Difference Between Active and Passive Pickups (With Table)

A pickup is a sensor, that is placed under the strings of a guitar to capture the electrical vibrations of those strings, and later it translates those vibrations into the sound which we can hear. Pickups are usually made up of magnet and wound copper wire. These electronic signals from the pickups can also be directly recorded. The pickups are mainly divided into two types – the Active Pickups and the Passive Pickups. Each pickup produces its kind of music.

Active Pickup vs Passive Pickup

The difference between active pickup and passive pickup is that the active pickup generates higher signals from the strings, as they depend upon external power support such as a battery. On the other hand, passive pickup generates weaker signals as compared to active pickup. Also, the active pickup produces more clearer sound. And the sound of the passive pickup is not that clear as active pickup.

Active Pickup is those pickups that generate higher signals from the strings of a guitar. They depend upon the batteries as an external source of power. The active pickup produces a clearer sound. Usually, active pickups are used by brass players and guitarists, as they produce higher signals and are good for those people who play metal. It suits the style of music they play.

On the other hand, Passive Pickups are those pickups that generate weaker signals from the strings of a guitar. The sound of the passive pickup is not that clear as compared to the active pickup. It does not require a battery for power. Also, Passive pickups are affordable pickups as compared to the guitars with active pickups.

Comparison Table Between Active Pickups and Passive Pickups

Parameters of Comparison Active Pickups Passive Pickups
Definition Active Pickups are those pickups that generate higher signals from the strings of a guitar. Passive Pickups are those pickups that generate weaker signals from the strings of a guitar.
Sound The sound of the active pickup is clear and consistent.The sound of the passive pickup is not that clear as compared to the active pickups.
Battery Active pickup requires a battery.A passive pickup does not require a battery.
PriceActive pickups are expensive than guitars with passive pickups. Passive pickups are inexpensive as compared to the guitars and basses with the active pickups.
Tone Active pickups have a better tone. The tone of Passive pickups is not as good as active pickups.
OutputActive pickup has more outputs as compared to passive pickups. Passive Pickups have limited output.
UsageActive pickups are usually used by professional brass players and guitarists.Passive pickups are a great choice for beginners.

What is Active Pickup?

Active Pickups are those pickups that generate higher signals from the strings of a guitar. As it generates higher signals, the signals are strong and secured. The sound of the active pickup is clear and consistent. As the active pickups generate powerful signals, the outcomes from the signals are prominent and clear to listen to. Active pickups require a battery. The battery works as an external power source that helps the active pickups to produce higher signals.

Active Pickups are expensive than guitars with passive pickups. The guitars with active pickups are pricey and therefore they are not affordable. Active pickup has a better tone. Because of the higher signals that are generated by the active pickups the tone of the guitars with active pickups is clear and understandable.

Active pickup has more outputs as compared to passive pickups. The active pickups are inbuilt with a preamp that gives them to generates several higher levels of sound and boosts the loudness of the tones produced by the guitar. Active pickups are usually used by professional bass players and guitarists. Since the guitars with active pickups produce higher signals, it enhances the loudness of the sound of strings and this kind of music is usually loved and adored by the brass players as it satisfies their taste of music.

What is Passive Pickup?

Passive Pickups are those pickups that generate weaker signals from the strings of a guitar. As the passive pickups generate weaker signals the signals are fragile and dull as compared to the active pickups. The sounds of passive pickup are not that clear as compared to the active pickups. Because of the weak signals produced by the passive pickups, the sound is not that prominent and clear.

Passive pickups do not require a battery. The passive pickups do not require an external force of power to act. It can be used any time and for a longer time as it does not require a battery to generate the signals. Passive pickups are inexpensive as compared to the guitars and brasses with the active pickups. Passive pickups are affordable.

The tone of the passive pickups is not that great as active pickups. Since the passive pickups produce weak signals the tones are not as good as the active pickups and therefore it lacks behind. Passive pickups have limited outputs. Passive pickup is a great choice for beginners. The passive pickups are affordable and a great choice for beginners to learn and practice in the initial stage.

Main Differences Between Active Pickups and Passive Pickups

  1. Active Pickups are those pickups that generate higher signals from the strings of a guitar. On the other hand, Passive Pickups are those pickups that generate weaker signals from the strings of a guitar.
  2. The sound of the active pickup is clear and consistent. On the other hand, the sounds of passive pickup are not that clear as compared to the active pickups.
  3. Active pickups require a battery. On the other hand, Passive pickups do not require a battery.
  4. Active Pickups are expensive than guitars with passive pickups. On the other hand, Passive pickups are inexpensive as compared to the guitars and basses with the active pickups.
  5. Active pickup has a better tone. On the other hand, the tone of the passive pickups is not that great as active pickups.
  6. Active pickup has more outputs as compared to passive pickups. On the other hand, Passive pickups have limited outputs.
  7. Active pickups are usually used by professional brass players and guitarists. On the other hand, Passive pickup is a great choice for beginners.

Conclusion

A pickup is a sensor, that is placed under the strings of a guitar to capture the electrical vibrations of those strings, and later it translates those vibrations into the sound which we can hear. Pickups are usually made up of magnet and wound copper wire. These electronic signals from the pickups can also be directly recorded. The pickups are mainly divided into two types – the Active Pickups and the Passive Pickups. Each pickup produces its kind of music. Active Pickup is those pickups that generate higher signals from the strings of a guitar. They depend upon the batteries as an external source of power. The active pickup produces a clearer sound. Usually, active pickups are used by the bass players and guitarists, as they produce higher signals and are good for those people who play metal. It suits the style of music they play. On the other hand, Passive Pickups are those pickups that generate weaker signals from the strings of a guitar. The sound of the passive pickup is not that clear as compared to the active pickup. It does not require a battery for power. Also, Passive pickups are affordable pickups as compared to the guitars with active pickups.

References

  1. https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-19-25-25057
  2. https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1119/1.4935088

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