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Does active mean more output?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thisSNsucks, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I was just wondering if an active bass has more output if its EQ is set flat than a passive bass with everything cranked. I noticed that my jazz bass (with all knobs turned up) sounds a bit louder than my Stingray (volume turned up but EQ set flat) so i was just wondering if thats typical or if i should have my ray checked out.

    PS: the battery in my Ray is brand new, I made sure I checked that first.
  2. Active does not necessarily mean more output. Some active basses have high output, while others don't--just like some passive basses are hotter than others. Some active preamps have an internal adjustment to let you raise or lower the output, but I don't think the 'Ray is one of those.

  3. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    I had simultaneously a Fender P (classic, passive) and a Music Man StingRay 5. The Ray actually sent a lower signal than the P.
    I had no explanations about this, and this actually didn't bother me that much.

    Hope this helps,
  4. As the previous posters said: No.
    For example my favorite type of active electronics is a simple per-pickup unity gain buffer amplifier (unity gain = no volume boost)
  5. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    thanks guys, it really isnt a big issue for me, i was just wondering cause i thought that was pretty wierd, thanks for the answers
  6. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    Kind of on the flip side of this same question. If a bass, such as the 55-01 I just got, has a passive pull knob does that mean the bass is now in a sort of all-flat setting? I try to use the passive knob but then I really have to crank up the settings on my amp. So what is the point of the passive pull feature if you have to then dial it all up on the amp? Of course this bass is only a few days old so I'm sure I need to experiment more with the different settings.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I just modded my 2000 Modulus Flea 4 with a Nordstrand MM4.2 and put in an active/passive switch for the Bartolini NTBT onboard preamp. With the bass in active mode and the EQ set completely flat, volume on full, it is SLIGHTLY louder than the bass engaged in passive mode, still with the volume on full. The difference in this bass is very minor.
  8. Just a fyi--the 55-01 has an EQ bypass switch, not an active/passive switch, so the signal is still going through the preamp. My recollection (it's been a while since I had my 55-01) is that there isn't much difference in the output unless you normally do a lot of boosting with the EQ.

    But in answer to your question, often as not an active/passive switch is just a "failsafe" so that you can still get sound if the battery dies in the middle of a gig. (That's why it's important to realize the 55-01 does NOT have an active/passive switch--if the battery dies, you get no signal no matter what...) Some people like the option of a "passive" sound, though, and can hear the difference between the tone of the pickups going through the preamp and going straight to the output, even with the EQ set flat. Many preamps, including the US-made Barts, have an adjustable gain control so that you can equalize the output levels between the active and passive settings.

  9. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    My Sadowsky's have the same output in either mode, until you turn up the preamp!!!! Most amps have dual inputs(active, passive) The active input seems to have some kind of pad in it for hotter signals. My Demeter pre is like this

  10. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    Hey MIkeZ, whew, thanks for pointing this out to me. I was totally thiniking otherwise as you can tell by my post. And yes I do use the onboard EQ quite abit, habit just from always using active basses I guess. So the pull knob only bypasses the EQ. Seems like in my case it may not be a feature I will be getting much use out of. I better start carrying those extra 9 volt batts like I was doing before with my other basses. Thanks again man. 46 yrs old and still learning, I love nay, I need, this TB site.
  11. Hey Ernie -- Guess how I found out that the 55-01 didn't have a "true passive" switch? :( Be careful replacing the battery, too--I fried the original preamp by (I think) putting the battery in backwards. Replaced it with an upgraded Bart preamp with a passive switch and never looked back, but it was an expensive lesson...