#1
can someone explain to me the difference between active and passive in pickups and amplifiers, what a power amp is, and which kinds of amps and speakers and mixers amplify signals and which ones dont amplify signals, etc please? im a little confused and soon i want to be upgrading my "rig" to something a little more proffesional.
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#2
Active pickups are generally much more agressive than passive ones. As for a power amp...I'm guessing you're talking about something like a Dual Rec with a lot of output? And your guess is as good as mine on the speakers.
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#3
Power amps are the actual things that drive the speakers. Solid State amps use transistors to power the amps and tube amps use vacuum tubes. A power amp is just the amp section without the pre-amp, which is things like the volume, bass, mid, treble, and distortion controls. A mixer takes multiple signals, mixes it into one and if it's a powered mixer, it has a power amp built and you play it directly out the PA in or if it doesn't have a power amp, you put the mixer through the power amp and then out the PA.
#4
Active pickups are actually powered at the guitar, usually with a 9v battery. Passive pickups work purely on magnetics. There are also variations where the pickpups are passive, but there is a battery to power a preamp built into the guitar (this is most often found on basses).

Guitar amps are built with two amp sections, the preamp and the power amp. The preamp takes the signal from your guitar and adds eq, reverb, gain, whatever; then it boosts it to a line level signal for the power amp to use. The power amp simply applies power to that signal and runs it to the speakers.

You can buy seperate preamps and power amps for your guitar rig and put together a more specialized rack system.