Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mikemulcahy, Aug 28, 2000.

  1. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I am using a bass with active eq and its a pain in the ass. I have found it to be difficult to "dial in" to the sound i want and i find that i am getting more distortion from my tube preamp. Any suggestion other than switching back to passive?
  2. Neobass


    Aug 12, 2000
    I find that, in most cases, it's much easier to dial in your tone with the amp's eq, not the bass's eq. One problem with a lot of cheap-mid level basses out there is that they skimp on the electronics. Ibanez is infamous for this, as just about everyone I've talked to who owns an Ibanez says they had problems with the electronics. If you want to stay active, you might want to think about putting in a Bartolini/Sadowsky/EMG preamp, and scrapping the stock eq. The only one I can personally vouch for is the Bartolini, but I'd imagine the other high end brands would offer the same high quality...
  3. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    This is precisely why I prefer passive...too much "knob twiddling" on active systems and I never find exactly what I want.

  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I exclusively have used EMG's ever since I bought my first decent bass, both the 9-volt P-pickup in the soapbar cover, and now the 18 volt humbuckers. I had to play around for a few days to get used to the new sounds, but now I understand how to use them. My opinion is that I have an incredibly wide range of tones at my disposal, AND I understand how to achieve what I want or need, almost instantly.

    If you're having problems with your active electronics, consider both the bass AND the amp. You may find that your amp's input gain stage is not set up to handle active electronics. Some amps allow for adjustments to the input gain, while others do not. Also, consider the electronics themselves. They may be substandard, in which case you should replace them if you're having problems with them. Don't give up on active electronics if you like the tonal options.
  5. shouldn't this be in the pickups section? hehe :p (sorry I have no point in saying this.. just bored) don't hurt me! :eek: hehe

  6. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    I've been using an active bass for a couple years now and have found that the onboard pre-amp really warms the sound up. Didn't require too much twiddling -- just kind of played around with it for a bit till I got what I wanted. As to the overload, distortion problem, I have found that I have to use the active/passive input button on my amp to compensate when I start to push the volume -- that seems to eliminate the problem. If your amp has one, you might try that.
  7. 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
    I prefer active electronics for their versatility. You have to fiddle around with them to find your favorite basic setting, then adjust from there. My only passive bass is a Fender Roscoe Beck V. It has a wide range of tonal variation, but it's controls are very funky ... not like the three-band EQ and pickup blend on most of my other basses.
  8. Perhaps there is a very simple solution to the distortion problem. Does your amp have 2 inputs? Most do, with one having a 10+ dB cut in the circuit. Use that one and you'll decrease the distortion. I have 2 active basses and use this input for both. The passive works well in the normal input.

    If you don't have 2 inputs, well....nevermind.
  9. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Active Electronics : YES (I wouldnt play without em)
    Active Pickups : NO

    For me , the best setup is a combination of passive pickups and active electronics.
    Ex: Ibanez ATK300
    /\/\3phist0 likes this.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Here's where filling in the profile would be helpful:D

    What tube preamp do you have? Does it have two different inputs as Hambone mentioned or is there any type of dB-cut button or switch? Does it have two gain controls, for example a pre and Master? What sound are you striving for (an example others might recognize or a good description)?

    Unfortunately most players make big changes when EQing either at the bass, the preamp or both. This is usually not the best way to go IME. My experience is the opposite of Neobass', I leave my preamp flat and have no trouble dialing in my sound with any of my active basses.

    Let us know the answers to the above questions and we can probably give you pretty specific ideas on possible solutions.
  11. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Ok...this thread has been cleaned up...let's play nice from now on, please...:)

  12. BassGuyNL


    Jul 20, 2000
    The Netherlands
    I have owned several middle class basses (e.g. Ibanez Soundgear 1500, with padauk body, Fernandes APB 100 5 string) etc.) and have tried many in that category in stores. I always find that the active electronics on these basses mess everything up. Now, for me, the quality of the bass itself and good passive pickups are the main reason I would buy a bass. I feel too many manufacturers use active electronics as a sales pitch, making it look like they're making high end basses. It's like Marcus Miller says in the FAQ section on his website: many of these basses sound like science projects.
    My main bass (a John Fadden Jazz Bass)came with the EMG's without polepieces. I never liked those before (too sterile), but the bass also had a built-in EMG pre-amp. With just a touch of bass boost on the bass, and the amp EQ flat (Eden Traveller), I get exactly what I want: passive sound with some extra ooomph.
  13. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    First of all my apologies to Will. Second I have more questions now than before.I play 2 Ibanez guitars a SR400 and the old Saber(the model # escapes me), both have active electronics and passive pick ups, the gist is, the guitars electronics are extremely "hot" and very sensitive, subtle changes really throw the sound way off. Would i be better served with "better than factory pickups" or changing guitars completely

    The preamp is a Peavey with 2 12AX7 tubes, it has a 6db cut for active, it has a pre and post no "Master" control, a BBE sonic maximizer, 2 rack mount Marshall amps(1 runs 2 118 and the other runs 2 410 cabs).

    [Edited by mikemulcahy on 08-29-2000 at 12:12 PM]
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    something you might consider is that you might like your results with another active preamp. earlier in the thread it was mentioned, and i agree with this, that many low to mid grade instruments come with pretty sub-par electronics. you might like to get a swap for the preamp - i personally like the seymour duncans bass lines 3 band - i use that in a few of my custom basses, including my doubleneck.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    The pre and post gains should work like a pre and master IME. Typically you'll keep the pre lower than the post unless you're trying to overdrive the input. I'd remove the BBE just for the sake of troubleshooting a simpler signal path. I don't know how hot the Ibanezes are, I have a bass with active EMGs and an 18v JHD Audio preamp (3 9v batteries, total) and use it with no ill effects.

    Set the bass guitar flat and max it's volume.
    Use th 6dB cut, roll the post volume control up and bring up the pre. See if you still have distortion.