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Switching from Active to Passive bass during a show

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Runnerman, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I commonly do this between my Bongo (active) and my passive Jazz5 or the Peavey Fury. My amp has a passive/active switch on it (not sure what the gain cut is). My signal chain is my Line6 G50 -> Korg Pitchblack -> Sansamp Programmable BDI -> amp.

    If I push the active/passive button without muting, I get a slight pop. I can overcome this by having the wireless off during the change if I remember. But......I've found that the active/passive button is more or less signal change than I need. Not the best way to handle things. I can program the Sansamp for a higher level with the passive but the Jazz and Fury have different outputs and I don't have enough programs. Generally I can play with the volume pots but all this seems to be too much to mess with during an instrument change. I want to unplug/plug and play.

    I am thinking of adding a volume pedal to my board. Is this a good solution or no better than spinning the pots? What do you guys do in this type of situation?
  2. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    Does your head have a mute button or do you tune with a footswich tuner ?
  3. I don't have this issue myself, but the Radial Tonebone/Bassbone was designed to help with this kind of issue.

    It used to be that an amp's "Active/Passive" switch would change not only gain but also input impedance. Now many amps have a circuit up front to match impedance, so the switch is really just a gain pad (for the "Active" setting). In that case a volume pedal would be the same, and also the same as using the volume knobs on your basses. Nothing wrong with that.
  4. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    I've used a Radial Tonebone and a VT Bass Deluxe in this scenario with good results.

    I was going between an active Cirrus and either a passive/active G&L L2500 or a passive P-bass.

    I also have the Pitchblack, and I use that as a mute if there is a possibility of a pop or crackle during a transition.
  5. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Tune with the pedal tuner....Korg Pitchblack.
  6. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Sorry if I didn't explain it as well as I could have. I'm most interested in getting the levels approx. the same betweek basses so I don't mess up monitor or FOH. The pop I can deal with...with the tuner or the wireless mute.
  7. Jebberz

    Jebberz Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Quebec city
    For this purpose (I use 2 bass with very different output level) I use a Boss LS-2 and it does the job wonderfully
  8. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Interesting. For this option looks like I would have to run a separate wireless or the second bass corded which I suppose would be doable.
  9. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    can you program the Line 6 at different Volumes within a Patch for each bass .. ??

    is there any kinda of volume pad adjustment on the inner electronics/preamp on the Bongo .. ?? if there is , maybe it could be turned down .. ?

    or maybe just turn down the Volume knob on the Bongo to match the others and leave it there .. ?? the simple way ..

    make the Bongo passive . ?
  10. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    No, I don't think that can be done. It needs to be a manual level adjustment on the receiver pedal. The Sansamp is programmable to 3 patches. I usually have...an SVT cab simulation, a distortion patch and a fat tube patch. I think I am going to have to rethink those settings and come up with something unique for each bass and maybe add a separate distortion pedal.

    There may be, it is a good thought and worth checking.

    Could do but I think I would lose some of the body of the Bongo boost. With the Bongo I eq on the bass not the amp....this is probably part of my problem too. I've spent a lot of time coming up with the tones I like.

    Pretty next to impossible I think. Have you ever looked at a Bongo electronics cavity? Actually I have seen posts on the EBMM forum where people were trying to get a passive Bongo option and they didn't seem to know how to pull it off.

    I think I am going to have to go back to the drawing board with the Sansamp and start from scratch. It's not something I wanted to do but the more I think about it...seems the way to go. Thanks for the comments.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm not trying to start a crap fest here. But I am a sound man as well as a bass player. My suggestion (looking at it from both angles) would be to pick a bass and stick with it. Nobody in the audience cares if the songs you play jazz bass on sound all "passive and vintage and junk". And nobody cares if the ones you play Bongo on sound all active or brighter.

    But even if you get the volume levels right, the tones are completely different. And that will cause the sound man to have to fit you back in the mix where you were with the other bass. In other words, every single time you switch to your second bass, the sound guy is going to do everything in his power to make it sound exactly like the first bass because that's how the band was mixed to begin with.

    So do what you want, but it is probably a lot of effort for very little return.

