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Active thread

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by countrybass5, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Read a lot of threads about passive basses and how people will "never go back to active basses." I just wanted to read about what the active bass players would have to say. I have never played an active bass but the PB5 I am planning to buy is active/passive and I hope to use both settings.
  2. I am probably active to stay. I like the tones I get with the basses I have. I have a couple or three passive basses that get playing time on them. When I play at church I actually prefer the passive basses because we play a more laid-back style and the active is a little too much. But given the choice of only one or the other, I'd take active.

    If the PB5 has the same pre my B50 has, which I think is the case, it will sound very nice. I like it.

    wmhill likes this.
  3. I always had one passive PJ. Then, I bought an active 5 string modern bass. I loved it. But, I was always tweaking my sound. Like, always. It's never quite right. Just when I think its gravy, I disappear. Bought an active 4 with a passive switch. I never, ever use the active electronics. Ever. My sound is always perfect. I'll never go back. Plus, it doesnt need batteries to make sound.
    idoker and Nomogram like this.
  4. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    I have active and passive.
    Active bass has higher output, sound is more expressive. But, it's difficult to control dynamics (at least with cheaper ones, because I don't do expensive stuff).
    It just happen that 3 of my active instruments are also 5 strings, while all passive are 4 strings.
    If you play louder stuff without a lot of change in dynamics, go for active. Also, some music styles require use of active bass. Lately, probably because of use of portable audio devices, it is hip to control mid frequencies, what is difficult to do with passive instruments, while active have almost like a rule - mid freq control.
    I do not use any kind of pedals. So, I cannot tell you what is doing what in that settings.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
    LiquidMidnight likes this.
  5. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Active with passive option all the way for me. There’s something about the texture of the passive mids that I like, but it’s quite subtle if you have a good preamp. IMO the difference is unnoticeable in a band. But the added eq makes a big difference in adapting to a room.

    When I play with a passive, I always miss the eq.

    I especially like an active PJ5 or P/MM5.
    Helix, Bass Man Dan and lowdownthump like this.
  6. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    I switched to active basses in 1993 and up until this year, that is all that I owned. I never had any issues with them and enjoyed the added versatility. This past year, I added some passive basses to my arsenal and have also enjoyed them. The other think I have, is my K B Guitars T-Hawk bass. It has Nordstrand Audio pickups and pre amp in it and has the ability to be played both in active and passive mode. It is by far, the most versatile bass that I have ever owned. I love how it plays and sounds.

    Here is a pic of it.
    30E9A97C-7EE1-43DB-B43A-EECAC7581DAF. 386B9B64-6605-4666-80DE-68E97D5C7DF3.
    CalBuzz51 and alaskaleftybass like this.
  7. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    I play both. Passive, Active, Active with Passive switches (is that 3?). I love all of them. Really it just depends on what I'm feeling at the moment.
  8. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    I prefer my 4 string basses to be passive with flats. Passive bases work great for recording and pedals.

    My 5 string basses I prefer to be active /passive and have roundwounds . They work best in a dense live mix as well as recording .

    Depends on music as to which bass I’ll use. I’m not reaching for my active 5’s as first choice for playing Motown . And I’m not reaching for my passive 4 with flats for my urban gospel session. I could if had to but it’s not ideal for me.
    HD007 and TinIndian like this.
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I have three actives and one passive. One of my actives has an active/passive switch, but I tend to play it in active mode. For the most part, it seems to be correct that it's a bit harder to control dynamics with an active bass because the pickups are hotter and more sensitive, though the Jazz Elite (the one with the switch) does not have this problem in active mode. I use a compressor when I play with the other active ones. I like the boost I get from the actives, and I like the control I have onboard.

    That said, the passive bass I have (a Music Man Caprice) is one amazing sounding bass.
  10. That is a really nice looking bass.
    Bassist Jay likes this.
  11. Thanks for the reply...I'm excited to order my Kiesel.
  12. What does a compressor do? I have never used one.
    Tvrtko likes this.
  13. Torrente Cro

    Torrente Cro

    Sep 5, 2013
    I prefer passive basses in my bedroom, but active sounds better with band.
  14. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I own 2 active preamp with passive pickups 5 strings, 1 active pre with active pickups 5 string, and 1 pure passive 4 string. All different tools for different jobs. Although, 99% of the time I use my active pre/active pickup 5 string.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  15. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    Whatever gets the job done - active, passive, 4 string, 5 string (I've never felt the need for 6 but wouldn't hesitate get one if I felt I needed one).
    Element Zero and LiquidMidnight like this.
  16. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I have been anti active for quite a while. Mainly because I leave cords plugged in. But I have one on my lap right now and I am digging the eq range and the tone.
    I will probably mod this to have a passive mode with a battery kill switch. A switch make a pop but I don't use it on the fly.
  17. If a bass makes sounds I like, I use it. Active/passive is irrelevant to me.
    The whole "omg batteries, what if they die" argument is silly. It's a non issue unless you're the type who also forgets to change the oil in your car and if you have a bypass switch then not even that.

    Personally, my favourite is a passive tone control with an active sweepable mids active EQ onboard. But there's a lot more than that to make me like a bass.
  18. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    I have had only ONE solely passive bass, and got rid of it.
    I have had only ONE active/passive bass, only played in passive once or twice, and got rid of it.
    I have 5 solely active basses, and they're NOT for sale.
    Enjoy/love the tonal ranges, allow for more head room, and kick like Kung Fu.
    If I wanted another passive bass I would buy an acoustic.
  19. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    It compresses the dynamic range of the output, so your quiets aren't as quiet and your louds aren't as loud. You can choose the degree to which you want the signal "squeezed" like this so you can still play expressively.
    Spidey2112 and lowdownthump like this.
  20. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    It does - regardless how loud you play, it always sounds the same.
    That's for the people who cannot play the bass right.
    The Nameless likes this.

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