#1
Hello everybody!

I just bought an ESP Horizon and it came with 66/57 EMG actives. I tried to record DI, and especially the bridge pickup distorts. I changed the battery, I changed the cord, the sound card wasn't even close to clipping. Also, this occurs even if I turn the volume pot down, to something like 1/2 or 1/3. I adjusted the height so it was 5-6 mm from strings and then it stopped. So... it's the pickup, right? And somehow it's overloaded when nearer the strings?

Also, not so notable, but still occurring, the same distorting with my older Kramer to which I had EMG 81 installed to replace the original passive SD. Just to be clear, I'm talking about a different pickup here, different battery, everything. And there's distortion on the bridge.

I'm totally confused... why are they distorting?? They should sound clean, right?

You can listen to some samples. In these samples, the ESP has 2-3 mm between the pup and strings.

In the Kramer the casket doesn't really comply with the surface, it's a bit slanted. The side nearer to bridge is 2 mm, and the side nearer to neck is 4 mm.

Thanks for your help,
Markus

https://soundcloud.com/user-994759021/sets/emgs-test
#2
Try changing the battery for EMGs.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, MIA Standard Strat, Charvel So Cal Pro Mod, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Mesa DR Tremoverb combo 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#3
I have had similar problems with EMGs going DI

Never figured it out, but with amp modeling from the computer it wasn't a huge issue.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#4
It definitely sounds like the guitar signal is over driving your input, how do you know the sound card is not clipping? It might help to give us more information on what your setup , is your guitar plugging straight into a sound card or are you going though an interface, what DAW are you using?

When I record a direct track with a guitar with actives I have to turn the input signal way down or else it overdrives, its just the nature of high output pickups, this would also explain why lowering the pickup reduces the distortion, as it lessens the signal to the pickups.
#5
Thank you for the answers.

Quote by bobafettacheese
Try changing the battery for EMGs.


I have tried different batteries, including a brand new one.

Quote by dementiacaptain
I have had similar problems with EMGs going DI

Never figured it out, but with amp modeling from the computer it wasn't a huge issue.


Using distortion effects, it's not that evident. But paying this much for my new guitar, I really want to make sure I'm getting the best of it. And also, that I'm not destroying the pickups using them wrong. And also, I would like to use my bridge pup for recording clean stuff also, I don't want to lose that option.

Quote by guitarsngear
It definitely sounds like the guitar signal is over driving your input, how do you know the sound card is not clipping? It might help to give us more information on what your setup , is your guitar plugging straight into a sound card or are you going though an interface, what DAW are you using?

When I record a direct track with a guitar with actives I have to turn the input signal way down or else it overdrives, its just the nature of high output pickups, this would also explain why lowering the pickup reduces the distortion, as it lessens the signal to the pickups.


I plug my guitars directly to Focusrite Scarlett. When recording those samples, I tried to target all of them to around -15 reading from the Scarlett Mixcontrol. I record with Cubase, and it's wasn't clipping as well.

I have tried different inputs on the Scarlett, also listening from my Kemper profiling amp everything turned off so it's clean, I can hear it. And also, I have just plugged my headphones into my guitar (never done that before :/ ) and I can hear it there also.

It does point to the guitar itself, right? Especially when it happens even with lowering the volume from the pot.

I tried with another guitar, with it's original SD passives and it was actually clipping too. But the pup was super close, so I lowered it, and now it doesn't clip. It's now 3-3.5 mm. That seems like a reasonably distance to me. So it's seems to work properly.

It seems wrong that I would have to put the distance in the ESP to 5-6 mm to avoid this thing.

I'm using 11-54 DR DDT in all of the guitars. D-tune.

Any thoughts? What other information can I give you?
Last edited by makehuhtamaki at Jan 4, 2017,
#6
Oooh-kayy... found the problem... and half-solved it.

At first I didn't seem to find anyone with the same problem, that's why I posted here. But later I did find people talking about exceeding the preamp of their active pups. So, I tried 18 v instead of 9 v, and it worked. Sparkly clean!

