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Advice on effects with active bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Guinness20, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    Firstly, I KNOW there are a couple of threads already out there, but having been through them I didn't find the info I'm after. I'm looking at getting some advice on specific pedals but also general feedback and what works better for active basses & what to avoid.

    I've been weighing up pedals a while - my only bass was the epiphone thunderbird - which I love, but was looking for a couple of pedals. Like the diamond bass comp to give the tone a little extra, especially in the highs, and also a b3k metallic-sounding od to cut through the mix.

    However now I own a stingray hh, an incredible bass but it's almost the polar opposite of the the thunderbird in terms of sound! So obviously what I originally wanted in pedals will be bound to have changed due to the difference in sound.

    Looking at od pedals, I was originally looking at the b3k and b7k. Do you think the metallic b3k with the aggressive bright stingray would be too much? At least with the b7k I could roll off some of the raspy sound then add in a bit more bass. I really like Mr Excane's demo of the vmt, but it would sound very different when used with a stingray instead of a p bass.

    I've been looking elsewhere at whatI think would work well with the stingray - like the mad professor bbbod because you can choose what frequency you have the overdrive. What do you think? Also, heard the mooer thunderball the other day - is that based on something else? It sounded nice.

    Would there be a point in using a diamond bass comp with a stingray - it was never about compression, more about adding magic to my tone. But would using it with a stingray be worthwhile?

    I think a preamp is worthwhile getting, but I can rule out plain clean tone preamps now thanks to the stingray's eq - so it would have to be something a bit special, maybe a b7k or color box.

    Apologies for the length of this, but I really do think it's worthwhile being 110% sure before I buy anything. Any advice would be much appreciated :D
  2. grunge_freak


    Aug 3, 2010
    I can't speak for any other pedals but I'd recommend a ProCo Rat if you're looking for a distortion through a Stingray. great sounding combo.

    And I have the epiphone t-bird. the pedals I own are a EHX bass big muff (really good bass fuzz/distortion though I havent heard it with a stingray), boss ODB-3, boss bf-2 and bf-3, and a EHX small clone chorus. They all seem to work extremely well together for me at least. tho I have the thunderbird, again I can't speak for putting them through a stingray but I imagine it would sound even better because... well... its a stingray!
  3. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    Are active basses better suited to high gain overdrive or low gain?
  4. grunge_freak


    Aug 3, 2010
    To be totally honest with you I'm not really sure. My buddy plays an active bass and he has tons of effects, I will ask him and get back to you.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    "Gain" means how much the signal is boosted by a circuit. In dirt pedals, it means the input is boosted a little or a lot into one or more components that distort when the signal is "too strong". So the effect of a dirt pedal depends partly on how strong is the output of your bass.

    Usually people assume active basses have higher output than passive ones, but that is not always true! So if you see somebody asserting that actives work better or worse with high gain or low gain, they are missing the boat.

    One thing that IS true of all active basses is they isolate the pickups from electronically interacting with any effects pedals; and some fuzz pedals sound "best" (darker, warmer) when they DO get to interact with the passive electronics in a bass. The Zvex Wooly Mammoth is a classic example. This only applies to certain fuzzes, not overdrives generally.
  6. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    Right, so with all your help and help from a couple of other guys (thanks bongo and eyeballkid in particular) I think I'm pretty much there. I'm at:-

    - Diamond bass comp
    - Blackout Effectors Musket
    - Probably a vmt or sft
    - Looking at the b7k as a dirty pre. With the 3eq on the stngray, to me at least there's no point in a preamp that solely deals with clean tone control. Looking at the jhs color box, but figured I could roll off the b7k's metallic sound with the eq.

    I'm also tempted to get an ox fuzz for the real stoner stuff :D
  7. TheDepths


    Mar 4, 2014
    I have a Stingray 3EQ and a Darkglass B3K which is my go to dirt pedal. The B3K is surprisingly versatile.....Works great with the 'Ray. As always, effects are personal preference so my advice is try as many as you can.

    *edit* If you're after a comp that adds some 'magic' I would suggest trying a used Boss CS-3.....you can pick one up for cheap.
  8. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    not sure whether the b3k is just a bit too fizzy for me.
  9. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Buy them pedals. Flip them. Many many pedals. Try them all. The only way.

    Sounds like this is less about what plays well with active basses and more about personal preference with sounds. What OD sound are you looking for? Adjectives and what not.

    The thing an active that doesn't play well with pedals will do to an OD is increase the amount of dirt and grind at the lowest point (like instead of it starting off at level 1 it feels like it starts at level 3) and blarting out the extremely high dirty stuff. In most cases 90% of the pedal is not altered. If you find a pedal you absolutely love and need it more extreme or more subtle (I did) go with an Area 51 The Box and place it first in your chain. You can use that to tame the bite of your Ray.
  10. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    +1. Setting aside the issue of pure personal preference, you'll never know how a pedal will really sound until you try it with your bass and your rig. This is doubly true with active basses and dirt pedals, in my experience.
  11. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I play an active Ibanez ATK 300 with the B7K on all the time. Its a dream to my ears. I use it as a clean preamp though due to the fact I have all my other dirt and grind needs met by the OFD, ODB3 and a GK Diesel Dawg clone. IMO, the B7K acts and plays VERY well with active basses. Passives too but I prefer actives myself. So, yes, IMO, I think you would be very happy with the B7K as a dirtyish preamp.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have many effects and play both passive and active basses and one of my basses a Line 6 Variax 700 uses piezo pickups and I can't notice the pedals behaving differently at all.
  13. i play a passive bass. but what i've found researching wahs that the ebs wah one and stanley clarke wah have a passive and active switch.
  14. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Get a blend pedal no matter what! It makes every pedal so much more functional, and you don't need to always splurge for the nicest version of each pedal to do, individually, what a blender can do to all of your pedals whether they're good or not (put some actual tone back in!).
  15. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    Good shout, hadn't thought of that tbh. When I was at the london bass guitar show there was a woman playing a stingray through a mooer thunderball - sounded quite good. Got chatting to her afterwards and she said she uses that to achieve a muse-esque sound. Anybody got any experience wit oe of these?
  16. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    What about compressors, what is generally the best type of compressor to use with an active bass? Had previously been considering a diamond bass comp, but now might be thinking something like an aguilar tlc might be better suited?
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Forget active and passive, bro. It literally doesn't matter. Effects either sound good or they don't, and rare is the effect I've tried that sounded good in one but not the other. And really, it usually comes down to the bass itself, not whether it has passive or active pickups.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I would disagree with that. I have active and passive basses. I like the Audere 4 band preamps a lot, I also like to boost mids. But if I boost high mids and low mids then the distortion will distort more. Passive basses usually don't push the distortion pedals as hard. I compensate by using an EQ pedal and by not boosing too many bands on my active basses. Also pickup types matter as well. Overwound mid heavy pickups will drive the distortion more than underwould humbuckers or single coils. Also some single coils are also overwound.

    I have over a dozen basses and they act differently through my effects.
  19. TitaniumRx


    Aug 3, 2012
  20. Forget about active vs passive.
    Different basses have a different sound, and that means the settings you have for a particular pedal may have to be changed from bass to bass. But not because one is active
    It's normal. In particular overdrive and envelope filter pedals can be very sensitive.