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what's an active pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Aug 11, 2001.


  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Yes, I know very little about my gear - I want to know at least what I have...I was told by sombody that active pickups means you take batteries and passive means that you don't need batteries...well I got my bass used with no information - so I found it on the web and it says that they are "passive ceramic magnetic humbuckers..." did they change the standard pickups after my bass was made or would a passive ceramic type require a battery?
     
  2. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    would active EQ be why it has the battery? BTW, whats an active EQ?
     
  3. bizzaro

    bizzaro

    Aug 21, 2000
    Vermont
    Thats when you mark the women that you are going to hit on beforehand as opposed to just bumping into her and striking up a conversation or something. Or vice versa if you are a women. Or versa versa if you are gay. You go after that specific person,IE "active pickup". Then if you are lucky enough you take her/him home and show them every scale you know. And when your done you start all over again mixing the scales and making new ones till your all scaled out. YaaaHooo!!:) :cool:
     
  4. Hey Bizzaro... WHAT WHAT THE HELL ARE U ON BUDDY!!! :D:D

    Well anywho, in response to your question(s) creepy. Why not turn the bass over and on the back there should be two panels, (there are on mine). 1 is quite large and houses most the electronics. the second is the size of a 9 volt battery. Just whip out a screw driver, take the plates off. If you can't find a battery, or connectors for a battery then you have a passive setup.

    Its not too hard, just take the back plate (or plates) off, don't touch anything inside, just look. lol

    Merls
     
  5. bizzaro

    bizzaro

    Aug 21, 2000
    Vermont
    OOPS!! Wrong forum. I thought this was talk ass. Didn't see the "b". Sorry.
     
  6. bizzaro

    bizzaro

    Aug 21, 2000
    Vermont
    Seriously now! Active pickups are driven by a small preamp built into your guitar and powered by a battery. It makes your outgoing signal from your guitar to your amp stronger. If you can't find a battery under any of your guitar covers, your guitar is passive. This is not necessarily a better or worse situation. Many bassits the prefer the "sound" of passive electronics. I guess it would be considered more transparent.

    As for the active E Q. It also needs a power source. This is again a small preamp built into the guitar. The difference between tone knobs and E Q knobs on a guitar is you can actually cut certain frequencies as well as boost them to shape your tone. Tone knobs on the other hand will start at a certain level of output and can only increase in volume as you turn them up. This is in laymens terms of course, as I am not a techy. I would hope that any inaccuracies would and will be corrected by an appropriatly educated T B member.

    As for my previous post, I was just having a little fun. Hope you don't mind; and further hope it is enjoyed by a few. The humor I find here at T B is great. T B is the one of the best forums on the internet!:D
     
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's actually the other way around.
    Passive EQs (tone knobs) can only cut frequencies. You start with the original signal and when you turn the tone knob it cuts the highs more and more.
    BTW: That's what the 'English setting' on vintage Marshalls is all about. Their EQ were passive too and with all up to ten you got the original signal with no EQ (and lots of preamp and poweramp distortion of course :D )


    Went you want to boost a signal you need energy to do that -> so you need an active circuit that can provide it.


    AND...active basses sound more transparent than passives - at least when you're smart enough not to buy an Ibanez.
     
  8. bizzaro

    bizzaro

    Aug 21, 2000
    Vermont
    Thanks Jmx. I am learning alot and since I get a lot of help here at T B I feel obligated to respond to questions when I think I can help out. Thanks again for clearing things up for me and Creepy.
     
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    There are passive pickups with passive controls(like a Fender, volume and tone, or volume/volume/tone), passive pickups with active EQ(which is what you have and most active basses have) volume/bass/treble, all the way to volume/blend/bass/mid/mid frequency/treble), active pickups with passive EQ(standard EMG setup) or active pickups with active EQ(EMG's with one of their preamps).

    The Ibanez that you have does have passive pickups, but it has a preamp, making it an active bass, and has bass and treble or bass, mid and treble EQ, which is boost/cut.

    As JMX said, passive controls are cut only, and most all passive basses have a single tone control, although the G&L L series, a bass that is switchable between active and passive, has passive bass and treble(cut only) knobs that can be used in passive or active modes.

    I hope that this helps more than it confuses.
     
  10. mnelson

    mnelson

    Aug 5, 2001
    Quote: There are passive pickups with passive controls(like a Fender, volume and tone, or volume/volume/tone), passive pickups with active EQ(which is what you have and most active basses have) volume/bass/treble, all the way to volume/blend/bass/mid/mid frequency/treble), active pickups with passive EQ(standard EMG setup) or active pickups with active EQ(EMG's with one of their preamps).

    Hey Embellisher,

    I think my mutt P Bass w/ EMGs has the active pickup/passive EQ standard setup you mentioned (no boost/cut on tone controls). What makes the pickups active? Do they just provide hotter output than full passive setups?

    Thanks
     
  11. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    it is a pickup truck in use.
     
  12. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    An active pickup is low impedance, that is less windings and smotimes less magnetics. That provides a very tiny output. To remedy that, a small amplifier is installed, in the very pickup casing.

    An active pickup will provide similar output to a passive. Its tone will be cleaner, due to less inductive distorsion less windings and magnetic influence).

    What you like will be your choice.

    Oh, and I'm not Embellisher (obviously), a constant cause of sorrow at my part:( .
    Nah, seriously, we are all good for something:)