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Warwick: Passive vs. Active

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by StarchMan, Aug 6, 2004.


  1. StarchMan

    StarchMan

    Jul 30, 2003
    I've had a Streamer LX 4 for a while now, and after getting a more powerful amp, I've realized that the tone in passive is MUCH better than in active. It has a more earthy sound to it that is not so open sounding. Anyway, has anyone else had this experience? I don't even use the active now..
     
  2. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    With my Streamer Stage I, I get the exact same feeling. It is more alive when it is passive, altough I must say the lows are doing very fine in active mode and turning down the highs is off course also an option. Great for growl etc... :)
     
  3. Z-Bass

    Z-Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Just to clarify, your pickups are still active (assuming that you have the MEC pickups). Pulling on the volume switch deactivates the preamp, leaving just the tone of the active pickups uncolored by the preamp. Not sure if this is the case with the Stage I though. But I do agree that the pickups with the preamp bypassed sound great. I think it's a nice feature to have and can be very useful for recording. I think the MEC preamp actually muffles the sound of the pickup a bit. You can tell when you deactivate the preamp how much more open and clear the sound is. I actually swapped out the MEC preamp with an Aguilar OBP-1 preamp recently with great results.
     
  4. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    I heard that a while ago too. The Aguilar can give great results. I have Bartolini humbuckers in it, the sound isn't what I am looking for (so it's for sale) but if it was, I could certainly give it a try.
     
  5. StarchMan

    StarchMan

    Jul 30, 2003
    Hey Z-Bass, describe the results a bit for me, as well what type of bass do you have. I don't want to lose something that makes the Warwick a Warwick, but I'd like to keep that punchy sound from the pickups and have the pre-amp active. I don't NEED it, but it'd be cool.
     
  6. Z-Bass

    Z-Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hey StarchMan, the best way I can describe the overall results of the preamp swap is - it was like removing a blanket from my cabinet (if that means anything). The tone is cleaner and I think the slap tone is much better. It sounds like the pickups do with the old preamp bypassed but with a stronger unfiltered signal. I find the bass is more flexible, centered just right. The find the highs can be quite powerful when boosted but I've been keeping the treble turned all the way down for now. I put new strings on so that probably has more to do with that. Another added benefit is the headroom due to the 18 volt setup, I notice my amp doesn't clip nearly as much. Also, I had it wired so that I can still bypass the preamp with the volume knob if ever desired. Bottom line, it still sounds like a Warwick but better (to my ears at least). I think the pickups play a more integral role in the sound. I swapped out the MECs in my old Corvette Standard for EMGs and although the bass still sounded great, I found that it did loose some of the Warwick sound.

    Now the one thing I can see as a negative is players with a hard attack may find the OBP-1 preamp a bit too much since you can't cut frequencies. I play with a light touch and like low action so it's never an issue with me. Maybe a proper setup to your playing style is what's call for here. I know Aguilar has the 3 band EQ available and you can cut frequencies with that preamp but I'd rather not tweek too much. Right now, I keep the treble flat, adjust the bass for the room, and leave it.

    I would suggest trying to find an outboard version of the Aguilar pre to try out somewhere. Bring your bass, bypass the MEC preamp and run through the outboard preamp. At least you'll get an idea of the overall sound. Sorry that was probably way more than you needed.
     
  7. Z-Bass

    Z-Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Starchman, I forgot, I have a Streamer LX 5-string natural finish. Glad I bought one before Warwick discontinued the LX series.