Dimarzio pickups - am I the only one..

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by BabUShka, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. BabUShka

    BabUShka SS.org Regular

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    .. Not liking them? Ive read a lot of reviews and listened to demos. Seems promising and sounds great in demoes. But I just cant get used to them in my guitars.

    First I had a RG550 with Dimarzio that I sold, because if sounded flat and sterile.

    Then I bought a ToneZone for my EC1000, swapped it out the same day. Too fat and "something was missing".

    Now i have this EBMM JP6 with CL/LF combo. To me they sound muddy, flat and "sterile".

    Now, I know its about personal preferance - but anyone else feeling the same?

    I have a pair of D Activators that im considering putting in the JP6 as a last desperate move, if it wont work - then I'll invest in BKP.

    This is not a rant, Im just currious what you guys think.
     
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  2. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    No 7-string alnico pickups, no thanks.
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire \[T]/

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    writing off the whole brand because you tried a couple sets of pickups is asinine. Dimarzio makes lots of good stuff, it's just more about whether those specific pickups are a good fit for your needs. Same as any other pickup brand ime.
     
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  4. Matt08642

    Matt08642 SS.org Regular

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    FWIW I don't like how the Tone Zone sounds from what I've heard and also didn't like the Crunch Lab 7 I tried.

    That being said, I think the Blaze set are the best 7 string pickups I've ever heard, and love how the DiMarzio/IBZ pickups sound (They're apparently based on a Super 3 or something? Not sure but definitely DiMarzio)
     
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  5. BigViolin

    BigViolin JEFF LOOMIS SOLOIST!

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    Solid company with great customer service that has been delivering consistently great product for about 50 years.

    Yeah, they suck.
     
  6. BabUShka

    BabUShka SS.org Regular

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    Im not stating that they suck. Ive read and heard a lot about the company, and Im well aware they have a huge customer base - and some of my favourite artists play Dimarzio.

    Im just trying to understand what people like about them, and do you think make Dimarzio unique. Im curiouse about the D Activator set that i recently bought, Just to try something different from what ive allready tried and disliked so far.

    Perhaps i should try something more traditional, Super Distortion or a Paf set?
     
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  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    It's all a personal preference, though. I guess some people are a little defensive about the gear they like. I'm that way, too.

    I've had at least a dozen Dimarzios before. Some I loved, some I didn't like. Some that came to me very highly recommended and that my favourite players used that I ended up not really gelling with.

    So, what kind of pickups do you like?

    If you don't know, what kind of tone are you after? Which guitar are these going in? What amp do you plan to use with them?

    I've noticed that a lot of the CL/LF worshippers are using modeling amps. I use a tube amp, primarily, and I much prefer the Evolution and X2N. I love the Super Distortion as well. For seven string guitars, Evo7 and X2N7 and Blaze work for me.

    I've also tried Elysian, Oni, Seymour Duncan, Swineshead, Bareknuckle, EMG, Gibson, Fender, and at least a couple other brands I can't think of off the top of my head. There are tons of options out there and a lot of great stuff, along with a lot of other stuff that you won't particularly like.
     
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  8. BigViolin

    BigViolin JEFF LOOMIS SOLOIST!

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    It's not about the brand and everything about matching the gear to the application and your ears. I love the TZ in my setup in a 25.5" guitar but I wouldn't put it in a 24.75" guitar in a bass heavy setup.

    I think you will like the DA set compared to the CL/LF, certainly worth a try. I also really dig the Titan. What amp and tuning do you use?
     
  9. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    A pickup "sounds" as good or as bad as the guitar's setup is adequate to the musician. YES pickups can and should be set up as well - manage the distance to the strings and their adjustable poles. Some guitars have shallow pickup cavities and don't allow for much backing of from the strings, which will make some pickups difficult to set-up correctly for some guitars and accordingly to the musician's taste/needs.

