Elysian TAP Review

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by bostjan, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    12,972
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    I typically won't review a product until I've played with it for at least 2-3 months, but, because this is a pretty hot product, I wanted to post my initial thoughts early.

    My seven string Agile Sceptor 727 19-tone guitar came with SD Blackouts. While they are great pickups, I really didn't click with them. They sounded plenty beefy in high gain situations, but clean tones seemed to just be missing something and I couldn't get quite enough of the good treble frequencies I like out of them, so I decided to swap them out. My initial plan was to go with my go-to Dimarzio, but these were active routes and I really didn't want to mess with pickup rings and whatnot, plus I really wanted to try the Elysian TAP's, which I really liked the idea behind.

    So I contacted Elysian Guitars through ss.o and told Adam what I liked and asked if he could do something in an active housing. The answer to every question was yes, so he shipped me a beautiful pair of pickups with TAP technology and modern hot winding.

    I'll disclaimer here and say flat out that a lot of guitarists these days have been shying away from hot modern pickups and going for a PAF or something with a lower output. Not me. Most all of my guitars either have X2N's, EVO's, Super Distortions, or pickups voiced to sound like those pickups.

    When the package arrived at my house, I had actually just returned home from an emergency trip, so I was quite pleased to see how quickly Adam took care of me, and the timing provided a welcome distraction to the stress of travelling under bad circumstances...

    The pups came in a custom plastic case with the Elysian logo and lots of foam padding. A wiring diagram was included. The leads were already stripped down at the ends and twisted conveniently with the ground and the - output gently twisted together. The color code was intuitive to me: black is +, green is -, with red and white for access to different wiring configurations (red + of the "start coil" and white - of the "finish coil").

    Before getting started, I decided to record a song right quick, so I could show off the difference between the two sets. I sort of randomly chose a Korn song, since it'd be easy to throw together, and I was struggling to contain my curiosity for how these would sound. I went with "Falling Away from Me," to get a sense of cleans and high gain tones, and I threw my attempt at something djenty in the middle (I'm not a djent guy), since some folks might want to hear them in that sort of context. Then I ripped out the SD's and dropped these bad boys in without any problems with the wiring. And then redid the guitar parts.

    There was a small drop in output level versus the blackouts, but, to be fair, those are really hot active pickups and these TAP's are passives. The difference is actually barely worth noting, though, so for passives, these are wound really damn hot.

    Right away, I was happy. There is a novelty effect any time you try new pickups, but I just gelled with these. I've tried dozens of pickups in the past, and I generally have the novelty wear off after 15-20 minutes. And I've bought plenty of pickups that I just didn't particularly like before. The Elysians, in this configuration, are just right up my alley. I am quite happy with my purchase so far. Also, I have to say that Adam was super helpful throughout the process.

    The clips were recorded with exactly the same settings for comparison purposes. I'd take a more layered approach to cleans with the Elysians, because they have a more piezo-y tone clean. Also, the chorus effect was set the same, but seemed to sound much deeper with the SD's, being active pickups. It might also be a bit unfair to the TAP's, since the tone settings were all optimized for the Blackouts and then I didn't screw with anything to make it more optimized-sounding for the Elysians.

    Let's see if I can manage to post the clips now without screwing up the forum :lol:

    Take 1: Seymour Duncan Blackouts:
    https://soundcloud.com/user-732175460/falling-away-from-me-seymour-duncan-blackout-pickups

    Take 2: Elysian Tuned Aperture Modern Hots:
    https://soundcloud.com/user-732175460/falling-away-from-me-elysian-tuned-aperture-pickups

    My take on it: two great tones. Both can easily handle the aggressive high gain stuff handily, and both sound totally different clean, but in both cases the cleans sound great, too. The Elysians just have a little extra bite to them that makes the high gain stuff cut better, in my ears.
     
    Samark and KnightBrolaire like this.
  2. IGC

    IGC OCDG

    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    78
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Location:
    Cleveland,ohio
    Exciting!!! Nice job with the tracks:yesway:, Fieldy and John Davis would fall right in. The Elysian doesn't have quite the volumetric output as the blackout with the same settings, but that doesn't matter. I definitely loved the Elysian! Good choice:yesway: hope the emergency situation is better.
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

    Messages:
    3,892
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Location:
    minnesotahhh ehh
    The modern wind is killer, I love the bridge version in my boden 8. It snarls, stays super clear and takes gain like a champ.
     
    bostjan likes this.
  4. Samark

    Samark SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    251
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Location:
    Oslo
    Sounding delicious! These came out looking great, too!

    Thanks for the review
     
    bostjan likes this.
  5. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

    Messages:
    3,053
    Likes Received:
    435
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    Sounds cool, man. I got some new pickups in December that I'm still really enjoying. Always great when you find pickups that 100% fit what you want from them. I didn't see it, but are they alnico 2, 5, 8, ceramic?
     
    bostjan likes this.
  6. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

    Messages:
    3,892
    Likes Received:
    1,113
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Location:
    minnesotahhh ehh
    the modern wind is usually alnico 5 slugs, with ceramic bar magnet iirc.
     
    bostjan and Spaced Out Ace like this.
  7. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    32
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2017
    Location:
    Anaheim CA
    I think I preferred the Duncan's more.
     
    bostjan likes this.
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    12,972
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Since I'm going to be using it in a high-gain situation 90% of the time, I wanted something with a little more snarl in it, and these pickups delivered on that.

    That was my understanding as well. These have one set of AlNiCo V slugs and one set of black hex screws over a ceramic bar magnet (not certain what kind of ceramic), per pickup.

    The Duncans are absolutely good pickups. I know it's purely personal preference, but I like a little more attack and some good upper-mid frequency response, plus I prefer passives, not that there is that much hassle to active pickups, but I hate having to worry about how fresh my spare battery is and whatnot. But, as far as tone goes, obviously everyone has a slightly different expectation. I got exactly what I ordered in this case, and I can't speak to what Elysian's low-output pickups sound like, since I haven't tried them. Hopefully someone will soon.
     
  9. ElysianGuitars

    ElysianGuitars Vendor

    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    136
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Hope it's not out of line to respond here.

    I do ship a lot with that configuration, but I'm pretty flexible, and base my recommendation on what the customer wants.

    The ceramic bars on those pickups are one Mojotone sells, and this particular magnet is thicker than a standard ceramic bar, 0.2" thick instead of 0.125". I chose that magnet for your pickups specifically for the extra output it would have.
     
    KnightBrolaire likes this.
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    12,972
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Mojotone magnets seem to be exclusively C8 (feroba-3 or Y30H-1) grade strontium ferrite. These are higher output than the more typical C5 strontium ferrite or the more vintage barium ferrite ceramic magnets. For the chemistry geeks, like me, the different C grades are the USA standard, and have nothing to do with the final chemical makeup of the material. Typically with ceramic materials, using different binding agent, which can affect grain size and orientation.
     
    ElysianGuitars likes this.

Share This Page