AHB-1 Blackouts Review

manufacturer: Seymour Duncan date: 12/18/2012 category: Pickups
Seymour Duncan: AHB-1 Blackouts
9-volt active humbucker for aggressive playing styles. Recommended for old school metal, garage, punk, thrash, drop tunings, and other heavy rock styles.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 9.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.7 
 Users rating:
 9 
 Votes:
 46 
reviews (6) 77 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: DagMX, on december 13, 2007
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 173

Purchased from: Amazon.com

Sound: The sound on these pickups is bloody brilliant. I'm using them in my B.C. Rich Afterburner warlock and they sound very meaty and substantially better than the stock BDSM pickups. Output level is very high as expected yet noiseless. For cleans you'll need an amp that won't break up easily as these pickups push out a lot of sound. That said, I could get nice bluesy tones out of them in the neck position with just a touch of gain to round out the sound. For lead/distortion they are extremely heavy and tight sounding. I play all kinds of stuff and with the right EQ, it can be awesome for anything. As for Tone, I would describe it as being heavy and a little scooped. Think Metallica at their best. I used it through a whole host of amps and ran it through in-built distortion as well as a DigiTech RP350. I say it's perfect for both neck and bridge, but if you play a lot of chordsy stuff, stick to a sligtly lower output active pickup like the EMG-60. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The pickup seems very durable and all the parts were there except for height/mounting screws. This was a problem because the pickups couldn't take the original mounting scews, so now they are just stuck into place. II can deffinitely depend on it. I tried all afternoon to make them come off justas a test but they stuck. If your mounting screws fit, then there'll deffinitely be no problem. // 8

Overall Impression: I love how it can handle almost all the stuff I throw at it. It sounds really smooth and imo, it's much nicer than comparitive EMG pickups that I've tried. I only hate the fact that mounting it was a pain. They are installed in a B.C. Rich afterburner warlock and I'll be getting the phase-1 7 string versions for my Kramer. It came as a set of both neck and bridge pickups. // 9

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overall: 10
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: Aleksi, on march 18, 2010
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 50

Purchased from: Can't recall

Sound: I'm using this pickup in the bridge position of my B.C. Rich NT Jr. V and I've run it through multiple amps during band practice sessions, though at home I only have an Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff run through a Marshall MG15DFX. I'm really happy with the output on this pickup, it works really well for melodic metal and it's pretty much impossible for me to get a clean sound out of it (not that I want one). One of the things that makes this pickup so good is that it lets the natural tone of the wood come through better than, for instance, the EMG 81 - which sounds pretty much the same no matter what guitar you shove it in. This pickup seems to accentuate the lower-middle frequency most, though it's still capable of giving you some nice bite in the treble area! The lows sound really nice, very tight and clear, not at all muddy. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's lasted me about a year and a half so far and I've had no problems with it. I can definitely depend on it, only thing I'd do is change the battery before playing live and that's just personal paranoia that it might choose the wrong moment to die on me. I use rechargeable batteries so I can afford to change it simply for my peace of mind. // 10

Overall Impression: I love the tone you get from this, especially as it lets the sound of the wood come through. That was a really big thing for me. There's nothing what'soever I hate about it. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to play metal. As I mentioned, it's installed in the bridge position of my B.C. Rich NT Jr. V. // 10

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overall: 10
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: Psycho_McFool, on june 23, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 389

