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Lakland 55-02 passive mode too quiet

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Drienvyftigcent, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. I've been using my 55-02 for quite a few years now, and mostly in active mode. However, I've come to prefer the sound of passive basses, and I like the way my lakland sounds in passive mode.
    The problem is that the volume decreases by about 50% in passive mode. I understand that active mode is supposed to be a little louder, but such a large difference doesn't seem right and forces me to make large adjustmens on all my levels. Does anyone know how I can make the passive mode louder?
    Peter Torning likes this.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Try raising your pickups or just turn up your amp. Does your bass have Bartolini or Lakland pickups? Bartolini are known to be “polite.”
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm not sure about Lakland. But lots of active/passive basses have a trim pot on the circuit board of the preamp. Pop off the cavity cover and post a pic here. Some Lakland enthusiasts will be along to tell you if you have one.

    What it does is "turn down the volume" of the active preamp so that you can match the volume of passive mode.

    Searching through some old threads here, it seems that you may have one. It is circled in red in this pic.

  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    No, but I usually just keep the volume knob on my 55-02 turned down when it's in active mode, so that if I ever have to switch to passive mode I can just then turn the volume control all the way up and the output will match what it was when active. @two fingers recommendation re: finding the internal trim pot for the active circuit is a smart way to do the same thing without having to worry about whether you've accidentally moved the volume knob.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Yes the trim pot is the correct way to go. Turn that down until the active level matches the passive level. Not much you can do to make passive louder. You have to make active quieter.
  6. if the trim pot doesn't work, maybe a compressor will
  7. Thank you guys for the tips. The pickups are the LH-3 set by the way and I will make sure to checkout the circuit board to see what I can do. However, I would strongly prefer to be able to somehow boost the output of passive mode instead of lowering the output of active mode. The reason for that is because it is simply too quiet (about half the volume of my Mexican P). Right now, the pickups are already as close as they can be to the strings.

    So essentially my problem does not lie in the active mode as it has a nice amount of output, it is the lackluster output of passive mode that requires me to almost max out the volume on anything the bass is plugged into. If it's impossible to increase the passive output, then it is what it is but I find it strange that the pickups are that quiet. Am I correct in assuming that for these reasons the passive pickups are in fact very quiet but boosted a lot through the active circuit?
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yes. Passive mode is what the pickups sound like with no boost (for better or worse). There is no way to boost the passive mode and still be passive... by definition. It would then be active, which defeats the purpose if passive is what you're going for.

    That being said, once you hit your amp, you are likely using active controls anyway.

    You could dial back active mode using the trim pot. Then grab a clean boost pedal to use with that bass in either mode. Another option is to simply use a clean boost pedal in passive mode.

    Other than that, you're left with dialing back passive mode and simply jacking up the gain on your amp when you play that bass. The gain knob goes to 10 for a reason. There is nothing wrong with jacking up the gain if your bass is too quiet. That's what it's there for.

    But, again, if you BOOST PASSIVE, you have then gone ACTIVE whether you like it or not. So trim active and goose the gain is a better solution.

    Lots of amazing basses have low output pickups intentionally. Hotter pickups aren't "better". Just different.
    Drienvyftigcent likes this.
  9. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Check the gain level in the preamp, it may be boosted all the way up if so then adjust it. I have a Lakland 5502 with Lakland pickups and Bartolini preamp, volumen between passive and active is almost identical.
  10. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    If you don't want to make the active mode quieter, you could get a clean boost pedal for use with passive mode. I have this same "problem" on my 55-02. My solution: Never use passive mode. :p
  11. Kendescending

    Kendescending Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2020
    Do you have active/passive inputs on your amplifier? That would take care of it. Otherwise, a clean boost pedal like NKBassman mentioned. Those are fairly inexpensive.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 16, 2021

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