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Activist or Passivist

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by SunneyBoy, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. i dont know if a thread like this one has been started.

    Are you using active or passive systems on your basses!

    i have been playing active ever since i started, but recently every studio that i walk into wants me to give them a passive type sound.

    so my question is , what do you prefer and why ? might be interesting to find out what everyones thoughts are about the subject.

    here is an example for debate .

    should i sell my MM stingray five ( i also have a lakland 55-94 with SD pickups) to get a really nice passive bass setup . eg lakland jo osborne series.

    any thoughts ?
  2. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    NY/NJ Metro Area
    I personally prefer passive MOST of the time. Sometimes I kick myself in the butt for getting rid of my Sadowsky outboard preamp which turned my Jazz active.

    I noticed that, in doing an A/B comparrison, active tened to compress the signal very very slightly. But it was appreant enough to notice. It was not anywhere near the sound of an actuall compressor, but it did comrpess ever so faintly.

    Passive tended to let more naunces through. Almost a little more 'texture' could be heard and breathed through in my tone.

    Sometimes I miss the fat bass boost the pre would give me, but MOST of the time i'm more content with all passive tone.
  3. passive! all the way!
    i have never heard an onboard preamp that sounded as good as a real preamp. and batteries are just a pain.
    i had my custom FBB made not only all passive, but with no controls either. just a fat-ass bartolini humbucker in the bridge position wired straight to the jack. and man, it kills! killer output, and killer tone!
  4. I don't think I have a preference necessarliy, I have one of each and you just have to know when to use active and when to use passive. For example, my active bass is too bright for my taste most of the time when running through a solid state amp. Sure I could boost the low frequencies onboard the bass to fix this, but it probably means I'm going to drive my preamp into clipping and/or get noticeably louder so I try to avoid it. On the other hand, the definition I can get from an active running into a really fat sounding tube head is a very desirable combination.
  5. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I run both. I like having the option of a push/pull preamp.
  6. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Both. I probably spend more time in passive, but having both on each bass is the way I like it.
  7. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    I never played an active bass that did anytning for me. I've tried and tried to like them. They just sounds wrong to my ears. Passive only for me, or at least until I try an active bass I like.
  8. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I prefer a more HiFi sound so I choose to go active in my basses.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I'm an active player so I need passive basses.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    To me, the question isn't passive vs. active. It's mediocre, run-of-the-mill active tone vs. really good active tone...

    I have to believe that onboard preamps are only somewhat farther along in their development curve right now than solid-state heads were in the 70s. I suspect they're going to continue to improve - a lot...

    Nevertheless, I prefer the advantages that a good preamp can provide, such as:

    1) a hotter signal
    2) no loss of high frequencies with longer cables
    3) much more tone-shaping capabilities

  11. Totally active myself (assuming a good pre like an Ag, Sadowsky, Pope, FBass, MTD/Bart, etc.). The good preamps of today can sound very 'passive' when set flat (i.e., they are very transparent). For studio playing, I can see running a passive bass through a very high end preamp. However, for live playing, I would HATE to not have those subtle tone shaping capabilities on my basses, even though I typically run the preamps flat for half the night or more.
  12. before i used to be all for the bright gung-ho trebly sound of active basses like the stingray. But as soon as I started getting into distortion ran on bass I decided to stay passive like I always was, because I'm aggressive and I dial in everything through the preamp ON THE AMP. Would've been too much if i was running active
  13. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I prefer my preamp when set flat to have about the same gain as the bass does when the preamp is bypassed. Downstream at my rack preamp or my V-Bass I can get all the pregain I need without noise buildup. It's easy to get overdrive without having to deal with different levels coming from the bass, or playing with the volume knob.
  14. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    I prefer passive most of the time on a 4 string bass ... there are two notable exceptions in my personal bass arsenal.

    I like using my ATKs in single coil mode, with the 3 band eq you can get a nice P bass vibe. Of course there are StingRays that just wouldn't be a RAY with out one.

    If you go more than 4 (I've only use 5s) then I have not found a good passive 5 string (not saying they are not out there) .

    On the flip side I have replaced the active EMGs in my Spector with passives, from these guys ... http://www.has-sound.com/ ... the custom wiring harness with the midrange control is way cool!
  15. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    passive. if i want to mess with tone, i have an amp

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