For EBMM Petrucci Guitars - Crunch Lab/Liquifire vs Illuminator Set

hamoftruth

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For those who have played both in the JP series guitars - which do you prefer? Disregarding the onboard preamp/boost on the Illuminator models.

A few folks whose opinions I trust on Dimarzio's 7-String offerings claim the Titan and Illuminator sets are their favorites, with the Titan being a bit tighter/controlled and the Illuminators being more big and open sounding, but being fairly similar overall. I have the Titans in another guitar and I love them.

My used 2012 JP7 came with non-stock pickups and I've replaced them with the Illuminators. They sound great! But I'm curious as to how the original stock pickups for that year (Crunch Lab/Liquifire) might compare since I've never tried them. Consensus from what I've read seems they might be more compressed/less dynamic than the Illuminators, and less tight and defined. But I'm curious to hear people's perspectives.
:shred:
 

katsumura78

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Had time with both sets of pickups and to me the illuminator wins by a long shot. They cut in a mix np, sound good, feel good. You might feel like you’re missing out on the CL/LF but you’re not. Had a couple JPXI’s and put the CL/LF in a RGA121. Not a bad sound but you get bored of it eventually. Never got bored of the Illuminators. Sonic Ecstasy is an underrated set of pickups as well. A “warmer” Illuminator, that’s the best way I can describe it. The DC/RM set is also very good but it’s own thing compared to the rest.


TLDR: Dont bother with the CL/LF. Just my opinion. I’m sure someone out there loves em.
 
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KnightBrolaire

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I've only tried the 6 string cl/liquifire set and illuminators in a baritone tuned to B so I can't help specifically with the 7 string versions.
That being said the illuminators will do the DT stuff and anything else you want them to. They're awesome pickups.
 

hamoftruth

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I've only tried the 6 string cl/liquifire set and illuminators in a baritone tuned to B so I can't help specifically with the 7 string versions.
That being said the illuminators will do the DT stuff and anything else you want them to. They're awesome pickups.

How do you feel they compare in terms of sound/performance?
 

Hoss632

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Not played them myself, but to my ear over the years, I've liked the CL/LF in 6 strings, but in 7's just found them a bit muddy. The Illuminator's definitely seem to be the better sounding set by a long shot in 7 strings
 

bjjman

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Another vote for the Illuminators. I used to have a guitar with CL/LF combo and have both Illuminators and Titans in guitars right now. Illuminators are my favourite of the three, Titans come in second. The Liquifire is great for fluid lead sounds but the Crunch Lab lacks the tightness I like from a bridge pickup. If you've already got Illuminators in there, I wouldn't touch it.
 

Lax

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I was fine with the CL/LF in my JP12 until I got a majesty with sonic ecstasy...Man the CL sucks :D
If I change it I think I'll try to find something voiced differently than the sonic tho, maybe the illuminator is too close ?
 

Strobe

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I own a JP15 with Illuminators, a JP6 Baritone with the CL/LF, and a JP7 with the CL/LF set.

I will say that the illuminators just tend to always sound good with a variety of different amps. They are brighter and very clear - these are some of my favorite passive pickups. I highly recommend them.

The Crunch lab has a lot of low mids that can sound congested with some amps. It does make solos sound good on the bridge pickup, but it is a fairly dark, very low mids focused pickup. I find I need to dial it in more on an amp to get the clarity I want. I will, however, say that with Mark Series amps from Mesa Boogie it just kind of works. Extremely thick, and it has the clarity with a Mark series amp. I have also noted that recordings with this combo just sound killer. Bottom line - it's a great set of pickups. It works well down to B (n my opinion). To really get the most out of it, you need a very tight sounding amp and the mark series just works with it (no surprise, it's what Petrucci has long used). Bottom line, I think these are great pickups but maybe not with your rig.
 

hamoftruth

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Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Has anyone also had experience with the Drop Sonic? Trying to keep with the Petrucci theme but I'm finding the Illuminators a bit warm sounding in this guitar, however maybe that's more the basswood / rosewood / floating non-locking trem talking. Just wondering if either of these options would be brighter and livelier while also being tight and punchy.

