I've heard a few terms being tossed around concerning pickups, which has left me a bit confused.

There are two types of pickups, as most of you already know(Active and Passive), but where things get tricky lies in the pre-amp. Do active pickups always have a pre-amp system, or is it simply complementary? I've also heard that passive pickups can sometimes be set up with a pre-amp, so would active pickups with a pre-amp and passive pickups with a pre-amp sound the same?

Thanks in advance for your comments, replies, and responses.
Active pick ups do not require an active preamp. Passives and actives will have different sounds running through an active preamp as it would a regular circuit. The preamp is basically just like the EQ on your amp that can give you a little extra boost in a certain frequency. The only thing that active preamps and active pickups have in common is the battery they need to work.
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