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Alembic Activators-Most Versatile Active Pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ArpeggiFish, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
  3. Carrot lemons

    5 vote(s)
  1. ArpeggiFish


    Feb 24, 2008

    I have yet to see a Jazz Bass pickup shootout with Activators. Are they very versatile with the low-pass filter? How would they match up with Basslines or Delano? I would either be getting Activators or Delano with a J-Retro preamp.


  2. ArpeggiFish


    Feb 24, 2008
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Alembic activators are not active pups, they're passive.

    Also depends on what you mean by versatile. A pup can be versatile in a variety of ways: put out a number of different useful tones, put out basically one tone that works to a broad variety of styles, or some combination of those two.

    A shootout is typically individual reviews with after-the-fact comparisons. To me 10 reviews on a given Alembic pup by different players would be of more use than inclusion in some shootout(s) by a couple/three different players.

    At any rate, FAQ Dimento's P and J experiments have activators in what amounts to inclusion in a shootout - if that's what you want and you're willing to read through it as opposed to having some instant quantitative comparison (which I personally don't find of much substance so not much use).

    Another consideration is that Alembic pups and preamps aren't locked into a system. You can use Alembic pups with a different pre and you can use an Alembic pre with other pickups - I've done both. In as much, like any other pup/control setup, as separate entities in different combination they can produce tones different than when used together.

    I still have the Alembic pups and preamp but rarely use either but have other pups I play very regularly. That combined with having skimmed my activator review synopsis', I didn't find Alembic activators to be the most versatile pups, active or otherwise. The pre is particularly unique and the pups less so.

    The pre and pups together I found to work well to a broad range of styles, minimum applicable variety in tone, and not user friendly in terms of readily locating applicable varieties of tone. I would put activators at ballpark 7 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being optimal versatility).
  4. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    They are passive, but you have to use them with a preamp, so therefore they are part of an active system. They just don't put the preamp inside the pickup like EMG does.

    They are pretty useless without the preamp, which to me defines an active pickup. :)

    Why do you think they call them Activators?
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Anybody that doesn’t know that an ACTIVATOR IS a PASSIVE pickup is ignorant enough to wire a battery straight to one - as is done with an active pup. There are plenty of activators out there with the quick-clips removed.

    Beyond a correction and awareness, it may save a reader from smoking an Alembic pup.
  6. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Where are you going to wire a battery to a pickup with two conductors? If someone is dumb enough to do that, they deserve to be smoking their pickups. I know enough to not do surgery on myself, because I'm not qualified as an MD.

    You have no room for calling anyone ignorant when you are the one spreading most of the FUD around here when it comes to pickups. You don't know how to get a good tone (and no wonder playing through a Roland Cube! Probably the worst sounding amp on earth) so you keep trying pickup after pickup and never getting anything you like out of any of them, even though many people do. So you are giving skewed opinions about these things and people listen to you since you spend so much time posting here. You are not qualified to give technical information on pickups and electronics.

    Activators are part of an ACTIVE SYSTEM, and the circuit boards have the battery connectors. The only difference between Alemic and EMG is where the preamp is. Alembic invented the active pickup, and they chose from the beginning to have the buffer outside the pickup.

    If you want to argue about it, call up Rick Turner or Ron Wickersham and tell them they don't know what an active pickup system is. They even named them ACTIVators.

    The problem is people don't understand pickups and wiring, and if they realize they don't know what they are doing, they shouldn't be doing it!

    More than half the people who post here about putting in their own pickups have some kind of problem, because they aren't qualified to do the job. There are plenty of skilled people who do it for a living who would be glad to do a great job of it.

    Every magnetic bass pickup made on earth uses a passive coil. Rick Turner will tell you there's no such thing as an active pickup, because no pickup works without amplification. It doesn't matter if the first gain stage is in the pickup case, or at your amplifier.

    Alembic pickups are made to work with their active system, and are low impedance pickups. They are not made to work passively so therefore they are not passive pickups in the sense that you just plug them into an amp.

    I make active pickups that do not have the preamp in the pickup. I would never call them passive, because they wont work without the preamp.

    So if you are worried about misleading the clueless who shouldn't be trying to wire up pickups in the first place, than calling Activators passive is just going to set someone up for trying to wire them to a 250K volume and tone pot and wonder why they don't make hardly any sound!

    They are active pickups.
  7. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Wow, David, it's like he's being taken to the principal for a lecture :bag:
  8. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Yeah.. sorry I went off there for a moment. :meh:

    But the point is these pickup will not work without a preamp, regardless if they have one built in or not.

    You'd have to be pretty dumb to try and hook a battery to them... where's the red wire?
  9. grace & groove

    grace & groove

    Nov 30, 2005
    Self-Appointed Ambassador to the Dragonfly
    ^Uberrespect to you for that post man!

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