I have bought a 1989 fender MIJ Lyte bass. The owner took out the active wiring saying he likes the sound better. He offered to put it back. Whats the best advice here? Thanks in advance, Cheers alf
If he took out the circuitry but left the same pickups in, then I would ask him to put the circuitry back in. Most pickups in active basses are designed to be run active, and might sound bad without the preamp (the active circuitry).
If he switched out the pickups then it's a matter of taste and style. I would at least have him include the original electronics either outside the bass or reinstalled, so you can have someone switch it back if you want.
A lot of classic bass sounds were made with passive basses. Active basses are popular with jazz and metal musicians but also are used across all genres. Usually active basses sound clearer with higher highs and deeper lows, and they can reveal fret noise and other signs of poor technique more than passive basses. Active basses don't always work as well with distortion pedals and might fight with compressors also.