It seems the consensus is the Crunch Lab is a bit bloated in the low mids, fat sounding but not very tight. Wondering if the Drop Sonic might fit the bill, maybe even with the bar toward the bridge.
 

Legion

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The D Sonic was the very first aftermarket pickup I ever bought.
It was a nice pickup, and in the GIO Ibanez I had at the time it really brought some serious top end sparkle to the tone. I had it installed with the bar towards the bridge. I remember enjoying the tone I got, but do not remember it being particularly bloated: it was pretty nicely balanced actually. It never left my guitar until I sold it 7 years later.
 

BabUShka

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IMO the Illuminators do everything the CL/LF do but better. That being said, I have the Alpha/Omega set in my JPX7 and it’s my absolute favorite.

Did you do any modifications to the base plate of the Alpha/Omega in order to fit them in the JPX?
 

EdgeCrusher

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I am big fan of the D-Sonic, moreso in my RG7621 than in my RG570 though. I think the tightness of the pickup lends itself better to lower tunings rather than standard E or Drop D. The one complaint I have about it in my 6 is that it can be a bit too stiff/tight at times for the Drop D tuning that I keep it in. That guitar is naturally a bit thin and bright sounding though, so a looser pickup may fit it better. Sounds fantastic in my 7 though! I have no desire to change it, though I am interested in hearing the Illuminators and Titans one day.

I've never tried Petrucci's newer pickups, but the Crunch Lab seems to have been a step in the wrong direction based on all the feedback I've read about it being muddy. The D-Sonic is not muddy at all, but quite tight and cutting with fast attack/pick response. Perfect for Fear Factory style riffing, but also feels and sounds great for melodic soloing. It almost has a single coil like snap to the attack, which I quite enjoy. Only downside is that it can be noisy, as the bar picks up more electrical interference than most pickups. If you record in front of a computer, or stand close to your amps, it may be an issue. I don't mind it though and am able to mitigate it with a noise gate or moving a bit further away from electronics.
 

deigo

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Any opinions on Illuminators vs EVOs vs AN-TZ set? Looking for v7/v8 replacement in my RG505. Going to play instrumental songs like Vai/Satch/etc
 

hamoftruth

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When I asked Dimarzio what 7-string pickups would be closest to the original Music Man Petrucci pickups (the "custom wound" ones they won't sell directly), I was told the Evo 7 in the bridge and the Blaze neck. Not sure if their answer would change if I asked for 6-string pickups though.
 

Metropolis

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Any opinions on Illuminators vs EVOs vs AN-TZ set? Looking for v7/v8 replacement in my RG505. Going to play instrumental songs like Vai/Satch/etc

They all will do that kind of mostly E-standard tuned music well. But... I just replaced V8 on my RG565 with Illuminator, and I really like it. Open but modern sounding, not too compressed or focused how Evolution can be, and not too much bass and low mids like ToneZone. Definetly has more pushed feeling than the other two. And to be honest I have never seen the appeal of Tonezone, and why it has so much that loose low end going on. It's really hard to dial out.

This youtube channel has quite good comparisons on at least bridge pickups. This is how it should made and you can hear general character of the pickups very easily.



 

penguin_316

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Had time with both sets of pickups and to me the illuminator wins by a long shot. They cut in a mix np, sound good, feel good. You might feel like you’re missing out on the CL/LF but you’re not. Had a couple JPXI’s and put the CL/LF in a RGA121. Not a bad sound but you get bored of it eventually. Never got bored of the Illuminators. Sonic Ecstasy is an underrated set of pickups as well. A “warmer” Illuminator, that’s the best way I can describe it. The DC/RM set is also very good but it’s own thing compared to the rest.


TLDR: Dont bother with the CL/LF. Just my opinion. I’m sure someone out there loves em.
Couldn't had said it any better. Illuminator feel and respond so much better, without that ice pick peak while using gain. Anything can be EQd, but Illuminators are already there imo.
 


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