EMG 81-7, EMG 81-7X, or two new Blackout 7s ?

beyondcosmos

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
370
Reaction score
25
Location
Connecticut
I currently have two 707s in my guitar, which has a maple through-neck and mahogany wings. The guitar was produced in either 2012 or 2013 (it's one of the new X series Jacksons that has the corrected bridge pickup placement) and it sounds great, but the 707 in the bridge just doesn't provide the over-the-top, other-worldly-force tone that I really crave.

I've played the Blackout 7s and the 81-7 in both solid mahogany body and mahogany body/quilted maple top guitars (all were Schecters). They sounded pretty amazing, but two things aggravated me. The 81-7 didn't sound quite as "angelic" on the highs as the Blackout in the bridge position did. As for the Blackout, for some reason or another, it didn't sound as passionate as the 81-7 in any of the notes that weren't being played above the 12th fret. I just didn't hear the anger/velocity that the 81-7 provided all those other times. Granted, I played the Blackout equipped guitars through combo amps and the 81-7 equipped guitars through an ENGL Powerball and a Hughes and Kettner Coreblade, so that has a huge influence on what I heard.

I've heard amazing things about Blackouts, but I'm really familiar with the 81-7 and LOVE the tone that bands like Augury and Parkway Drive get with it (I also have seen Obscura live and Steffen Kummerer's live sound is truly incredible).

I have also heard that the 81-7X has wonderful highs and helps make the cleans much cleaner on a pickup that traditionally is considered to have the ugliest sounding clean tones (I personally really loved the tones I got out of the Coreblade with the 81-7, but I'll admit they could've had a bit more tenderness). However, other than the EMG demo video from Christian Olde Wolbers, I haven't found any high-quality videos of the 81-7X on YouTube so I truly don't have a good idea of its tone.

My thinking behind all this is that since I already have the 707 in the bridge and electronics compatible with EMGs, it'll be easiest and cheapest to just swap out the 707 in the bridge and put in an 81-7. The plug-in hookup on EMGs would mean I literally have to just attach it like a lego piece. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would be the same deal with the 81-7X, but it'd be a bit more in price and I'd lose some of the super-saturated active tone the 81-7 provides.

On the other hand, swapping out both and installing Blackouts could provide a different, possibly better tone. The pitfall here, however, is that I'd have to buy two pickups and have a luthier do the swap to change the electronics. I'm pretty inexperienced and have very little time on my hands when it comes to guitar electronics, and I'd rather have a professional do it (even though it'd mean I have to spend some $80 to $100 bucks......they over-price horribly).

There's also the option of modding an 81-7 and 707 set-up with a 16 volt battery instead of a 9 volt.

If you read all of that, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and then please provide your thoughts/opinions. Warning: I'm not even going to consider passive pickups. I like them, but I like active pickups better and know what type of tone I'm looking for (think of Augury's tone on Fragmentary Evidence or Parkway Drive's tone on Killing With A Smile).
 

djpharoah

Awwww Yeaaaah
Super Moderator
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
13,589
Reaction score
3,821
Location
Cali'
Blackouts and EMGs just straight swap out. No need to swap electronics. If you can change your strings you can swap them out.

I like the 81-7x in certain guitars where it's really aggressive and tight. In some guitars the 707 owns.
 

djpharoah

Awwww Yeaaaah
Super Moderator
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
13,589
Reaction score
3,821
Location
Cali'
I'm curious about those but also about the 85-7.
 

beyondcosmos

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
370
Reaction score
25
Location
Connecticut
I've heard that the effect produced by putting a 16v or 18v battery in the guitar with regular EMG 707s or an 81-7 and 707 set up is the same as having two 707Xs or an 81-7X and 707X set up. Is it as simple as just loading in the different battery or is anything else required?
 

Stuck_in_a_dream

SS.org Regular
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,441
Reaction score
454
Location
Austin, TX
I've heard that the effect produced by putting a 16v or 18v battery in the guitar with regular EMG 707s or an 81-7 and 707 set up is the same as having two 707Xs or an 81-7X and 707X set up. Is it as simple as just loading in the different battery or is anything else required?

From personal experience, the 18v mod is not even on the same planet as the X version. To my ears, the 18v mod helped the dynamics and tone of the 81 I had and made it usable (for me). The stock 81 sounded horrible to my ears.

