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Al Krow

Do pedals turn a passive bass into an active one?

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Probably a dippy Q - but I can't get my head around what happens to the signal en route from bass to amp if it's routed via a pedal board and whether we should still be using the passive input on our amps or switch to the active input?

Need to consult wiser BC heads than mine - thoughts on a postcard please!

Cheers AK

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Depends if your pedals add gain to the signal. They shouldn’t, especially when bypassed. 

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Should also add that I’ve had passive basses louder than active ones and vice versa so I tend to use whichever input gives the best level regardless of the instrument ‘type’

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An active bass ‘can’ overload the preamp on a bass amp (but it might not!). If it does use the active input which is padded usually by 10dB. Conversely a hot wound passive pick up might also overdrive the passive input. What rules eh! 

Ideally you should try both inputs and listen to the resulting sound. You might dig the extra grunt of the active into the passive input.

Your effects unit in bypass mode isn’t adding anything to the signal so whatever input worked with just bass into amp should be fine. You’ll be adding gain stages via patches so they’re easily balanced if you’re noticing volume spikes between unit on and bypassed or between individual patches. Just turn the amp up to compensate for the the reduction in input gain versus output when using the padded input.

 

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It may not be as simplistic as that but that’s normally what I’ve done in the past. 

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Yes, a pedal will effectively make your passive bass active. If it's switched on, or has a buffered bypass, it will have a low impedance output, and you might have a volume boost depending on what you're plugging into and how you have it set.

But that doesn't necessarily mean you need to use the active input. I'd only use the active input or engage the pad if I was getting unwanted clipping at the input stage of the amp. And that depends on the bass - some passive basses are louder than some active basses!

Edited by dannybuoy
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I only ever run my basses at 100% volume, I find turning it down changes the sound. Never been an issue for me though as pretty much every amp has a switchable pad, or active/passive switch.

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This has been said earlier, but active is pretty bad word describing low impedance (lo-Z). Lo-Z has nothing to do with signal level. It can be lower than with a hi-Z ("passive") bass. It is possible that the bass preamp has lots of extra gain. On the other hand, its signal level may be less than its hi-Z counterpart.

Pedals, at least when turned on, are lo-Z by nature. Those "true bypass" ones just have a simple switch, that bypasses the pedal. Then the output is the same as the bass or the previous box has.

If the lo-Z bass has B&T adjustments and they are turned to south-east, it may be so, that the signal level is very high (like +15 dB/band). If distortion exists, your choice is to lower the input level or use that other input with pad. I would not lower the volume of the bass, as the higher signal level is often very usable when taming possible noise issues. Higher level is - usually - better for signal processing (pedals), too.

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On 19/05/2019 at 15:18, Al Krow said:

Probably a dippy Q - but I can't get my head around what happens to the signal en route from bass to amp if it's routed via a pedal board and whether we should still be using the passive input on our amps or switch to the active input?

Need to consult wiser BC heads than mine - thoughts on a postcard please!

Cheers AK

I asked the exact same question a few years ago, never got a really 100% soldi answer so i didnt bother dwelling on it. 

In fact we could question if the change happens if using a wireless system as well I guess..

 

Edited by dave_bass5

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9 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

I asked the exact same question a few years ago... 

Great minds think alike and B1(X)-4 owners seldom differ eh? 😄 

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A wireless system will have the same result as say plugging into a bypassed Boss tuner. The output will be buffered and low impedance so that you can drive long cable runs and plug into low impedance inputs (like a line input of a mixer) without signal loss. The output volume should be roughly the same however. Which means that even now your signal is now ‘active’, you can still use a ‘passive’ input of your amp, because the active input is more designed for coping with really hot basses, e.g. an 18V MM Bongo with neo pickups with the EQ given some serious welly!

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Thanks DB. That’s pretty much the conclusion i came to. No increase in signal level no matter what i put before the passive input (assuming all pedals are turned off). 

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I’ve not had much experience w active instruments so I approach it as if it was a passive. I almost exclusively use a compressor at the front of my chain to bring the signal up and squash TF  out of it. I don’t care too much for dynamics as it suits my lazy sloppy way of playing lol 

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3 hours ago, tonyquipment said:

I’ve not had much experience w active instruments so I approach it as if it was a passive. I almost exclusively use a compressor at the front of my chain to bring the signal up and squash TF  out of it. I don’t care too much for dynamics as it suits my lazy sloppy way of playing lol 

Thanks Tony, we will get back to you on this, no need to contact us further... 

😂

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i always run my basses into active input, some are active basses with active on of switches, plus i nearly always have some pedals running into the amp, Helix stomp currency always on with minimum of a light compression. I just fine it easier than switching between active and passive and when switching basses, just just increase the volume on passive bass or reduce when switching to active and use master amp volume if required. That suits me best and i think you get a more consistent cleaner sound ( clean as in smooth controllable). if you have a active passive on of switch that usually -10db then just use that but separate inputs a always go into the active input.

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On 21/05/2019 at 17:03, Al Krow said:

Thanks Tony, we will get back to you on this, no need to contact us further... 

😂

😂 modern problems modern solutions 

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