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Is there a reason for the apparent dislike for active basses...

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[quote name='Muzz' timestamp='1484655971' post='3217182']
Dime the mids on my East pre on any bass I have, and it'll drive the amp pre into that one. There you go. :D
[/quote]

Aha! That's something I use a lot on the 3-band East in my Stingray when playing in the RATM covers band: by altering the mids slightly with the overdrive pedal engage you can control how much distortion is apparent in the band mix. Really useful!

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[quote name='Grangur' timestamp='1484690976' post='3217638']


Scott's Over watter has a battery compartment at Chris's insistence just in case Scott changes his mind about having the bass passive. In fact Scott's Overwater is passive even if the Scott Divine signature bass may be active.

I know about this because Scott talked about this in the Academy.
[/quote]

Is that his P bass or his 5 string you're talking about? I was under the impression his P bass was being run with an active buffer to combat signal degradation down the jack cable. If I'm wrong I stand corrected!

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[quote name='hiram.k.hackenbacker' timestamp='1484656225' post='3217185']
I wasn't aware of any overwhelming dislike for actives. I own and play both. I do think the battery argument is a bit daft.
[/quote]

no dafter than claiming passives sound better in the studio ;)

it's all down to personal preference and the context in which an individual bass is played. I find these threads quite amusing. They're interesting as you get to hear what people like and dislike about certain aspects and that's cool. But there are some general blanket statements that are frankly hilarious. I never get tired of the "passive, because I want a pure signal" (which I haven't read in this thread yet, by the way, I'm surprised :P) when the passive signal is going to be processed through tons of various analog/digital equipment anyway :)

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[quote name='ped' timestamp='1484643369' post='3217019']
I prefer active. Less noise, more flexible - funny when people say there's too many knobs and it's confusing... if you can work a toaster you can learn the controls on a bass guitar :)
[/quote]

Ha! True... but for people who don't like toast those controls are unnecessary since they just want the pure bread flavour straight from the oven to the table :lol:

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[quote name='mildmanofrock' timestamp='1484655459' post='3217174']
Active basses sound a bit 'keyboardy' to me. That can be a good thing, I suppose.
[/quote]

:huh: what do you mean?
That could be a cool effect sometimes, actually :)

One thing I find is that there are a lot of naff uninspiring active basses out there, especially in the low/mid-range price bracket. It's almost as if they put a preamp just to make them seem better value than they are. Not every preamp is the same just like not every bass is the same, and I suspect most people first experience with active basses is with one of these not so inspiring ones.

If you start with a good instrument, passive, adding a good preamp (or a 'suitable' preamp for that particular bass, perhaps, in terms of centre frequencies, width/slopes etc) does not need to destroy that good passive tone. Some preamps can totally obliterate it, and you may want that or not, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not... but many preamps will not screw with that.

I find it difficult to talk of 'active' basses and 'passive' basses as if each class had a very distinct characteristic sound, because to me they don't. There's enormous variation within each, which is why active/passive is the last thing I care about when choosing a bass.

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I don't recall anyone on here saying they actively dislike active basses. As others have remarked, it's down to personal preference.

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1484681706' post='3217485']
I've never played an active bass, perfectly happy with my passive basses as they so see no need to change. Some people seem to spend their whole lives looking for a better this or better that. Personally, I'd rather just get on with playing.
[/quote]

wise man!

I was a bit like that... until I discovered BassChat. :lol:

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[quote name='Woodinblack' timestamp='1484686395' post='3217566']
Open cover, take out battery, put in battery, close cover.
Pretty complicated yes, next weeks lesson is putting on trousers :D
[/quote]

Next week? But I've got a gig this week! I guess I can hang the bass low... :huh: :P

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[quote name='mcnach' timestamp='1484729038' post='3217765']

Next week? But I've got a gig this week! I guess I can hang the bass low... :huh: :P
[/quote]

Thats rock'n'roll!

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[quote name='Jazzjames' timestamp='1484727899' post='3217751']
Is that his P bass or his 5 string you're talking about? I was under the impression his P bass was being run with an active buffer to combat signal degradation down the jack cable. If I'm wrong I stand corrected!
[/quote]

Scott has a dislike for all active basses. I know his Overwaters are passive. I don't know if his P-bass has any pre-amp in there. I would doubt it, but I know nothing for sure on that one.

If it helps here's a video of him playing the red P. There are only 2 knobs. I know this doesn't nail it for sure, but it would limit any control over a pre-amp.

http://youtu.be/5bWnTk6M3-U?list=RDIDgbfmT8hcM

Here's Scott giving a run-down on the Scott Divine Overwater. At 5.09 he talks about the electronics
http://youtu.be/QcMMJqreR-E?t=297

Edited by Grangur

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https://youtu.be/czK3IjnM_oE

Here's the video with Chris May from Overwater talking about the Overwater P bass.