Purchased from: Sound Centre Music Gallery

Sound: This pickup has been dubbed by some as the "EMG Killers", and for good reason. EMG pickups have been shown the door The level of output this pickup dishes out towers over that of an EMG 81. I have loaded my ESP SV Standard with these pickups, and I run it into a Valve driven Solid State Randall RH300G3 Halfstack (with the respective cabinet). Before installing the Blackouts, my SV had an EMG 81 set, so that's for all of you Who would say that my comparison is invalid. I find the EMG 81s to sound extremely thin compared to the Blackouts. I also find EMG 81s to rob your tone of your guitar's natural woodiness. Prior to installing the Blackouts, I found my tone to resemble early Devildriver. Now, it can be compared to later Machine Head. These pickups sound extremely thick, with more than enough highs and mids. They also punch out some mean lows without getting muddy. You'll need an amp with a lot of headroom though, to prevent breakup on a clean sound. Apart from that, The cleans sound lush and pristine. This pickup is available in individual Bridge and neck models, or as a set. The bridge pickup is great for heavy riffs, leads and cleans. The neck pickup is also great for a more fluid lead sound. It gives a woodier tone that buzzes with character. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I daresay these pickups will last a long time. A single 9 volt battery will power one pickup for 1420 hours plugged in. Divide that by 2 (710 hours) for the life of the set. This is a high quality pickup, and I could definitely depend on it to not only do the job it needs to, but to do it exceptionally well. // 10

Overall Impression: I bought a set of these pickups for my ESP SV Standard, purely following the hype out of hearing and reading all the positive reviews about them. I had never A/B'ed these pickups with EMG 81s. However, upon plugging my guitar in with the new pickups, I knew I made the right choice. I recommend this pickup to any and all active pickup freaks, and especially metal guitarists. // 10

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overall: 10
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: OurRequiem, on february 01, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 175

Sound: What the out out level like? High, very high, which in my case translates to the perfect pick ups. I'm running these through a Bugera 333XL 120w head, and they've found thier home in my les paul. No pedals or anything, but the pick ups alone make a very noticable difference as opposed to the Gibson humbuckers they replaced. I'm very satisfied with the tone they produce, its great for those who are in with the metal, even the cleans were better than I expected they would be. The notes are cystal clear when I play, sweep picks sound 100 times better than they did with the old passive humbuckers, as do solos, even the chugga chugga sounds better the chords are more distinct. Sometimes with passives I've noticed that if you in a dropped tuning and chugging chords out on the lower registers you'll get a constant open sound as if you werent even playing chords, but with the blackouts one can tell the difference. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've been waiting for the "OMG nothing could ever be better than this" feeling that people like to get when they get something new. But that has'nt gone away because these pick ups just amaze me every time I play my guiar. I can't say wether or not they'll last, although they seem to be built to be tough and Seymour Duncan has a damn good rep, the only thing that wears out is the battery, but thier actives...and unless they come up with an active pick up that doesn't need a battery that problem will alwasy exsist. So yes I can depend on them, I keep a spare battery at all times too, just like a spare set of strings. // 10

Overall Impression: These pick ups sound amazing, I play 98% metal that all falls into the heavier spectrum of metal. These pick ups go hand in hand with my music. They make everything sound alot clearer than it did with my passives. Thier also quieter too, all the pops and crackles and unnessacary noise is eliminated making for a more enjoyable experience playing. Overall these pick ups have affected every part of my playing in a positive way, they force you learn how to play cleaner because any mistake goes more pronoucned, as they pick up everything that goes on that fretboard, and I view this as a postive thing rather than a bad thing. I <3 these. So if your thinking about getting them stop thinking and just buy them. // 10

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overall: 9.7
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: BoneSauce9, on november 20, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 180

