#1
I have an emg 81/85 set in my viper 1000 right now and chords are just way to muddy for my tastes. I got a set of dissonant agressors and deciding on whether or not to swap the emgs out for them. The main improvements I want to sound are more clarity/articulation and some more sustain. I like metal but I like more melodic stuff such as new mastodon offerings and alice in chains. I don't think any of my top bands use actives either (tool alice and mast). I have a guitar with passives right now which sound so muddy and the guitar just doesn't sit in my hands as nicely as the viper. I got a tech to do the changes for me for a very cheap price he will also put a push/pull mod on it as well. Anyone ever changed a guitar with actives to passives? were you let down by the passives and wish you kept the actives? Will the pickup swap be a reasonable thing to do considering the tones I like? Any advice or thoughts are appreciated.
#2
Clarity and articulation are the EMG's strong points, well that and high output level.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#3
I prefer passives and never had a guitar with actives. I also have a guitar with a Dissonant Aggressor set. Overall I just find passives to be a lot more responsive to how you play. That being said, the compression active pickups offer actually inhibit muddiness in my experience, especially in lower tunings. The 81/85 set is not fantastic in any regard, and really need the 18V mod to be even ok to my ears imo. But they are built for the lower tunings.

You will notice a lot more dynamics to your playing definitely. Plus "No f*cking batteries" as Lace likes to say haha. Just the shift from such a hot EMG set to a more vintage flavor set like the Laces will be a dramatic difference and probably be more suited to your musical tastes. The DAs are a fantastic pickup set, my favorite I've ever played, you won't be disappointed.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#4
Quote by TheStig1214
I prefer passives and never had a guitar with actives. I also have a guitar with a Dissonant Aggressor set. Overall I just find passives to be a lot more responsive to how you play. That being said, the compression active pickups offer actually inhibit muddiness in my experience, especially in lower tunings. The 81/85 set is not fantastic in any regard, and really need the 18V mod to be even ok to my ears imo. But they are built for the lower tunings.

You will notice a lot more dynamics to your playing definitely. Plus "No f*cking batteries" as Lace likes to say haha. Just the shift from such a hot EMG set to a more vintage flavor set like the Laces will be a dramatic difference and probably be more suited to your musical tastes. The DAs are a fantastic pickup set, my favorite I've ever played, you won't be disappointed.

Wow very cool to hear that you used DAs. So few reviews from people who have used them. How are the sustain on those bad boys? Also what kind of music do you play?
#5
Quote by Cathbard
Clarity and articulation are the EMG's strong points, well that and high output level.

Thats odd about the clarity thing cause chords are so muddy to me.
#6
Quote by dosamwolfso
Wow very cool to hear that you used DAs. So few reviews from people who have used them. How are the sustain on those bad boys? Also what kind of music do you play?


Sustain is good. The whole idea behind Lace Sensor pickups is less string pull from low strength magnets which increases sustain. The guitar I have them in could probably use a fret level if I'm brutally honest, so I don't get 100% of the sustain I should. Not a huge deal to me though seeing as that I'm more a rhythm oriented player.

I'm playing a lot of Tool and Mastodon as well. The guitar I have them in I recently switched to C standard so now it's a lot of The Sword, Sleep, High on Fire, Kyuss, Baroness, ect. Though I may put a set of Nitro Hemis int hat guitar and move the DAs to my Gibson haha.

Quote by dosamwolfso
Thats odd about the clarity thing cause chords are so muddy to me.


When was the last time you swapped the battery? Ever tried an 18V mod?
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#7
My Emg 81/85 setup on my ibanez sounds miles better than my passives on my esp. Though those are stock pickups and are pretty low quality. I haven't had much experience with different sets of pick ups but personally the active to passive is a huge difference. The actives are definitely much more clear, all notes are pronounced. Clean or distorted you can tell which notes are ringing. On the other hand the passives have low note clarity.

Are you sure the speakers you're using aren't just producing a sound you don't like? I can tell you going from a 1 x 12 to a 4 x 12 with higher quality speakers, combined with my emgs, gave me better tone and sound than I have ever had before.
My gear
Ibanez RGA42E (6-string), Ibanez RG7421 (7-string w/Dimarzio Evo 7 and Ionizer), ESP LTD MH-50 w/floyd rose
Flashback Delay, Digitech RP1000
Marshall JCM2000 Dsl 100
Marshall 1960a W/ Eminence Governors and Patriot Red White Blues
#8
Quote by dosamwolfso
Thats odd about the clarity thing cause chords are so muddy to me.
The last thing I'd call my 85 is muddy. Sure it's not the amp?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#9
Quote by Xerosnake90
My Emg 81/85 setup on my ibanez sounds miles better than my passives on my esp. Though those are stock pickups and are pretty low quality. I haven't had much experience with different sets of pick ups but personally the active to passive is a huge difference. The actives are definitely much more clear, all notes are pronounced. Clean or distorted you can tell which notes are ringing. On the other hand the passives have low note clarity.

