Am I stupid for thinking this? Active/passive

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by The Artist, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. I have been playing my Warwick Corvette $$ active for some time now, but now and again the batterys go and then I play passive.
    The thing is, I don't realy use the EQ on the bass when I play active. Does it make sence to play active if I don't use the basses EQ? (besides the fact that I don't use the basses EQ)
  2. EQ use should always be kept to a minimum.

    If you are not needing to use your EQ, that means everything in your rig is pretty much optimized to what it should be.
  3. I feel it sounds different when it's in active, the tone doesn't seem to be the same even if I don't mess with the EQ, but can't quite put my finger on it and also can't decide which I like more. I seem to keep flipfloping. Was thinking someome may be able to open a window on my problem so I can see(hear) it for myself. I do the EQing on my LMIII
  4. thetawaves


    Dec 29, 2006
    Ah, I had the same thing with mine. There is a definite warmth in passive mode, whilst the active setting gives a tad more definition (I came across this while tinkering about with harmonics). I quite liked having the ability to set up a sound that cut through the mix on active (boosted highs and a little added low), whilst mainly sticking with passive for the rest of the songs (both cases with the bridge in parallel and neck in single mode, blend at about 70% bridge to 30% neck). Just gives more flexibility I guess *shrug* If you like the sound that the active setting gives, stick with it. But I'm guessing it'd make a fair amount of sense to save battery life by keeping it in passive and solely running EQ on the amp...especially if you like the passive sound.
  5. Haha! that's exactly how I set my 'Wick :bassist:
    since I've had the LMIII I've done the EQing with that, though
    But yes, it seems to be more defined when in active mode
  6. There are a number of reasons that might cause this.

    First off, being as the passive mode has a higher impedance output than the active mode, you are probably experiencing more of a loading effect from your cables/rig in passive mode than active.

    Second, the preamp may not be transparent. It may be designed to color the sound a bit, even if it's flat.
  7. Yes, I do feel it does this. Does anyone have knollage/experience with what it colours when in active mode?
  8. thetawaves


    Dec 29, 2006
    Out of curiosity and slightly off topic, why would the passive mode have greater impedance? Currently in my first year of an electrical engineering degree and it still boggles my mind when all the little odds and sods keep cropping up in day to day life.
  9. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I disagree with this whole-heartedly. If you've gone to the trouble of selecting a bass with multiple bands of eq, selectable mid frequencies, series/parallel switches, pickup selection and blending, etc., then turn knobs and flip switches until it sounds good. To my ears, my Tribute L2K sounds bad flat, but there are some great tones in there that a little knob twisting will coax right out. My 4-94, on the other hand, doesn't get much better or worse with EQing, so I generally run it pretty close to flat.

    In the past, there has been a similar fascination with "running it flat" in the amps forum. Silliness and bad advice, if you ask me. Turn knobs until you are happy with how it sounds. My LMII doesn't need much EQ help. My Super Redhead really shines with a significant amount of bass boost, some midrange tuning and a little high cut.

    Don't get me wrong. Boosting can introduce noise, and radical EQs can cause problems for your soundman. So there can be problems, but don't be afraid to turn knobs until you find what works for you.

    Now, as for the OP's situation. If passive works for you with that bass, go for it! (I don't even have a battery in my Jaguar.)

    I am a firm believer that the foundation of a great active bass is a great passive tone. If you don't need any help from the EQ, don't use it. But the opposite is okay, too.
  10. Thanks for the advice.

    My question isn't so much about weather or not to use the basses EQ, but more towards if it makes sence to play active if I don't use the EQ. I know, I know, in the end it comes down to what sounds best to me. I'm just seeking advice to help me hear what I'm heaing, if you get what I mean;)
    Thanks so far for all your help you guys
  11. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    IMHO it makes perfect sense. Using your onboard preamp provides another benefit besides EQ shaping - it also "buffers" the signal.

    I've had a few basses where the preamp doesn't even have EQ. (Basically it was just there so they could call the bass "active" because that's what sold basses in the early '90s. ;)) But they were thoughtful enough to provide a passive bypass switch so it was easy to compare & see what the pre does.

    Those basses (and all other active/passive basses I've tried) tended to sound just a little more full and clear in "active" mode.
  12. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    Here is something else to think about. I had an active bass once with the bypass to passive switch. I loved the way it sounded in passive mode the most, so I pulled out the preamp and set it to complete passive and it sounded completely different, and not as good. So go figure. I guess pot values etc had a distinct effect.
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    If you prefer the sound of passive, play passive. Let your ears be final judge. The only advantage to having a buffered/low impedance output is to drive an exceptionally long cable run if you concerned about a slight loss of high frequencies due to capacitance in the cable.
  14. :confused:

    The 25K/50K volume pots commonly ran after the output of the preamp on active-only basses cannot be used in the active/passive configuration, as they would kill most of the output in the (high impedance) passive mode.

    If you have an active/passive switch, that means you are using 250K/500K pots, wired straight to the output in passive mode, and into the preamp's input in active mode.

    There will be no difference in the pot values whether you have a passive-only setup, or an active/passive setup.
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