a question for bass players!

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andrew_
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a question for bass players!

Post by andrew_ » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:12 pm

I am totally sick of changing 9 volt batteries for my active pickups. Does anyone have experience with both actives and passives, and is there really a disadvantage to using passive pickups?

dootdoot
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Re: a question for bass players!

Post by dootdoot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:38 pm

andrew_ wrote:I am totally sick of changing 9 volt batteries for my active pickups. Does anyone have experience with both actives and passives, and is there really a disadvantage to using passive pickups?
How often are you changing batteries, what kind of bass, and what is the preamp?

You could have a short in the output jack/switch, or it could be incorrectly wired, and that would mean that the preamp doesn't shut off when you disconnect the 1/4" plug. The standard rig is to use a trs output jack, and leave the preamp power supply ground open across the T and R. When you insert the plug it makes the connection and turns the preamp on. The other good news is that you can check the battery voltage by measuring the voltage between the R and S of a TRS cable with one end plugged in to the bass. So first off, check the wiring, or don't leave the cable plugged into the bass all the time, etc... and that could solve the short battery life issue.

I use both. I have a Zon with Bart NTMB (supposedly customized for Zon, but the same basic preamp), and a Passive J style. I wouldn't give either an advantage. They are both versatile basses. If you need the heavy boost and cut of a preamp you could even go with a stomp pre like the Aguilar, Sadowsky, or Xotic (to name a few). I'd call the onboard pre an advantage if you are making EQ tweaks on the fly and they are bigger than you can make with technique and a passive tone knob. If passive electronics have a disadvantage, it would be about getting a certain "active" sound. Even so, you can get a lot of it with outboard gear. Most active basses are just preamps after passive pickups anyway. There are a few "active pickup" designs, with a powered buffer amp built into the pickup, then feeding an onboard preamp (some EMG's...), but they aren't anywhere near as common.

dootdoot
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Post by dootdoot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:42 pm

Oh... you can also ring most active basses to accept phantom power over TRS! You can get the power from a phantom box with either a wall wart, a battery array, or both.

Hidden Driveways
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Post by Hidden Driveways » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:45 pm

I've never used a bass that has active pickups and I've never felt that I was at a disadvantage.

dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:12 pm

i used EMG or whatever in my jazz for years, then switched back to the originals, really didn't miss the active. that said, depends on what kind of music you play, and what kind of bass you have. if you want the marcus miller slap sound on a jazz, you need active. if you want mccartney, you need passive. etc.

Gemini Club
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Post by Gemini Club » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:46 pm

unplug the cable from your bass when youre not using it. youre probably just draining the battery.
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andrew_
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Post by andrew_ » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:52 pm

Thanks guys.

I'm pretty good about unplugging when I'm not using the bass, I don't think it's a battery draining issue. It's not even that I'm changing that often - a few times a year - but I'm playing at least a gig a week so it's annoying when they do die. Between all the other things I've got to cart around with me it would just be nice not to have to worry about always having spare 9-volts.

From the little I've read about the passive sound I think I can get down with that just fine.

dootdoot
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Post by dootdoot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:03 pm

Depending on the bass, and what it has in it now, it can be very easy to switch to passive. I've modded a few Stingrays back to passive with good results, and a few of my past J-style "project" basses have been active and passive as I felt the need. Your options mostly depend on whether you have active pickups or passive pickups. If you have passive pickups then you may be able to install a preamp bypass and have the best of both. if you have active pickups then you are kinda stuck with needing a battery unless you swap them out. They don't work at all without power.

If you want to let me know what kind of bass it is I can be more specific. Send a PM if you want to.

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