First active bass - got some questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bino, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. bino

    bino Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    So I've picked up my first active bass. A 10 year old Fender, MIM, p/j. This bass really thumps, and I like it but was wondering about the sound that I'm getting. It is very compressed with sort of a "dooowop" sound to it. It's subtle, but you can hear it. Is that the typical sound of an active bass, or is it just typical for MIM Fender preamps? Do the better and newer preamps (aguilar, sadowsky, etc.) have that same compressed quality?
  2. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    I think it's really one of those "it depends" answers. I find the Seymour Duncan STC-3 preamp in my Godin BG-5 to be very open sounding and dynamic, no compression, a very clean & modern sound.

    The Bartolini electronics in my Lakland 55-01 sound a bit thicker and more "old-school" but not necessarily compressed.

    A lot of it has to do with the parts quality used in the preamp. If they're using cheaper op-amps and other parts you're likely to have compression, brittleness, noise, or all of the above.

    The more expensive preamps likely will have higher quality parts with possibly better headroom and dynamics. You could try an outboard Aguilar "stomp-box" style preamp and see for yourself if your bass can run passive.

    Also, I've heard that the 18V electronics seem to have a bit more dynamic range than the 9v. Mine are both 9volt so I can't comment on that.
  3. All of my bass guitars have active electronics/pickups and all have great sound, no compression or anything that sounds like it.
    My Precision bass has an Early EMG active system that sounds great. I would say first if you haven't replaced the battery, I would do that and see if it makes any difference to the sound.
    Otherwise there are plenty of manufacturers that make quality active systems for retrofitting. EMG and Bartolini are my fave, but it is all a matter of opinion...