The X-series pickups sound totally different, most notably they feature a newly designed preamp that is MUCH more transparent than what you find in the standard series. To my ears, the 81X was more dynamic, open, airy, slightly less output than 81, but I'll take it any day over the 81 even in the 18v mode.
 

Desolate1

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Messages
359
Reaction score
76
Location
Stockbridge, WI
I have the same guitar as you and like you I was less then thrilled with 707's that came in the guitar. Originally I was just going to replace the bridge pickup with a 81-7 but I have never liked the clean tone of the 81 and even distorted I think they sound thin and sterile. On my 6's I have always used either 85's or 89's in the bridge. After a lot of research I decided to go with the Blackout EMTY. To me these pickups combine the best aspects of both the 81-7 and the Blackouts. They have the tightness and aggression of the 81-7 and the mid-range snarl and output of the Blackouts. They also have a very good clean tone.
 

yellow

Banned
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
637
Reaction score
49
Location
Hiding from stalkers
81-7...i bought my 7 string guitar specifically cuz it had the 81-7 (and OFR)...the 81 is my favorite, but I guess it depends on your taste. I think its really best suited for high volume and high gain
 

beyondcosmos

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
370
Reaction score
25
Location
Connecticut
Thanks guys, sounds like good stuff. I'll admit that once something other than mahogany is thrown into the mix, I start to prefer the sound of Blackouts over the 81-7. I think at this point, since I've got the maple through-neck, it's either getting an 81-7X (and eventually a matching 707X or 60-7X) or a pair of Blackouts to replace both 707s right now.

Stuck in a dream , if you compared the X series to blackouts, what would you say the biggest differences are?
 

Stuck_in_a_dream

SS.org Regular
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,441
Reaction score
454
Location
Austin, TX
...
Stuck in a dream , if you compared the X series to blackouts, what would you say the biggest differences are?

Unfortunately, I never did compare them to the Blackouts in peroson. From listening to demos on youtube and soundcloud, I was not interested enough to try one. Based on these demos I'd say the BO give the impression that they are much hotter than the X-series, and less articulate, but again take that with a grain of salt, I am an EMG fanboy by now :D

I recently got the 707X/60-7X to try in my Carvin DC700 but I'm waiting on long shaft volume pots as the maple top Carvin puts there is too thick for the regular pot. Will have a NPD in a couple of days, and I will compare how the EMGs differ from the Carvins, which I think sound much better than the standard EMGs even in 18v.
 

GizmoGardens

ECE/MetalHead
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
931
Reaction score
24
Location
SJ,NJ
Gotta recommend the X series. I was always a fan of the 81 and hated the 85... Then when the x series came out I bought an 81X and two 85X's. Liked the 81X even better than the 81, but I was really floored by the 85X. The best way I can think to describe it is that it sounds like what the 85 was supposed to sound like. Still full in the bottom end, but less muddy. It makes a pretty mean bridge pickup, which is something I would have never done with the 85. The 81X just sounds like a more open 81, which for me was great.


Posted from Sevenstring.org App for Android
 

beyondcosmos

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
370
Reaction score
25
Location
Connecticut
Unfortunately, I never did compare them to the Blackouts in peroson. From listening to demos on youtube and soundcloud, I was not interested enough to try one. Based on these demos I'd say the BO give the impression that they are much hotter than the X-series, and less articulate, but again take that with a grain of salt, I am an EMG fanboy by now :D

I recently got the 707X/60-7X to try in my Carvin DC700 but I'm waiting on long shaft volume pots as the maple top Carvin puts there is too thick for the regular pot. Will have a NPD in a couple of days, and I will compare how the EMGs differ from the Carvins, which I think sound much better than the standard EMGs even in 18v.

Looking forward to that NPD day! I should probably do a belated NGD and NPD combo once I make a decision on which pickups I decide to get.
 

beyondcosmos

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
370
Reaction score
25
Location
Connecticut
Wanted to just give a quick reply to give a thread-finishing quote. I wound up going with the Blackouts and keeping the EMG electronics in, mostly because I'm not too skilled when it comes to taking out and putting in electronics, but also because I've heard that keeping in the EMG electronics creates a brighter tone than what you'd get with Blackouts and the matching tone pots from Seymour Duncan.

Sounds worlds better than the 707s.
 


Top