Owner Feedback Needed: Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thunderthumbs73, Jan 10, 2022.

  1. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I have an MIM Deluxe Active Jazz Bass V. I bought it used in great condition and great price to use as my main bass for a Country/Modern Country band. I don't have any issues with the bass but one- The bass has stock noiseless pickups that sound very good and "Fender-y" which is appropriate for the kind of music, but... the ONE downside is the pickups are also VERY low output. Yes, I checked and changed the battery, and A/B against two other passive Fender Jazz Basses. At completely flat eq settings, the MIM Deluxe Active Jazz Bass V is noticeably quieter to my ear. As a result, I always run an MXR Microamp + between the bass and the amp to boost signal to normal bass output levels so I don't have to jack the volume up on the amp so much more than I should have to.

    Also, I still would like to have a backup Fender Five-String Jazz Bass of some sort.

    Here's my plan:
    Buy the 2021/2022 Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V (with its active/passive toggle and 18-volt electronics) as my new main bass for the Country/Modern Country band and make the MIM Deluxe Active Jass Bass V the backup. I also expect to be able to remove to MXR Microamp+ from the circuit and simplify my signal chain.

    But can I?

    Despite knowing the new Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V has 18-volt electronics which I presume makes the bass output greater, ARE the pickups and signal from this bass powerful enough and give enough output that I can simplify my signal chain? Does buying this bass fix what I want to fix?

    What say you, owners of this 2021/2022 Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V???

    Thank you!
  2. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Hmmm. I'd get the Jazz V Deluxe checked for electronics issues.
    I have one and the pre amp gives plenty of volume. My Jazz V Deluxe has the 18 volt pre amp with passive/active toggle switch. Does yours?
  3. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Thank you for your response.

    No, this is an older version (assembled May 2012, per the neck stamp details), surely with different pickups than yours, and (only) a 9-volt-spec preamp and no passive/active toggle switch. Yes, I did supply fresh, new battery and it made no difference whatsoever in output.

    When I bought the bass, it did not seem like there was any output issue. Only when at home A/B-ing against my passive Jazz Basses (two 4-strings, one fretted, one fretless), and a gig later, did I notice the huge volume discrepancy both in my basement and also onstage at required stage volumes.

    I come to find evidence of same low output phenomenon with other owners of this particular vintage Fender Active Deluxe Jazz Bass V owners. I can't remember whether it was this forum, or another. This is the reason why I have not gone down the "something is electronically wrong" rabbit hole, is apparently other people have noted the same thing I have noted with respect to low output. Also, underscoring that, is that Fender now specs dual 9-volt/18-volt battery power in ALL of the lineup of Fender Player Plus series, no matter whether its the P/J Precision Bass version, or either the Jazz Bass 4-string, or the Jazz Bass 5-string version. It seems Fender itself has at least recognized this problem and changed the instrument specifications to address it in some way. Even on this newest version, doubling the battery does not completely eliminate the lower output nature of these noiseless pickups relative to my passive 4-string Jazz Basses in this brand new generation of active 5-string Jazz Bass, but it clearly helps when the toggle switch is in "active mode".

    While it's topical, I'll mention my preferences and the way I use active EQ on a bass, because some would say just turn up all the EQ on all the bands of available active EQ, and "output problem solved". The answer to that for me, is: NO. The sound from the pickups and electronics is different with some EQ bands, or ALL EQ bands boosted. It's not just louder. Sometimes that is a plus. Sometimes it is a minus. I set the EQ flat unless I need a VERY different sound like if I'm trying to emulate the boomy thump of an upright with both the instrument settings and my technique, or to make a relatively small adjustment to the room or stage I'm performing on. Otherwise, I feel the best sound of the pickup is where the EQ is as flat as can be, baring these needs sound emulation and environmental needs. Via this approach, I'm always happy that my Active Jazz Basses sound like Jazz Basses, as much as they can, and my Stingrays sound like Stingrays, and my FSR Active Precision Bass Special sounds like it should in respective Precision and Jazz Bass pickup selections.

    [Sidebar]: My 2016 Active MIM FSR Precision Bass Special in P/J setup and a single 9-volt battery has none of the output issue that attends this 2021 Deluxe Active Jazz Bass V...

    Some more thoughts to share to add context.
  4. Sachelis


    Aug 16, 2019
    @Thunderthumbs73, what did you end up doing? Did you buy an active/passive V?
  5. Spacewoman


    Dec 3, 2018
    I have no problem with low output from the noiseless pickups in my Player Plus Jazz V. I have had that problem on other basses, but not this one. When the EQ controls are centered the difference between passive and active is barely noticeable. I do use the pad switch on my amp with this bass, but it’s not really necessary- the output isn’t overwhelming or anything without the pad. The pickup/preamp combination is surprisingly good IMO. I did try EMG active pickups with EMG preamp (because I love the EMG pickups that i installed on my MIJ Jazz 4-string) but decided that original electronics sounded better and swapped them back in. The only complaint I have with the Player Plus Jazz V is that the string spacing at the factory bridge is too wide, causing the G string to slip off the fretboard occasionally. But Fender do make a slightly narrower (18 mm) bridge which solves the problem. For about $35, if I remember correctly.
    Sachelis likes this.