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Which would you choose?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by superheavyfunk, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    An active pickup set (ie: EMG PJx), an onboard preamp (ie: EMG BQC), or a pedalboard preamp (ie: MXR M81) and why?

    I'm just curious who uses what and in which situation each seems to fare best.
  2. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    D. All three. It's better to have it all and not need it. Add/ boost/ cut to your heart's content.
  3. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    All of my basses go straight to the jack, no tone or volume knobs on board, all passive, no on board preamp. I do all tone shaping via a small pedal board and the amp.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  4. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    I prefer the sound of passive pickups, when that is said, ideally I prefer to have as many controls on my bass as possible, right at my hand's disposal, at least controls to those effects that are always on anyway.

    The benefits of a separate pre amp is of course that you you can switch it on and off with your foot while playing at the same time if needed, and that you can overdrive it.

    So I guess it depends on your personal taste and needs which one of the options you chose.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  5. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    See, I'm the same as you, in that I prefer the sound of passive pickups - or at least, I think I do. It's hard to say for sure, because ive never used active pickups, and my experience with preamps and such is super limited. I bought an onboard preamp thinking that it's what I wanted but in the end, I didn't like it. I bought a sansamp thinking I'd like it and didn't like that either... So now, I'm gonna buy a new set of passive pickups and see how it goes.

    So yeah. There are so many options and for many of us, it's near impossible to really know without spending big money to find out, especially if you're not in the US, since so few ppl are willing to ship abroad.
  6. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I like all three.

    I do like EMG active pickups a lot (the X series the least--they lose that sparkle) and have and have had them on lots of basses. Even wired traditionally (VT or VVT), they work and sound great. You only need to have space for a battery for the install. Long battery life, too.

    I have done onboard preamps, too, and like them a lot, too. These paired with the right passive pickups can often sound a touch more organic than some EMG designs, but can also sound just as colored. My J Retro pre adds a contour/mid scoop that I kinda wish wasn't there. Coupled to the Bartolini 9JS pickups, it does sound really good and I have the option of bypassing the pre and going passive. My 97 US Jazz Dlx has a great sounding Suhr designed pre/pickup combo.

    I have used the EMG BTC/BTS systems, too and find they are pretty true to the original tone of the pickups when set at the center/flat clicks. I have an Ibanez RB630 with an 80s P pickup and BTS system. This bass can really do it all, from modern, scoopy, bright, dubby to vintage tones with manipulation of just a simple 2 band EQ. The benefit of onboard is the ability to control EQ and volume changes cleanly and easily from the bass.

    An outboard pre is nice since they often run at higher voltages and have componentry chosen for tone vs space saving. They are also completely bypassable if not needed and can be used with any bass.
    superheavyfunk likes this.

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