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using an active bass through the passive input

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by axeinurface, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. axeinurface


    Apr 3, 2011
    I don't know if I really need to ask this but I just want to find out what other's opinions were. I have a crappy bass head (I bought it for cheap and I haven't been playing bass long, so its just for now), and my bass has active pickups. but the active input on the head (that says -6dB) cuts out and doesn't work right, but the passive input (-0dB) works fine. I was just wondering if this could actually cause any damage to my head/cab or if it is a matter of preference type of thing? also, if it could potentially damage my equipment from too hot of a signal, I should be able to manage that with the built-in limiter, no? just wanna see what other's opinions are and get some advice...thanks!
  2. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I run most of my active basses through the passive plug. It will not hurt the amp but if you have a real hot pre amp in your bass the amp may distort at higher volumes.
  3. I have always done it. That way I get a little more control over the strength (gain) of the signal going through to the pre.

    I have always found active inputs to just kill tone. A little.
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I forgot to say, If your amp starts distorting just turn down the volume knob on your bass. (less gain)
  5. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    I never use the active input.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, "passive" vs. "active" is misleading, and should be scrapped. all it needs to say on these amps is "0dB" and "-6dB" or whatever.

    whichever input gets the sound you want at reasonable volume knob settings is fine. (i also always go for the hotter "passive" input no matter what.)
  7. Bo_H


    Jul 2, 2004
    I do. Just too lazy to switch the plug over when I switch basses. I use the bass volume to compensate when necessary.
  8. I used to play in a band where I swapped from a passive 4 string to an active 5 string, and then back. Just used the regular input, let the extra volume (and the B!!) deafen the crowd some more!! :D :D

  9. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Why do amps even have "active" and "passive" inputs? Did early preamps actually add so much gain that they'd overload input stages?

    My G-K drops the input by 14dB when I engage the "active" switch. The only time I'd ever consider using it would be if I wanted to send a line level signal through the preamp section.

    For what it's worth: Of the basses I currently own, the one with the hottest output is completely passive. The one with the lowest output has passive pickups and a preamp. Go figure.
  10. Ibanez Bassist

    Ibanez Bassist

    Jan 30, 2010
    US of A
    I never use the Active input regardless of what bass Im using always Passive and I have never had a problem yet..
  11. none of my amps have a active input. i only have one active bass
  12. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    It's quite ok to run an active bass into the passive input. The gain control is all you need. I see those active inputs alot like anti-lock brakes- made for those who don't know how to use the gear, or like an "idiot light". No worries.
  13. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    Hmm, I'm just really weird then....because I use the active inputs with passive basses. Just seem to be able to get the tone I want better, and no worries of unwanted overtones. I do this with most amps.
  14. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Using the active input with a passive bass is no different than using the passive input and turning the gain down a bit.
  15. axeinurface


    Apr 3, 2011
    ok..that helps. i actually figured out the volume knob trick cause sometimes i play my bass through my 2x12 guitar combo. for a while i thought my speakers sounded blown (my bass cab not my guitar combo) but my amp just sounds really crappy when it starts to break up (its a POS crate but it was cheap and my first bass amp), using the guitar amp actually helped me figure that one out. i dont think my head could blow my cab anyways...its a 150w head (weak for a bass i know) and my cab says it can handle 600w i think?..maybe 800.
  16. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Usually it's best to use the passive input for all basses, despite the nomenclature!

    Active and passive inputs on amps are really badly named! As useful a name as 'effects loops' which are best avoided with pedals (and who's still using rackmount effects?) and would be better named 'preamp out' and 'power amp in'.
  17. axeinurface


    Apr 3, 2011
    yeah i've never really understood FX loops on bass or guitar (which i've played much longer). the only times it is handy is with a noise gate or using an EQ on a $hitty sounding amp. i put mostly everything out in front.

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