Don't worry, I'll put a tl;dr at the end. Hey guys, just wondering if anyone has ever used passives for a long while, and then switched back to EMG's in some guitar and enjoyed it? I used to use EMG's in my guitars close to a decade ago back in college... I also used a PodXT and cheap guitars and my ear for tone was probably much less developed. At some point I switched to passives, and since then, I've had Seymour Duncans in most of my guitars. I also use an Axe-FX II now, mostly using the Recto1 model. During the week, I was digging through my box of spare guitar parts and I found an EMG 85 I used to have in one of my old guitars, along with all the wires and pots, so in a fit of overwhelming nostalgia, I installed it into one of my strats (which was previously loaded with Seymour Duncan '59 / SSL1). I have to say... I really like it. It reminded me of why I liked EMG's back in college. Really heavy sounding, extremely hot. Way higher output than any other pickups I have at the moment. Compared to the '59 that was in there, it was almost like having an extra overdrive kicked in. Obviously its quite compressed, very high output, and also very tight and clear sounding for heavy metal rhythm. Leads also sound pretty good, its stupid easy to get loud pinch harmonics on this pickup. Apart from that, the 'base sound' of the guitar still remains in-tact, if that makes any sense. It still sounds like the same guitar, just with the above characteristics. I actually also liked the clean tones I got out of it, but I almost never play cleans, so I'm not really picky when it comes to that, so my opinion is probably not worth much in that regard. I'm currently staking out ebay and local classifieds for an EMG SA for the neck position. All this got me thinking... I'm generally not concerned with versatility as I play high gain about 90% of the time, and that seems to be one of the main complaints about EMG's. That, and the compression, but thats not nessesarily a bad thing, depending on what you're playing and the tone you're after. I'm kinda considering buying a passive-housing 7-string set (81-7H / 85-7H) for one of my seven strings (I'd have to buy new as I've never seen them for sale used). I know the forum consensus has gone off actives, EMG's in particular, is there any better options out there for me? I've done some digging about those new Fishman Fluence pickups, but there isn't much out there comparing to the old EMG's. Also I'm hesitant to believe some of the glowing reviews, as there's a lot of hype surrounding them at the moment, and a lot of endorsement dollars getting thrown around. Plus, I've seen a couple reviews where the user says the active voice (the one I would probably use 90% of hte time) sounds very EMG-like, so maybe it would just be extra money spent on extra features I don't really need. Also I'm in the UK, and like anything else interesting or new, they would be a pain in the dick to get ahold of here, and would probably have to special order or import from the US. For what its worth, the seven I'm considering swapping pickups in (Mayones Setius 7, all mahogany, maple top) is strong on the bottom end / low mids, so I wouldn't want a bass-heavy pickup. tl;dr - Found my old EMG 85, installed it in my strat, really liked it, great for heavy metal rhythm playing, now I've got EMG GAS, am I crazy for wanting to load EMG's into one of my sevens now? Anything else I should be considering?