Hi all,

My ESP KH-202 came with passive ESP designed pickups and i plan on making these active with the Seymour Duncan blackout preamp.

Is this a good idea?

Will i get alot better tone from it or you guys not recommend doing it?

I dont know alot about this so any comments will be most useful to me

after doing abit of research, i have found out the pickups currently installed are 'ESP LH-301' pickups which are passive
The Blackouts preamp doesn't turn passive pickups into active pickups. It just makes them louder.

Active pickups are designed as a whole system (magnets, coils, preamp all together), and doing that gives a lot of benefits as far as the strength of the magnets that can be used, noise floor, voicing, etc. Slapping a preamp on a set of (not very good) passive pickups doesn't give you any of those benefits. There's nothing wrong with adding a preamp, but despite Duncan's advertising claims, it's not going to give you any of the benefits of active pickups besides the increased output. You might as well just get a boost pedal or an overdrive.

Instead of the preamp, I would find a cheap set of used EMGs and install those. They're reasonably cheap used if you are patient on eBay or reverb.
the only way to find out is by trying it. I like how Frank Fablo (seymour duncan team) said that it's like coloring the pickups getting a more active sound. I'm not big on the whole active "phenomenon" everyone assumes they need actives for a good sound in the metal world especially but then again if you're happy that is what matters.

things to consider/try before buying the blackout modulator as it's reasonably cheap and it's easy to install

with your existing pickups
put say the bridge pickup closer
thicker strings tend to help, but don't get carried away
try new string types - steel does one thing pure nickel does another
thicker picks don't hurt (I use 1.5mm)

at the end of the day as long as your pickups are "high output" in the bridge you get that heavier sound. You can just use a noise gate, gain and compression on a pretty affordable guitar processor to correct what the marketing department trying to sell actives proclaim is"wrong" with passive pickups. I suggest the legitimate seymour duncan blackout neck and the seymour duncan blackout metal bridge pickup. The boost on the blackout metal you can re-wire a tone pot to it to get as much boost as you want.

dimarzio X2N or dimarzio d-activator (similar to an EMG 85)
seymour duncan , black winter, full shred, JB , distortion , custom, invader, dimebucker.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Jan 15, 2015,
thanks guys, i think i may end up just sticking some EMG 81 / 85 in as i posted this before i read alot of reviews on my pickups. lots of bad reviews on them so im going to replace them altogether