im the opposite. I want everything modern sounding. Musicman and Warwick tones are my favorite. I like active preamps.
  15. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I disagree, but won't go into it here.

    You won't find consensus on this. Some of much prefer one or the other, and have good reasons to back up those feelings. Nobody's "right". You have to determine what's right for YOU.
  16. Hyper-Flexion


    Apr 17, 2005
    i think this is the reason that there are active passive switches ;)
  17. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I hate active. Don't play active, don't think I ever will. But that's just me. Some active basses can give you a higher output, and sometimes a wider range of sounds, but, in my opinion, they just can't get the natural tones and textures of passive electronics. Plus, I'm not into having to use batteries.
  18. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I think that most well designed well thought out aactive systems are designed to be active with the EQ and pickups complimenting each other. As much of a fan as I am of passive EQ I never was 'wowed' by the passive sound of my Peavey Dyna-Bass 5. It sounded fantastic and very 'modern' or 'hifi' in active mode, but even with the volume cranked on the amp it didn't sound that good passive. (this is why I eventually replaced it with a passive Fender Jazz V)

    Often on basses like my Dyna-Bass, the active/passive switch is put there largely for two reasons: (1) to be a backup if your battery dies on stage (2) appease people who are worried about their battery dying on stage. I had my Dyna-Bass battery die on gig day one time and I can tell you I was very happy to have that switch despite the lesser sound!

    Active doesn't always mean hifi tone, my Brice V2 has active EMG-style pickups with a passive EQ and it sounds very organic, more like what I would expect from a passive bass than an "active" one. And I love it.
  19. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I prefer passive basses, however when I did play actives I liked them for only one reason: I could control the volume at the guitar without degrading the signal (I hope I was doing it right for all those years!)
  20. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    I play 'em both, depending on the setting, band configuration, and music style. But I prefer the sound and true voice of a passive bass over the "manufactured" tones I get from active electronics. Really, though, it's more a question of what is most suitable for the gig. For me, straight jazz and old school funk/R&B are a passive thing, most everything else is active ...... :cool: