Difference between active and passive pickups
active and passive pickups :
Speaking in a musical context, pickups can be defined as a sort of a device which converts the mechanical vibrations of stringed instruments, namely, guitars, violins, etc, in to electronic signals which are then amplified and broadcasted. While pickups vary as active and passive pickups, this article seeks to clarify this idea of pickups and list down their differences for the benefit of the bewildered.
What is an active pickup?
An active pickup consists of several magnets wrapped in wire. When the vibrations of the strings above these wires produce small voltages in the wires, they, in turn, get filtered by the guitar’s electronics which are then brought out by way of a cable. In addition to that, an active pickup consists of a built-in preamp which immediately amplifies the smaller voltages produced in to larger voltages. This boosts the signal down the path to the amp and gives the signal a sort of a push. Active pickups need additional power of a battery to operate.
What is a passive pickup?
A passive pickup too consists of several magnets wrapped in wire and operates in the same manner in which an active pickup operates except that there is no built-in-amp to push the signal out. Also, a passive pickup does not need additional power such as a battery in order to operate.
What is the difference between a passive and an active pickup?
While an active and a passive pickup serve similar purposes and also function in similar ways, there are several differences between these accessories which set them apart. For example, an active pickup consists of a built-in-amp which aids in amplifying the smaller voltages created by the vibrations in to larger voltages which in turn gives the signals a push. A passive pickup does not possess such a thing. Also, an active pick up needs additional power such as a battery in order to operate whereas a passive pickup does not.
Moreover, an active system will not be able to change the overall tone or “timbre” of the instrument, but will provide more enhanced and a clearer substance of what the instrument has already on offer and yet, Passive pickups give a low output, and because of that they tend to lose extremely high and extremely low frequencies. Also, passive pickups do not give much control to the players whereas an active pickup allows the player more control and therefore, more of a variety of options to choose from.