Active Humbucker Review

manufacturer: GuitarHeads date: 07/10/2012 category: Pickups
GuitarHeads: Active Humbucker
The output on these pickups are very high. Higher then a set of EMGs. There supposed to be EMG 81 clones just louder.
 Sound: 7
 Overall Impression: 7
 Reliability & Durability: 7.5
 Overall rating:
 6.9 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.2 
 Users rating:
 6.5 
 Votes:
 2 
reviews (2) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7
Active Humbucker Reviewed by: metalchris87, on june 08, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: guitarheads.net

Sound: I got these when they were on sell and because I had a guitar just sitting there with no pickups. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try them out. They came in a small white box each pickup wrapped in plastic and don't come with 25k pots. I put them in my Ibanez RG2EX1 playing through a Peavey 5150 combo with eminence swamp thang speakers. The output on these pickups are very high. Higher then a set of EMGs. There supposed to be EMG 81 clones just louder. They do sound somewhat similar to an 81 but have this really dry thick sound with a muddy low end. Its like someone put a blanket over my amp. You have to put your treble up on the amp to make these pickups more clear. The best sound I could get out of the bridge was for thrash metal type riffs. The low end is fast and tight but still a little muddy. The best I could describe this pickup is very dry and flat. If that's your thing you might like it. The neck pickup was a little better. Sweeps and solos seemed to pop out and sound more clear. You could get a decent clean sound if you roll back the volume a bit. I think the neck pickup is more usable then the bridge. To get these to sound there best you really need to take the time to find that sweet spot in pickup height. EMG recommends putting there pickups as close to the strings as possible, which I do and love the sound, but with GuitarHeads treat em more like passives. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Pickups seem well built and the same as EMGs. They just don't have the quick connect system. One thing you should avoid is buying the 25k pots from GuitarHeads because they're terrible. I bought 4 pots and they all broke. I only needed 2 for the guitar but got extras since they were cheap. When I needed to raise the volume the pot broke and kept spinning. I then checked out the tone knob started turning it on and off then it broke too. I wasn't even putting that much pressure on them. So I put the extra pots I had in and after a week of regular playing they broke. If you buy these get the pre wired EMG 25k pots somewhere else they are like 10 bucks and they have never broke on me. // 8

Overall Impression: I like that they are inexpensive and are a step above the typical stock pickups that come in budget guitars. They aren't bad I heard far worse. Definitely an upgrade to the average stock pickups but they aren't gonna beat any Seymour Duncan Blackouts or EMGs in terms of quality clarity and tone anytime soon. If you have a cheap guitar that could use an upgrade you play metal and your on a budget, I'd recommend them. I could see kids playing deathcore with spider amps liking these but if your a serious about your music and need good tone just save up for something better. A good alternative I should of done was buy the GuitarHeads Hexbuckers set and a Seymour Duncan Blackout pre amp. Would of been a 100 bucks and sound a lot better. // 6

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overall: 7.3
Active Humbucker Reviewed by: Digideus, on july 10, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 50

Purchased from: Guitarheads.net

Sound: I bought a set of these to populate my Flying V. I wanted a high gain pickup that would push an amp into overdrive naturally and the output of these pickups is really high like an EMG 81. I play through a Marshall Mode 4 stack, but I've used this with many different rigs (direct into a sound card), combos (Proel Stinger 100 watt 1x12 and Marshall JCM900 combo), stacks (Stinger 200 watt, Marshall Mode Four, Marshall MGX50 stack, Crate GL120 Stack) and rack gear (100 watt Marshall EL84 stereo power amp and a JMP1 preamp). Tonally, the pickups are fairly well balanced, but that's going to depend entirely on you're setup. I can't compare them to other pickups in the dame guitar as its the only pickup I used in this one. Compared to EMG 81's and 707's I have to say the the Guitarheads Active is up there with them, in fact I get a better tone that my friend who has a mid range ESP Viper 7 string with 707's in it! I haven't tried the neck pickup in the V. I still have it here in my gear box. You will need 25k pots with this pickup and I suggest you spend a bit on some decent ones. I actually use a 47k volume pot and nothing else. I'm a firm believer that the less pots in the way of the pickups signal will achieve better tone, and having one volume pot works ok for me. Most noticeable is the increase in harmonic resonance. The tone just came to life when I started using this. All of a sudden, it was far easier to pull off harmonic pinch's on the 1st fret. Rated at 7 because its not a job I would recommend beginners or inexperienced people tackle, and the specific pots you need to run actives, plus finding somewhere for the battery (Neck pickup holes make good battery compartments!) // 7

Reliability & Durability: I've been using it for a number of years and as of yet, this pickup hasn't let me down at all. I change the battery periodically and hoover out any dirt that gets into the guitar. So far, the only think that needed fixing was a faulty 25k pot supplied by Guitarheads which lasted about a month. My local Maplins don't stiock 25k pots, but sticking a 47K pot in there didn't hurt! // 7

Overall Impression: I love the gain I get from this. It pushes an amp far harder than a passive equivalent. I hate the pickup surrounds and extras that Guitarheads supply because they are basically cheap rubbish compared to the pickups. As I said, in the bridge of my Flying V and I get oodles of lovely gain sound through any amp. Most suited to metal players, this is a cheap way to take a plunge into the world of active electronics nad they sound far better than their cheap price would have you believe. // 8

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