Active preamp with passive pickups?!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rstellar13, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    So if I have passive pickups with an active preamp, what would the active/ passive push pull or switch do? Would It be like a kill switch?
    Please help! Much love!

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    actually engages the active preamp or bypasses it. Hope this helps you.
  3. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    It's like the on/off switch on an effects pedal. You either get the pre-amp (active) EQ, or no EQ (passive). The bass will still work and should sound like a normal passive bass. I think the volume control should work normally as well; may vary by manufacturer.
  4. 90% of the time, preamps are paired with passive pickups. There is generally no reason to have both active pickups and a preamp, and there are even disadvantages to doing so. In any case, active pickups cannot be bypassed, whether they are paired with preamps or not. "Active/passive" switches are nothing more than "true bypass" switches for preamps. In active mode, the preamp is in the circuit, but in passive mode, the pickups, whether active or passive, run straight to the jack after their controls.
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  6. Yes you can! I currently run passive parts (MK6CBC) with an active pre (Bart NTMB3 4.6 A/P) that has an active/passive push pull
  7. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    Bass preamps are essentially the same as EQ pedals, it's the same as turning it on or off. It's like switching between an active and passive Jazz bass with a switch.
  8. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    As line6man stated, an active preamp can be by-passed whether pickups are active or passive and depending on preamp, by-passed can sound a bit different/cleaner.
    By-passed still requires battery w/active pickups, of course,
    and passive pickups can still be used w/ a dead battery.
  9. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    I think you are confused by the two entirely different kinds of active systems.

    One is just a preamp inside the bass after quite normal pickups, probably with some load capacitance to simulate the cable.

    But there are active pickups that are low impedance and cannot be used without their preamp at all. EMGs inside are of that kind, as well as Alembic pickups and general systems that can vary the frequency of the resonance peak. An EQ system like the one in a Stingray can't do the latter.
  10. There is no issue using active pickups with no preamp.
  11. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Not sure about all active pups, (EMGs may be hotter) but EMG DC40's and 40P's work fine without a preamp.
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    the preamps are inside the housings of those EMGs.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    you're referring to pickups that are themselves passive, but which don't really work right without their dedicated preamps.

    not so much "active" pickups as i dunno, "active-only" pickups, maybe?

    i think of music man stingrays this way too; that pickup is not meant to be run passive and doesn't sound so good without the bass boost from the preamp.
  14. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    Yep...clear as mud...
  15. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Common usage is that passive pickup means the PUP assembly functions in its own without needing power supplied to it. Active PUPs are those that require power to function. So the regular EMG pickups, while having a "passive" component, are indeed active pickups. You cannot use their P bass pickup assembly without supplying power to it.

    No need to obfuscate the issue with picayune attempts at precision.