    There are 2 guitar components that interfere directly with how a pickup "sounds": strings and electronics.
    1. About the strings, that's the easiest possible mod one can make, either in brand/models as well as in gauge.
    2. About the electronics, all pots and capacitors in the circuit will affect the pickup's output, either in volume as well as in tone. This is also a cheap, reversible and inexpensive mod (compared to a whole pickup swap) one can make to a guitar to make it sound more to one's taste. Do not overlook the pot's resistance values, taper to taste. Some people argue they can feel the difference even between pot brands or sizes... all pots are filter hence the "invention" of the blower switch to bypass them.

    ... a magnet swap will also change a pickup's tone...

    ... don't forget to have the guitar properly set-up, specially on the neck, frets (leveled, crowned and polished) and intonation (although this is more so the guitar sounds in tune). Uneven frets, un-crowned or unpolished frets will deliver noise to the string's ringing. This noise is often overlooked and not identified (specially the subtle ones), blaming the pickups as the reason for bad tone.

    ... then there's the amp and FXs rig... different pickups, different settings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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  10. BabUShka

    BabUShka SS.org Regular

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    Allright. Im starting to get the point.

    Some pickups that i really enjoy, for referance:
    - BKP Mule/Riff Raff in a Gibson Flying V
    - SD Blues Set in a Gibson LP, but I wish they had more output
    - SD SH1/ SH5 in a Schecter ATX
    - SD Jazz / Distortion in Eclipse II
    - BKP Black Dog in a Gibson SG 61RI
    - EMG 60/81 in LTD EC1000 (maybe a good referanse to the D Activators?)
    - Stock pickups in EVH Wolfgang
    - BKP Rebel Yell set in a EC1000

    Some pickups that I can not connect with:
    - Generally most Gibson pickups
    - Some of the Dimarzio that i mentioned
    - i have a JB in another EC1000 that doesnt fit me. Had the same experince with a JB in a Jackson kelly.
    - BKP Painkiller set
    - Seymour Duncan Blackouts

    Im using a Blackstar HT5 and a Madamp A15MK II. Some times. Bias FX2 and Hx Stomp. Planning to buy a Marshall JVM or ENGL Fireball 25 soon.

    Right now Im focusing on my JP6 Stealth with ebony fretboard, that i would like to sound more clear and "raw". I was considering BKP Nailbomb or Dimarzio Imperium a while, but came over a cheap set of D Activators. Just didnt have time to swap them in yet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  11. Wolfhorsky

    Wolfhorsky Regular idiot

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    All mentioned by OP pickups are one of my least fav of DiMarzio.
    Breed is one of the best bridge pickups for bright sounding guitars imho.
    Cruiser is my fav single coil-ish neck pickup atm...
     
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  12. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    Tone Zone in an EC-1000 is just an awful pairing imo. The Tone Zone was designed to fatten up a basswood guitar with a floating bridge and light strings. It has a big low-mid hump for that reason.
    Mahogany + fixed bridge (+ thicker strings) each introduces extra "fatness", so the Tone Zone is always likely to be overkill in an LP style guitar.

    I found the stock Tone Zone too fat in my RG652FX (fixed bridge, basswood), but was pleasantly by how much better the stock Tone Zone sounded in an RG655 (Edge trem, basswood) that I got a year later. The difference is night and day.

    A PAF Pro is likely to be a far better pairing for the EC-1000.

    I'm a big fan of D Activators - have them in three guitars. Work well in basswood or mahogany. Far more versatile than most people realise (within hard rock / metal realms). Personally, I like my bridge pickup to be at least 400mv output and my neck to be relatively bright, so D Activators suit my taste brilliantly.

    Super D with a Super 2 or PAF Pro in the neck is a a very solid pairing. There's a reason countless successful guitarists have used them.
     
  13. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    It really depends on the pickup itself and not the brand...

    Yes, I generally favor Duncan over DiMarzio or any other brand because they have more models I know how to make them sound good for me, for my picking, for my low tension strings and for the amp tones I prefer BUT the same way there are several duncans I hate (Custom5 and 59 mainly) there are a few DiMarzios I like for example X2N, PAF Pro in the neck on a bright guitar or the ToneZone with a ceramic magnet on almost any guitar if you are looking for a THICK sound. I remember I liked a lot playing with Blazes on my old RG7620 when I had it but it's been years, maybe today I won't like them despite sounding great.

