Beginner question Active-passive Pickups

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ProDigit, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. ProDigit


    Apr 12, 2005
    Miami USA
    I'm going to buy my first bass soon, and I may have some dumb question. But then again, I'm a beginner, and am allowed to ask them ^_^

    In specific I'm talking about Ibanez's SR series, but I'm really open to hear how basses from other manifacturers respond to these questions:

    1- When using active picups, and the battery dies within a concert, can you continue to play?(does it switch over to passive?); and when it does, except for loss of volume, is there any sound quality difference?

    2- I've seen bassguitars, with a simple clicking system, to remove the battery, while others you need a screwdriver to remove a plate in the back to remove the battery. Do you think you could switch-off the battery on most bassguitars, when not in use (in specific about the SR505, but also about other basses.)

    3- A curved body, interesting for thin, or very slender people?

    4- Neckthru; worth the extra 150 ..and so.. dollars?
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    1. Depends on the bass. Some basses use active pickups in addition to an active EQ. If you have active pickups and your battery goes, your SOL. Many basses have an active/passive switch. Battery dying, and changing to passive will remove your EQ controls. You may still have a tone knob, which is usually a treble roll-off, but you'll no longer be able to boost EQ settings. So the sound can change.

    2. Most basses, the battery is engaged when the bass in plugged in. When you remove the 1/4" plug from the bass, the battery turns off.

    3. Curved bodies are just more comfortable for most people, doesnt have a lot to do with the size or stature of the person involved.

    4. Well, you'll get varying opinions on this one. I personally prefer bolt-on's sound. usually necktrhoughs have more midrage presence, but its also hard to dial out with an EQ, well, more so than a bolt-on anyhow.
  3. When the battery's dead, you won't get any sound at all. From my experience, volume and tone both diminish when the battery runs low.

    The battery is "switched off" when the cable is removed from the bass. It's only engaged when the cabled's plugged in, so make sure you don't leave it plugged in over night.

    Feel free to make corrections, people.
  4. ProDigit


    Apr 12, 2005
    Miami USA
    So you're saying active pickups are only functional with a battery?

    And Passive pickups with an active EQ, will continue to play, even when the battery dies?

    So if I get it right, an active EQ's boostfunctions won't work after the battery dies? What about when the bass gives too little mid-tones, and the battery dies, could you then, by diminishing the tre and bass on a 3band EQ regulate the tone little; or is the complete EQ dead?
  5. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Your correct about active vs passive pickups. Active pickups, battery dies, no sound. Passive pickups/active EQ, battery dies, you lose your EQ, but still have passive sound.

    As far as tone controls, usually in passive mode, you will ONLY have a treble roll-off. Im sure you can get custom pots for whatever frequency you want cut off, but typically its going to be treble, so you lose most of your tone options in passive mode. Your entire active EQ will die, both cut and boost, and you will be left with a treble cut only in most cases. Or no tone control at all, just wide open pickups with volume control. Depends on the bass.

    Unfortunantly, I dont have any experience with the bass your asking about, so this is general information here.
  6. ProDigit


    Apr 12, 2005
    Miami USA
    thanks for your answer.

    I would appreciate other users to give their opinions and experiences too. Any information is helpfull to me.:)
  7. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Unless I'm mistaken (and more times than not I am :rolleyes: ) the SR series basses are only active, so no battery = no sound. I used an SRX505 for quite a while and it didn't provide any passive options.

    I personally prefer neck-through basses, to me they are more comfortable and "earthy" sounding, cleaner in the mids and less "boom" in the lows. But like Juneau said, you'll get lots of opinions on this .........

    Ibanez basses have pretty thin, narrow necks. Some like this feature, others don't. I personally didn't care for the thin necks, that's one of the things that pushed me away from Ibanez basses. Best bet is to try them out and see if it feels comfortable to you .....