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Weak active bass output

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by basehed, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. What are normal output levels for an active bass? I bought an active Cort bass and it's weaker than I thought. Don't know if this is a cheap brand, a broken preamp or my other basses just have very strong signal. I have my multimeter in hand and oscilloscope. Thanks!
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    How is the battery? Is there a trim-pot?
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    There is no standard. It depends on the design of the preamp, as well as the output of the pickup that's driving it.

    Try bypassing the preamp if possible, to see how the output compares. Also, hopefully obvious, but make sure the battery is fresh.

    How close are the pickups to the strings? You might try raising them if you have room.
  4. Trim pot is wide open. Battery is fresh. It is an active pickup with three wires.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just like passives, actives have differing output levels, too. I would caution against judging the tone of actives based solely on output, as it's not the only thing. Having said that, Cort is known as sort of a budget brand, and active pickups/preamps always seem to be one area that budget brands skimp on.
  6. It does have a bartolini p/u and a three band preamp with a 'hyperboost' slap switch. It may just require a little more volume help from my amp. Don't active basses typically have higher output than passives?
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, sounds like you got a little more deluxe package ;) But it's been my experience that there's as much variation in volumes of active pickups as passive. EMG actives are usually pretty hot, while basses I've played with Barts on them tend to have less output than EMG's. They're more like the output of basses with your standard passive P and J pickups on them.

    Sometimes you can make up for it with your amp, sometimes you can't. The Fender active pickups that came with my 95 Precision Lyte aren't very hot either, and they had the extra bonus of sounding really bad at any volume, and no amount of gaining up the amp could make up for it. It's really a decision you have to make for yourself. A lot of people like Barts but they're not my thing. Might not be yours, either. But they are good pickups that a lot of folks like, so before you go dropping money on a set of EMG's ;) you should give them a fair shake without bumming over their lack of output.
    basehed likes this.