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Active vs Passive Pickups

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:15 pm
by Sunjae
Hi, I recently found out that active pickups can produce a higher output of sound than passive ones. I also found out that they require external power, a 9V battery. So i ask, where do you put the battery? Do you have to open up the back?

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:21 pm
by Dan
It seems like you have done some study, why did you stop reading before you got to that part? Think about it a bit and I'm sure you'll come up with the answer! Hint, its not the headstock, neck, bridge, pickups, or even the front of the bass. Good luck!

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:10 pm
by john
Dan wrote:It seems like you have done some study, why did you stop reading before you got to that part? Think about it a bit and I'm sure you'll come up with the answer! Hint, its not the headstock, neck, bridge, pickups, or even the front of the bass. Good luck!
lol....
My passive pawns most actives with output though

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:11 pm
by timi
It is worth noting that while active basses usually have a higher output than passive basses it does not make them better, only different.

I have generally found passive basses to sound less "hyped" and I think they usually work better with overdrive.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:10 pm
by dannowilso
timi wrote:It is worth noting that while active basses usually have a higher output than passive basses it does not make them better, only different.

I have generally found passive basses to sound less "hyped" and I think they usually work better with overdrive.
I agree timi.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:13 pm
by irvinz
what timi said.


active ones sucks. especially for the genre's you've been talking and asking bout. way too sterile. imho

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:13 am
by ryanmaiden
Yeah, I've settled for passives because of reasons mentioned above, my main reason for going passive though is the simplicity of it.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:07 pm
by dannowilso
Well while we are on the topic of active pickups Vs Passive etc, I'm going to throw a spanner in the works and mention that Stingrays use passive pickups but contain an active preamp (still uses a battery).

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:46 pm
by timi
A lot of "active basses" are actually passive pickups into an active preamp, some of those even give you the option of using it active or passive, such as some G&L basses.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:08 pm
by foal30
There is lots of options with active pick ups Sunjae
Often they are the first things bassists change on their instrument
why is that?

because (historically) it could be argued that the pick-ups (or more likely) the active pre-amp is where the manufacturer has scrimped on costs.

but on lots of high end equipment the options that well constructed active on-board electronics give is a joy and even a life-saver. The electronics in my Steinberger are IMO second to none, absolutely fantastic and reliable equipment. Is it what I need( or even prefer) for every situation? No, so investigate yourself what works for where and when FOR YOU.

If i was only able to be One Bass Only I would probably have a passive instrument but with optional outboard pre-amps. Off the top of my head Sans-Amp, MXR and Sadowsky all make gear that many many Bass players really like.

So there is no doubt a lot to consider but as per every other topic you have started, you need to try out and go from there.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:07 pm
by Sunjae
ok then.

Re: On the subject of active pickups...

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:52 am
by Jazzbass
I have both & enjoy both. as timi says - not better or worse, just different. I'm happy using either, although I do prefer passives for my P & J for that authentic Fender sound I love. My J dlx is a nice bass, but its sound is less Fender and more bass generic (if there is such a thing) to my ears.