    All that being said, you are grown. I'm not saying what you are doing is "wrong". But it probably isn't having NEARLY the affect you think it is out front. Both basses (in essence) will sound exactly the same if the sound man can possibly make that happen..... and he will try.
  12. CAW


    Apr 18, 2010
    Making the Bongo passive would completely change what makes a Bongo a Bongo... But then the OP already knows this. :)

    Is there no cheap stompbox out there that you can program your desired pad into and just have it up near the front of your pedalboard chain? Then you can continue to use the same wireless system for both basses, and you just toggle that one stomp in/out as needed. Although I guess the question is, how much of a sonic difference does it make using a pad to cut the output of the Bongo vs just turning down the volume on the Bongo itself? You don't need to worry about the impedance switching that some amps do on their input, since the wireless system has disconnected the bass from your rig anyway, and just provides a low impedance ("active") signal out.

    Using two wireless systems does have its advantage in that you don't have to fiddle with switching the bodypack around; you can just have a bodypack permanently set up for each bass, which makes life a lot easier, especially if you need to change out basses quickly. Of course, multiple wireless channels is considerably more expensive. Personally, I now use a Radial JX44 to switch between wireless channels so each bass can have its own dedicated bodypack. Inputs 3 and 4 on the JX44 also have trim knobs, so you can also use it to balance levels between basses. (That's not the route I took, however. I first plugged in wired via front panel on the JX44 and made sure everything was properly gainstaged for my Bongo 5HHp (my main bass). Then I adjusted the output gain on each wireless channel to ensure everything was roughly balanced volume wise.) The JX44 is an exceptionally nice unit, but it's 1) a bit spendy and 2) rack-mount, and I get the impression your preference is for pedals instead of a rack-mount.
  13. CAW


    Apr 18, 2010
    There is truth here. However, there may be other reasons why he's looking to switch between basses. E.g., they may be in different tunings to make playing some songs easier.
  14. CAW


    Apr 18, 2010
    Just spent a bit of time looking at Radial's page for this box. This is in many ways a smaller, simpler version of the JX44 and it's in pedal format.

    And if you only have one input connected, the input select switch still flips you between the two channels, so you can use the channel settings to balance out the two basses. Hence, you don't need a second wireless system. And if you do want to do two actual inputs, it still works for that, too. Seems like a pretty good solution for your needs that shouldn't break the bank. And Radial has always made excellent quality gear...
  15. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Not at all, I appreciate the candid comments. That's totally what I was after. You make a very valid point. I'm sure the sound man hates it when I change. The same goes for guitarists. In many cases I could play a complete set with the Bongo which has a drop D tuner. Some extra finger stretching needed on a couple songs but doable. There are couple of songs we play in Drop C which I would have to tune down to. I brought the Fury on board to give me some specific P-thump on a tune or two. Could probably pull it off on the Bongo pretty closely. I'll be totally truthful and say that some of it is performance related, wanting to show off another bass or 2. Shallow yes...shoot me if you want but I don't think I'm alone. (Geddy uses about 5 basses in his show....does he have to? probably not)
  16. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I just checked it out and had to think about what you were saying for a while but you are right, it could work well.

    Your other post about the output of the wireless being active....does that mean the same dB signal for any bass??? So as long as I am using the wireless active/passive bass makes no difference in level??? That can't be right because I can still change the volume on the bass. Or maybe I am looking at this all wrong.
  17. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Good advice, but my active bass (a fretless, hollow-body acoustic bass guitar with piezo pickup and black nylon tapewound strings) is quite different from my passive solid body electric bass guitar. Both have unique sounds. The fretless is for a upright-type tone/vibe, the electric is for a more rockin' tone. Very different tools that are sometimes required during the same gig. So the OP's question is valid.
    Fxpmusic likes this.
  18. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005
    I wonder if you could use a small 2 channel mixer in the front of your pedalboard. That way you could adjust each channel for each bass to match the volume?
  19. I use BDDI deluxe, three presets for electric and three more for DB. Make the soundman work.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  20. I would explain to him that I am actually switching basses *to make it sound different* and if he can't handle that, then I'd fire him.

    Sound engineers who want to make artistic decisions about a band's performance annoy me. The best I've worked with always allow the performers to make the artistic statements, and handle things like this with aplomb. They do it and they make it look easy.

    I just saw Zappa Plays Zappa and their bassist switched between 3 different P-basses. Their sound man was able to bring forward the subtle differences between those 3 P-basses without doing a thing. Specifically he actually *did nothing* (or very little) and allowed the artist's choices to speak for themselves.
    Johnny Crab likes this.

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