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making a passive bass active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by theflying007, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Probably a dumb question. Can I connect the pickups of my passive bass with an onboard preamp and that makes them active? Or, do I have to buy active pickups?

  2. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Well, let's see if I understand this correctly.

    If you connect Passive Pickups to an Active Preamp, you will still have Passive pickups. Just an active Preamp.

    There are pickups that run off of a Battery. I had one made by EMG. That was an Active pickup connected to passive controls. (Vol/Tone)

    I believe that you would need Passive pickups to connect to an active Preamp. (At least thats what the directions in my Sadowsky Preamp said...)

    If I'm off here, maybe a Real Guru will chime in...
  3. Any real guru's around?
  4. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Uh, an active preamp wouldn't make the actual pickups active but you would now have an active bass.
  5. +1
  6. bassistgook


    Feb 5, 2009
    You can hook up active and passive in any combo you want. The differance between active and passive pickups is that active ones have a built in preamp to help shape the tone. Passive pickups do not. When it comes to the electronics eq passive only allows you to cut frequincies where active allows you to boost as well. Hope this helps.
  7. Thanks, you've all been very helpfull! So if I understand right: if I hook up my passive pick ups to a pre amp I will be able to get more bass or more treble out of the same old bass? (Please: anybody say yes). Is there a decent pre amp on the market that's not too expensive and easy to get? In ebay for instance? (I live at the end of the world).

    Thanks again!
  8. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    Yes, you are correct. There are several that are relatively inexpensive and easy to get. The question is whether or not you can fit the preamp and the battery inside your bass without modifying it. Aguilar makes a great pre that is very small. You could also use an outboard preamp, too.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Let's back up here for a second. Are you sure that the solution to your problem is adding a preamp to your bass? It sounds like you just aren't happy with the tone of your bass (and/or your amp), and you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to make it sound better (or at least different). Adding a preamp to the bass is only one of many possible solutions, and probably not the first choice, depending on what it is you have and what it is exactly that you don't like about it. Why don't you tell us what you have, and what you don't like about it, and maybe we can offer some other suggestions.
  10. To BadB: Don't worry about me modifying the bass. I'm good with wood (better than with electronics). Repairing and rebuilding guitars and bass guitars are my favourite hobbies. To Lobster11: I'm doing this thing for a friend. He wants the pre amp, so he will get the pe amp. I'm just doing my very best to learn as much as I can, and do the best job posible. So, ok, I'm gonna check out the Aguilar. Any other good suggestions?

  11. yngwiewho1


    Mar 2, 2009
    Tomball, Tx
    so, you cant have an active preamp AND active pickups?
  12. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    You can. EMG makes active pickups that work with their active preamps.

    Audere preamps can be configured to work with active pickups as well.
  13. yngwiewho1


    Mar 2, 2009
    Tomball, Tx
    oh ok thats what I thought. I have been in contact with audere and apparently only their 4 band classic preamp can be used with active pickups. now, I have heard that this preamp is more "transparent" than the aguilar obp-3, which I have also been looking at. what exactly does "transparent" mean.
  14. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    What kind of rig are you playing your bass through currently that isn't giving you enough low and high end?

  15. yngwiewho1


    Mar 2, 2009
    Tomball, Tx
    spector legend 6 string. I'm looking for more control across the strings. it came with a spector tonepump jr. 2 band active eq and emg-ssd passive pickups. doesnt sound too bad, but I've always been a huge fan of active pickups.
  16. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    * Active pickups have weeker magnets, which reduces the 'pull' on the strings. This helps you get a cleaner tone.

    * Active electronics (in the preamp or pickup) put a low impedience output from the bass, so you dont get 'loaded down' by cables, which sucks tone. So active electronics have 'better' tone.

    * Active pickups tend to have a more hi-fi, more defined tone. Not necessarily more bass or treble.

    if your not happy with your bass's tone, then new pickups is the direction I would go in. Active pickups may be the answer, they may not. But active is not necessarily better than passive in the world of tone. Generally, passive pickups are warmer and 'woolier' than active ones. This is one of the reasons why metal bassists go for active pickups allot of the time.

    To go back to your original post, passive pickups to an active EQ system will give boost/ cut on the the bass's onboard EQ channels, but you will still have passive pickups. Active pickups going strait out of the bass (no on bored EQ) will give you active tone, but no EQ modifying on the bass.

    Does this make sense? :ninja: