Poll: Are actives the same as low output passives going through a preamp?
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View poll results: Are actives the same as low output passives going through a preamp?
Yes
1 11%
No
8 89%
Voters: 9.
#1
Okay, so from what I understand, actives are just low output (to reduce hum) passives, but go through a preamp. Am I correct?

If that is the case, then would low output passives through a really gigh gain preamp (possibly even boosted) give a similar sound? Or does it even work that way?

Just curious about it.
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#2
That's not really how it works, no.

Active pickups are indeed low output pickups that are boosted internally, but the coils inside actives are not designed the same way as a passive. The output of the coil itself is low to the point of being useless if it were applied to a passive pickup, and along with a huge output boost also comes a lot of EQ'ing to make the pickup sound the way it does. Pickups that weak tend to sound very bright and that's what the EQ of the internal preamp is designed to correct.

All things being equal, the only objective reason to choose actives over passives is the low internal impedance of actives due to the extremely weak coil makes a significant improvement to the signal to noise ratio of the pickup compared to a passive.
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#3
Yeah, that's what I've heard, that they are used for their low noise, mostly. So would noisless pickups with a preamp and an eq get a similar sound?
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#4
Quote by gogiregion
Yeah, that's what I've heard, that they are used for their low noise, mostly. So would noisless pickups with a preamp and an eq get a similar sound?


Re-read *all* of T00DEEPBLUE 's post.
A couple of additions: active pickups were NOT originally intended for "metal," which is mostly what they're used for these days. There were other active pickups on the market, including some from Alembic and Bartolini, for guitars. I have a set of the latter on a Moonstone guitar from the mid-70s, and the controls include a pair of treble boosts and a Varitone-style tone shaper.

It's also worth noting that there are preamps out there that work with passive pickups; Carvin has offered these for years, and I have several guitars that include these. The controls on those include *active* treble boost and cut, active bass boost and cut, a master volume and a blend knob (this one is designed for a pair of humbuckers, obviously), as well as single coil modes and a phase switch. The Ibanez Artist AR500 (and, I believe, the AR400) guitars from the late '70's and early '80's have an active/passive switch, with the active switch accessing three-band EQ and more.

Bass guitars have a wide array of active onboard preamps available, and most work just fine with single coil bass pickups. In the bass world, these are commonplace (but common mostly in more expensive basses rather than in run-of-the-mill production items like those you see in a GC).
#5
I knew that they weren't originally created for metal. Weren't they originally for jazz or something? Anyways, Eric Clapton used a mid boosting preamp with noiseless pickups on Blackie. I'm wondering if things like that are practically the same as actives.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#6
An active pre amp in a passive pickup guitar is not the same thing as an active pickup.

As T00DEEPBLUE said, the pickups themselves are totally different.

That's twice you have been told (3 with my post) that it is not the same and you are still asking the same question.

It is totally different.
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#7
Oh okay. I mean, you CAN put an active preamp in with passives, and I know they're totally different. What I'm asking is if you can get a similar sound using passives through an eq and preamp.

Edit: When I said practically, I didn't mean same circuit-wise, I meant could get the same sound out of. I only needed to get told once they were different, I then just wanted to know if you could get the exact same sound.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
Last edited by gogiregion at Feb 18, 2017,