call me stupid, but....

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by big daddy cool, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. Active and passive pickups.

    Im aware that active pickups are meant to give a better sound quality, but im also told that because my amp (a laney hcm120b) has the option of an active or a passive input it doesnt make any difference to the sound. Is this true? and if it isnt, do you think it is worth spending an extra 50% or there abouts getting a bass with active pickups. Do take into account that ive been playing for a year only and im crap either way.

  2. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    The difference between active and passive pickups have been discussed to death very recently - try the search function located to the left.

    Active basses usually have passive pickups but have an active preamp built into the body of the bass itself (thus requiring a battery). Your amp probably has an active preamp built into it, so if your bass is completely passive, and you plug it into the active input, presumably the effect would be similar to having an active bass.

    You can also buy external active preamps, which does the same thing. Hope this helps.
  3. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    The active input on your amp is designed to handle the higher output of a bass with an onboard pre-amp. It does not alter the sound of the signal, only the level.
  4. so if i shove my lead into the active input and start playing, will it screw my amp over?
  5. NioeZero


    Sep 2, 2001
    You won't damage your amp, you'll simply have less output.
  6. so i have less output but the same sound?

    and if i get an active bass what happens?
  7. Like jwymore NioeZero said, the active input drops the signal, usually by about 15dB.

    Yes, if you plug a passive bass into the active jack, the output will be less, but the sound the same.

    Active basses typically have higher output than passive basses, therefore, it seems logical (not in my mind though) to cut the signal. If I had an active bass, I'd run it through the passive jack.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    received a gift from Sire, not an "endorsing artist" though.
    I'm guessing the two jacks (and input volume controls, if there are two) is meant as a convenience, especially for those who might use both passive and active axes in performance. It'd be damn inconvenient to have to switch to the backup because of something like a broken string, and have the volume 15db or more out of whack.
  9. masaru


    Aug 8, 2001
    Okinawa, Japan
    Always plug into the passive jack no matter which pups you're using. I personally like the sound better and hate that 15db pad you get from the active input. That's why they put volume controls on the guitar (damn them), not that you'd ever want to turn your bass down!!!
  10. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    The only problem with plugging an active bass into the passive input is that it will possibly overdrive your amp more. Now, if you're going for the "Cliff Burton - Anesthesia" sound, that might be a good thing. But you will be more likely to overdrive your amp the hotter your inputs are. If you're going for a warm sound, that might not be good;)
  11. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    You're stupid!

    ;):D Sorry, couldn't resist.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    That's what I do, with all of my basses, on all of my amps.