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Passive Pickups in Active bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by blong1, Feb 12, 2016.


  1. blong1

    blong1 Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Alabama
    Hey all, I got a question.

    I've got an Warwick active 2band bass. It has stock active pickups. I want to replace the pickups, but don't know if I need to find some that are Active or Passive. I know that either one will work, but what is the tonal differences between the two? What are the pros vs cons for either? Thanks for any advise guys!
     
  2. There is no inherent tonal difference between active and passive pickups. You need to pick specific pickups if you want to compare and contrast.

    As far as pros and cons go, however, from a purely theoretical perspective, passive pickups are better, because you avoid chaining gain stages together.
     
  3. blong1

    blong1 Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Alabama
    So no tonal difference...just differences between brands. I get that, but why would you make active and passive pickups if there isn't a difference? Not being an jerk, I truly don't know.

    So basically, passive pickups even out your overall sound? Am I close on this?
     
  4. Different kinds of pickups exist for different reasons. Sometimes an active pickup is just a standard passive pickup with a buffer on it, and sometimes it is a pickup with a low impedance winding paired with a preamp to boost the output. It does not necessarily sound different from a passive pickup, as it may or may not be intended to. In your case, you already have buffering from your preamp, so there isn't any reason to choose an active pickup, unless it happens to have a particular tonality that you want.

    I'm not sure what you mean by passive pickups evening out your sound. Can you elaborate?
     
  5. blong1

    blong1 Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    Alabama
    Hey thanks for your help man...I misread your earlier comment.
     
  6. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Active pickups are buffered, and don't always contain an internal preamp. All active pickups I know about are 'low impedance', so whether connected to a separate EQ/preamp or not,
    you don't get the tonal loss with a long cable run like you do with passive pickups (hi-impedance) run thru a passive control system (v/v/t, v/t/v/t, v/b/t).
    Active or passive pickups is just a personal choice.
     
    blong1 likes this.
  7. mistergoats

    mistergoats

    Jun 24, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Digging up this old thread - I'm new to active instruments after playing passive ones for decades. I want to pop a Lollar overwound P into the neck position of my 2011 American Deluxe P. According to the wiring diagram, it looks like the existing P pickup only has the standard 2 leads to the preamp. Is it perfectly fine to replace it with a non-active pickup? The Jazz one in the bridge is a Noiseless N3 and has an additional lead onto the preamp - I'm just going to leave that one there. Thanks!
     
  8. You are going to be replacing a passive pickup with another passive pickup. No changes need to be made to the wiring.
     
  9. mistergoats

    mistergoats

    Jun 24, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Okay, thanks Line - I figured as much, but I wanted to check. Have a good day!
     

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