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Why Are So Many High-End Basses Active?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CBgaragebassist, Oct 12, 2009.


  1. I've noticed that more expensive/higher-end basses (such as Zon, Dingwall, etc.) have active preamps. I prefer passive basses, and I was just wondering why that is?
     
  2. funkucan'ttouch

    funkucan'ttouch Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    west virginia
    most I have seen have passive pups and active preamps..
     
  3. All the more expensive basses i've seen that have passive have been ones designed to be more look the vintage Fenders/etc. Like Sadowsky's J's, they're high-end with passive(they have the option at least).
    But more contemporary designs have active, that i've seen anyway.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Can you clarify: are you sure you mean active pickups, and not passive pickups combined with a preamp? The Zons, for example, are passive pickups with a preamp in the control cavity.
     
  5. I meant active pickups as in EMG-type ones. I don't know much about Zons and i thought they were active based upon the appearance. sorry about the confusion. When i was saying passive i was refering to kinds like these-
    [​IMG]
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    EMG makes passive pups too, FWIW. And what you have shown there are "Precision" pups which may be passive or active. Both passive and active pups come in every shape and format: J, P, MM, and soapbars of every description.

    Most high-end basses do not have active pups. There are a few, sure, but...
     
  7. cmewhinney

    cmewhinney

    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    I think CB is equating visible magnets with passive pickups and pickups without visible magnets with active pickups. Sorry for being so wordy and confusing. Very tired. If you need clarification, I will do my best.
     
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Maybe you like more of an 'old school' sound. Actives are usually a bit more modern and aggressive.
     
  9. When i was saying passive i meant that it's sending just the raw signal, pickup to amp. and active sending the signal through a 'onboard'(for lack of a better term) preamp.
     
  10. Very few pickups on the market are active.

    As I have said so many times before on this forum, 90% of the time "active" is referring to passive pickups through a preamp.
     
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Easy thing to remember about active pickups is that EMG is pretty much the only company that makes active pickups. Duncan has 1 or 2 models, and Peavey has some they use on their basses. Other than that, you're probalby looking at passive pickups.
     
  12. Yeah, i like the older-type tone. And nearly every bass with active p-ups i've played has just sounded bad to me.
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, so you meant "active preamp", not "active pickups". The pickups are only active if they contain a powered preamp inside the pickup housing. For a preamp inside the control cavity, "onboard preamp" is a correct common term, although 99% of the time when somebody says "active bass" that's what they mean--not active pickups per se.

    So your question is "why are so many high-end basses active?"
     
  14. naturalkinds

    naturalkinds

    Jan 22, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    Weird thread.
     
  15. Don't forget MEC.

    But yeah, it's a very limited market.
     
  16. yes. thank you.
     
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Really? I didn't know MEC's were internally active. I'm gonna have to look out for some...I need an internally active J pickup!
     
  18. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    My first active bass got noticed in the mix. Got a comment every time.
    Pedulla, Tobias has active /passive option. Very nice.
    That's why I like active.
     
  19. Im confused by the original post.

    Are you asking why you like passive pickups over an active setup or asking why high end builders choose onboard preamps over straight passive?
     
  20. rumblinbass

    rumblinbass

    Aug 22, 2003
    Wimberley, TX
    The pickups you are referring to as active - are these the ones with the active electronics within the pickup housing?
    If that's the case I would still refer to the pickup as a passive device. Moving the electronics from one place to another does not change that.
     

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