9'20" is when they start talking about the active buffer inside the precision bass.

From the subsequent videos with this bass, I not a fan. I think his Nate Mendel P bass sounds better to my ear, and I attribute at least some of that to the 'cleaner' sound the Overwater has.

If you like that sound, then cool. Me, not so much. I have no dislike for other people playing active basses, but I just don't need one.

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[quote name='Jazzjames' timestamp='1484732103' post='3217794']
[url="https://youtu.be/czK3IjnM_oE"]https://youtu.be/czK3IjnM_oE[/url]

Here's the video with Chris May from Overwater talking about the Overwater P bass.

9'20" is when they start talking about the active buffer inside the precision bass.

From the subsequent videos with this bass, I not a fan. I think his Nate Mendel P bass sounds better to my ear, and I attribute at least some of that to the 'cleaner' sound the Overwater has.

If you like that sound, then cool. Me, not so much. I have no dislike for other people playing active basses, but I just don't need one.
[/quote]
Thanks for posting that it's interesting to hear about that bass with the pre-amp. I've often wondered about why I can get Warwicks that ring a clean note. Even in passive mode, the notes ring clearly, where a Fender and many other passives sound mushy. The notes sound fuzzy to my ears.

I'm sure that in a band context this doesn't matter and might even sound better, but I play on my own so I want the notes to ring clean.

Thanks for that it was good, as well to hear them talking about the reversed P-bass pup. I like that too. Warwick basses use this and maybe that to adds to the tighter sound.

In the Herts Bass bash in 2014, the Fender Mark Hoppus won the blind P-bass test. That has a reversed pup, so it seems there are many out there who like the reversed pup.

http://basschat.co.uk/topic/238458-herts-bash-2-the-precision-test/

Edited by Grangur

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Nothing wrong with passive basses, they do the job. Heres why [b]I[/b] prefer active basses:

- More signal strength, makes it easier to drive some pedals and some amp's preamps to a fat cristal clean sound full of headroom.

- My bass and amp are kept flat, all the sound comes from my fingers and positioning but i tweak them as needed: Amp is tweaked if there's a resonant freq. in the room that needs to be adressed. Bass is tweaked to add a bit of bass in some parts and add some piezzo/highs when the strings start to get old.

- EQ'ing my core sound in my bass and not the amp makes sure that the sound and tone comming out of my bass is the same that gets sent to the PA/FOH.

- Active basses have less noise and more headroom than a passive bass. Passive basses allways sound too "thin" to my ears.

- I prefer the volume/pan control found on actives to tailor the tone. Most passive 2-pickup basses on the market keep using the horrible VVT (at least they could use the better stacked Vol/tone for each pickup option) and if you find yourself in the need of some bass in the middle of a song the only way to get them is at the expense of the highs.

- Batteries aren't a issue with a passive bass. The bass will give you warning signs of a dying battery well before it shuts down and allow you time to finish the song (or the gig in some occations). A battery can be replaced in seconds between two songs. Most modern active preamps come with passive operation option and a lot of preamp makers are offering a passive tone control in their preamps.

- My bass has the tone i allways wanted to hear straight flat, i can hook it directly to a PA and there's all my sounds available, it has active pickups in so it's impossible to run it passive and until i find another bass with the same core tone that can be run passive i'll keep using it. It' 17 year old and it's been my main gigging tool for the last 7 years and never let me down.

- I know every control on my bass and how it changes the sound, i can get a wide range of sounds in a couple of seconds. Most sounds i get are impossible to get from a passive bass without having to walk back to the amp and re-EQ.


This is all IMO and IME

Jaco&Co. had great tones from their passive basses but it happens that none of them are a tone that i love or want to use. It's all in the mids folks! :D

Cheers

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[quote name='Grangur' timestamp='1484759468' post='3218212']
Thanks for posting that it's interesting to hear about that bass with the pre-amp. I've often wondered about why I can get Warwicks that ring a clean note. Even in passive mode, the notes ring clearly, where a Fender and many other passives sound mushy. The notes sound fuzzy to my ears.

I'm sure that in a band context this doesn't matter and might even sound better, but I play on my own so I want the notes to ring clean.

Thanks for that it was good, as well to hear them talking about the reversed P-bass pup. I like that too. Warwick basses use this and maybe that to adds to the tighter sound.

In the Herts Bass bash in 2014, the Fender Mark Hoppus won the blind P-bass test. That has a reversed pup, so it seems there are many out there who like the reversed pup.

