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active vs. passive

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jacob Bartfield, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. passive pickups and electronics

    17 vote(s)
  2. active pickups and electronics

    12 vote(s)
  3. passive pickups with a preamp

    19 vote(s)
  1. I was just wondering whether you guys prefer active or passive basses and why. Thanks.
  2. I posted all passive because i want the bass' true sound, not masked by EQ...
  3. I'm with the passive crowd. I keep everything as close to flat as possible.
  4. chamigo


    Oct 7, 2000
    Passive all the way ! good pick ups + good wood = great sound :cool:
  5. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Active. Active electronics (mainly) can always produce more growl than passive ones. Growl is what I live for. Grrr baby yeah!

    Can't beat a Stingray.
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I prefer a passive pickups with an active/passive preamp. It depends on what sound I am going for, but sometimes the active preamp sounds better and sometimes the passive mode sounds better. But realistically I do not discern a large difference. I could definitely use either interchangeably. Its just that it is so convenient and it makes me feel better having both. :)

  7. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I prefer active myself, but I remedied my passive problem (two of my 4 are passive) with a Fodera preamp, so, in a sense, they are ALL active now, eh? ;)

    Any future bass I buy (memo to wife: But not for a long time!!) will likely be active.
  8. ACTIVE, I've never been able to get a good loud sound with passive pups. How do you play a loud volumes with passive pups?? I'm pretty sure thats what a power amp is for but those are all so expensive.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The same way you play loud with active. Turn up the volume on the amp. Usually basses with active preamps and / or pickups havea higher output than passive ones. This gives the illusion that the bass is "louder" if you don't to adjust the gain on your amplifier.

    Personally I want the sound of the pickups and the wood of the bass, along with my fingers. I feel that an active preamp / pickups get in the way of that ideal. My theory is with an active bass you get further from the natural character of the instrument. You may as well have a particleboard body, you can EQ anything in or out of your tone. This is a big reason I don't like EMG pickups. It seems that every bass with EMGs sounds the same. That's an oversimplification of course. :) I know lots of people like active basses. I once did, too.

    Of course I love the active EQ in my acoustic (mostly for feedback prevention), but all my other basses are passive and I like it that way.
  10. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    well i can get a real nice rolling thunder sound with my passive bass, but i havent played it on anymore than 25watts so im not sure how good it is up high.

    my active, damn orgazmic :D . ive played it at all volumes and its beautiful and clear down low and it cuts through perfectly and up high it doesnt loose any of its qualities.

    just for the record i have a passive Ashton AB100 and an active Jordin 'Sniper'.

  11. There seems to be some misconception that active electronics are inherently louder or have hotter signal than passive. This is not necessarily the case. Some systems do, some don't. I've yet to play an active bass that had as much output as a SD Quarter Pounder equipped P-Bass. My passive Jazz bas has just as much output as my active Stingray5. In an active/passive system, the passive setting should have just as much output as the active, assuming the EQ on the active setting is flat. The purpose of active electronics is not to get a hotter signal out of the bass, it is to give the bass more tonal options (like more powerful EQ) and a lower impedence interface with amps and other electronics (this can improve top end response and clarity). I've never played any bass, active or passive that didn't put out enough voltage to drive an amp, that's what your pre gain knob is for....
    I don't have any particular preference, if the bass sounds good it sounds good and it doesn't matter if it's active or passive. In that spirit I own one of each :D

    BTW, most "Active" basses have passive pickups mated to an active preamp.
  12. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    Actives are good, but a passive w/outboard or onboard preamp is best.
  13. get this...with a passive bass, you can play forever!..

    with an active bass, you need to change the battery every 4-6 months!...

    :confused: :D :confused:


    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    passive with my roscoe beck 5 - rock and roll, jazz blues
    active with my r-bass or warwick - modern, talent oriented stuff (hamm,woo10,ect.)
    each style has different needs. i prefer the sound of my beck 5 through my aguilar very warm and vintage. so i guess passive wins out.
  15. register


    Mar 31, 2002
    i like passive because there's too much fiddling involved with actives. i like to mess with the amp to find a good sound, but if i have to do it on the amp AND the bass it's just too much decisiong making and i have to go sit down for a bit before i actually start playing. also, passives are alot warmer i think. and you don't have to worry about batteries.
  16. active the only problem is replacing the battery
  17. passive pickups and electronics-
    actually some engineers have thought my all-passive (with controls bypass switch) homemade Warmoth P bass IS active, due to its bright sound.

    also, 9volt alkaline batteries cost £4 or more each- money that could be spent on drinks:p
  18. Active is the only way!


    ( :D Hook... :D )
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I like both for different reasons

    I like active because you have a wider range of tonal options, and was mentioned before, the growl can be obtained much easier, even without J pickups.

    I like passive because they have a more "earthly" tone.

    If you have an amp that isn't really all that great, an active bass can immensly improve your sound.
  20. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Why argue when you can have both options on one bass? I do.

    I play in active mode (set flat) most of the time, since it sounds more open than passive.

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