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difference between active P-ups and active EQ

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by soontobedead, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. soontobedead


    Jul 14, 2005
    Hi people... First post here... so please don't flame if i screw up or something...

    So, i'm a total n00b in electronics... i can tell the difference between P & J, but that's as far as i go...

    i'm about to buy a bass in a few days and i've seen basses w/ active Pickups and active EQ... and i don't quite know the difference... i know that actives can pump your sound... but as far as distinguishing between active PUs or EQ i'm lost.

    Could anyone illustrate me about this... pros and cons, which one is better (to you) and why? i would sing praises to you and your whole family if you help

    Thanks in advance
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    you can have passive pickups or active pickups.
    you can have passive electronics or active electronics.

    You can have any combination of these. If you have only a tone control, you have passive electronics. If you have eq (bass/treble/mid cut/boost) you have active electronics.

    If you look in the FAQ, there are links to great threads explaining all this.
  3. cirwin


    May 2, 2005
    If the pick-up is a magnetic pick-up, then it is passive. There's really no such thing as an "active" magnetic PU. Some pick-ups - EMG's for example - have the preamps built into the pick-ups themselves and use passive tone controls. Others - Bartolini's for example - have the preamp separate from the pick-ups and allow for active (IE: cut & boost) tone controls.

    Having preamps allows for a "hotter" signal and provides some advantages in terms of noise and impedance matching. They are not as affected by cable length. But passive pick-ups & tone controls work well for some folks and they do have their own sound. I played a 62 P-bass for year - great axe, but limited tonal variation. I now play an Elrick with Jazz-style Bartolini's - lots of control over my sound. (I still have the P and pull it out when I want to pretend I'm James Jamerson....)

    Keep trying different set-ups - eventually, you'll discover the set-up that works for you.