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Do I need active bass ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wishforbass, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    Usually when I plug my passive bass there is a good mid sound and weak bass and treble sound .
    By using knob on amp the mid sound that produced change to a little more bass .
    In treble knob not much change ,I tried three different amp and same result .
    I connect the bass direct to amp .

    I want make the sharp sound from treble or powerful live bass with attack .

    1:50 in video .

    Is it matter of bass or matter of pedal ?!

    Because in live performance I uuslalay have this problem that I cant shape my sound and it's like I just boost or cut same sound from my bass.
    What is the trick that get middy sharp sound from sexy bass when in other setting get bassy sound .
    Should I buy new active instrument for that or stompbox or ?
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What bass are you playing?
    How old are the strings?
    What amp are you playing?

    Need active? Not really, but if you can't get the sound you want from what you have it's something to look into.
    btmpancake, Leiria, gregmon79 and 2 others like this.
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Actives give you more tonal flexibility on your bass. For some, this can be a huge deal. For others, not so much.

    The question to ask yourself is how often do you find yourself on a gig needing to change the sound of your bass drastically to better serve a song. If the answer is never or rarely then you might not benefit from an active circuit. However, if you find yourself needing to boost the bass in one tune and then immediately cut the highs for another, then an active bass could make your life a lot easier.

    IME, I typically leave my bass set to one tone for an entire gig and will only change its sound with effect pedals. When using an active bass, I might cut or add bass a hair, but it's so rare that I never make it a factor when purchasing an instrument.

    That all being said, maybe consider adding a preamp pedal first. For one, it's a much cheaper option than buying a new bass, and it will give you the flexibility you seek even with a passive bass. I use the Tech21 VT, and I love it.
  4. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Def need to know those three things to help further. Also, how extreme are you making the eq changes? Dont be afraid of extreme eq changes to get the sound you want. But just keep in mind that often times boosting bass and treble and cutting mids will get you lost in the mix, depending on the style of music.
    wishforbass likes this.
  5. The thing about passive basses is that the "tone" control doesn't really do much.

    It rolls off the treble.

    You can change the frequency where the cut happens with different capacitors, and change the way it rolls off with different pots, but that's all.

    With an active bass, the EQ section can (depends on the bass) have treble boost/cut, midrange boost/cut, and bass boost/cut controls.
    Some also have switches that change the frequency where the mid knob boosts/cuts.
    A VERY powerful tool!!

    Of my active basses, 3 have treble/bass controls and two of them have treble/mid/bass.
    2 of them have active/passive switches on a push/pull knob.
    None have a midrange frequency switch.
    So there is a lot of variety among the different manufacturers.

    I really like the newer Ibanez preamps, but don't own any yet.

    My only passive bass also happens to be my favorite, but it isn't as versatile as the others so it sees less recording time.
    wishforbass likes this.
  6. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    I play Yamaha bb415
    String are 4 month old .
    Fender rumble 100 and fender rumble the head when needed .
  7. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    I used eq in max lvl but still it's like it doesn't get near sound I want .
    It's like the sound bass made will just change by knob ,I use 10 band eq too but not much help .
    Just once I add a Di and the sound get near what I wanted .
  8. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Set the EQ to more moderate settings (flat?) and turn up the volume/gain. Make sure the input gain is set as high as it will go without clipping when playing fff then back it off a tad. Use master volume to get overall level. Now get to work with EQ - you might be surprised at how little you need...
    wishforbass likes this.
  9. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    4 months (on roundwounds) could be the problem, depending on the string, how much you play, and how quickly your particular sweat eats strings. Did you like the sound when they were new?

    I honestly think that strings make the biggest difference to your sound (they are what is actually producing sound, after all) and they should be the first thing to spend money on getting right for what you want - before pickups, before preamps, before eq, before amps. That includes replacing them at appropriate intervals.
  10. franklindayala


    Feb 8, 2015
    This is one equation of your problem.
    I would suggest to get an outboard preamp. Sadowsky SPB2 comes in mind.

    George Himmel likes this.
  11. sambass0124


    Mar 2, 2013
    Hong Kong
    I'd suggest borrowing another bass and try to play it through the same amp and see if it still happens. Maybe you bass is malfunctioning?
    craigie likes this.
  12. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    I play one, too. The stock pickups on this bass are quite hot for a passive instrument. As others have suggested, new strings and a proper setup should be able to bring out the best in this bass.

    That being said, TBer Mik75 has posted several videos (here and here, for example) of his Yamaha BB425X – the recently-discontinued evolution of the BB415 – using an outboard preamp and compressor, and his tone is, IMHO, wonderful. Hence, outboard signal processing for a passive BB can definitely produce nice results. Lastly, Yamaha also made an active version of your bass called the BB615...tough to find one these days in good shape, but they are out there.
    wishforbass likes this.
  13. basst scho

    basst scho

    May 30, 2017
    so the switch sets the "flat" freqency of the mid-knob? (never heard a big difference when using it on my ibanez, but just flipped the switch, without turning the knob when trying to figure out what it does...)

    noob here, obviously :)
  14. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Even if not malfunctioning, this is the methodical process you need to use. It's called trouble shooting. Bass with other amps. Other basses with
    your amp. Other types/guages of strings. All the while lots of EQ tweaking. Evaluating the sound in context (recorded/live). Don't forget the effect the room has and of course: technique!

    If there is a switch for the mid, it changes what frequency is being controlled. If the knob is flat there will be no difference because you're neither boosting nor cutting.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  15. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    The east coast?
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    Get new strings first. It's easily the cheapest option, and will make a world of difference if you've been playing on those strings frequently in the past four months. For a bit of extra trebly clank/zing, stainless steel rounds are a good bet!
    Session1969 and Nev375 like this.
  16. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I have a very small pedalboard and play passive. Ampeg scr-DI and a Kelley comp+. I can usually changer the eq enough using those to get where I need 2 be. The scr-DI has a little overdrive section that I blend in just a little dirt. That alone is typically enough to bust thru. I can also use a little compression. But use it more like a clean boost, and that is if/as needed thing.
  17. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Yeah your answer could be as easy as a nice outboard preamp. A pedal. But def try new strings first. It sounds to me like your ear is wanting to hear something that your gear isn't giving you.

    How did you come about using the stuff you have now @wishforbass? Hand me downs? Bought after searching and researching? Bought on a recommendation? I would suggest this as well, go to a music store and try out everything they have available in the bass room. See if something speaks to you. Because it really does just sound like your staled on your gear to me. But I could be wrong. Maybe you just need an exciter or something like that....
  18. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I don't know if you need an active bass. But I Own this Fender Elite and its AMAZING! You could just buy an Outboard EQ. Those work very well and I'm sure will give you what you're looking for.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  19. Although I mostly own active basses I'd say no using a passive bass with a preamp pedal will achieve the same results but as others have said a new set of strings might also go a long way, often basses don't ship with the best strings.
    jmattbassplaya likes this.
  20. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    Roundwound strings die after a few hours of heavy playing, imo. I'd put on a new set before doing anything drastic.

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