Are you sure the speakers you're using aren't just producing a sound you don't like? I can tell you going from a 1 x 12 to a 4 x 12 with higher quality speakers, combined with my emgs, gave me better tone and sound than I have ever had before.
I am considering getting a new speaker but I cant get a new cabinet, not enough cash around right now. I definitely know what your talking about with the emgs compared to stock pups. I have an epi traditional and those pups are crap compared ot the emgs as well.
#10
You do realise that EMG's are meant to be run as close as possible to the strings? Maybe you just need to set 'em up properly?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#11
Quote by Cathbard
You do realise that EMG's are meant to be run as close as possible to the strings? Maybe you just need to set 'em up properly?

I had them set up by a tech they are extremely close. I also moved them away to see any difference.
#12
I'd be looking at the amp then 'twer I you. 85's are not muddy, far from it.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#13
Quote by Cathbard
I'd be looking at the amp then 'twer I you. 85's are not muddy, far from it.

Its not every note I play that sounds muddy. Chords just sound like a mosh of noise.
#14
Still, knowing the rest of your setup helps.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#15
Quote by TheStig1214
Still, knowing the rest of your setup helps.

its very simple randall rd5c and a tubescreamer.
#16
Which runs a crappy 10" speaker. Get yourself a better speaker cab. That's probably the source of your mud, not the EMG's. A 1x12 with a V30 should help a lot.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#17
^true


Quote by dosamwolfso
its very simple randall rd5c and a tubescreamer.

Take no offense whatsoever but for what you play - you need a new amp.


Is this what you have?

"Single Channel all tube 5 watt (12AX7/6V6) 1×10 Combo with Gain, Tone, Master Volume, 3 way ToneStackShift for midrange contour with Class A Discrete instrument level"


PS: I'm a passive pup guy myself and I play similar things. I like the dynamics and straight forward attack and tightness of my Duncan Custom TB11 and Super Distortion bridge pups.
#18
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
^true


Take no offense whatsoever but for what you play - you need a new amp.


Is this what you have?

"Single Channel all tube 5 watt (12AX7/6V6) 1×10 Combo with Gain, Tone, Master Volume, 3 way ToneStackShift for midrange contour with Class A Discrete instrument level"


PS: I'm a passive pup guy myself and I play similar things. I like the dynamics and straight forward attack and tightness of my Duncan Custom TB11 and Super Distortion bridge pups.

why do i need a new amp?
#19
Quote by dosamwolfso
why do i need a new amp?


Because low wattage, 10" speaker practice/beginner amps aren't known for fantastic tones.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#20
Quote by TheStig1214
Because low wattage, 10" speaker practice/beginner amps aren't known for fantastic tones.

well a new speaker is possible but not a new amp.The wattage is low because I have others in my house and I cant crank a ridiculous watt amp .
Last edited by dosamwolfso at May 15, 2015,
#21
How much were the new pickups and labor?

You can find a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 for around $250 used. Far far better and you can gig with it too. Chords will jump out at you and slap you in the face.

Barring that there is a Celestion Vintage 30 now in "10 form factor but I still would not spend any money on your tone outside of saving up for a better amp.
#22
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
How much were the new pickups and labor?

You can find a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 for around $250 used. Far far better and you can gig with it too. Chords will jump out at you and slap you in the face.

Barring that there is a Celestion Vintage 30 now in "10 form factor but I still would not spend any money on your tone outside of saving up for a better amp.

alright solid advice. Total cost including labor 240. Im just not gonna be able to fully use a 60 watt amp . Not into gigging at all maybe in the future but not anytime soon. The next amp I get ill probably save up and get away from combos. Ill be moving out soon and then ill be able to really crank up an amp.
#24
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I've played a lot of amps and the Vypyr series (I own a Vypyr Tube 60) sound really good at low volumes. Great for basement metal guys like me.

maybe replacing the muddy as heck pickups in my epi would be a better idea. There will definitely be a change there.
#25
Quote by dosamwolfso
maybe replacing the muddy as heck pickups in my epi would be a better idea. There will definitely be a change there.


You're missing the point entirely. A majority of your tone is coming from your amp, then pedals. Pickups are just a final tweak to the overall tone. Just save up for a new amp. If you're concerned about the wattage consider this, I have a 100W amp head and a 2x12 speaker cab and I never gig. I can still knock it down to bedroom level. I bought the amp because it sounds good and what I had was not cutting it in the tone department.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#26
Yea, emgs arent really muddy. Ive swapped from active to passive and the biggest difference i noticed was my clean tone improved and bloomed more. But i found my high gain tone was better with the emgs. Tighter, more aggressive, clear, percussive, thicker mids. Emgs are not for everybody, but I think i have to agree with everybody else that your problem is your amp/speaker combo
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#27
I suggest taking your guitar to the store and playing it through some other amps before you decide to change the pickups. You may find that the pickups are not the problem.

And how old is your battery and do you leave the cable plugged into the guitar when you are not playing?

For the vibration part of this, actives have a very weak magnet compared to passives and use the active part to boost the signal to a level higher than most passives. That's why you can run them so close to the strings and not kill your sustain.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#28
http://avatarspeakers.com/home/product/g112-traditional/
With a Celestion Vintage 30 or Hellatone 60
Closed backed.

Leave your pups alone. You're looking in the wrong direction.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at May 16, 2015,