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Bass only works in passive with a certain cable

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BillyRay, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    For two rehearsals in a row, the cable I use doesn't seem to work when my bass is in active mode (no sound), but it works fine in passive mode. The battery is new and the bass works in active mode at home with another cable. This has me puzzled...

    Bass is the ATK500 with the glock pre that has made the rounds on TB.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That sucker is HAUNTED. Why do you think it was sold so many times?
  3. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    Assuming the bass works in active mode at rehearsal with a different cable?
    Also assuming it's the same amp at home?
  4. toomanyslurpees


    Jan 21, 2009
    I would assume it's something to do with the grounding of the preamp, usually they have the ground connect to the sleeve of the 1/4" connector so it's deactivated when you unplug....
  5. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Different rig and different cable at home. Could it be the head ? I'll bring my other cable next rehearsal and investigate, but I very strongly suspect it isn't the head since the bass wouldn't send a signal to a tuner either in active mode.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd just use the other cord.
  7. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Is the cable that won't work a stereo cable by chance? Stereo cables won't turn on an active bass unless the amp head grounds the "ring" contact. Most amps have a mono jack and won't do that....
  8. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Voice of reason.

    I don't know if the cable is stereo, but I doubt it, 15$ cheapo special from the music store.
  9. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    It's the cable.
  10. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    or perhaps the jack in the bass. The active preamp turns on by the "ring" contact which on a mono cable simply shorts against the body of the 1/4" plug which turns on the battery. With a stereo cable the "ring" contact will connect to the "other" wire in the cable which will likely be floating and not turn on the preamp.

    So either you are trying to use a stereo cable (which will not short the battery to ground and turn on the preamp) or the bad cable has some corrosion on the body of the plug that keeping the jack from making contact and turning on the preamp, or the jack contact has lost tension (very common) and doesn't have enough tension to make contact if the one cable is slightly less than a 1/4" in diameter (some cheapo and some expensive cables are slightly off from standard size for unknown reasons. I guess somebody thought it made it "better".
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I had that happen once. Had a gig and forgot my cables and had to dig in the band's cable bag to find one. Found one that looked legit. No signal. Thought it was the battery and put a new one in. Nothing. I got worried that I'd have to run and find a store selling guitar cables and something said switch to passive. It worked but my sound was horrible passive. Got home later and tried it with several of my cables and it worked normally. I figured the cable I used on the gig, the plug section was defective.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    Bass only works in passive with a certain cable


    Throw that cable away.

    I but 5 or 10 cables at a time and the very minute a cable acts up I ditch it and grab another.

    Also it seems the more a cable costs the shorter its lifespan.
  13. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    There are plenty of cheap stereo cables out there.

    If the plug looks like the one at the top, with three metal sections (tip - ring - sleeve) and two dividers, then it is a stereo cable and that's your problem.


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