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WARWICK - Active or passive ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by valterantunes, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. valterantunes


    Apr 9, 2005
    :confused: Hi,
    I´m going to buy a warwick corvette standard 5.
    But there are quite a few versions (options) to choose from.
    Some have passive electronics and passive pickups, others are active and some are a combination of both...for example : active electronics with passive pickups.

    What I want to know is....is there a lot of difference in the sound between active or passive ?
    Please explain to me what the main diferences are and if it´s worth it spending more money for active electronics and pickups...?
  2. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Wow I didn't know Warwicks even made passives. Get active everything. Definitely better to have than to have not. Actives usually have a fuller sound and definitely sound better when being recorded.
  3. EBMatt


    Nov 21, 2003
    Springfield, MA
    From what I know, I'm pretty sure that all standard corvettes have passive electronics and pickups. Maybe Warwick is offering active stuff too now, but I don't know. If I were you, I would save up the extra few hundred dollars and buy a corvette proline. They have a flame maple body and active electronics. I think they go for about $300 more than a standard but are really worth it. They sound awesome, and I think that they are lighter and more comfortable to play. I've owned 3 warwicks and out of all the ones I've played, this one is still one of my favorites, even compared to warwicks that cost thousands more.
  4. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Generally the most popular combination is passive pickups with active electronics. If you have active everything, then when your battery dies you are stuffed. Active pickups need the battery power to work.

    If you have passive pickups, they can still be run through an active preamp, but assuming you have a preamp bypass switch then you can still play in passive mode if the battery runs out.

    Also worth bearing in mind is that a majority of recordings have been made using passive basses (ie Fender P's and J's) and not active. Active offers more flexability for tone control, but thats not necessarily a good thing. More flexability = more chance to stuff up your sound!

    Its really hard to describe a definitive difference in sound between active and passive, but most active setups *try* to emulate a passive sound when set flat (very few actually achieve this). Traditionally active setups sound more "hifi" and passive more "vintage", but with so many manufacturers in the market even that distinction is no longer true.

    I have both active and passive basses and do generally prefer the active, however there are many that prefer passive so it really comes down to personal choice. Don't be swayed by "more expensive is better" - just get what you think feels right. That said, a Warwick with active preamp will be easier to sell than one with passive only.
  5. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Eh? I thought the only bass with passive electronics was one of the Corvette Standard 4-strings, which is also available with active electronics.

    Anyway, I believe the Warwick preamps/electronics have a passive bypass when you pull out the volume knob.
  6. valterantunes


    Apr 9, 2005
    ok...so you´re saying that the best option is to go for active electronics and pssive pickups, right ?

    I play a lot of fingerstyle funk, jazz, latin but also play a lot of slap...will I get a good sound with this combinations ?
  7. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    For some reason, my passive Corvette sounded better to me than the active version; warmer, smoother, and more natural;
    but it's a fretless, so that's more of the characteristic I was looking for. If they make an active Corvette that can also
    run passive, you'd have the best of both worlds. The Corvettes are really nice basses for the money. Mine was well under a grand brand new.

    Good Luck

  8. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    while the mec pickups do their job just fine, their 2 band preamp is not too good.I`ve heard several stories about it dying in a middle of a gig (do a search here), and it just isn`t up to par with most of the after market pre`s out there.

    I had a bass with mec`s and the pre - it sounded really good (i regret selling it... oh, well...) but ONLY with the pre set completely flat.
    I had basses with the mec pre, bartolini pre (3 band) and i`ve recently removed the emg BQ-something 3 band pre from my current bass - of those three I would recomend the bartolini (nice, useable tones), then EMG (biggest tone shaping capabilites but a bit too "pumped up" overall effect - my bass sounds much more natural without it), and that`s it.
  9. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    Same here, along with R&B. I had a passive Corvette 4 previously, and I preferred it's sound over the active version for those types of music.
  10. valterantunes


    Apr 9, 2005
    Tanks for all the comments so far ! :)
    Ok...so I´ve decided not to get the version with active electronics and pickups.
    I just haven´t decided if I should go for the "all" passive version or the version with active electronics and passive pickups.

    I heard that the passive version has a very low output...is that true ? if it is I´m assuming that the active electronics would fix this right ?

    I have to make my mind up in the next couple of days and don´t seem to be getting anywhere :meh:

    please everyone help me decide...
    passive electronics with passive pickups
    active electronics with passive pickups :confused:

  11. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    My vote's for straight passive. If you need a boost or want a more active sound, put it thru a SansAmp or an Aggie box.