Purchased from: Came in Schecter C-1 ATX

Sound: I had the set included in my Schecter C-1 ATX, and it blew me away. I tried it side by side with EMG's, and I don't think I'll ever buy an EMG pickup again. The amount of output is tremendous; it'll shatter a mid-sized suburban house no problem, and doesn't get muddy even at high volumes. I play it through a Roland Cube 20XL often, but once in a while play using a variety of amps (Dual Rectifier, Engl Retro, Soldano), and it works like a charm in all of them. The tone is very balanced. I play anything from blues, jazz and simple clean fingerpicking, to death metal with accompanying meaty chugs, the Blackouts handle it all. Very versatile and full of tone, it's a beast you'd be happy to own. The bridge is tight and has the needed punch, easily reduced with the volume knob. The neck pickup has the warm, mellow sound, but still enough output that would cut through the mix, which can be blended down via the volume knob. Really balanced set in terms of output and tone, with both pickups being very responsive to hardness of picking. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The pups have black plastic housing, which seem durable enough. Electronics wise, never gave me any trouble. The batteries need replacing every 1500 hours, but it's a minor set back that you accept if you buy an active pickup. Seems durable, and should withstand many conditions. Seymour Duncan quality is known to be at the top, and the same applies to the Blackouts. You can depend on it to work when you need it, and to blast ears when you pound some metal at your audience... Or walls in your apartment/house. Just watch the batteries and it'll run smooth. 9 for battery replacements, but aside from that, it's perfect. // 9

Overall Impression: I absolutely love this pickup. I've tried Seymour's, DiMarzio's, EMG's, Gibson's, PRS pups, Tom Anderson pups, and plenty more, but the Blackouts rocked my amp and playing like nothing else. The versatility allows me to go from jazzy chords to shredding to bassy chugs with ease, and it never gets muddy. It has the feel of the passive's headroom but provides almost frightening clarity of sound. I have a Cort Viva Gold II, with DiMarzio Tone Zone and Air Norton, and the Blackouts are cleaner than DiMarzios. The Blackouts are installed in the Schecter C-1 ATX, full mahogany body, giving it a tone that doesn't compare to anything else. When picking guitars, I tried a Schecter Hellraiser Extreme C-1 side by side with the ATX (Blackout version) and multiple Jackson and ESP's with EMG's and Seymour Duncans. EMG-filled guitars I threw out in 5 seconds, and set aside the rest a short time later. The Blackouts are one of a kind active pickups, and I realized that when I first played with one. A true beast, but easy to tame for your own playing style. // 10

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overall: 9.7
AHB-1 Blackouts Reviewed by: T4D, on december 18, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 90

Purchased from: ebay

Sound: Very high out pickups (be prepared to changing all you levels) metal up you A-S these things rock harder then a rock that's really really hard that is thrown at your face while your kissing your girlfriend. Shocking at how well these do "metal" I have many guitars with EMG 81's and these Blackout go far beyond that sound. Into the rock in the face area. Strong tone harmonics that scream, solid chords powerful lead tone I have 2 guitar with humbuckers and a strat with a single coil blackout,. The single soil is just a alive and kicking as the humbuckers. Also the neck pickup is still a screamer so you can not flick a switch and think your neck pick is going to give you a Jazz tone NO it's still METAL! And it's louder then EMG's so that do not play with well with other pickups. And blackout sound super on a 7 string also. BUT Warning these only do METAL. Maybe rock? But blues no sorry I don't think so these are the wrong pickups for anything other then METAL. Unlike the EMG 81's these only do one style, one tone, one feeling. Anger. Leave them alone if your guitar is not 110% metal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: You will need to change the battery more then EMG pickups but that's it, a pickup is a pickup. If you playing ALOT maybe every month you need to change the battery to keep MAXIMUM metal coming from these things. I have never had a broken pickup unless I abused it by smashing it with my picking hand OR swearing all over it over many years of playing the F*%K out of it. Totally depend on this pickup no need to worry rock hard keep it's spare battery in you guitar case for when you think your sound is less. // 10

Overall Impression: 10 for metal if you want to do any other style these have to be a 2 or less. A great metal pickup for metal and metal only. Once you put this in your guitar that guitar will from that day forward be your "metal guitar" for playing "HEAVY METAL" and you will love it because of the tone you get from the Blackouts amazing pickups that do a single style of music so very VERY well, I LOVE that I found these pickups. But if you play other styles of music. Well you have to have more then one guitar it's that simple. They are louder then other pickups (including EMG's) do that do no match well with others unless you wire them or put the jumper in the back of the pickup to lower the volume. BUT WHY LOWER THE VOLUME THESE ARE METAL Pickups for playing METAL!

// 10

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