#1
active:
pros?
cons?
Passive:
pros?
cons?
And what is the main differance in all the different pickups?Is it frequency range or what?
#2
I have no idea what most of the technical stuff is, but actives are much higher-output(whether that's good to bad is up to you), though they require a battery in the guitar. Passives need no battery and are more versatile, but not as high-output.
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#3
Quote by 20 Blueblades
active:
pros?
cons?
Passive:
pros?
cons?
And what is the main differance in all the different pickups?Is it frequency range or what?


TBH the pro's are your opinion, whether or not they sound good to you. Also, you can't bunch ALL passives and ALL actives up together into two big piles. There are a lot of different brands/types/etc for all genres of music and they all have their own unique sound.

I suppose the con's of actives are just they need a battery, one non-opinion pro is that because of the signal type you'll usually get a better sound quality if you run them through a wireless system/long cable.

Con's of passives... Well, when you sit around computers and other electric objects they tend to give off static. Also usually with passive pups it's better to have a shorter signal path. Pro's... Uh, don't require batteries?

Most of this stuff is entirely subjective to each brand/type of pup though.
#4
Actives
Pro:If you like muddy bassy destortion there great.
Cons:They need a nine volt any you need to do some work on your guitar to wire it up.

Passives
Pros:Brighter cleaner tones
Cons: not as muddy and destorted.

I prefer passives.


Q: How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A: Give him some printed music.
#6
Has anyone tried using both 1 active & 1 passive together in a guitar?Wouldn't that give it a wider range of sound?Or would it just disable them?
Last edited by 20 Blueblades at Dec 31, 2008,
#7
active:
pros? if you want to drive a high-gain tube amp as hard as possible but without causing lots of excess noise, nothing will drive it harder than active pickups.
cons? The only thing active pickups are good for is naturally driving an amp very hard. If you use the amp's own gain controls, if you use pedals, if you're not cranking the amp fully or if the amp isn't naturally high-gain to begin with, then active pickups are utterly useless.

Passive:

pros? They can fit in with any gear, any style of music, easier to install, easier to take care of, many people prefer their tone.
cons? If you want the heaviest natural tube overdrive possible, passive pickups can't manage it without causing a lot of background noise.


Basically active pickups are great if you're sure the rest of your rig is 1) professional quality and 2) suitable for active pickups, and you know you like the tone of active pickups and have you're not going to be wanting a sparkling clean tone or a lighter crunch overdrive or so on.
However, for 99.9999% of people, passive pickups are far superior and active pickups are just worthless.

Quote by 20 Blueblades
Has anyone tried using both 1 active & 1 passive together in a guitar?
It doesn't really work. What you end up with is either the active pickup sounds normal and the passive pickup is too quiet to be heard, or more often, the passive pickup sounds normal and the active pickup is so loud you blow your speakers (sometimes literally) just turning it on.
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#8
Quote by 20 Blueblades
Has anyone tried using both 1 active & 1 passive together in a guitar?Wouldn't that give it a wider range of sound?Or would it just disable them?


The problem with that is that active/passive pups run on different volume/ton pots, which as the last poster said, you'll be at a good volume, then switch pups and your amp will *literally* explode. Also, you'll only be able to use one pickup at a time.

All in all, while it's a great idea to get one passive one active, it doesn't work. I could go on for pages explaining technical stuff but bottom line is don't do it, it's a waste of time.
#9
Quote by edusty2010
The problem with that is that active/passive pups run

on different volume/ton pots, which as the last poster said, you'll be

at a good volume, then switch pups and your amp will *literally*

explode. Also, you'll only be able to use one pickup at a time.

All in all, while it's a great idea to get one passive one active, it

doesn't work. I could go on for pages explaining technical stuff but

bottom line is don't do it, it's a waste of time.


Quote by MrFlibble
active:
pros? if you want to drive a high-gain tube amp as hard as

possible but without causing lots of excess noise, nothing will drive it

harder than active pickups.
cons? The only thing active pickups are good for is

naturally driving an amp very hard. If you use the amp's own gain

controls, if you use pedals, if you're not cranking the amp fully or if

the amp isn't naturally high-gain to begin with, then active pickups are

utterly useless.

Passive:

pros? They can fit in with any gear, any style of music, easier

to install, easier to take care of, many people prefer their tone.
cons? If you want the heaviest natural tube overdrive possible,

passive pickups can't manage it without causing a lot of background

noise.


Basically active pickups are great if you're sure the rest of your rig

is 1) professional quality and 2) suitable for active pickups, and you

know you like the tone of active pickups and have you're not going to be

wanting a sparkling clean tone or a lighter crunch overdrive or so on.
However, for 99.9999% of people, passive pickups are far superior and

active pickups are just worthless.