  12. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU

    Corvette Standards have two types of electronics:
    • Passive "Dynamic Correction p-ups with passive preamp (vol/bal/treble roloff) - or -
    • Active MEC Gold p-ups with 2-band active preamp (vol&switch/bal/treble&bass)

    That said, I have an active though I keep the eq off most of the time. When turned on, even flat, it takes a bit of the highs away - miaking it a bit smoother, yet duller (thogh it's still very lively). Eq off, it's much more raw.
  13. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Some passive MECs have low output, but I've heard that more from passive Streamer-users, less from Corvette-players.
    With the active-active, it runs a very hot signal, you have to turn the volume down not to get the amp clipping
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    you have no choice. you must get the active with the passive pickups because if you don't you'll always wonder whether you should have or not.

    i just did that with a piezo on the new Bongo I ordered. i was agonizing over whether i should go for the extra bucks or not and then finally realized - it's a lousy few hundred bucks for something i'm going to use for years and years. if i don't do it, i'm always going to wonder if i should have. it's worth the extra money.

    also - i have a corvette standard (that i just sold - someone has a deposit on it), and i think the active electronics were essential for recording and growl. i think the bass would have been a boring bass without it. the MEC electronics are hot, really hot, so you have to treat them with more respect than most basses, but I definitely wouldn't want one without.

    all that being said for the same money iffin i were you i'd wait till i fell in love with a bongo and just get one of them. :)

    ohh yeah - if you check out the bubinga ones know that there's a tradeoff. i am SURE that they are one of the deepest sounding warwicks. when i bought mine i was fortunate enough to be able to compare them in a private room set up for basses alone with a bunch of other more expensive warwicks - and it absolutely killed them on bottom. the tradeoff is the weigh a lot. they're not back breaking but i run and jump around and i always wished i had sacrificed some of that bottom for a little less weight.
  15. My Warwick, has the passive PU and active/passive selectable electronics and I NEVER use the active electronics. Warwick make such lush, beautiful sounding intsruments that the active electronics dont add anything and in my opinion just dont sound that good, PASSIVE ALL THE WAY! but if you get the switchable electronics then you can decide for your self!
    (sorry no experience of the active PU's)
  16. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I had a number of problems with my active MEC pickups. Warwick sent me a new preamp once for free even though it was out of warranty, and the repair guy at the shop I went to said he gets alot of MEC repairs. He also said alot of guys just junk it and change them out for EMG's etc. I'd suggest the passive pickups. If you want more tonal variation, etc. add an aftermarket preampl. I'd suggest the Aguilar OPB3.
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    If this thread don't make yer head spin, nothing will. :)
  18. valterantunes


    Apr 9, 2005
    Believe me...my head is spinning ! :rollno:
    Here´s the deal... some of you say that the version with active electronics and passive PU are the best and then others say that the active electronics take away that "warwick sound".

    Now...correct me if I´m wrong :

    If I get the version with active electronics and passive PU's and don't need to worry right ? If I'm not happy with the sound from the active electronics and can always switch to passive mode. By switching to passive it will have the original passive sound...is that right ? :confused:
  19. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    Keep in mind that if you have the active/passive version, you will lose tone controls in passive mode. The active tone controls only work when in active mode. This may or may not be a problem for you.
    One of the reasons I reccomended adding a Aguilar preamp to the passive pickups is that they are boost only. While flat, I find the Aguilar has a nice warm "passive" like tone. As you boost, it takes the bass into a more modern sound. Also, it is the first active treble control that is really usable in my opinion. All my other active basses I leave the treble control flat because boosting them is just too sharp (EMG, MEC). The Aguilar treble boost tends to give a more modern tone as you boost while not being hissy and trebly so to speak. The preamp will set you back $100 + whatever you local repair shop or luthier will charge for installation.
  20. My head's spinning too. Whenever I run into this kind of information glut, I find it's due to some of these questions having very subjective answers. You would think there would be consistency within the Warwick community, but even within it, some folks love 'vettes but hate thumbs, love the bridges but hate the just-a-nuts, love P/J vs active, whatever, and they all (well, almost all) have their valid reasons. People like different kinds of setups for different reasons, and they are almost always quite personal.

    The best thing to do is to go to Guitar Center or some other large store, even if you have to drive aways, and try some out. I think Joe Nerve was close when he said you would regret not getting some extra feature: I think the thing you would regret is not actually trying out all the options and judging for yourself.

    My $0.02