Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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windmill
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Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by windmill » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:04 am

Hello

Wondering if there are any people use a bass with active pickups rather than passive.

What is the reason you do so ?

If you don't, what is the reason you do not ?

Let me know your thoughts

:)

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DWO
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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by DWO » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:29 am

I much prefer passive because I think it sounds better. Also I had a battery die during a gig once and swore off active bass after that one incident.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by leokula » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:32 am

I don't have much experience with many different basses... my bandmate has an active one that I really like the sound for getting that fat bottom and having the root note very pronounced when the guitars are super noisy. To my ears the sound is less punchy, but for what we do in the band, I think the active one works better.
Last edited by leokula on Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by Telliot » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:01 am

I’ve had both, and I much prefer passive. I came to hate the sound of active pickups, generally speaking. They sound unnatural and harsh to my ears, and trying to get them to play nice in my gain staging was a nightmare.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:36 am

Passive, for the reasons mentioned already.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by burpgun » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:08 am

I've had a few active basses over the years, and I just don't see the point. The two actives in question are a long-since-sold Japanese Jaguar, and one I still have, an American Jag. In neither case did the active circuit do anything I wanted.

On the high end the pre amp could add a really brittle crispness, and on the low end, a wall of boom. But if you've got a lot of pedals, the active circuit was just another variable to complicate things. About the only upside I can see, at least with my American Jag, is that using the active circuit seems like it could add a Musicman like tone to the pallet. Not my thing, but it might work for somebody else.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:48 am

IMO the Music Man Stingray and its relatives get a pass. Not a sound I go for, but they sure sound great in the hands of Kim Deal and Joe Lally.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by burpgun » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:07 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:48 am
IMO the Music Man Stingray and its relatives get a pass. Not a sound I go for, but they sure sound great in the hands of Kim Deal and Joe Lally.
I don't like the sound at all, but a Stingray is one of the few basses I hear in a recording and can immediately identify. I may not be right about this, but I ready somewhere Joe Lally played a Stingray not because he liked it, but it was the only thing he felt would cut through the guitars. I don't think he plays them anymore. I associate them with slapping punk funk dudes. I guess it was 'cause of Flea, but when I was coming up anyone into that sort of playing, and there were a lot of guys who fit that bill, played a Stingray.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:23 am

burpgun wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:07 am
marqueemoon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:48 am
IMO the Music Man Stingray and its relatives get a pass. Not a sound I go for, but they sure sound great in the hands of Kim Deal and Joe Lally.
I don't like the sound at all, but a Stingray is one of the few basses I hear in a recording and can immediately identify. I may not be right about this, but I ready somewhere Joe Lally played a Stingray not because he liked it, but it was the only thing he felt would cut through the guitars. I don't think he plays them anymore. I associate them with slapping punk funk dudes. I guess it was 'cause of Flea, but when I was coming up anyone into that sort of playing, and there were a lot of guys who fit that bill, played a Stingray.
Yeah. It definitely cuts. Ride’s “Leave Them All Behind” is another good example.

I think the slappers like them because they don’t get as dull with compression.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by Zork » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:20 pm

I actually never played an active bass in my life but I want to get a new fretless bass and wonder if I should try an active bass for that to really pronounce the "mwaah" with the preamp. On the other hand I use a lot of pedals for synth type of sounds and I believe active preamps plus pedals - especially distortion - is a very difficult thing. Came here for other peoples knowledge.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by burpgun » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:17 pm

Zork wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:20 pm
I actually never played an active bass in my life but I want to get a new fretless bass and wonder if I should try an active bass for that to really pronounce the "mwaah" with the preamp. On the other hand I use a lot of pedals for synth type of sounds and I believe active preamps plus pedals - especially distortion - is a very difficult thing. Came here for other peoples knowledge.
If you are going to do a lot with pedals,skip the active stuff. It just creates complications and may make your signal too hot,causing unexpected and unwelcome issues.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by Futuron » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:57 pm

I've got a Fender Deluxe active bass, it has a switch for passive/active, and if the batteries go flat you're covered. I got used to playing nothing but a passive PJ bass for years so I haven't really used the active mode. To me a bass sounds like a bass, (I don't ever use bass effects) and so the other mode doesn't sound like an improvement to me, just a variation. But I suppose there are situations where it could cut through better.

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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by NoiseNoiseNoise » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:47 am

I prefer passive, but I lucked out when I got my G&L L2500 Tribute because it's switchable passive/active!
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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by oid » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:55 am

If by active you mean a bass with standard passive pickups and active electronics, I like both and would be perfectly content with either, I could always add a bypass for the electronics if I wanted the passive sound.

If you mean active pickups, than no, passive all the way. The tone the active pickups seem to be going for is just not my thing.
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Re: Active or passive bass , what is your choice ?

Post by countertext » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:39 am

My main bass for more than 20 years has been a StingRay, and I love the way it sounds. However, if a really good Precision fell into my hands, I suspect the StingRay would get retired. I think the characteristics of the StingRay I value most probably have more to do with the way it works in a live setting than with recording or enjoying at home.

Fwiw, the treble boost on my StingRay has probably been at zero for every gig it’s ever done. It’s been the hardest-working instrument I’ve ever owned, but with my right pinky I could turn it into the worst-sounding bass on the planet in a heartbeat.

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