So I am replacing my stock V7 and V8 pickups. I want to go to active pickups, and I really like the sound of the EMG 81x, EMG 85x, and Seymour Duncan Blackouts.

You guys have either? Whats your opinions of these brutes? What can they handle well, what don't they well with, can they manage high gain and clean well?
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Everyone I know with emg's say the same thing, that they don't sound bad but you can only get that compressed, almost sterile distortion. I have blackouts on my ibanez and I really like them. The sound is much more organic, think an EVH brown sound on crack. It's very clear and open, but the bottom end and midrange are crunchy and huge. The cleans from both are fairly similar, powerful but without a ton of character.
by v7s and v8s I assume you mean ibanez correct? based on that assumtion I love Ibanez's pickups, my V I have came manufactured with a set of V5s on it like 27 years ago, they sound Chrystal clear even today and play beautifully. so the lifespan of ibanez products should be spelled out right there, and I think they sound great too. although I've demo'd a couple of guitars with EMG's and think they sound really compressed and almost generic IMO, can't say anything for blackouts but ya.
EMGs and Blackouts are both fantastic.

EMGs are ideal if you don't mind shaping your tone a little afterwards - they give a blank canvas.

Blackouts are ideal if you want your tone to 'work' out of the box, but you're actually more limited then with EMGs.

Try both and decide for yourself. Don't listen to "OMG EMGZ R SO STEYL N BLAKOWTS R ORGANYC", because that's nonsense.
They're pretty similar, but EMG X's are better, IMO. They basically took what the Blackouts did, and did it better. They're more organic sounding, have better cleans for sure, and distortion sounds more powerful with them.
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