Is my bass really active?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by metdistortion, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. metdistortion


    Aug 13, 2008
    I have a Washburn XB125, it's awesome, but I'm not convinced it's active like Washburn claim it to be (They don't seem to know much about the basses they make really, they didn't even know what the controls on the bass did :rolleyes:)

    The bass has a battery compartment, but there doesn't seem to be much difference at all when playing with or without a battery inside it.

    Also, I've noticed most active basses have at least four controls, which act as an active EQ. There are no such controls on this bass, just 3 knobs, a volume control for each of the two pickups and a tone knob which can be pulled out, apparently switching between single coil and humbucking pickups (Washburn themselves didn't seem to know what it did...)

    So what do you guys think, is the bass really active, or is it just passive in disguise :D?
  2. metdistortion


    Aug 13, 2008
    Ah, I think I've failed to understand the difference between an active bass, and just active pickups. It seems most likely that the bass just has active pickups. I think...
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother

    Jul 24, 2009
    Well if there's a battery I guess it's an active bass. One of my basses is an Ibanez Ergodyne w/ active pickup but I've never tried to play without a battery... I usually change the battery every time I change my strings.

    Unless you bought it used and somebody replaced the pickups w/ passive but left the active electronics? :confused:

    And of course, please send a photo of your bass. :D
  4. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother

    Jul 24, 2009
    There is a difference between an active bass and active pickups? I thought an active bass was a bass... with active pickups :D
  5. metdistortion


    Aug 13, 2008
    Here's a crappy picture of my Washburn:


    As far as I know, the bass is exactly as it was made in the factory, as I bought it firsthand online from a bass store.
  6. metdistortion


    Aug 13, 2008
    Well according to the website Xavier Knox linked:



    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    low dollar bass usually means low dollar electronics. I would venture a guess based on what I have read on the net you have a volume volume bass boost setup. No treble or mid range controls.
  8. I have a Washburn XB125 5-string Bass. The pickups are not active, but the bass does have an active eq module, which only really boosts the signal. The two pots nearest the neck control the volume of each pickup respectively and the pot nearest the bridge controls the tone (although not that much). The tone pot can also be used to bypass the active eq (pulled out position=bypassed normal position=active eq on).
  9. I've tried playing an active bass without a battery and got dead silence.

    Although GODSBASSMAN does raise a good point. I've played a low end Ibanez Soundgear with the "phat" control which from my experience was simply a bass boost although it didn't run on a battery.
  10. Or you can go by what he said. I knew a local expert would show up sooner or later.
  11. fdeeptone


    Mar 26, 2009
    Newark Ohio
    What is strange is that the bass will play without a battery.
    My alembic will just go dead when the battery dies. Tri tone pickups have an option for active or passive play. but if it was a true active pickup configuration you would get no res[onse without the 9v to run it.
  12. yep that is how it is
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    And wierd ones at that. My Brice V2 has active pickups and passive tone control but it doesn't make any sound at all with the battery taken out.
  14. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    "Active" only means that at some point the circuit inside the bass uses a battery to do something. The pickups can be active, and there can be an active EQ circuit, or both. Or the battery could just power an active gain boost or impedance matching circuit, altough these two are very rare.

    If the PUPs are active (that means there's some sort of pre-amp built into the PUP housing) then without a battery you get nothing. But if the pre-amp is after the PUP, it could very well work without a battery. It depends entirely upon the way the circuit(s) was designed and there's really no blanket statements that will fit.

  15. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    ^^^ +1 for accuracy (at last!).

    If it takes a battery, then something inside it is "active". Doesn't matter whether it's the pups, the EQ, or a simple buffer. Therefore it is an active bass.

    Some active devices have a built-in bypass that allows the passive components to operate if the battery is dead or not installed. Thus some active basses can run "passive".

    Just because many active basses have fancy EQ does not imply that all active basses have EQ of any kind.