    I love Petrucci's tone but everyone I have played with any of his pickups (AirNorton, Liquifire and Dsonic I think) I hated how I sounded and how they felt and react to my playing so...

    I understand what you mean (I think) but yeah, just try every pickup you can, you might like some.
     
  14. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    DiMarzio/IBZ seem to get written off without even being tried.
    DiMarzio says the bridge sounds like a blend of Super Distortion and Steve Morse model (which is based on Super D and on paper a bit like a Super 3 - hotter and more compressed than Super D). I can't speak for the Steve Morse, but it sounds somewhere between Super D and Super 3 to me.
    They say the neck sounds like a Super 2 and I agree. Slightly lower output, but very similar voicing.
     
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  15. Chris Bowsman

    Chris Bowsman Nu-Metal Apologist Contributor

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    EMG and Fishman are the only companies I've loved everything I've tried, and that's because all I used are the EMG 81, 85, 89, and the Fluence Tosins.

    There are a lot of Duncans I'm not crazy about, and I've tried a lot of theirs and DiMarzio. Standout favorites from DiMarzio are Norton, Air Zone, Air Classic neck, Imperium 7 bridge, and the Ionizer 8 set.
     
  16. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    yeah, the only dmz's I like are the ones that sound like Duncans or PAFs
     
  17. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

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    My favorite and benchmark for my sound will always be X2N/Air Norton, both pickups that sound huge distorted, work well for leads, good chunky rhythms, crunch and clean up nicely (assuming you have a REALLY clean amp for the X2N) and split well.

    I will say neither are for everyone. The Air Norton is notoriously too dark and round for some people but I use the X2N for leads a lot too. The X2N is even more divisive for a lot of reasons, mostly bc it's such a massive and thick pickup. I went from having Duncan Designed Distortion clones in my BC Rich and I swapped to what was close to the polar opposite, minus the top end sear and huge output. It's monstrous and so high output you've gotta boost and be careful with your low end. I will say the payoff for my tone at least has been enormous and I've been extremely happy with my tone from that guitar IN E STANDARD since I dropped it in.

    I wouldn't recommend it for lower than D standard due to its sheer power and low mid output but it's surprisingly versatile if you don't mind a little more vintage of a metal tone and you've got a coil split wired up. I also do like the full humbucker cleans as well assuming you have a clean af amp like I tend to use. Best way I can describe it is if you like the EVH 1984 tone with a hell of a lot more gain, there you go. The leads sound pretty much exactly like the later Death records as well. This is no lie, I can nail early Death and I attribute it solely to the pickup since it's such a wildly unique sound.


    Anyways I do really enjoy Dimarzios and I hated the Crunch Lab like you do. The D Activator X is apparently one of the darkest, most brutal pickups out there with a shit ton of low end and treble, plus crazy output, but I've been really impressed with all the videos I've heard of it. Really cutting and tight while being chunky as fuck. If I didn't have what is essentially its older brother and didn't have mega BKP GAS I'd be trying it in my Hondo instead of a CPIG.
     
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  18. WarMachine

    WarMachine SS.org Regular

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    I fucking love the D Activator series. My favorite combo is the X in the bridge and standard in the neck. Until they or someone else comes out with something more gnarly they cover all the bases for me just fine.
     
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  19. BabUShka

    BabUShka SS.org Regular

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    Perfect, thats exactly what im looking for. Already have a lot of PAF and medium output pickups in other traditional guitars, I would like the JP6 to be more brutal. Theres a guy on YY who has two JP with D Activators installed, and they sound insane.
     
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  20. Choop

    Choop n______n

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    I don't know what it is exactly, but most every Dimarzio I've heard or played has this inherent mushy/compressed character about it. It's hard to describe, and not necessarily bad.

    The D Activators are really cool, and I think the Super Distortion is one of the best pickups ever in guitars tuned no lower than like drop D haha. The Evo is a cool one that I had in a seven string Ibanez RG, and if you are looking for crazy aggressive mids the Dominion sounds great.
     

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