#1
Are the Fender Vintage Noiseless pups much better than the stock MIM Strat pups? Are they worth the upgrade at $45 each?
My gear...

Samick Les Paul (AV6VB) Guitar w/ SD Alnico2/JB
Marshall AVT150H halfstack
Schecter Stiletto Elite-4 Bass
Ampeg BA112 Bass Amp
#2
changing pickups won't be a night and day difference, though the stock pickups are a bit weak. you'll most likely notice subtle changes, like your tone being a bit fatter and fuller.
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#3
There is a huge difference. The noiseless ones are, well, noiseless! The tone will sound warmer, maybe fatter, a lot better, if you're going to be running a tube amp. Hell, I just talked to my local guitar tech who just got Vintage Noiseless pick-ups and he said it made a huge difference.
High as tits
#4
People say that Fender's noiseless pickups aren't that great, they lose a bit of tone, but they're noiseless.
Personally I don't think the noise on a strat is that bad.
"Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care"

Fender Strat/Tokai LS80>few pedals>Orange Rocker 30