It doesn't really work. What you end up with is either the active pickup

sounds normal and the passive pickup is too quiet to be heard, or more

often, the passive pickup sounds normal and the active pickup is so loud

you blow your speakers (sometimes literally) just turning it on.


JESUS H CHRIST you people need to STOP SPREADING MISINFORMATION!

"lolol active pickups drive teh tube harder" "active pickups are HOT for

teh br00talz" "your amp will explode with the metalz if you mix active

and passive"

All of these are HALF-TRUTHS at best coming from people who are

obviously musicians and brainwashed consumers first and informed

researchers second. I'm sorry for going off on a rail but I am SO sick

and tired of hearing people treat active pickups like some sort of

mystic beast that sounds horrible for anything except metal through a

high-gain amplifier.

Here's the real skinny on how active pickups work.

A pickup works by creating a magnetic field above it. When this magnetic

field is disturbed by a ferrous material, like a metal string, an

electrical signal is created, which is sent to the amplifier and turned

into sound at the speaker. The difference between active and passive

pickups is the mechanism by which the input signal is achieved.

A passive pickup is passive in that it is merely a part of the circuit

of the guitar amplifier and has only passive components powered by the

amplifier - there are no batteries or power sources in your guitar.

Because of this, the pickup must be wound quite a few times with wire to

create a signal "hot" enough to be suitable for input to the preamp.

Because there are so many turns of wire, the pickup is high resistance,

or impedance. Additionally, there will be significant tonal "coloring"

of the pickup in the form of a midrange hump, or what we perceive as

"warmth."

An active pickup, on the other hand, is active because it has a battery

and a preamp that makes the signal low-impedance by way of buffer ICs or

other components. In the case of EMGs, active pickups are actually wound

far less than their passive counterparts, so the magnetic field and

therefore normal output is weaker. However, because of the preamp, this

weak signal can be boosted to whatever output desired, within electrical

limits of headroom and such. Active pickups also do not exhibit as

drastic of a midrange hump as passive pickups do - they are more

consistent in response across the spectrum. Additionally, the

low-impedance nature of the signal means that the guitar is "impedance matched" to floor effects and the input of the amplifier, which results in less loss of tone and high end.

What this all means is that active pickups can be as high or low output as one wants, as dictated by a potentiometer and design, as well as that they do not generally experience as much tonal coloring as passive pickups, which is why they sound "sterile" to some. This also means that chords sound more defined due to the lack of naturally-present lower midrange.

EMGs are NOT always hot - look at the 85 or SA. EMGs are NOT solely designed for overdriving tube amps - jazz guys play active pickups through solid-state setups all the time. They are NOT solely designed for metal. They do NOT always sound sterile. You CAN play them clean and make them sound good (that's why Bartolini makes active jazz pickups). And you CAN mix actives and passives, although as mentioned it is not economically or practically feasible. It won't, however, make your amp EXPLODE. Any increase in volume from the guitar is negligible because volume and electrical output are logarithmically related - 100 watts is only twice as loud as 50 watts. Switching between active and passive pickups won't make your amplifier explode.

/end rant.
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#10
Quote by King of King V
Actives
Pro:If you like muddy bassy destortion there great.


You've never used active pups, right? Why would anyone want muddy distortion?

EDIT: Similar question to MrFlibble - Have you ever used actives? I'm running EMGs on a 7-string through a cube (Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm broke). It sounds great. Ok, I play a lot of metal with that, you might expect that from a 7-stringer with actives, but it's very easy to coax warm, deep tones from it too, especially on the clean channel. Sounds great for clean jazz stuff.

The bassist in my band uses actives through a solid-state, it sounds warm, and though it tends to 'boom', it sounds pretty good.

Basically, the guy above me is right. Actives aren't the most versatile things in the world, but they're far too heavily marked as 'LOLBROOTAL ONLY' by too many people.
Last edited by Mazzakazza at Dec 31, 2008,
#11
searchbar
and
if your comparing an active set of 81/85s to a set of texas specials(as most tend to do), then obviously the texas specials will be more versatile and more suitable for blues and lighter stuff, as the 81/85s are more for metal/hard rock
but if your comparing a set of SAs to a pair of x2ns, then obviously its vise versa.
so the only real difference is that one has battery, and the other doesnt.
the battery pushs more output into the pickup, so usually active is hotter than passive(not all the time).
and since the active is running on a battery the matter of wood does not have an impact on tone
#12
Quote by necrosis1193
I have no idea what most of the technical stuff is, but actives are much higher-output(whether that's good to bad is up to you), though they require a battery in the guitar. Passives need no battery and are more versatile, but not as high-output.


wrong
#13
Quote by King of King V
Actives
Pro:If you like muddy bassy destortion there great.
Cons:They need a nine volt any you need to do some work on your guitar to wire it up.

