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Are there any advantages to having an active bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tupac, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    From what I know, it just seems like a pain to worry about unplugging it after sessions and fiddling with the battery.

    Also, can I switch it to passive if the battery runs low?
  2. Nalte


    May 10, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Active pickups have a tone that is hard to emulate with passive pickups.
  3. lx_night


    Sep 3, 2008
    Oklahoma city
    I really like active basses. However I believe there is an advantage.

    Most of the basses I've had have been active/passive, So you get the best of both worlds.

    Also if your battery dies just pop the switch to passive and keep on playing :)
  4. Some effects don't play well with them.
  5. ajunea3


    Feb 14, 2008
    Baton Rouge
    Active basses aren't prone to high-end roll off when using a long cable. Also, sometimes it can be advantageous to have a hotter signal.
  6. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    i've never liked 'active' pups w/o using an onboard pre w/sweepable frequency centers.
    regarding passive pups/onboard pre combos: some onboard pres have the option to go passive. unless you are using an onboard pre that can have variable frequency centers, you can be bound to it's tonal limitations. some like these limitations.
  7. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Well, with a passive bass, if you ever think your tone doesn't sound quite right, you will wonder if it's your technique, your strings, your amp, or maybe it's all in your head.

    With active electronics you have the advantage of also wondering if it's because your battery is going dead.
  8. Bread Knife

    Bread Knife

    Oct 8, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    You will get into the habit of unplugging when you are done playing quickly enough.

    Whether or not an active bass will run in passive mode depends on the bass (or, more specifically, it's preamp). Seems to be an increasingly common feature.

    Active preamps avoid loss of high frequencies with long cables, as mentioned above. Additionally, sometimes it is nice to be able to quickly adjust your EQ without walking over to your amp. I do this for a few songs in my band.
  9. ModulusQ5-122

    ModulusQ5-122 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Lafayette, La
    Im active all the way. I have way more control over my sound.
  10. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    I use mainly EMGs. I like their transparency, and the lack of noise is pretty welcome too. The frequency output is pretty much constant throughout the range, no roll off that i can detect; there's a slight compressed quality to the sound that I like. I'm not a tone snob by any means, but since I'm playing a lot of covers I like to tailor the sound to the song a bit, and the transparency of the sound affords me a little more versatility in that respect.

    Also, the extra headroom is comforting to me. Feels cozy playing a little dialed back. :)

    And unless you accidentally leave the cable plugged into the bass over your dirty Vegas weekend, the batteries last a long, long time.

    Anyhoo, once again, that's just me, and that's what I like. To each his own!
  11. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA

    I have the ability to go passive, but never do.
  12. You should be unplugging any bass, and putting it in it's case. Leaving it plugged in on a guitar stand is a great way to break your instrument.
  13. I have basses that are active and passive, and enjoy using both. As a general rule I prefer passive 4 strings and active 5 strings & acoustic bass guitars. But that's just me.
  14. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    In eight years I never broke that habit and went through a fortune in batteries on my 12 string which mostly stays at home. Eventually I gave up and converted it to passive. Been happy ever since.
  15. Active components can offer five advantages over completely passive setups.

    1. Lowered output impedance.
    2. Constant input impedance.
    3. Buffering between multiple pickups. (And regardless of their output impedances.)
    4. Onboard EQ.
    5. Gain boost.
  16. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Are you using that fancy-pants new math, or are you missing the 5th advantage? Haha
  17. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    the biggest advantage i've found to having active basses is being able to tick your sound guy off something fierce. I also found they were not my thing.. I cannot play with that many knobs nearby. I much prefer passive basses.
  18. I agree 100% I never leave cables plugged up either in the bass, or the amp. Always always put your stuff away.
  19. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Definitely the ability to simply EQ on the fly.
  20. Big_Daddy


    Nov 24, 2010
    Central Alberta
    The EQ at your fingertips is amazing, but I love the extra oomph more than anything. Especially on my Schecter.