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Pull out your preamp and keep it plain, keep it passive!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by De Teng, May 23, 2004.

  1. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Hello bassic fruitcakes! (including me)

    The more I play bass and the more expensive, very well-sounding basses I play, the more I like passive. Why?

    Let me explain... in the passive basses, there's more left of the natural sound of the bass itself. It isn't modified by some stupidity that calls itself pre-amp (whether it is a very good one or not, I doubt both gadgets) so the sound gets tiny and less natural. Ok.. I have to admit... when I turn it ON, I sometimes get crushed by the enormous power out of this 9V device, but does it really make it better? Then...compensate the volume-loss and trie again passive.

    Will you go back to active then? No way!

    (E.g.: A man doesn't gain more character, going to the fitness-palace around the corner eh? Or is a woman more woman with bigger breasts... well alright, we can talk about that. :)
  2. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    It would all depend on taste and mood,

    Depending on what I'm listening, I feel like having a certain type of sound, passive sure is warmer, I like to use my first bass (Aria 13 year old P/J config) to try and get that sound like in old Marvin Gaye records. But then again I believe that for more modern sounds active is the way to go, I like having the shaping options onboard to go from inflated DUB to knife edge
    slap. The ideal crosspoint would be an instrument with a passive/ active switch, I don't know why we don't see much of that :meh:
  3. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    But, in any case, your amp isn't passive, is it? So sooner or later in your signal chain your signal will pass through an active circuit - it is inevitable, mr. Anderson.

    Personally I prefer my active EMG picups, no other preamp. Great sound, no noise or hum or signal loss.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I'd say your trying the wrong pre :meh:

    I for one eq at the bass and run flat to the power section of my amp.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I like my Steinberger XM with EMGs and a BTC preamp, but playing a friend's cheap Epi P-J with EMGs wired to a passive tone circuit was a real revelation. Yes, I agree - EMGs with no preamp can be very, very nice!
  6. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    One thing I would like to try some day are those new Villex pickups, they are passive but seem to carry a ton of eq and boosts anyway. :meh:
  7. I'm having a passive fretted J built for me.

    Because I miss the passive tone.
  8. Mongeaux


    Apr 14, 2004
    Amen! I can't stand active electronics. The seem to suck the tones I like right out of the bass.
  9. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    i like passive pups also, but i also like the passive bartolini's with an active preamp on my pedulla pentabuzz.
    it has the wormth of passive and some more gain if you need it.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I disagree, one thousand percent.
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    if you have a great piece of wood, it will sound equally good on passive and active pickups.
    The fact that all those b-grade basses with emg pickups sound equally bad, doesn`t make emg pickups bad. It just means, that active electronics cannot make up for the low quality of wood the bass is made of. Good, defined, warm and selective lows are all in the wood. Rest of it is build quality and pickups.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    That's simply not true. Active pickups provide better fidelity, and therefore a more natural sound. But hi-fi isn't better or worse, it's just different.

    For a long time basses were passive only, and therefore the *traditional* historical bass tones come from passive basses. There's absolutely nothing wrong with preferring the lo-fi tones (relatively speaking) of passive electronics. But again, passive isn't more natural, it's simply more traditional.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    P.S. I like both the new and old schools of bass tone. Accordingly, I own active and passive basses. This also applies to speaker cabinets: I own some that are modern hi-fi (ported and tweetered), and one that is traditional (sealed, tweeterless).
  14. Active good, passive bad.
  15. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands
    i've been playing an active bass for years now and i prefer it to passive. it just gives u more on-bass possibilities (boost some/cut some), certainly if u have the right gear to go along with it.


  16. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Amen to that! I'm about as likely to play a passive bass as I am to sell my truck and get a horse and buggy! :D
  17. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    But there are! :p

    My Corvette has an Active/Passive switch (like most Warwicks), and I use it mostly in passive mode, even for slap. I do sometimes use the eq, but I still prefer the passive mode...
  18. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I don't reallyl ike passive basses much. I prefer having control over my tone on demand in different enviroments. My new custom has a passive switch just in case I do want to go passive though- best of both worlds. I would never buy an only passive bass, even though I leave the toen controls flat most of the time.
  19. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    This really should have been a poll, should it not (What's Your Thing: Active or Passive, and Why?) But there probably have been polls like that before, I guess.

    Anyway. I believe that both active and passive pickups can sound great and really deliver the true sound of the instrument, just as both active and passive can sound like crap. But for practical reasons (avoid hum, hiss, and signal loss (in the cable)) I perfer good Active pickups (in my case, EMGs, as I stated earlier in this thread).

    Keep the flaming civil, folks! :)
  20. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    my bass student has one of those Squier bass pack basses.

    i LOVE playing it. its a great bass, and the passive P tone is classic!

    but, i love my active basses too!

    my Zons and Sadowskys have KILLER pre's that i wouldn't trade for anything.

    funny thing about my student, he was wanting that passive P thump to play adolescent new rock.

    but when i took my bass (Zon) to one lesson so we could "jam", he was floored by the tone.

    i told him you don't have to be a zealot when you play bass. equipment is just a tool to help you express. it is silly to get bogged down in the passive/active, fender/non-fender sports mentality.

    a distraction from what really matters.

    (/soapbox OFF)