Passive SD vs EMG vs Fishman Fluence

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Guitarjon, Nov 16, 2021.

  1. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    Hollandtropolis
    Hey everyone,

    I've been wanting to make this comparison for a while. I recently rounded off my ESP LTD Phoenix collection so I now own 4 of the same model, each with different pickup configurations. This means that I can now compare the pickups (or guitars) through an amp and see how they sound side by side. Of course the guitars themselves are likely to have some minor differences in between them because of the wood but the differences between the pickups will be much more drastic imho.

    The guitars all have the same wood types, scale length, construction, strings, gauges, tunings etc. so that helps in keeping things consistent. These are the pickups that I'm comparing:

    - Seymour Duncan Custom
    - EMG81tw
    - Fishman Fluence Modern (voice 1 and 2)

    I wanted to try this through a familiar amp first so I went with the Peavey 6505 and a high-gain tone. It's hard for me to pick a favorite because they all have their charm. I'd be very interesting in hearing your thoughts. Which one did you prefer here and why?

     
  2. Stiman

    Stiman SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    92
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    It's hard not to be biased without doing a blind test. But I prefer the sound of the SD Custom personally.
     
    AkiraSpectrum and Guitarjon like this.
  3. CovertSovietBear

    CovertSovietBear Lord Bagel Supreme

    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    303
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Location:
    Neo Japan
    +1 for the Custom, or as I've heard Wes Hauch say: neck and tits
     
    AkiraSpectrum and Guitarjon like this.
  4. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    31,140
    Likes Received:
    18,485
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Also liked the Custom most here.
    FWIW I feel like the 81TW has more low end and a smoother top end than the standard 81, and it def sounds like it here.
     
    AkiraSpectrum, lewis and Guitarjon like this.
  5. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    1,168
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    I feel like I'm the only one who thinks the fishman kicked ass. Damn, that voice 1 rhythm tone was mean as HELL and voice 2 got the best of voice 1 and the Duncan in it. 81TW was just a little meh imo
     
    elkoki and Guitarjon like this.
  6. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    Hollandtropolis
    I like it too :)
     
  7. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

    Messages:
    8,932
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Custom for me too, but the EMG is definitely a great sound :metal:


    Nothing "wrong" with the Fluence by any means, but it seems to sit right in between the passive/active characteristics without the complete magic of either one. It has its sound and utility, but probably just isn't for me. I've yet to try them myself, though.
     
    HeHasTheJazzHands likes this.
  8. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    31,140
    Likes Received:
    18,485
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    Louisiana
    This is probably one of the few times I heard the Fluences sound as good as they do compared to other pickups. They tended to sound like all mids, nothing else, but here they sounded a bit more complex. The passive voicing was kinda eeeeh though.
     
  9. Choop

    Choop n______n

    Messages:
    1,761
    Likes Received:
    712
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Kentucky, US
    They all sound good, but the Duncan Custom is teh best IMO. It's also my favorite Duncan, so that goes double for me! :D
     
  10. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    31,140
    Likes Received:
    18,485
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Yeah this video makes me wanna try the Duncan Custom again. :lol:

    Also would be cool to see a comparison between the 81 and 81TW. Theres surprisingly not a lot of comparisons.
     
  11. Giest

    Giest Redneck Rube

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2021
    I liked them all honestly, if I had to choose one it is the SD though. The timbre of the TW EMGs is too compressed from what I distantly remember of the standard 81 I have used, but I could be wrong and god knows what is going on with the production here. The Fishmans sound great in passive mode to my ears, though very modern (go figure) in contrast to the others- which I don't personally prefer all the time, but do enjoy here and there. On the other hand, I did not care for them at all in active voicing compared to the others.
     
  12. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    6,481
    Likes Received:
    2,448
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    All cool pickups in their own right. My preference is definitely the SD Custom though, it just has that high-end detail and gnarly mids. The Fishman's are cool because they seem to give you the 'OD/Tubescreamer' tone built in! The EMG81TW is great because it naturally gives you that focused sound, but the tonal qualities are too synthetic for my ears.
     
  13. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    418
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2020
    For me the custom is probably the one I'd prefer. The fishman active voice to me sounded like the custom with a tube screamer in front of the amp so it for me was the 2nd best sounding. The passive fishman voice to me was just, not very good and the EMG i'm indifferent on. I think with a 24v mod I'd like the emg 81 a little more. I think the fishman modern would be better suited if the tuning were in Drop B or lower as it's frequency range seems to compliment that more.
     
  14. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,510
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Tenerife
    On a 6505 I knew my favourite would be the Custom and is no exception in this demo. Absolute favourite. Second but very far is the 81. I don't know if it is because of the TW or what but sounds duller than how it should. The fishman is just too honky for me. The first riff sounded great but the gallos and single low string pow-pow thing riff are horrible specially in the active mode... I just can't stand the "instant djent" sound... Maybe in a different amp like a Recto with a bigger low end it might work very good but not on a tight amp like this...

    Well, good thing we have choices!!


    Nice demo btw!
     
  15. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,433
    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2019
    Location:
    Le baguette land, Canada
    I personally think the SD Customs win hands down in this particular demo.

    Fishmans sounded ok. I wasn't blown away. EMG just sounded kinda super compressed and dead-er-er compared to the others.

    well job on the demo sir @Guitarjon
     
  16. odibrom

    odibrom .

    Messages:
    6,032
    Likes Received:
    3,926
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Location:
    ... perto de onde a terra acaba e o mar come├ža...
    Comparing pickups is a very complicated test because the distance to strings affects how a pickup sounds and feels, more so when the pickups to be compared are so different in build technologies, one is passive, one is active on the old fashion way and the third is ultra modern build process (printed coils instead of wound ones like the previous examples).

    I also think that high gain tones aren't the best to test pickups because they'll blur the bigger differences with the distortion and compression that comes with it. @Guitarjon maybe do this same test with lower gain settings? Lower gain tones make the pickups tone differences shine a lot!

    I'm biased to passive pickups because on simple humbucker delivers 6 different tones to play with and when mixed with another, the possible combinations grow exponentially, and I really like some of those, like Inner coils in series, kind of remind of a middle humbucker without it being an obstacle to picks...

    Nevertheless, as always a super cool video.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2021
    BubbleWrap likes this.
  17. SubsonicDoom99

    SubsonicDoom99 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    68
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2019
    All three pickups sound good to me, but all in very different ways.
    The Fishman pickups definitely have their own sound, I totally get what people are saying about the Tubescreamer-ish tone to them, that seems to be pretty spot on.
    The EMG does what it does, the least dynamic of the three but that being said, it does what it does very well and if that's your cup of tea then it's great.
    Duncan Custom is the most dynamic of the bunch and the most to my liking but I am already a big fan of that pickup anyhow so my ear is probably biased, haha.
    This is a cool and very well done comparison video, I give it thumbs up for sure, but also these three pickups are so inherently different from each other, it's inevitable that they're going to have some substantial differences in tone and response from each other. But still cool to hear!
     
  18. magicpad

    magicpad SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2021
    Phenomenal demo! They all sound great... I'm actually leaning towards the Fishman's just for the simple fact that you get 2 sounds in one!
     

Share This Page