D-Activator Bridge DP220 Review

manufacturer: DiMarzio date: 03/20/2013 category: Pickups
DiMarzio: D-Activator Bridge DP220
The DP220 pickup has the same loud yet clean sound as the active humbuckers players are familiar with, and killer harmonics. They also respond instantly to hard or light pick attack. In a word, the DP220 pickups rock.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.8 
 Users rating:
 9 
 Votes:
 17 
reviews (2) 15 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
D-Activator Bridge DP220 Reviewed by: D!m, on august 07, 2009
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 69.99

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound: This is a very powerful bridge [recomended] pickup. I think the output is 470 and the resistance is around 11.5 ohms. I am using a Peavey Bandit 112 with a Peavey Sheffield cab. This pickup was created in mind of an active curcuit; how the pickup is clear sounding and articulate. These get rid of the battery and the sterile edginess of most popular active pickups (i.e. EMG's). The D Activato brings out the treble and mids while keepingn the lows tight and cruchy, while being able to clean up very well on lower volumes without losing depth. They also stay articulate even in the lowest of tunings and dive-bombs. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've had this pickup set in my Ibanez RG2EX2 since 2007 so it's lasted 2 and a half years and seems like it will last (because it's passive). I gig frequently and play nonstop and they still sound the same as the day I put them in. I feel like I can definately depend on it for anything. // 10

Overall Impression: I love the simple 4 Conductor wiring and the versatility of it. I don't hate anything about it. I installed it in every one of my Ibanez's: RG2EX2, RGR421EXFM, S5470 Prestige in the bridge position. I recomend it to anyone who loves active pickups but wants more versatility and convenience. // 9

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overall: 6.3
D-Activator Bridge DP220 Reviewed by: jm1681, on march 20, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 59.95

Purchased from: Steve's Music Center

Sound: The output is high, but not as perceivably high as the EMG 81 it replaced. The slightly lower power DOES make the pickup quite a bit clearer, and I like that, but, it's just not as potent as the EMG. Period. The tone is surprisingly similar to an EMG 81, save for a noticeable spike in the upper-mids, sort of like a wah pedal nearly all the way forward. I believe this was intentional, to create "perceived" attack. This brings me to the next issue. What a lot of people complain about in EMGs, people who LIKE EMGs love, and that's the razor sharp attack (Or as many people call it, "Lack of dynamics"). Light picking or hard picking hits the amp like an ice pick, and hits the amp evenly with the same amount of punch. This DOES NOT HAPPEN with the D-Activator. This is another element DiMarzio says they tried to duplicate, but it simply isn't the case. Digging in as hard as I can STILL won't produce the same bite as an 81, and that's really unfortunate. It's a tremendous loss for the pickup, because I truly believe that's one of the most important elements of actives, and something I really hoped would not be the case with the D-Activator. Because it asks, I'm playing this through a Line 6 Flextone III 2x12 combo. // 6

Reliability & Durability: I don't worry about the DiMarzio lasting in any way shape or form. However, I feel there is something to be said about the difference in construction from the EMG it replaced. DiMarzio, Duncan, a many other aftermarket pickup manufacturers all build their pickups in similar ways, in regards to the construction at least. Fabric-wrapped wire, and plastic bobbins. In perspective, unless you punch, kick, and spill a LOT on your guitar, that type of construction really ought to be adequate. However, the completely sealed EMG 81 is definitely more durable. Sadly, it's just another area the D-Activator loses out to the EMG in. // 8

Overall Impression: After 14 years, I was finally fed up by the lack of versatility in the EMG 81; I had to try something new. I researched for months, and after reading DiMarzio's claims, that they set out to capture the characteristics of "the most popular active bridge pickups", the D-Activator seemed like the best option (In my price range). I wanted to love this pickup, I really did. I wanted it to be the versatile, passive 81 replacement I've longed for (And in that regard, I DID get coil tap options, as well as series and parallel options which I really enjoy). It just isn't an 81 though. The tone I'm fine with. I think it sounds good, but the "feel" is just wrong. It's not as sharp (Though it IS very tight), and when you're used to that sort of attack, it's almost like the instrument itself feels wrong. I question whether or not a compressor would fix the attack issue, but then I wonder why a lot of pros who bitch about dynamic-crushing EMGs, run compressors. It's like, "Why not just play an EMG?" I also hate that I might have to add a pedal to my setup, just to remedy an issue that was not present before the pickup. As for that instrument, it is a '96 ESP LTD H-2, MIJ, and the pickup is in the bridge position. Much as I do like the tone and clarity, I just don't know if I'm going to get over the lack of attack. // 5

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