Passives
Pros:Brighter cleaner tones
Cons: not as muddy and destorted.

I prefer passives.


Q: How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A: Give him some printed music.


you are so wrong
#15
Quote by edusty2010
The problem with that is that active/passive pups run on different volume/ton pots, which as the last poster said, you'll be at a good volume, then switch pups and your amp will *literally* explode. Also, you'll only be able to use one pickup at a time.

All in all, while it's a great idea to get one passive one active, it doesn't work. I could go on for pages explaining technical stuff but bottom line is don't do it, it's a waste of time.


you too are wrong because i have PLAYED a guitar with a passive and an active and no the amp did not explode!!!
#16
Idon't know how many of you actually have tried actives, but in my ESP, the EMG 60 in the neck gives beautiful clean tones...They are much more versatile than people think.

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#17
Active:
Pros- Higher output, lower feedback, clearer tone, better sustain, more sensitivity
Cons- You gotta replace the 9V batteries every 5-12 months. But it aint a big deal.

Passive:
Pros- You do not have to change the batteries, higher feedback (depends on your style of play)
Cons- Lower output, muddier tone, worse sustain, less sensitive
#18
Quote by mamosa
Active:
Pros- Higher output, lower feedback, clearer tone, better sustain, more sensitivity
Cons- You gotta replace the 9V batteries every 5-12 months. But it aint a big deal.

Passive:
Pros- You do not have to change the batteries, higher feedback (depends on your style of play)
Cons- Lower output, muddier tone, worse sustain, less sensitive


i dont no where you got muddier tone or bad sustain from...
but this is not true in all cases
#19
Quote by Mo Jiggity
rant.


Ok, I never said actives were bad/terrible/only good for high gain metal/etc. Don't put words in my mouth, in fact, I love active pickups. The fact is that because of the pots passive pickups run on and how different the ones active pickups you're going to run into serious fluctuation in volume between the two pickups. When I said "explode" I meant it was going to be loud and unless you have the strings muted if you're on stage the you're going to get incredibly undesireable sound, not that the amp would spontaneously combust.
#20
You don't have to change pots. There's no 'type' of pot for passive and active, they're 250k or 500k usually, and you can use both those on active and passive pups.

You would run into output differences between the pups, this is true. The other bit about different pots is nonsense...
#21
Quote by Mazzakazza
You don't have to change pots. There's no 'type' of pot for passive and active, they're 250k or 500k usually, and you can use both those on active and passive pups.

You would run into output differences between the pups, this is true. The other bit about different pots is nonsense...


Wrong. EMG supplies low-impedance 25K volume pots for a reason... for optimal sound you would need to use that for the passive pickup.

As for the other dude:

Quote by edusty2010
*literally* explode


LITERALLY being the operative word there. That means not figuratively, like you are speaking of. That means, the most basic, not interpreted meaning of the word, in this case explode. You meant an increase in volume. That is not the same as an explosion. As for the "words in your mouth" thing, I think even a Neanderthal could figure out that the parts you cited were directed at the other poster. I didn't say "EDUSTY SAID THIS SPECIFICALLY AND HE IS WRONG," I was addressing multiple misconceptions in a single post, albeit with f-ed up line breaks in it somehow.
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#22
we'll keep it simple
passive pickups sound good
active pickups sound bad
if you play anything, ANYTHING AT ALL BESIDES HEAVY METAL, active pickups are pointless
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#23
Quote by bi-ah!
we'll keep it simple
passive pickups sound good
active pickups sound bad
if you play anything, ANYTHING AT ALL BESIDES HEAVY METAL, active pickups are pointless


We'll keep it simple.

You're a forking moron for a) not reading the rest of the thread and/or b) ignoring what was said that definitely counters your textual diarrhea.

L2p nub.
Steinberger GU/Spirit w/ Moses Graphite neck, EMG 81-85
"Fireball" Pacer/RG hybrid

Furman Power Conditioner
Axe-Fx Standard
ART SLA-1
Yamaha S112V
Peak FCB4N
#24
Sorry to ressurect an old thread, but if you already have active pups in your axe and want to swap one for a passive, you just have to install an inline preamp for the passive (like EMG's PA-2). This will give you impedence matching/isolation for the 25k pots (letting you use your existing controls) and a trimmer pot to adjust the output of the passive to match the active. Cost is about $47, and the toggle can be removed (and you can order from EMG sans toggle) so you can put it in the wiring cavity and be invisible.
Last edited by ux4484 at Mar 6, 2012,