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Anyone familiar with this? Passive or Active mode for recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by De Teng, Nov 7, 2004.


  1. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Hello bassy people!

    Perhaps you folks could help me out with the following problem. Next tuesday (it's sunday evening now) I'm recording again and I could be needing some advice/experiences.

    I recently read an article in Bassmagazine (a dutch magazine) where a pro guy told that recording a bass passive gives better results when having the volume at about 80%. This because of the fact passive sound looses bass quicker then treble frequencies. In the end one attains a better basssound on the record. A very good example of having the 'oomph' problem is on Jaco's debutalbum, 'Come on over'. This could be easily solved by the point mentioned above. Listen well and you'll find out.


    Now my situation: I have a Lakland Skyline 55-02 with a very nice preamp in it. The output of the stock Bartolini's is quite low, so the preamp just 'normalizes' the output of other pups compared to pickups with a high output. Should I use the preamp anyway (I use FX regulary too) or should I run the bass in passive mode.

    Strangely enough I don't have the 'oomph' problem when recording straight into the soundcard (which is how it's going to be recorded in addition to the mic in front of my Bag End speakers) but I was wondering if it improves the sound when using the tips above.

    Quite a story, but thank you for reading. Any feedback is appreciated!
     
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I've heard about the 80% trick with passive basses, like P basses and J basses, and I attribute that to the "optimal load" that the pickup wants to see, relative to the resistance setting of the passive volume and tone controls. However, with an active preamp in place, you shouldn't have this problem "at all". Unless you're overdriving your preamp, in which case this will be the least of your problems.

    The short answer is: it depends on your preamp. The same effect of pickup-relative-to-controls, can be obtained with bass-relative-to-preamp. In other words, if you're using a solid state pre with a low impedance input, you can probably expect to get a little boominess (in that situation, many people use a compressor to address this). If you're using a tube pre, or your solid state pre has a high impedance input, there should be smoother dynamics. A low impedance signal source should mitigate both situations, so my recommendation would be to go active, and only revert to passive mode if absolutely necessary. At least that would be a good place to start. :)
     
  3. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Thanks dude, my preamp is a Peavey Max which provides great dynamics. I'll be choosing for the preamp of the bass (it's Bartolini...so nice sounding anyway for a vintage geek like me) through the passive mode of the preamp of the Peavey. (I've got the T-Max head)

    Can't get wrong... thank you for your feedback.
     
  4. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    I recorded last week the first demo album of our band (we only had two hours, but the result is really ok) and it went as expected.

    Passive mode > too much ' oomph' in the sound.
    Active > Great!

    so we've cleared that point ;)
     
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Demo album in two hours? You rock dude! :bassist:
     
  6. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    *Laughs* Thanks mate!

    The demo is only meant for getting nice gigs and spreading it on the world wide net. So off course on TB too ;)

    I think I'm going to post them (three songs) here within two weeks. I'm really curious how you folks think about the music. An EP will come out around three months from now, a bit like testing the waters with the demo and free distribution.