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Active?!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rafterman, Apr 6, 2001.


  1. ok...i keep hearing active and passive pickups and stuff...does "active" mean that you need a 9V battery for the pickups? someone explain everything!!
     
  2. active pickups require a power sorce(9volt or 18volt) and passive pickups don't need a power sorce.
     
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Active pickups:
    - pickups with built-in buffer amp
    - needs power source (battery)
    - low impedance
    - usually an EQ is added

    Passive pickups:
    - pickups without any other electronics
    - high impedance

    -> adding an onboard EQ makes it active with the above-mentioned specs for active pickups
     
  4. Impedance? I hear the term all over the place...whats it mean?
     
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Impedance means the resistance of a component in an electronic circuit with alternating current (a pickup turns the string vibration into alternating current (AC).
    AC means that that the polarity changes periodically.

    The term resistance is used for circuits with direct current (DC).
    DC: The current doesn't change.

    Hope I did ok, it's quite hard to describe cause I don't know the English terminology for electronics that well.

    Both are measured in Ohm (greek letter omega)
     
  6. in that case...active pickups can be annoying, cuz you always need a battery, huh
     
  7. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Well, even with passive pickups you may need a battery - my Yamaha for instance, has passive pups and an active preamp, but since I can not bypass the preamp (without some surgery to the electronics), the whole bass goes dead when the battery does. Even if there were a bypass switch, I bet my pickups would give a very weak output without the preamp, so that wouldn't be of much use anyway.
     
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Nah, you only have to change it every few month.
    I won't get a passive bass again.
    Active basses have a better signal bandwidth and a better sound IMO.
    And on a lot of basses with passive pickups and active circuitry you can switch back and forth between active and passive mode, if the battery gets dead on a gig or you want a passive sound.
    For basses with active pickups you always need a battery, but those are a minority.
    Most active basses have passive pickups and active EQ.
     
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Active pickups are only annoying if they sound bad.

    Batteries? They're cheap. I've never had an active bass where the battery didn't last at least 6 months. I've had them last for over a year. Just to be safe, check the battery occasionally and carry spares. Easy.

    Unplug the bass when not in use, normally doesn't drain the battery.
     
  10. wait a minute though...i was at Guitar Center today and i tried out an Ibanez SR-405 (5-string...which i will buy sometime this April...yeah!!!)...and the guy said that it was an 'active' bass...but i didn't see any battery port on the back of the bass...i'm guessing maybe pickups or the preamp...help me out, somebody!
     
  11. The battery is stuffed inside the cavity with the other electrical components. You have to take off the access panel to change the battery.

    As far as active v. passive, it's all preference. Some basses have the active/passive setup so you can switch between the both. But actives give you a better signal strentgh to the amp with better clarity and if the bass has the on-board preamp, you can add more EQ from the bass. In today's electrical world, batteries are just a small part of what it takes to get the sound you want.

    My Carvin LB75 has the 3 EQ knobs/pots for bass, mid and treble. They are different from a "tone" control. With EQ, you can affect the signal strength or volume to the amp. A "tone" pot does not do that.
     
  12. AssMan

    AssMan

    Dec 2, 2000
    Minnesota, USA
    He meant that it has an active pre-amp or EQ. The batt. is inside the cavity which is pretty common because it's easier to produce. The advantage to having an active bass (at least for me) is having the ability to increase my vol with out affecting the sound of the bass. Also with an active eq, you can significantly alter your tone very quickly with out having adjust your amp. Also with an active eq, your output signal that goes to your amp is more powerful making your signal louder and clearer. Because of all these reasons, an active pre-amp is a must for me. I also can't get the sound of an active bass with it's eq flat, on a passive bass. I like having Vol. and blend controls vs. a vol. vol. setup too. Now on to active pickups. Some people think active pups take away from your basses natural sound and make it sound sterile, while others like the sound and the increased output that active pups provide. I personally like a passive pick-ups and active pre-amp combo. It gives you the best of both worlds so to speak. But all in all, If a bass sounds good and you like it, go for it regardless. Oh yeah, why do want a Sound Gear so bad?
     

  13. HAHA...so i'm guessing you got all those posts that i put up...sorry...i figured it was the best way to get everybody's attention...i want a Soundgear so bad because it's a bass i can afford, i love the tone (yeah i know...Warwicks are better...but i don't have that kinda money!!!)...and it really fits the music i play...i also think it can play a lot of genres of music...for it's price, of course...


    ok back to my thread...so since the battery is in the cavity of the bass...does that mean the battery is constantly being used?...like if it's plugged into an amp or something?...and how long would that battery last me?...AND please answer any other questions that i missed...THANKS FOR YOUR HELP, GUYS!!!
     
  14. Yes, the battery is constantly being used as you play. To save battery power, always unplug your cord from the bass. The power will drain especially if you keep the cord plugged into the bass for extended periods of time. Leaving the cord plugged in completes the circuit and the electronics will think the bass is still being used.

    However, if you have the active/passive set up, practicing at home using the passive side will help save battery power.

    Battery life depends on how much you play. Most quality 9 volt batteries should last at least 6 mo. unless you play for hours every day.
     
  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I know this is off-topic, but man, there are so many better basses in your price range; i'd stay away from the Soundgears if i were you.
     
  16. If I have a bass with passive pickups but active EQ, if I replace the pickups with actives, do I need to rout another hole for another 9V battery, do I have to change the electronics to 18V, or do the new active pickups share the 9V alongside the preamp?
     

  17. if i want your opinion i'll beat it out of you...

    Soundgears are good basses man...just because you have $2,000 basses doesn't mean you can trash on mine
     
  18. bassics

    bassics

    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    before you spend your cash on a soundgear, try the DeArmond Pilot Deluxe. It has a MUCH better tone and resonance I.M.O. I think it sounds close to the Ken Smith BSR-M. and it is in the same price range as the SoundGears.
     
  19. AssMan

    AssMan

    Dec 2, 2000
    Minnesota, USA
    I agree 100% with statement, and I'm a soundgear owner. I bought it without doing any research, and before I knew what I was doing. I agree that's a decent bass (if you swap the pre-amp out), but there are much better basses for the $ out there. If you ever slap, or plan on slapping, you'll kick your self in the ass for getting sdgr, because the really tight spacing makes slapping cleanly extremely hard, trust me on this, it took me months to learn to slap on my sdgr the same way I slapped on my p-bass. I finally did, and can slap cleanly on it it is possible, but it makes slapping ALOT harder than it usually is, or should be. It's string spacing is narrower than normal narrow 5-string spacing. Mine did work great in the recording studio (after we mixed and eq'ed it right) on sun. though, but I can think of a quite a few others that would work better for the same amount of $$.
     
  20. RockFiend

    RockFiend

    Aug 23, 2000
    as i believe sum1 said above, unplug your bass chprd after use with active pickups and ur battery won't run out for an extremely long time,, i have a back up Ibanez ATK and as long as you unplug it after you've played it seemd to stay in working order for long enough, the first symptom i have noticed of it wearing out is the same with pedals that use 9 volts, you'll start to get fuzziness or loss of tone and volujme,,, quite noticeable jsut chnge it up it's 2 dollars every 6-8 months well worth it,,, i like passive pickups better for the majority of my songs,,, i play a '57 P bass with obviously passive electronics and i like its vintage tone, and i use the Ibanez for funk stuff when needed,,, as people are talking about SDGR's if you have 900-1200 to spend on a bass (well at least thats how uch they are in Canadian dollars :)), then i'd say you should explore the options first ,,, DeArmond makes some great slappers, as does Ernie Ball,,,, meh just look around b4 you shoot out the cash