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Time to go passive?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SteveC, May 1, 2010.


  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    So I've always thought I wanted/needed an active preamp on my bass. Well, for the last I don't know how long, I've run my Bartolini onboard 3 band with 3 way mid frequency select flat. Both pups at mid click on the balance, and full volume.

    Why do I need the active preamp? It may send a bit of a stronger signal to the amp, but other than that? what am I gaining?

    What would be a nice 34" scale, passive jazz with noiseless pups?
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    With an onboard preamp you're gaining lower output impedance, which means your signal is transferred more efficiently to the amp or DI. This results in a brighter, crisper tone.
     
  3. My passive bass is a Fender Mark Hoppus. 1 pickup and a volume knob, the tone is set with my amp. I find this a great way to get the sound I like. I love my Fender Marcus Miller, but sometimes all the knobs and settings just feel like overkill.
     
  4. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I've been exploring the passive control on my Sadowsky R5-24 Metro, and conclude that with the preamp on and everything flat, I get more volume, a bit more sustain and a generally smoother sound. Passive, the attacks seem a bit crisper and notes decay more quickly. I dig having both options and picking as best for what I'm doing.
     
  5. Meatrus

    Meatrus

    Apr 5, 2009
    England
    I know what you mean, most of the time I'm happy with passive. Though I like both, if I could only have one bass (which it seems like none of us do!) I would pick active, as they cover a larger range of tones more easily. And dont always involve messing up your settings when changing tone.

    Not to say you cant get the tone with passive, just it takes more playing about with the amp. Another reason why it can make sense to use active is that it seems 90% of higher class basses are active, theres not a massive amount of passive choice.
     
  6. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I run my one active bass with all 3 bands of eq flat, as well. Still a bright and chimey tone, unlike my 2 passive Ric's.
     
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Still had noise in church today. Plugged a different instrument in to my signal chain and there was no noise, so no I need to find out which of the 20+ connections in my Bartolini NTMB preamp is messed up. Great.

    I am seriously considering pulling the preamp and getting it wired master volume, balance, and tone.
     
  8. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    I had the same preamp with an active/passive switch. The tones are readically different.
     
  9. Skip_NJ

    Skip_NJ

    Jun 1, 2009
    New Jersey
    I havent played a passive bass in years. Something about the tone knob always annoyed me. I found having the ability to boost mids and cut lows to be very useful. I did have a bass with a bart preamp, and it just straight up stopped working one day, would not recommend that.
     
  10. birdie num nums

    birdie num nums

    Dec 20, 2006
    Maybe you can find a used BB405 for a cheap price and add it to your arsenal. I'm saying this beacuse someday you may miss the options your 605 has now. I know it may sound silly but I think about it like the B string case: If it's there you can always not use it, but if it's not there you never can... That's my point of view...

    Or have you ever considered the Sadowsky onboard preamp(2 band and very transparent)?
    I have a Yamaha BBG5S(another great Taiwanese Yamaha from '99) with it and plus passive tone control. Don't need the mid control beacuse of the alder-rosewood combination. The bass it self has enough mids. With the push-pull option you can use it passive too. Just a food for thought...
     
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    The Bartolini preamp I have in it has a bypass option - which also hums just not as bad. I am just frustrated. I hope my tech guy will be able to find the source of the hum. I love this bass and want to keep it.
     
  12. Several Bart basses. No hum. Something is wrong.
     
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Yeah, mine used to be dead silent. Better than ANY bass I've had. Something came loose, got nudged when I was messing with the output level...the control cavity is CRAMMED with stuff.
     
  14. Bardley

    Bardley

    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I agree that something is probably wrong to get that hum. On the other hand, I recently pulled the preamp out of my Warrior and wired it Vol-Vol-Tone with an empty pot in the 4th hole and I am loving the way it sounds. It sounds huge without the preamp. Very nice. It's all a personal preference.
     
  15. m.oreilly

    m.oreilly

    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    i'm also a new passive convert. pres tend to 'color', no matter what (i like buffers though). it's nice to have both active and passive options, as each has it's overall merits. that said, pulling the guts out of my thumb and running passive has really brought out a woody growl i had not heard from it previously.
     
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Well, if the hum can't be fixed, I am seriously considering a Master/Blend/Tone configuration for this bass. I tend to run it flat now so actually, I could probably just have a volume knob and call it good. Nice to have the option to roll off some treble for ballads and standards though. The blend is nice on occasion as well.
     
  17. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Just does small eq adjustments with onboard eq. But rather likes the low impedance aspect of them. Along with the little bit hotter signal which also contributes to the driving processor/effects/instrument in on amp aspect. To me the best basses to add preamp to are ones that sound great passive too. Adds a little bit of hifi to the sound. Bongmania put it well too imo.
     
  18. even leaving the signal strength, noise, all that out, the buffer makes a huge difference. the attack of the note is completely different.

    every time i reluctantly pick up an active bass, i immediately bury the high EQ knob. get rid of that 10k noise. but the attack is still completely different. its not something you can EQ out. be prepared for a radical change
     
  19. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    I don't like active basses. And it's not that I haven't tried them, either. After trying to get a good sound when trying several Warwicks and a Fender Marcus Miller, I concluded that I'm just too stupid to use something that complex.
     
  20. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Passive all the way here...
     

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