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Warwick Basses - tis better to have actives or passive pickups?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stoob, Oct 5, 2008.


  1. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    This is an age old topic and debate. I am surprised on how divided the opinions are on who prefers active or passives on these Talkbass forums, which tend to be 50/50 on the matter, but I'm guessing that's because the most popular basses on this forum are Fender P's and J's.

    I have a Corvette standard in Bubinga with J-style pups, but I would be interested to hear peoples opinions throughout the whole Warwick range, on what pickups they prefer in their bass, either active or passive, specifically to get the Warwick 'sound of wood', 'the growl', 'the honk', 'the bark', 'the flack', 'the thunk', 'the twiiiing', 'the skippipidipidydoo' or any other word to describe the Warwick sound that is definate to Warwick, or at least, makes their Warwick sound good.

    I like mostly funk stuff but not limited to it, so I would be interested to know if slapping and popping on a Warwick is better with either one of the two?

    Of course beauty is in the ears of the beholder, but I would be interested in peoples opinions on Warwick actives or passives. Badboy has nearly pursuaded my off getting active pups (and also a new pot), but I'm still deciding whether to go fully active or not, and spend some extra cash on my bass.

    StooB
     
  2. badboy1984

    badboy1984

    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    To me, either passive or active warwick sounds like a warwick. Changing pickup and preamp do help and change abit but in general their sound will still be their no matter what you do. Just like you can't make a warwick sound like a fender or a fender to sound like a warwick. Majority of warwick is active because most of the warwick comes with a onboard pre and the MEC gold pickup.

    Weather passive or active is up to you to decide, only your ear can tell you what you like. If you don't like the passive sound on your warwick than passive is not your thing then.

    Many people in here can give their opinion etc but at the end you have to try it to see do you like it or not.
     
  3. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    I've heard that there doesn't seem to be much difference in sound between passive and active, although I'm guessing that slapping sounds brighter and better?
     
  4. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Stoob,
    One thing I have to clarify is you say "pickups".
    Unless you have an early model (80's to early 90's) Warwick with EMG pickups, all of the rest use passive pickups.
    The preamps is what makes it an "active" bass.

    But to me it doesn't matter. I have both active and passive basses and can use both for the same style of music.
     
  5. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I always thought that those with the "Dynamic Correction" print were passive and those with "MEC" written in gold were active. Am I wrong ?
     
  6. On The DL

    On The DL

    Apr 1, 2008
    KC
    Active pickups are quite rare. Almost every bass made today has passive pickups. Basses with a preamp require a battery to operate it which deems the bass an "active bass", not "active pickups".
     
  7. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I always thought that MECs were pretty clear and dry, so it wouldn't hurt to go active.
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    +1
    I see/hear this mistake quite a lot.
     
  9. gm jack

    gm jack

    Oct 5, 2008
    Reading UK
    As a moderate Warwick fanatic, I can say that a lot of the higher end models have active pickups as well as active preamps. I believe that the MEC with gold writing are active, as said before. The dynamic correction ones are silver.

    I personally prefer passive pickups with an active preamp. Unless you want a passive tone control, I see no reason not to get an active preamp. And I also prefer passive pickups, as I find they allow a more natural sound through. The actives are still good, but given the choice, I'll take passives.
     
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    That's interesting. EMG was about the only game in town for mass produced active pickups. Are the MEC actives mass-produced or custom only? The only time I even see MECs is on Warwicks.
     
  11. gm jack

    gm jack

    Oct 5, 2008
    Reading UK
    Mass produced. I know all Thumb basses have active pickups, corvettes can (they are the most versitile so far as combining passive and active goes. I think you can have 36 different models of corvette with the basic options on it).

    You can buy MEC from their website. However, they are most known for their use on Warwicks, as they form a key part of that Warwick tone. However, that can easily compete with Seymour Duncans, EMG etc on quality, and possibly higher end ones like Fralins depending on what you are looking for. A massively underrated brand IMO.
     
  12. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I haven't torn apart any of their highest end models. But I can surely say: the Streamer LX, Corvette Proline, Corvette active Standard, and an FNA...all these I had to make repairs on and they had passive pickups with active preamps.
     
  13. badboy1984

    badboy1984

    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    If you check on the warwick shop it explains everything.

    GOLD MEC = Active pickup

    SILVER MEC = Passive pickup
     
  14. gm jack

    gm jack

    Oct 5, 2008
    Reading UK
    You can get corvettes entirely passive, passive pups with active preamp, and active pickups with active preamp.

    Streamer XLs (or at least the new ones) have active pickups. Or at least the site says active MEC pickups and active preamp seperately.

    The Jazzman is as you said, passive pups and active preamp. Same for the prolines.

    I am no expert, but could they have wired the active pickups in a way that you are unfamiliar with. Also, they could have custom shop electronics to give passive/acitve combos.
     
  15. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Yep Badboy and Paperson are correct, Gold MEC writing on the pups are active,of course you can fit active emg's Barts etc in them. My Corvette can by-pass active and go entirely passive.

    But I don't want this to wonder off topic (sorry, being a bit selfish here ;) ), not to discuss what makes an active bass an active bass etc but just to know what people's opinions are who have played around with passive and active pickups with Active pre-amps in Warwick basses, what they think about what sounds best to them - in general playing and in slapping, to bring out the Warwick sound and to get a generally good sound, particularly live as this is when you need your bass to stand out, especially if you are the exhibitionist like me ;)

    Badboy has nearly pursuaded my off getting active pups (and also a new pot), but I'm still deciding whether to go fully active or not, and spend some extra cash on my bass.
     
  16. gm jack

    gm jack

    Oct 5, 2008
    Reading UK
    I'll always stand by my passive pickup, active preamp combo. The active preamp can be bypassed, so unless you want a passive tone control, there is no reason not to get an active preamp.

    I also real the passive pickups sound a tad more natural, as active pickups sometimes do have that slightly sterile edge, despite how functionally great the tone can be.

    The passive/active combo I use has never yet failed me. The bass has so much midrange growl, it can get through anything.
     
  17. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Thanks GM Jack, nice 1 :D
     
  18. K-Funk

    K-Funk

    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    All passive! Bwahahaha!

    lotsawickys007.
     
  19. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Nice :)
     
  20. K-Funk

    K-Funk

    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    It's the only way to get that great Warwick skippipidipidydoo tone, if you ask me :p
     

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