Problem is now, that the ESP is designed for a single 9 v. In USA they are selling a solution to this:

http://www.24voltmod.com/

I guess I have to order that then... unless someone knows something similar sold in Europe?
#7
the easiest fix is to put one of the batteries in the battery compartment and put the other battery in the control compartment (where the volume and tone pots are), the wiring from the battery is already coming into that compartment so you can simply wire in another battery clip in series, 18V using regular batteries and only for the cost of a battery clip.
#8
Quote by guitarsngear
the easiest fix is to put one of the batteries in the battery compartment and put the other battery in the control compartment (where the volume and tone pots are), the wiring from the battery is already coming into that compartment so you can simply wire in another battery clip in series, 18V using regular batteries and only for the cost of a battery clip.


I thought about that... but it seems the control compartment simply doesn't have room for it. I don't know why they made it so small.

In the Kramer, when the actives were installed, the battery fit easily. Although, I'm not sure if it would fit another battery, in the case I wanted 18 v there also.
#9
Quote by makehuhtamaki
I adjusted the height so it was 5-6 mm from strings and then it stopped. So... it's the pickup, right?


There's your answer. I don't get why people think their pups need to be right on the strings. Move your bridge pup so it's about 1/4" away from strings. Adjust your other pups so they're of equal volume. This should be lower than your bridge pup.

Pickups don't need to be like 2-3 mm away from your strings!

And when you say record DI, are you using a DI box? Or just plugging into your card?
A nice DI box could help out too.
Last edited by Diatribes at Jan 5, 2017,
#10
makehuhtamaki emgs are simply very hot pickups. They are going to sound shitty direct. In fact, most all guitars sound awful direct without some sort of modifications. I love EMGs, but that is my experience. Get a decent mic and a mini amp, you will get a better sound. Or get a line 6 pod, those things are insane. After using one for a few solos on a record i did a while back, i wished i had done the whole album that way.
#12
Quote by Diatribes
rockjamminj

Eww pod ๐Ÿ’ฉ


Maybe this was true of the originals, but with the write additions a POD HD can sound pretty damn good.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#13
dementiacaptain

I played with an HD Pro for about an hour. I thought it was kind of bland tbh. It kicked out a lot of white noise. And you can't change a value of an effects block with a switch, only with an expression pedal. I can do that even on my 20 year old Rocktron gear. It seemed like "I wanna be an Axe-FX".
And it's made in China ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ
I mean, to each their own. I just prefer my USA made signal processors. Although I like Denmark TC Electronic G-Force...
Plus, I prefer to have a dedicated preamp. All-in-one units seem for the most part to be struggle too much to include everything, and then end up lacking in certain areas. Granted I have been spoiled by top-end gear... My preamp alone is 3x the cost of a pod hd
Last edited by Diatribes at Jan 5, 2017,
#14
Thanks for the answers.

Quote by Diatribes
There's your answer. I don't get why people think their pups need to be right on the strings. Move your bridge pup so it's about 1/4" away from strings. Adjust your other pups so they're of equal volume. This should be lower than your bridge pup.

Pickups don't need to be like 2-3 mm away from your strings!

And when you say record DI, are you using a DI box? Or just plugging into your card?
A nice DI box could help out too.


But I still think there's a contradiction if EMG recommends "as close to the strings as possible". So, I wouldn't say it's the answer.. even though it solves the problem in its own way. Also, when I tried 5-6 mm, the tone was quite.. thin. It's fuller nearer, so if I get to choose, I will put nearer but with more headroom so it doesn't clip. Surely, it's a personal preference of course. If the question is "what's causing this distortion", I would say the answer is "the pickup runs out of headroom". Solution is then to lower pickups or increase headroom.

Who knows, when I get to test record all string pickup distances, what I will end up with; 2 mm, 6 mm? But I feel better if I actually get to choose the height, instead of just being forced to keep clear of the clipping pickups.

I don't have a DI box. It wouldn't help in this problem, as it happens already in the guitar.

Quote by rockjamminj
makehuhtamaki emgs are simply very hot pickups. They are going to sound shitty direct. In fact, most all guitars sound awful direct without some sort of modifications. I love EMGs, but that is my experience. Get a decent mic and a mini amp, you will get a better sound. Or get a line 6 pod, those things are insane. After using one for a few solos on a record i did a while back, i wished i had done the whole album that way.


Yes, I'm definitely not planning on enjoying my new guitar with DI recordings. But removing all the other things from the chain, this was the clearest way of demonstrating the problem. I use Kemper for guitar sounds, by the way.
#16
Quote by Diatribes
makehuhtamaki
You might want to look at how DI boxes operate before you discount their effectiveness

You are saying that a DI box would stop my pickup from clipping? Or that it would be useful with the Kemper?