Passive or Active?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jayhawk, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Passive

    34 vote(s)
  2. Active

    13 vote(s)
  1. Jayhawk


    Sep 6, 2006
    Kansas City
    I've recently been reading about different gear that a few of the pros I like play and, to my suprise, several of them have mentioned that they prefer passive pickups over active.

    Still very much a newbie, I had assumed that passive pickups were preferable (after all, basses with active pickups cost more than basses of the same model with passive), but maybe I'm mistaken.

    So which do you prefer ... and why?
  2. ebe9


    Feb 26, 2006
    South Africa
    I prefer a passive pickup, but mated with an active pre-amp.

    Howevcer of late I have found I tend to try and bypass the on board pre-amp in my basses and just run in passive.

    The reason for this is that I prefer to use the amp to do the EQing and just use blend and volume on the bass itself.

    As far as Active pickups go, I know EMG makes and I think Bartiloni does too, I am sure there are others, but of the actives I have played, I have not been hugely impressed.
  3. used to be a big passive guy, but im moving into the realm of active. getting "in" with the times.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I use whatever sounds good.

    I have a Lakland Daryl Jones 4 string bass that's all passive, I would never think of making it active.

    I also have a Spector 4 string that's all active (EMG pickups AND preamp) and I would never think of making it passive :)

    Active pickups have some benefits over passive - you can have longer cable runs and they're typically quieter than passive pickups. On the downside, if battery goes you're toast.
    With passive pickups, obviously you have the benefit of simplicity - no battery to go wrong, and you've got one less thing (no preamp in the pickups) in the signal chain.

    I think when people think active pickups they always think of EMG J's, which have a very crisp sound that some people call 'sterile'. Those pickups have a built in eq pre-shape curve, but that's a function of EMG's and not active pickups in and of themselves. Seymour Duncan do some vintage styled active pickups which sounded very natural to my ears.
  5. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    I have owned & played both but, I still much prefer Passive.

  6. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Passive. I don't have to worry about a battery, or unplugging my bass when I don't play. I can't tell the difference between tone, so I don't care. ;)
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 26, 2022

Share This Page