Because we know how important this topic is, today we will talk about how long batteries last in your active bass.
An active bass has a preamp installed internally to improve the pickup signal before it reaches the output jack. It is driven by a battery (typically nine volts, sometimes 18 volts). Batteries are crucial to the functioning of bass because they power the device and allow the information to be transmitted to the amplifier.
We frequently have to replace these cells because they drain too quickly. However, most of us have wondered, “What time interval do you need to consider?” “Why does it run down so fast?” “How can you ensure the battery still has power?” and so on.
So, today we will talk about how long batteries last in an active bass because we know this is an important subject, and we don’t want you to have to stop playing because your battery died.
Let’s see how long batteries last in an active bass and solve the mystery.
How Long Do Batteries Last in Your Active Bass?
The battery life of a bass can range from a few hours to several days, based on the type of battery used, the quality of the battery, and the frequency with which the bass is played. It will require more frequent battery changes if the bass is performed frequently.
The average battery life of an active bass is between 4 and 12 months, but this varies greatly with how often the instrument is inserted into an amplifier. If you only plug in the bass rarely, the batteries will last much longer. Avoid using rechargeable batteries onstage as a general guideline.
For an active bass, it’s always recommended to have a spare 9V battery on hand. It won’t give out on you, and you won’t waste money constantly replacing dead cells. Keeping an eye on your bass’s battery life and swapping it out when necessary are easy and quick maintenance chores.
Because it takes so long for bass strings to become unusable, it’s easy to forget that they’ll ultimately lose their tone. Therefore, keeping track of how often you use your pedal and regularly changing your bass strings is crucial.
What Happens When Your Active Bass Runs Out of Battery?
When a bass’s battery dies, the instrument’s sound will weaken and become distorted. No more amplified bass sounds once the battery expires. You will know your bass’s charge is dying if it stops working. It will lose its bottom end, become more difficult to hear, and be unpleasant to experience overall.
If your bass is active only, it will soon stop producing an amplified tone and need a new battery. But some basses have the option to alternate between active and passive. Passive mode allows the bass to be played through an amplifier if the battery expires.
Switches like this are not standard on all active basses, but they are on those made by Warwick and a few others. These toggles are typically situated near the bass’s tone controls. For some basses, depressing the volume control brings up the switch.
The absence of an active-passive switch necessitates replacing the battery whenever it runs out of juice. Keep in mind that when they die, rechargeable cells behave slightly differently. There will be no gradual loss of volume; all sound will vanish. As a result, it’s recommended that you don’t use rechargeable cells for your live performances.
How Often Should I Change the Active Bass Battery?
It’s standard to check the battery life of your bass often and replace it when it gets low. One way to keep them from suddenly dying on you is to replace them every 4 months. The second is to monitor the battery’s life with a multimeter and only change it when it’s nearly dead.
Also, if the battery is even a bit low, you should use a new one before going on stage. You should switch out the battery occasionally to keep your bass in good shape. By replacing it every four months, you can avoid paying too much attention to the battery.
It’s unlikely to ever break down on you, and you’ll only need to change it occasionally as part of your regular bass upkeep. The advantage of a multimeter is that you can use it to check the health of your battery and alert you when it is about to die.
You can rest assured that it won’t suddenly shut down on you, and you’ll also save money by not having to discard partially used batteries. Leaving your active bass plugged in will drain your battery, even if you’re not using it now. Simply plugging a cable into the input jack will trigger the preamp’s circuit, independent of the signal’s status at the other end.
The battery will eventually die if you don’t use your amplifier or aren’t linked to it. Keeping a cable connected to your bass while you’re not using it will cause the preamp to drain the battery over time. As a result, it will lose functionality faster and need replacing sooner than expected.
If you want to do yourself a huge favor, you should disconnect your active bass after each use. Besides getting more use out of your battery life, you’ll also be able to spend less. And even if you don’t mind the inconvenience, it’s a good practice to get into to keep the cables and input jack from getting damaged.
Active Bass: Pros and Cons
Active basses, similar to the front end of a conventional bass amp, feature an internal preamplifier fueled by batteries. These days, active basses are more likely to have passive sensors and an active preamp/EQ than to have an active pickup of any kind.
Typically, these circuits are fueled by a single 9-volt battery, but recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the popularity of 18-volt instruments with spaces for two 9-volt batteries. Increasing the power by a factor of two increases the headroom and other benefits of active devices over passive ones.
Many bassists use words like “bright,” “snappy,” and “hi-fi” to characterize the sound of an active bass, but this is probably because active basses give you more control over your tone than passive basses do. Because of their innate tone-shaping ability, active basses are frequently heard in aggressive music, such as prog metal.
A bass with active electronics can drive lengthy cable runs without experiencing the dreaded “tone suck” — signal decay, noise, and interference — that would be experienced with a passive bass due to its preamp buffering and greater output signal level.
In doing so, you’re giving your amp a more robust and undistorted sound to work with. Turning down the volume or adjusting the highs will give your active bass a more “passive” tone if it sounds too high-fidelity. Passive basses’ tone controls are limited to cutting frequencies, while active instruments’ equalizers allow you to enhance frequencies for more tonal variety.
Incorporating the sound-sculpting capabilities of a bass amp into your instrument, active basses typically feature 2– or 3-band EQ in the preamps, which is useful for fine-tuning your tone at the source when plugging directly into a PA system or audio interface. An active bass is useful if you do session work or perform in a cover band and need to switch musical styles mid-session or live set.
Bassists staunchly in the passive camp may find that the hot, consistent signal generated by active basses sounds compressed and, thus, lacks dynamic range. And we’ve all experienced the unpleasant hiss when treble frequencies are boosted too much in an active bass EQ.
Also, some effects pedals aren’t compatible with active basses, so a stronger output sound could cause havoc with your setup. Further, there is the problem of battery disposal to consider.
Unless your bass can switch between active and passive states, your sound will stop when the power in your active bass expires. Swapping the batteries in an active bass with the hinged battery chamber is a breeze if you have a spare battery.
A significant headache, especially midway through the performance, can arise if you don’t or if the door to the battery compartment screws on. And a warning to bassists who always keep their instrument cable connected. Expect to replace your batteries regularly, so stock up now.
The battery life of active basses is never a significant issue. If you replace it every six months or use it to its maximum potential with a voltmeter, you won’t have to give it much thought. In light of this, if you play an active bass, it’s smart to always keep a few spare 9V batteries in your gig luggage.
Although battery failure is uncommon, some people wouldn’t risk a live performance if it depended on a single one. Similarly, you can swap in a replacement battery for a bass guitar within a minute so assuming you have a tool, you can finish the job in minutes so it’s easier than you think.
Death metal enthusiast here. I am a Romanian musician and producer with over 13 years of experience in the music industry. I’ve experienced all types of Metal up until now, playing Melodic Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Black Metal with different bands. Learning by doing is my base principle, which is why I’ve been drawn to sound design from an early age. Read more…