Thinking of using active pickups

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Been a passive pickup user all my guitar playing life. To play the drop c and b chuggy metalcore stuff I've been using Bareknuckle Aftermath and Juggernauts. They sound great but for a new baritone guitar I'm thinking of getting they're quite expensive now, so looking at other options.

Are active pickups still the way to go? Not really used EMG's before but the 81/85 combination is meant to be tried and true. You could pretty much put them in any shitty piece of wood and it'd sound good?

What about the Seymour Duncan Blackouts? What are they like in super low (drop a) tunings? As the new baritone I'm looking to get is going to be lower than b.
 

Legion

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81/60 is a tried and true combo. I enjoyed them in my Schecter C1 many years ago.
Blackouts in my 1527 sounded good, but were doing this weird asymmetrical compression thing that was bothering my fucking OCD when I looked at the waveforms in Reaper :lol:
EMTY Blackouts were in my Loomis before I sold it. FUCKING GLORIOUS pickups, I loved them to death. Damn that guitar sounded massive. Kinda regret selling it.
707's in a basswood RG are a magical combination that for some fucking reason NOBODY talks about, and that's fucking criminal IMO.

"Are they still the way to go?"

If you like the active pickup feel, then hell yes.
 

tedtan

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For the EMG thing, try playing through a Tubescreamer set to boost. It won’t be exact, but that should get you close enough to see if you’ll like them.
 

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Yeah I tried a friend's Jim Root strat with the EMG 81/60 combination and I quite liked how fat and chunky it was.

Would I have to roll back the amp gain a little bit though as they're so high output?
 

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For the EMG thing, try playing through a Tubescreamer set to boost. It won’t be exact, but that should get you close enough to see if you’ll like them.
I use a TS9 effect on my Kemper profiler when I play with my passives, really drives it more and tightens up that low end.
 

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81/60 is a tried and true combo. I enjoyed them in my Schecter C1 many years ago.
Blackouts in my 1527 sounded good, but were doing this weird asymmetrical compression thing that was bothering my fucking OCD when I looked at the waveforms in Reaper :lol:
EMTY Blackouts were in my Loomis before I sold it. FUCKING GLORIOUS pickups, I loved them to death. Damn that guitar sounded massive. Kinda regret selling it.
707's in a basswood RG are a magical combination that for some fucking reason NOBODY talks about, and that's fucking criminal IMO.

"Are they still the way to go?"

If you like the active pickup feel, then hell yes.
Yeah I tried a friend's Jim Root strat with the EMG 81/60 combination and I quite liked how fat and chunky it was.

Would I have to roll back the amp gain a little bit though as they're so high output?
 

Legion

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Yeah I tried a friend's Jim Root strat with the EMG 81/60 combination and I quite liked how fat and chunky it was.

Would I have to roll back the amp gain a little bit though as they're so high output?
They're actually not that hot, really. They feel hot because the pickup compresses like a mofo.
 

KentBrockman

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81/60 is a tried and true combo. I enjoyed them in my Schecter C1 many years ago.
Blackouts in my 1527 sounded good, but were doing this weird asymmetrical compression thing that was bothering my fucking OCD when I looked at the waveforms in Reaper :lol:
EMTY Blackouts were in my Loomis before I sold it. FUCKING GLORIOUS pickups, I loved them to death. Damn that guitar sounded massive. Kinda regret selling it.
707's in a basswood RG are a magical combination that for some fucking reason NOBODY talks about, and that's fucking criminal IMO.

"Are they still the way to go?"

If you like the active pickup feel, then hell yes.
Not OP but I’ll have to try the Blackouts!

I bought an RG1527 early last year and the previous owner had them in. I needed to do some work on the guitar immediately for other reasons so I switched them out for the JP Dreamcatcher and Rainmaker 7 pickups. I forgot I had a pair of Blackouts lying around!
 

Zander of Puppets

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Are active pickups still the way to go?
They aren't everyone's cup of tea, so it really just depends on if you like how they sound. I have both actives and passives and while I like both, I generally prefer passives as I feel like they just have a richness/more organic sound that actives lack in my opinion.

I only tried some blackouts once, but I thought they were too dark sounding, though maybe they just didn't pair well with that particular guitar build. I have a 81/85 set in one of my guitars, and yes it's a tried and true combo that will work very well for metal. If you are after that particular sound, they are a safe bet.

You should also check out Fishman pickups. They are kinda the hot new thing when it comes to active pickups (Devin Townsend, Matt Heafy, Killswitch Engage and Tosin Abasi all even have their own signature pickups with them). I have the Kieth Merrow set in my Schecter and they sound quite good. The Fishman mondern set, I believe, is similar to the 81/85 set in terms of sound profile. Fishman are generally a bit more organic sounding than EMGs but that doesn't mean you will like it more. Also, a downside is that their battery life is not nearly as good compared to an EMG. Still, definitely look into them if you are looking into actives!
 

Matt08642

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I've sung the praises of the 81/85 set for ages, and I'll do it again! For 2000s Metalcore, nothing beats them IMO. Mostly because those are the pickups everyone used in that time period, but they also do the "EMG thing" the best - None of the competition (Blackouts/Fishman) really capture it to my ears.
 

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Alot of this depends on which type of guitar I get and how much it is. If its a super cheap guitar like a Harley Benton strat but setup for actives then yes I think getting a set of EMG's to replace would be my preferred option.

If its a more expensive guitar that has passives maybe then I think I'd have to rerout the wiring and have a compartment or cavity for the battery setup.

Fishman's are very expensive (just like BKP) so maybe not a good idea to put the into a cheaper guitar.
Then again I have put their Juggernauts in an EC-50 and it sounds great.

Maybe the compressed lack of dynamics will help as I'm not the greatest player, I can't shred or play super fast so it'd help hide my crappyness haha. If its a clear more articulate pickup it'd bring out all my sloppy playing!
 

CanserDYI

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I personally will keep my passive Seymour Duncans. Been thru all the Fishman sets, quite a few EMG's, Blackouts (yuck), and I always always ALWAYS end up ripping them out and throwing a tried and true Pegasus and Sentient set in. I love that set. Besides the LIthiums in my Kiesel, all of my guitars have Pegasus/Sentient passives in them at this point.
 

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On the other hand I'd like to have 1 guitar with actives. Like I said above if the baritone I get already has EMG's in them I may run with those to get a feel and maybe switch out if I don't like it.
 

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If you like the eq of the EMG 81 but you like some heft to the sound and some passive feel, I recommend the James Hetfield and Jim Root signature sets. The Hetfield is my favorite. It has that wide eq and passive-like low end. But it's still tight like the 81. The Jim Root is eq'd the closest to the 81 but it feels and plays differently.
 

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There is no universal application but I cannot stress how incredible the Het Sets are and for some guitars I have discovered that tonal nirvana has the 85 in the bridge
 


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