[url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/238458-herts-bash-2-the-precision-test/"]http://basschat.co.u...precision-test/[/url]
[/quote]

There are a lot of reversed P's around. They've been for decades. My Yammy BB1000S from '85 has a reverse P and to this time has the most musical (subjective to my ears) P sound i've heard. Oh, and back on topic, it's passive! :)

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[quote name='mcnach' timestamp='1484728761' post='3217762']
:huh: what do you mean?
That could be a cool effect sometimes, actually :)

[/quote]

Sorry, was I not clear enough? As I said, that can be a good thing. To me, notes from some actives sound artificially and synthetically rounded off, a little like a keyboard. It can be difficult expressing sounds with words.

Edited by mildmanofrock

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[quote name='Ghost_Bass' timestamp='1484761468' post='3218233']


There are a lot of reversed P's around. They've been for decades. My Yammy BB1000S from '85 has a reverse P and to this time has the most musical (subjective to my ears) P sound i've heard. Oh, and back on topic, it's passive! :)
[/quote]
I also have an Ibanez EXseries with the reversed P too. Thanks though.

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[quote name='Shambo' timestamp='1484602695' post='3216795']
I prefer passive because I want less to fiddle with. Active is a bit of a distraction for me, plus I get to leave my bass plugged in.
[/quote]

I never leave the bass plugged in... one clumsy person tripping on the cable and you risk damaging the output socket or worse.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1484603254' post='3216807']
Unless the controls on your bass do something very different such as the filter EQ of the Wal or ACG, or they allow you to EQ each pickup separately, I really can't see the point as all they do is duplicate what you should already have available on your amp.
[/quote]

Do you find you like the EQ sections in all preamps? I don't. The preamp on my Stingray is nothing like the EQ section on my LMIII or my Streamliner 900 which is again different. And there's a good reason why they're different. So no, onboard preamps do not necessarily duplicate the controls on your amp. That's like saying that all basses sound the same.

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[quote name='Jazzjames' timestamp='1484635684' post='3216954']
And you only need it to happen once when a battery fails on stage to know that relying on a £3 battery as a crucial chain in your signal path is not cool.
[/quote]

The battery won't fail you... a human (you) will fail you, most likely, when they forget to replace the battery once a year or so ;)

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[quote name='mildmanofrock' timestamp='1484761990' post='3218238']
Sorry, was I not clear enough?
[/quote]

No, to me you weren't, that's why I asked. I hope it wasn't too much effort to answer. Thank you.

Edited by mcnach

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I never thought there was any dislike I'm not sure I've seen any particular distain for them.

There are situations where either would maybe have an advantage or disadvantage in a situation.

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I prefer passive, I get enough tone shaping options from my amp's preamp and love the simplicity of the Volume/Tone onboard setup.

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I have no preference when it comes to active or passive basses and own both (2 passive, 1 active/passive ). I do like basses that have active/passive switches, I like to have that option.

One of my current basses used to be active and I ripped out the controls and changed it to passive. 3 reasons for this. Firstly, the pots were cheap and become worn out. Secondly, I couldn't source an active control unit that I was certain would fit the control cavity. And finally, something touched upon in the Scott Devine/Chris May video clip, one of the controls didn't work for me, it didn't cut/boost where I wanted.

Batteries have never been an issue neither has the temptation to constantly keep adjusting the controls, I'm likely to do that as I am to the amp controls, in fact, a lot of the time I leave them flat on the bass.

As for noise, the noisiest bass I've ever owned was a passive p bass, however, the second most noisy was an active J style. When it was noisy the preamp accentuated the problem. And I think in another Devine/May video Chris May explains that active isn't a guarantee of quiet and as such why Overwater use ghost coiling in J basses and proper shielding.

My current go to bass is a Sire V7, which I tend to keep in passive mode. However, having read a couple of comments here at next band practice I'm going to use it in active and maybe slightly play around with its sweepable mid controls :)

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[quote name='hiram.k.hackenbacker' timestamp='1484788223' post='3218523']


This ^

The battery argument is a complete non issue.

I would never leave a bass plugged in when I'm not using it anyway and if you don't have the sense to check the battery once every six months (which is when I would normally check neck relief etc) then there is no hope for you whatsoever.
[/quote]

In my experience of using a bass equipped with a Glock preamp, the battery would last 6-9 weeks. That's practise plus rehearsals plus gigs as it was my only bass at the time. I was obviously doing something wrong... Too much practice? Too many gigs? Please advise.

In all seriousness though, I think I made my point much earlier in the thread- I prefer the sound of passive instruments right now. That's the main reason for me.

Edited by Jazzjames

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