#1
so the title says it all, i basically want to know wuts the difference between active and passive pickups...
#2
Well the Biggest difference between the two is an Active Pickup uses one to two 9V batteries for use, a passive pickup does not.
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#3
Quote by offthewall91
Well the Biggest difference between the two is an Active Pickup uses one to two 9V batteries for use, a passive pickup does not.


this and also active pick ups have a preampin them already so they have higher output
#5
Quote by ColbyHink
which generally gives them a 'hotter', more br00tal sound


No, not necessarily, it just takes a certain kind of amp to handle them. Active pickups weren't even designed for metal, but for clean jazz.

Active pickups have much more output and clarity than passives. They do metal very well, but if you have a good amp, they can excel at any style or genre. They are the most versatile kind of pickups, granted you actually know how to use them.

Most people don't, and most people use them for metal, which is fine. They do do metal damn good.
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#6
Quote by ColbyHink
which generally gives them a 'hotter', more br00tal sound

yeah some say they are sterile or harsh sounding compared to passive pups the actives also dont lose tremble when you lower the volume
#7
Well I have EMG's in my Schecter Hellraiser and i'd say they're pretty good once you know how to really use them to their full potential. I play in a jazz/ska/prog-metal band (lolwut) and my hellraiser can do both the cleans and distorted parts very well ! I used to think they were terrible when I had my older amps but now that I got myself a good 'ol tube amp, I feel like i'm finally doing the EMG's justice.
#8
Active pickups aren't as smooth and warm as passives and some effects sound crappy with them like fuzz faces for exapmple
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#9
Quote by rdobson2
Active pickups aren't as smooth
You've never tried an EMG 60 or 60A then.

and warm as passives
You've never tried an 85 then.

Arguably in both cases, there are passive pickups which are much colder-toned and harsher-sounding than any active pickup.
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#10
In this thread: Half based opinions by people who have completely generalised a whole line of pickup types based on the hearsay and rumours posted by other forum goers.

EDIT: And a few people with empirical experience and actual historic/electrical knowledge on the difference.

As with many things in the guitar world, active pickups have gotten pushed into a specific genre and style of guitar. With the exception of active systems in acoustic guitars, the most experience most people here have experience with are active pickups in slim, acoustically dead guitars made for metal.
Last edited by TimmyPage06 at Jul 27, 2010,
#11
- Active pickups have that preamp

-> They need power
-> They're powered with batteries

- Active systems use different type of electronics (25k pots, stereo jacks)

- Active pickups are offered by only a handful of brands (most notably EMG and seymour duncan)

- Active pups produce less noise

-> They generally sound more "tight" and have more "definition"


- Passive pickups don't have a preamp

-> They don't need any power source

- Passive systems use different kind of electronics (500/250k pots etc.)

- Passive pickups are offered more broadly, brands such as SD, DiMarzio and Bareknuckle have a wide catalogue (almost too difficult to choose from)
* Plus, most guitar brands offer their own passive pickups (stock pickups)

- Passive pickups don't have the noise-cancelling element

-> The sound (despite the huge variation in brands etc.) is often said to be "raw" and "less definitive"

Just general stuff!
#12
Quote by MrFlibble

You've never tried an 85 then.

Yeah I had a les paul custom with the zakk wylde set In it...sounded awesome with certain effects but what I was saying was in my personal expierence they were kinda one dimensional...I had a old thomas organ company wah and for some reason they made it sound like crap I don't know if it overdrived it too much...but other guitars it sounded fine...for awhile I had a few guitars with emgs and I just got tired of them not being consistant enough for me....to my ears they just don't sound right....that's all I'm saying
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#13
I would say biggest diff is the preamp built into the Actives, but you can have external preamps to make any passive PU active.

Called pasive w/ active circuitry. This way you can actually control how much added db the preamp puts out.

How they all sound is subjective so I'm not even going to get into that.
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#14
active pickups actually allow for a more "fine tuned" sound because there's the possibility of having a much more transparent sound with a more balanced frequency curve - less signal degredation, a cleaner output. Passive pickups tend to colour the tone a lot more than actives, but to some people, this colouration is "organic warmth" that they can't live without.

It's a matter of preference. I'd probably get a guitar with active pickups if i could find one with more of a "classic" feel to it and less of a modern, flat radius/thin neck sort of thing - of course there is the option of modding one of my other guitars, but i don't wanna have to route for a battery pack, and i also don't wanna have to remove the control cavity cover or pickguard to change the batteries
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