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Active iBeam or Passive iBeam?

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  • Active iBeam or Passive iBeam?

    I have an old Alvarez guitar that I am looking to install a pickup in and I am very familiar with the iBeam. I currently have the para acoustic DI that I use with my Larrivee L-05. Since I have a preamp, is it necessary to pay $50 more for the active iBeam system or will the passive system work just as well?

  • #2
    Can Someone Help?

    Is there not anyone who can help with this question? I was told this forum had very helpful administrators.


    • #3
      Hi jdewain,

      I apologize for the late reply. It is not necessary to purchase the active system with the iBeam pickup if you are using the Para DI. The Para DI should give you the gain and EQ you are looking, though this is not the ideal set up.

      I would consider spending the extra $50 to purchase the active system. There are many benefits to this setup:

      1) We always recommend an appropriate preamp as close to the source of the pickup signal as possible for best results. The further away the preamp is from the pickup, the more attenuation you will run into from the pickup to the preamp. This is especially significant with passive pickups. You would need a fairly short cable to minimize attenuation if running the passive iBeam to the Para DI.

      2) The preamp for the iBeam is designed to make the iBeam sound awesome with little to no external equalization. The active iBeam will require much less EQ than the passive.

      3) The iBAS gain structure is designed specifically for the iBeam pickup; it will give you the optimal gain configuration when connecting to an external preamp. It takes into account the strongest energy the iBeam can expect to receive from any guitar and ensures that the signal will not clip (it can be a tricky task finding the proper gain setting for passive iBeam due to its unique dynamic response).

      4) Having the preamp would give you convenient volume control right at your fingertips, rather than having to reach down and adjust the volume on your Para DI.

      Overall, it is a more favorable set up to have the iBeam Active system with the Para DI in terms of gain, EQ, and convenience. However, you are still able to use the Para DI with the passive iBeam.

      Hope this helps
      Justin Rucker
      L.R. Baggs