I have been debating on which ones to get. I love Metal, preferably thrash and I have gotten sick of the stock v7 and v8s on my rg3exfm1.
sd blackout have a much better tone overall. I have had both and I'd take the SD's any day. If it helps I have a very similar musical taste
Livewires vs Blackouts is the same difference as EMGs vs EMG-Xs: slightly lower output, more headroom, narrower frequency response range but with many amps and playing styles this can result in a more ''natural'' passive-like tone (not that any of them sound like passives; just the X-series and Blackouts sound slightly more like passives than the regular models do). None of these pickups are outright better than the other, not even for different genres of music; it really comes down to what sort of amp you have and whether you're someone who prefers to use the amp's EQ and the guitar's volume control a lot or if you more just set everything up one way once and never want to touch a knob again.
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I already have a tube and a modeling amp. Reverb rocket by ampeg and line 6 spider 4 75 watt to be exact. So people are leaning towards the Blackouts. Now, i also hear d activator by dimarzio are also something to consider. I might stick with the blackouts, then when i get another axe stick d activators on them. Unless the d activators are more worthwhile
If you don't like you're tone anymore just screw with those little knob things on your gear that make them sound different.

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If you use the Line 6 a lot, stick to the D Activators. Getting a ogod tone from a solid state or modelling amp with active pickups is close to impossible, let alone an amp which is both solid state and a digital modelling amp. There are a small number of solid state, digital modelling amps that can produce good tones with active pickups, but they're rare and expensive.
If you use the Ampegg more then active pickups may be of use to you, but be aware that regardless of which model of active pickup you get, that amp wasn't really designed with active pickups in mind, even if you got the Blackouts you would still have to be very careful with your EQ, the gain control, how you use your guitar's controls and how you use any pedals you may have to get a decent tone. GIven your guitar is basswood too, with active pickups you're going to get a massive mid-spike and not too much else. With a fairly classic-voiced amp like that Ampegg, you're going to struggle to get thrash tones, especially with active pickups. It would really be in your best interest to go for some lighter-toned passive pickups instead, something that will balance out or even brighten the tone of the guitar. If you're hell-bent on active pickups then I would actually for for regular EMG pickups rather than either SD model, as the EMGs will give you a flatter response to work with than either SD model would. It's not much but flattening out the tone before it hits your amp is going to give you a better chance of getting thrash metal tones from an amp like that.

Overall, for thrash tones, I would really advise you stick the money into saving up for a different amp before you look at a pickup change.
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Dimarzio D-Activators are some of the most active sounding passive pickups I've heard. They're also quite flexible, which almost surprised me.

My friend's Iceman has them stock. Pretty nice pickups, they play just about anything.

Go on the Dimarzio website and use their thing to find the right pickup for you. Its in the lower right corner, I think.
So if i use the line 6 more, the D activators will give a good sound through the spider 4? i heard them a while back, they really sound good. I am just trying to get as good a sound as possible with the line 6 because i really enjoy it. the ampeg was more of a random gift and i havent messed with it too much.
If you want to use the Spider IV more, really to get the best tone you should look for some low output, flat-toned passive pickups. Basically the more 'plain' you can make your pickups (and guitar overall - you should choose pickups which compensate for the guitar's construction and woods) the more the Spider can just do it's thing. A lot of people have a very low opinion of the Spider series of amps,a nd with the older ones it was justified because those really were just plain crap but the Spider IVs can sound good if you match them with the right sort of guitar and pickups. Problem is a lot of people get a Spider, get high-output pickups which mess with the presets and then they wonder why their tone is a muddy mess.

To me, the best pickups to use with an amp like the Spider series are a couple of SD Alnico II Pros. They're fairly low-output, very responsive and have a really good even tone with a slight emphasis on the upper-mids and treble, which will help balance the basswood body of your guitar. This will let the Spider IV work to the best of its ability. It does mean you'll have to be more careful with how you actually set up the amp, how you choose the presets and how you set the EQ for each voicing, but if you get it right then that is what will give you the clearest, most responsive, most precise tone even when you're using the very highest gain settings.
The hardest I would push a Spider in terms of the pickups would be a Duncan Custom for the bridge and Jazz in the neck. Even then I feel that may colour the tone a little too much to mesh with the Spider's modelling properly.

If you're hell-bent on using active pickups, I would suggest you ditch the Spider IV and grab a Spider Valve (slightly more classic-toned) or HD147 (slightly more metal-orientated). These amps were designed with active pickups and other high-output pickups in mind, so they can cope with the output better. They both offer you the same and more tones than the Spider IV does, with more control over your tone too. The HD147 in particular is one of the best amps you could possibly get for playing metal of any kind with active pickups, though sadly they've just been discontinued - I'm in a mad scramble at the moment to hurry up and get one while I can myself. They are both moderately expensive but if you are desperate for active pickups but you like the Spider functionality, they're the amps you need to get really.
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