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Most passive sounding active basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by zachoff, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. I drop a lot of hate on active basses, but it's mostly because the ones I've tried have been hi-fi, mid scooped, sterile, or all three. Is there something I'm missing? Are there any active pres that can pull off a passive tone? A hater would like to know...
  2. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    A Sadowsky jazz with the VTC (vintage tone control) does a good job. They can also be played in passive mode.
  3. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    For some reason, I have always associated Stingrays with having a passiveesque sound.
  4. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Alleva-Coppolo :cool:
  5. If you want passive tone, I say just play a passive bass. Problem solved.
  6. Hard to get more thump than a Rob Allen MB2, Deep, or Mouse.
  7. There are a lot of active basses that play awesome and of which I like the the look... Just have never found an active bass that had a tone I've liked & I'm wondering if there is such thing.
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    IMO/E the Alembic Series I/II electronics come the closest to maintaining the dynamic range that I associate with passive pup characteristics. But, the answer also depends on which charactertics of the "passive sound" one is looking for.
  9. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    I've played passive jazzes most of my adult life, and I am no stranger to the tone. That said, I'd highly recommend an Ibanez SR-300/375M - very single coil, very growly, passive jazz in nature when running flat EQ, but can also get beefier & more air on top when you want it. It's a beautiful thing! If you see one locally, try giving it a spin to see what you think. Also, 5-piece neck - they are very nice!


    Now, the SR-705 I have is much more modern/hi-fi in EQ-flat mode, but I love the tonal options between the two.

    Shameless pic anyway :D:

  10. AKAttack


    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks for posting this as I am also searching for an active bass that has the tone I am looking for. I play a Jazz and that tone is awesome, no matter how hard I have tried to convince myself to get an active every time I play them, like you, I feel disappointed. Though if I did the best of the bunch IMHO is the Jazz American Deluxe(maybe a little biased here).
  11. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    This one:


    I activated it by installing a Redeemer Circuit only so that I can lower the pickup volumes drastically without loosing 'booty'.

    I have Glock preamps in my other two basses. When they are engaged, I don't hear any scooping. There does seem to be a slight gain boost. Hi-Fi is too subjective a term to state definitively whether or not it would apply to them. The highs are perceptibly extended in active mode.
  12. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    A lot of "active" basses use passive pickups with active preamps which can be switched to passive mode. I like the natural, balanced tone of my Dingwall even though it's not set-up to run passive. I never have a problem fitting into a mix, live and recording engineers love it. Maybe it's just a matter of finding a tone you like...period. It's also a good idea to spend some time working with your own rig to get the right amount of signal into your preamp section. Switches for "active/passive" and different inputs for "active/passive" are just kind of a starting point, you'll still need to fiddle a bit with the input gain to get a level that doesn't over or underpower your preamp section, or at least hits you preamp with the amount of signal that you're used to with your passive bass.
  13. 1) Find a bass (or one you have) that you love to play or like the looks of.

    2) Install (or have it installed) an Audere Z-Mode preamp configured the way you want. I have two. The newest has a 4-band EQ with three different active modes, two of which are very passive sounding. The third is balls to the wall, steroid driven, melt your bowels active sounding. In other words, REALLY active sounding.
  14. atomicdog


    Jun 18, 2011
    Fender P Lytes.
  15. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I'd have to say anything with a transparent on board EQ. Alembic is a good start. I believe musicman to sound distinctively aggressive for the most part.
  16. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    OP is probably looking for something that passive tone has, which is a full deep natural sound...most onboards simply can't reproduce that because the circuitry won't allow it.

    if you want good tone, you need a good onboard..Demeter preamps, Fbass, Alembic. In other words, $$$$$$$$$
  17. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    ^ This.

    I strongly suspect that most pre companies build in their "signature" sound, knowing that many of their customers want that. I love my Audere because it gives me good passive tone if I want it, OR a more pushed tone, all without bypassing it.
  18. +1

    The Glock in my L2500 is a wonder!
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
  20. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't think you should entirely write off active basses. I have a Warwick Thumb 6 with Delano pickups (passive) and an Aguilar OBP-3 preamp and it sounds the same in passive and active mode. It's the best blend of both worlds. In fact, when I play it in active I just leave the EQ flat because it sounds so good without any tweaking and it retains all of its passive goodness. But the option of tweakability is great!

    Or what you could do is keep the passive setup and play through an active DI. I think this would be the best compromise.