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diff between active and passive bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by airrick, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    what is it and what styles fit each?
  2. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    A passive bass has no power on the bass other than the pickups. This means that the tone controls are cut only and are limited since you very quickly reduce the power to an unusable level. Most passives have only volume(s) and one tone control.

    An active bass has a small battery powered preamp on the bass. The preamp gives you more tone control. You can have both boost and cut and as many tone controls as you can fit on the bass.

    You can use active or passive for any style.
  3. the best way to compare would be go into a shop and plug in a standard passive pbass and listen, then pick up an active p bass and plug it in and listen. You will notice a huge difference, it just depends what your ears like at the time.
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Passive generally refers to a control setup whereas the controls are generally limited to volume, blend, and a passive treble rolloff called tone. Just takes away some treble. Series/parallel switching and coil tapping is possible, but usually not standard.

    However, an active preamp, generally adds EQ and other tone shaping possibilities. This EQ is capable of sometimes boosting and/or cutting treble, bass, and one or more mid frequency. All passive controls can be used with an active circuit, however, an EQ is only available with an active preamp.

    Some like the sound of the active preamps, as there are better and worse quality preamps. I personally can't stand most active preamps, but there are a few that leave most of the passive tone with only excentuating the frequencies I like, such as the Aguilar OBP-1 and the Music Man Stingray 2 band preamp.
  5. sanray


    Nov 8, 2005
    passive=you can cut the signal's strength=darker sound

    active=you can cut and boost different parts of the signal in order to produce many sounds and tones, one bad part is you have to have batteries all the time.

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