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Newbie active pickup/eq question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FunkyMonk88, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. My previous bass was the standard 4-string Fender J bass with passive pickups. I just "upgraded" to a 5-stringer Ibanez SR305M for the kind of music I play (Funk/Heavy Punk/Metal). I love it and it's a great sounding bass. The bass requires a 9V as most Soundgear basses do, but was wondering if that means the pickups are active, the EQ knobs are active, or both? And if the pickups and/or EQ are active, what might the pros and cons be? I know it has a lot to do with more control over the tone. But I'm trying to figure out what's "active" on it. Looking forward to some feedback/tips.

    Here's a link to the spec sheet straight from Ibanez themselves:
  2. I believe the pups are passive, but you have active electronics.

    Active EQ in my (simple) mind means you can boost certain tonal areas far more than on totally passive electronics. The cons I have read have to do with not having the "real tone of the pups or wood" which I think is totally subjective. If you're happy with it, that's all that matters.

    I always think that a lot of tone can always be adjusted on the amp, EQ, etc outside of the guitar itself
  3. Thanks I was thinking the same thing, even the finest tuned adjustment to the knobs and there's a big difference in sound. Good thing for me because I'm used to having/playing on passives. I believe the higher and more expensive models of the Ibanez soundgear basses have active pickups. Mine's more mid grade
  4. I usually leave the bass EQ settings flat and adjust the EQ settings on the head to get my desired tone. It's nice to know I can switch on the fly with active electronics though
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    The pickups are passive.
    With the knobs set in the middle, there's no boost or cut so it approximates the passive sound.

    On a passive bass the tone with the treble all the way up is just all the sound from the pickups. As you turn the tone knob toward the bass it just cuts out high frequencies.

    On an active bass (i.e. a bass with a preamp) when you turn up/down a tone knob it actually increases/decreases the volume of that part of the tone (bass, mids, treble). This gives you more "headroom" than a passive bass, meaning you can get higher highs, deeper lows, etc. That's not necessarily a good thing as you can muddy up your tone if you give it too much.

    Active pickups are just pickups that use a battery to produce a bigger, meatier tone. They can be used with or without a preamp in the bass.

    Some people like active tones. Some people say they sound unnatural. It's a matter of preference.

    If you get a bass with a preamp it's nice to have an active/passive switch to bypass the preamp. This can save you if the battery dies at a gig.
  6. Thanks for the active and passive 101. So keeping the tuner knobs in the middle while adjusting the EQ on the bass head is the way to go for the most Part?
  7. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If you want a passive type of tone, yes. Of course the best way to get a passive tone is to get a passive bass.

    I start with my amp flat and adjust the knobs on my bass to get the basic character I want from my bass, then I use amp tone controls to fine tune it. Just play with it, you will find lots of possibilities.
  8. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    My €. 0,02

    You got an agathis bodied Soundgear, so rely on your electronics for it's a very good one, especially if equipped with brand new C.A.P. pickups

    with all knobs at 12 o'clock you should perceive your body tonewood flat sound, which should be... clear but not much more than that

    usually a passive bass, with quality tonewoods and at least average exposed polepieces pickups should cut thru a band mix a bit better than a budget active electronics bass

    That's the main reason behind so many of us still favor passive basses, but active electronics enhance your palette

    In your case, passive pickups with active electronics indeed.
    So you have passive soapbars with two or three band active equalizer

    Active pickups tend to sport some simple switching but, if they
    retain more power, it's because of their inner battery (active tone)

    I don't really think highend Ibanezes sport active pickups
    I used to own MII SRXXV Anniversary Premium and MIJ SR4500E Prestige

    The first sports Nordstrand BigSingles with exposed polepieces,
    three band equalizer, midfrequency switch and on/off switch...
    I used to review it on an italian bass forum and found it very Warwick Thumbish in look (mahogany with padauk top) yet very Jazzish in (passive) sound I'm serious: a jewel for its price

    The second: ash body and maple fingerboard but USA Bartolini soapbars (three band equalizer with mifrequency selector and on/off switch) sound dark and poundin', despite of tonewoods This bass can sound like thunder yet lookin like somewhat '70s Jazz bass in a way... it's priced very much like an American standard Jazz bass...

  9. I've only ever owned active basses, though not necessarily by choice. The first two were gifts, an acoustic/electric and then a Schecter. My current bass is also a Schecter and I really like the active preamp. It gives me the ability to get that modern sound when I want it, and roll off the treb for something more mellow. I hope to get another soon, maybe add an active/passive switch to get that versitility, but most young people don't care as much about the active passive debate. If it suits your needs, then more power to you. I usually leave bass and treb knobs maxed out.
  10. Thanks all it'll take some getting used to and I'll have to play around with it more to see what it's capable of doing