So I've noticed one of my favorite guitar players Nick Hipa (AILD) is using the Seymour Duncan Blackouts. How do these differ from the the EMG 81/85 set up that I currently have? I haven't had a chance to play the Blackouts yet, and just wondering why someone might prefer these over the EMG.
Your best bet is to jump on youtube and search, there are quite a few videos that compare those two sets. It's a lot easier to hear the difference than to try to describe it.
I think the difference is the EQ, I'm not sure what the specific difference is though. My guess is the Seymour Duncan would be more Mid and Low-end, like the passive Invader pick-up, just speculation though. Quality wise they're both good bets though.
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To me, Blackouts sound a little warmer and thicker, but still have plenty of the bite and tightness that actives are known for. I really like the way mine sound.
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To me, Blackouts sound a little warmer and thicker, but still have plenty of the bite and tightness that actives are known for. I really like the way mine sound.

+1 to this.

Blackouts sound more similar to passives with an active output. Much more organic. I hear the 18v mod on EMGs (or the new EMG X series) closes the gap a bit more... but I've always preferred the Blackouts, as they sound less artificial.
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Which EMG? There are at least 6 models probably double . I like 85/60 myself, some like 81/85, then there are many other models. I haven't had a lot of experience with the blackouts.

Point is which EMG's, which blackouts?
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Blackouts have more headroom, similar to running EMGs at 18V, which allows them to respond and behave more dynamically (read: more like passives).

This is a subjectively good or bad thing, it's up to you if you want that or not.

A lot of people like Blackouts because they add just enough dynamics, instead of EMGs X offerings, which seem to be less popular. EMG X do what Blackouts try to do better in almost every way, but maybe they're just too far from what makes an active an active to really catch on.

The new EMG 57/66 seem to be massively popular, and they are (as far as I can guess) an evolution of the Het Set, which (to my ears) sound pretty much exactly like the 81X/60X set.
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