Active-Passive vs. Active-Active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by air_leech, Aug 8, 2001.

  1. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    what are the tone differences between Active preamp with passive pups and active pre with active pups?

    also, why would one couple active pups with a preamp?
  2. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    IMO the pickups give you the most important part of the "voice" of your instrument. The active ones usually give you a more clear and defined sound, but some people find it "artificial". It depends on the model of the pickup and the music you´re playing.

    The active preamp is optional and just give you more flexibility to control bass/mid/high bands of your tone.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Would someone please offer an example of an "active" pickup? That is, one that is thought to be an active pickup without a preamp.

    Even more, an example of a passive/active rigging and an active/active rigging.

    I ask this, because in my 20 years of playing bass, I was always under the impression (and I correctly I think) that the word "active" refers to a pickup system with a preamp in it. Active may also refer to some sort of EQ that actually boosts certain frequencies rather than only filtering them as does a passive EQ. (Even then is still a preamp in the strickest sense of the word) But I can not think of an example of an "active" pickup.

    Perhaps you are thinking EMG? Even though there is no seperate preamp, there is indeed one. It is built into the pickups.

    Maybe I am wrong. I look forward to finding out.

  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    The term "active" is used to determine an item that has the ability to boost a signal or a part of a signal.

    Thus #1, an active pickup is a low impedans inductor, creating a week out signal, and a tiny amplifier that adds to the output. The result is a signal that is enough for an ordinary pre-amplifier to handle.

    Thus #2, an active, on-board, pre-amp is a set of elektroniks that can boost the signal from the pickups, to bring about more headroom for the external amplifier. The boost can regularly be adjusted per frequency band. The cut part of an on-board pre-amp (that reduces the signal at a certain band) may well be passive on an active pre-amp.

    Passive/active rigging will use a high-impedance inductor pup, with no amplifier of its own, connected to an active pre-amp (see Thus #2). Example: Ibanez, Fodera.
    Active/passive rigging will use active pups (see Thus #1), connected to passive, cut only tone and volume controls.
    Example: ??
    Active/active rigging will use active pups connected to an active pre-amp.
    Example: Alembic.

    Whooch, that took some effort...:D
    Hope it's clear and understandable.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    EMG replacement sets for P or J basses come prewired with passive EQ, also graphite Steinbergers (active EQ was an option, though).
  6. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    yeah, when I said "active pups" I was thinking of the emgs. I had them on my j-bass (for a short time!) wired with passive volume and tone potentiometers.