The electric bass or electric bass for short is a bass guitar that is mostly made of wood and relies on electronic amplification. Basically, the electric bass is divided into models with solid body and semi-hollow construction. While the former bass has a massive body, which makes it completely insensitive to feedback, the partially acoustic construction of the latter ensures a particularly warm and deep sound. Last but not least, some electric basses have a fretless fingerboard that promotes a singing sound similar to the classic double bass. In addition to the usually used passive pickups, active pickups are particularly popular with modern basses, whose increased transparency and headroom support modern sounds.
Passive electronics manage without a power supply. Therefore it can only work in one direction, i.e. lower frequencies. Classic passive electronics consist of volume controls for the pickups and a passive tone control. When fully turned up, this regulator is in its neutral position. If you turn it, the value of the capacitor inside the electronics changes. This dampens the highs.
There are usually no other features with passive electronics. If the instrument has two pickups, a balance control for the mixing ratio of the pickups and a single volume control for the overall volume are often used instead of the two individual volume controls.
Active electronics offer significantly more convenience than passive ones. This convenience is usually expressed in the form of a preamplifier, which - like a stereo system - includes potentiometers for bass, middle and treble. The instrument needs power to operate this preamp, and without it there is usually no sound. (Donkey bridge: the bass has to be "activated" for this!).
The electronics are mostly powered by a 9V battery. Sometimes even two 9V blocks are used to achieve an operating voltage of 18 volts. With the help of active electronics, frequencies can now also be added to the signal from the pickups and not just removed.
The second crucial difference is the so-called impedance conversion. The high-resistance signal of the pickups is converted into a low-resistance one. In practice, this means that the signal arrives at the amplifier with almost no loss, even over longer cable runs. This impedance conversion is also accompanied by a slight change in the sound.
If you look at the pure data sheet, the active electronics are clearly ahead of the game thanks to their expanded capabilities. However, the theoretical values do not have to match your taste by a long way! The human ear perceives losses through the cable in the high range as quite pleasant for some styles. These inadequacies actually suit some sound ideal!
This effect is a bit like that of a tube amp. Bass amplifiers of this type are anything but linear and usually color the sound strongly. This is physically bad, but our ears perceive this coloring as pleasant.