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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So... I've searched but couldn't find any discussion on this.

Isn't a passive pickup with an active preamp basically the same thing as an active pickup? Except that the preamp circuitry isn't sealed in the pickup? :scratch:

For example, would a low output ceramic pickup sound like an EMG 81 with an extra preamp soldered in?

I like both passives and actives and like to try different stuff but I've never messed around with extra preamps.
 

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No. Why? Because it's not an active pickup.
 

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No, because an EMG without the preamp is stupidly low-output. Even lower-output than those Charlie Christian pickups, most likely.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
No. Why? Because it's not an active pickup.
But the active pickups have a preamp inside the "casing".

What is the difference of putting the preamp inside the humbucker vs outside?

THAT is what I'm asking about

No, because an EMG without the preamp is stupidly low-output. Even lower-output than those Charlie Christian pickups, most likely.

Yeah, I've tried EMGs without batteries so I know how it sounds like.

I think I actually recorded some clean guitars with nonpowered EMG 85 once but I'm not sure
 

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It's supposed to reduce noise, since the preamp and the coils are encased in epoxy.

The thing that seems to differentiate an active pickup from a preamp-boosted passive pickup is that the majority of the tone and output comes from the preamp, instead of the core tone being the pickup itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's supposed to reduce noise, since the preamp and the coils are encased in epoxy.

The thing that seems to differentiate an active pickup from a preamp-boosted passive pickup is that the majority of the tone and output comes from the preamp, instead of the core tone being the pickup itself.
Is it really like that?

I would like to hear an EMG 81 with the preamp taken out and put somewhere else on the guitar and then see how the thing sounds

How hard is it to break into an EMG? I have a EMG 81 that I accidently put a screw into from underneath while doing some stupid guitar modding project so that would make a perfect contestant for the experiment. But if it's all like totally epoxed up, I guess I don't have to go through the whole process of trying to get the shit out.
 

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EMG's are low-output (low impedance too?) into an on-board pre-amp.

Passives are regular-to-high output

Both have different frequency responses, you're not going to get the same sound by just adding a pre-amp to the passive pick-up. Part of that is due to the compression that's part of the pre-amp in the EMGs. You might get closer to what you're looking for with a boost into a compressor, or a compressor with a built-in boost/pre-gain.

EDIT: This is the image I was looking for:


Look at the dark orange and light blue lines. That's the frequency response of two EMGs. Very heavy on the Mids with a gentle roll-off on the bass and treble. The other graphs are the frequency response of typical passive pick-ups -- Basically flat until the resonant peak, and then a sharp drop.

If it was as simple as a pre-amp, then these:


would sound like EMGs. Those are Joel De Guzman's CycFi XR Pick-Ups and they're active, like EMGs, but are not compressed and have a huge (~ 20 to 20k), nearly flat, frequency response. EDIT: Look at the darker blue line in the graph above.
 
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