Difference Between Active & Passive Pickups

Active vs Passive Pickups

Pickups are devices that convert the mechanical vibrations of stringed instruments, like guitars or violins, into electric signals. These signals can then be amplified, broadcast, or stored for later use. For many musicians, pickups are a familiar concept, but for others, they remain a mystery. There are two main types of pickups: active and passive. This article aims to explain the differences between these two varieties for the benefit of the readers.

In simple terms, active pickups have a circuit that requires battery power, while passive pickups do not need additional power to function. This small difference can significantly affect the tone of your instrument and the output of its sound. Passive pickups produce a lower output and often lose extremely high and low frequencies. However, they can still deliver a clear tone due to their ability to send more frequencies in the middle range. One downside to passive pickups is that they offer less control to the musician, although the sound quality remains smooth and desirable.

Key Takeaways

  • Active pickups have built-in preamps that push the signal to amps directly and require battery power, while passive pickups do not need additional power.
  • Passive pickups provide a lower output and lose some frequencies but can still deliver a clear tone, while active pickups send a higher output signal and a full-range sound.
  • Active pickups offer more control and better sound quality but are more expensive and require battery maintenance, while passive pickups are simpler in design and more affordable.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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