P/J set up is king. I love humbuckered Spectors also, but they've got a very modern sound. But they're idiot-proof.
If you want to be able to just plug the dam thing in and not piss about trying to "engineer" a good sound, then you can't beat a humbuckered Spector, quite honestly. They are such no-nonsense it's ridiculous. Mega versatile too. Just a seriously good, clean signal right from the off. Muscular, punchy tone. Better for finger-players too.
Having said that, nothing beats a P/J set up for me. Particularly with EMG's. So long as it's a solid, long-scale bass (and preferably not a Fender as the tone is just too clanky and honky, too old school). I'd highly recommend Spector again here, but most modern long scale basses will do the trick.
Originally Posted by Randy
Yeah, definitely passive ones. An active P is so much more even, especially if you're bi-amping and splitting the low and high signals to process them differently. Nothing distorts as nicely as a P pickup on bass. Humbuckers get too jangly and sharp, even actives. They're much better suited to muscular clean tones a la Alex Webster, where you just want to bring the beef. But for TONE and to melt in with the guitars in a mix, I way prefer a bi-amped P.