Active Pickups...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by asian fish, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. asian fish

    asian fish

    Mar 18, 2003
    I know next to nothing about pick-ups.
    I have I MM Stingray with passive pickups and was thinking about upgrading them to active.

    Can anyone reccomend a some good pickups that have a slightly more "rockish" tone but still keep the classic Stingray tone also...?

    I was also wondering if anyone could tell me how to... "install"..? them.
    Is there much involved in it, would it be easy enough to do it myself..?

    All help would be GREATLY appreciated.

  2. asian fish

    asian fish

    Mar 18, 2003
    Are these also know as onboard preamps...?

    Sorry, excuse my ignorance
  3. Pickups are always passive, you can chance the PU to some other passive PUs like Bartolini they are making 3 differed MM PUs,

    People are calling their PU active because off the onboard preamp in the bass, but that is a mistake because PU is always passive
    the Music Man have a preamp onboard

    Its very easy to chance PU al you need is a screwdriver and a soldering iron
  4. asian fish

    asian fish

    Mar 18, 2003
    So what is an active pickup....
    There must be such a thing....
    Your telling me an active pick-up is a "myth"... there is no such thing?
    I always see on amps an input for an active and an input for a passive.
    So all I really need to do is get an onboard pre amp....?

    Can you reccomend any?
  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    There is no such thing as a passive StingRay bass.
    To learn a bit more about active/passive issues, check this.
  6. Ok, here’s is EMG a pickup company they are calling there pickup active, I think its because they have build some kind of small preamp into the PU

    From the EMG site:

    Internal Preamp
    The preamplifier used inside each EMG Pickup is no ordinary preamp. Built directly into each pickup, the preamp is an integral part of the pickup design assuring quality of sound performance, incredible noise reduction, and simplicity in installation. It provides a variety of benefits for us as the designer and for you as the player. A natural by-product of the preamp is gain. It allows us to design a pickup for its particular tone without concern for the pickup's output. After the coils have been modeled, any amount of output needed is available from the preamp.
    Top of Page
    Tone Modeling
    One of the most important aspects governing the tone of a pickup is the resonant frequency. EMG Pickups use "Impedance Modeling" to manipulate the two coils. This innovation allows us to shape a mix of the reactive slope and resonance from each of the two coils. The idea is to achieve a complex mixture of each coils phase and frequency response resulting in a richer tone from the pickup. This means the sound is vibrantly alive with more harmonics than from conventional passive pickups. EMG Pickups like the EMG-S, EMG-SA, and the EMG-60 use this technique to its fullest, while the EMG-81 uses modeling in only a small way. Modeling might work well for a single coil pickup, but not for a design such as the EMG-ACS Acoustic Sound Hole Pickup. As each pickup design is approached differently, it all depends on the final result we're searching for.
    Top of Page
    Noise Reduction
    Another benefit from the internal preamp is noise reduction. By integrating the preamp into the housing, all the elements of the pickup can be shielded. By matching the coils to a high degree, the low frequency hum and buzz are virtually eliminated. In addition, each EMG is housed in a composite cover cap that eliminates all other forms of interference. Most EMG Models have noise figures of better than -85dB, still other EMG Pickups achieve a noise figure that exceeds -100dB. All the internal components are fully vacuum-sealed and encapsulated in epoxy to prevent microphonic noise and to increase long-term reliability.
    Top of Page
    Low Impedence Output
    The low impedance output of the EMG internal preamp provides other great features. You can run a cable for up to 100 feet (30 meters) without losing high frequency response. You'll also be able to get the same tone with a wireless unit as you do with a cable. The tone of your instrument will remain consistent when you change the volume control as well. Not only can you plug directly into your favorite amp, you can go direct to tape preamp (especially for acoustic guitar recording) or direct to a mixing console input without a direct box. You can plug into any portable cassette recorder, or even your home stereo auxiliary input, and play your instrument with incredible results.
  7. asian fish

    asian fish

    Mar 18, 2003
    I see.
    I understand it a little better now...
    I have another question...
    If you have an onboard preamp...
    Will you be able to play the bass without an amp...
    Am I correct in understanding an onboard preamp is exactly what it sounds like an amp inside your bass?
    How big are these normally?
    How many watts?
    What is the biggest one ou could get?

    Thankyou so much for all your help.
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Don't you catch a drift here :) ?
  9. If you have an onboard preamp...
    Will you be able to play the bass without an, you need a amplifier
    Am I correct in understanding an onboard preamp is exactly what it sounds like an amp inside your bass?.. the signal are higher to avoid noise and hum
    How big are these normally?..... small enough to be in the cavity
    How many watts?..... no, watt you always need a amplifier
    What is the biggest one ou could get?.... don’t know
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    You say this like EMG are some new or obscure manufacturer. EMG have been making active pickups for over 20 years, you've honestly never heard of EMG or active pickups before?
  11. You say this like EMG are some new or obscure manufacturer. EMG have been making active pickups for over 20 years, you've honestly never heard of EMG or active pickups before?Yes, in 1979
  12. I have a Cort SB25 bass, a cheap stingray copy, my first bas :)
    It is passive. Only has volume knob and tone control which i cant hear controlling anything :)

    I can buy a Bartolini MMC pickup for €40, but can i install this in the Cort? Wouldnt there be any passive/active issues?
  13. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Heel boy heel.

    Yeh crew, all pups aren't passive. Try running an active pup without a battery and see what you get.


    To live and learn, or stay stupid..........Hmm?
  14. Ok you sound really confused. I'll try to be as non-technical as I can..

    Your bass (Musicman Stingray) has an Active PRE-Amp that is run by a 9volt battery (you can access the battery on the back of your bass). A PREAMP is electronics INSIDE your bass

    follow me so far?

    In lamens terms all the preamp does is make the SIGNAL from your bass louder when you plug it into an AMP (AMP -the things that you actually hear the sound from) ALSO the PREAMP it is attatched to the knobs on your bass which control the amount of bass+midrange+treble (you might not have a midrange knob on your stingray, but some do)

    I dont know if any company makes active pickups for stingrays also I dont know what you mean by "rockish"

    Installing a pickup is not simple if you dont know how they work. If I was you I would get a professional to install it!
  15. I should have looked at the date before I replied (D'OH)

    I'm pretty sure the bartolini mmc is passive, but its made to be a musicman replacement so you might not get a lot of output from it in a passive wiring.

  16. i cant email bartolini, theyve had some viruses in the past and do not use email anymore :(

  17. What did you want to ask them?
    I'm sure people on the board can help you out..
  18. If you are looking for a more "rockish" tone, I'd suggest looking into the Seymour Duncan MM replacement pickups, and possibly their MM preamp as well. While I'm a fan of Bartolinis in general, I would expect a Bartolini MM pickup to sound much more refined and more mellow than the stock pickup, which is probably not the type to change you want.

    EMG AFAIK does not make a drop-in replacement for MM.

    But honestly, a stock StingRay can sound very good in a rock setting with the right EQ and amplification. Tony Levin does very well with his basses!
  19. As of today (10/09/2008), that link is not valid. I did a little digging and figured out that this is now the correct URL.

    I think that page contains a very good explanation of this stuff.