Okay, so I'm getting some new pickups and I'm going with active EMG humbuckers as they're well renowned pickups, decent price and a walk in the park to install.

My problem is that I can't decide on a model and combination for the neck and bridge, I've heard the 81 (bridge) and the 85 (neck) is a good combo but I'd like some insight on something you guys think is right for me.

I play rhythm guitar in a hard rock/alternative band. We play in drop C so I need some pups with sexy, solid low ends because I love a huge, thick tone. I want them to be pretty hot but not so hot that they pick up a lot of unwanted frequencies in the form of buzz. I often play full, six string chords so I also needs pups with clarity so I can clearly hear every string in the chord.

So you get my point, any suggestions guys? Thanks!
If you're certain on active pickups, I'd recommend the 81X and 60AX. I've heard nothing but great things about how the X series differ from their regular counterparts and the 60A having a much more usable tone than the regular 60. From what I hear, they're probably the most versatile set in terms of EMG actives. But check out the 57/66 too, I think they'd be great for what you're after, again assuming you're dead set on actives.
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I always thought the 89s were best, but they have so many new ones I haven't tried now. I really want to try the 89x and also the 57/66 set.
57/66 set is my favorite from them, Het Set is great too. Either would work for you, they are very similar, just voiced slightly different from each other...but I would say not so much that it's readily noticeable under a heavily distorted amp.
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Bare Knuckles, bro. They have the output of EMG's on steroids and have super clarity. Specially the nailbomb and aftermath
Can't go wrong with the 81, I haven't found anything better yet
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Quote by AJScott
Bare Knuckles, bro. They have the output of EMG's on steroids and have super clarity. Specially the nailbomb and aftermath

And also twice the price.

I LOVE emgs. But i honestly dont like the X series pickups.

I really like both the 81 60 and the 81 85 combo. Both are great combos.
Correct me if I'm wrong but in some videos I've seen, the 81 seems like it has a bit more low ends but picks up a bit more noise whereas the 57 seems like it has more body.
I'm into the 81 and 60 combo, especially in a bass-heavy guitar like a mahogany Les Paul style. The 81 and 85 work well in something lighter, IMHO. Also, the 85 is a great bridge pickup when paired with a 60 or even and 81 in the neck. I haven't tried the 57/66 set or Het Set yet, so I can't comment on those.
I like the 85/60. Never could get along with the 81. I wish some of the bigger manufacturers would get more adventurous with the EMG sets in their stock guitars, it's hard to get to try some of the newer ones without buying them.

Heres a comparison of all the EMG pickups my band had laying around. 81, 81x in the bridge and a 60 in the neck, and the Hetfield set. Same gear, same riffs (mostly), same EQ, same settings on everything to get the most accurate comparison we could.
81 and 60. The classic combo.

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