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Passive Vs. Active Basses (which do you prefer and why?)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by de la mocha, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    Which do you prefer? Me, I actually like active to an extent, but changing the batteries frustrates me at times.
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I personally prefer passive but neither is "better", they're just different.
  3. I prefer passive. more organic sounding IMO. More woody, natural, dare I say 'growly' - Definetly a more 'raw' signal.

    Active has its benifits as well, but I'm in love with passive.
  4. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Passive for me. More dynamic.
  5. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I have never had a problem with batteries. I've gone 7/8 months without changing the batteries and that's when I play every single day. Maybe EMGs don't use as much battery power or something.

    I've started to really like the tone of passive basses. They have a lot more character, IMO. My active EMG with preamp bass has a lot of punch and it's extremely versatile with very consistent tone across all strings.

    They're both great for different reasons.

  6. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Passive? That's for losers who can't afford batteries. Gimme actives any day! :bag: (I prefer 2-band basses over 3, 4, 5, etc, too)
  7. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Nice thread... passives for me as well. Actives don't sound good with distortion.

    One of my pet peeves is a lot of manufacturers will put active electronics into crappy low-end basses to boost the signal and try to make buyers think an instrument is better than it really is. In some cases, that low-end bass will sound better with passives than with a cheap electronics rig. But in most cases, crap is just crap. ;)
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Hey my Brice V2 has active pickups and passive EQ. Does that count as active or passive? It's got a ridiculously hot output.
  9. The bass I am having built at the moment will be passive straight to Jack with no eq. This will give me one active and one passive bass.

  10. echo008

    echo008 Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    Long Island, NY
    I personally prefer Passive, The tone just sits better in a mix and to me it does sound more "woody/natural" .... Not to say that Active basses dont have anything going for them in my mind.
    Two active basses I have really liked alot have been the Roscoes Ive had as well as My Yamaha.... They definitely have there own identity but they sound very "warm" as opposed to "sterile"

    Two Active basses I thought were "too hot" (too active) sounding, have been the Spector with the tone pump preamp as well as my old Alembic Brown bass, that sucker was very hard to tame for the music I was doing at the time....

    - Tom
  11. LOL!

    Will work for 9-volt. :help: :rollno:
  12. No strong preference. If it sounds good, it is good. Currently using one active and one passive bass.

    Incidentally, my passive bass has more output than the active one. Active doesn't necessarily mean more output.
  13. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    There is a place for both in any player's arsenal. I like the old standby Jazz sound for slapping so I have a passive for that. However, I also like a robust foundation for other styles of playing and that's when my active EQs come in.

    If you are sitting on the fence in the passive vs active EQ question, may I suggest an Ernie Ball Music Man with the 3 band EQ to help you see (hear) the benefits of active tone controls. The bands are well assigned, the boost powerful but clean and most importanly, it is very responsive to small setting changes. :bassist:
  14. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ

    I also like the sound I get when I push them by playing hard.
  15. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Active for me....
  16. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I prefer passive basses. They're just easier to deal with, and my rack preamp has more than enough EQ. Mostly, though, I play so hard that with an active bass, I just wind up clipping everything.
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    My bass has active and passive mode. I used to play active almost all the time, but now I play passive and use the active mode (no battery installed) as a mute switch.
    I still like actives, but most cheap active electronics are awful.
  18. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Same here. I've owned two active basses, and sold both because I prefer the "raw" nature of passive electronics, which are a better fit with the indie/classic/hard rock I play.

    But Metal Mitch's observation is valid, and I think some prefer passive because, unless you plan to spend upwards of a grand, passive probably will sound better. If you're spending only $600 on an active bass, the pre won't exactly be an Aguilar or J-retro. I've certainly heard great sounding active basses, but they've always been at the Fender American Deluxe/Lakland Skyline level or better, with the best by far (IMO) being Foderas.
  19. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    ACTIVE / PASSIVE is ideal but for some reason, I ALWAYS find myself with the active pickups...

    I think that it allows me to cut through the mix better when at band practices and stuff. Plus it alows me to get some move volume while cranking my amp less.

    I do know what you all mean by passive pickups being more dynamic and totally agree with you all there. That is why I stocked my Fender P-Bass with passive Duncan Basslines Quarterpounders. So I got basses that are passive, some that are active and just recently a Warwick with both options (I think that is more of a pull switch for better slap tones though to be honest. I think i read that somewhere too)
  20. passive all the way. no doubt. the only active I've heard that's floored me is the G&L 2000. I used to own one. many moons ago. I miss it.