Sound — 8
This is the single coil size of the DiMarzio Air Norton. It has a lot of output, sustain and an amazing thickness. Everything you want in a neck pickup. I installed it into the neck position of my Ibanez SAS36FM. My amp is a solid state Roland cube30x. I also have the Vox Satchurator for my distortion. The first thing that struck me was the sustain. Damn I can take a note, go on vacation and come back and it would still ring. No but seriously it has some incredible sustain! The sound is warm and thick. But I've installed a push/pull pot so I can split the pickup into a single coil(not that the Air Norton S is in fact a humbucker pickup in a single coil size).As said before the tone is very thick and warm but a little bit unbalanced. If you have some low distortion on and you take a low cord like Eminor the tone will get too muddy, even on a clean setting. But if you instead use the push/pull and make it into a single coil the problem is solved. But I barely play chords with this pickup, instead I crank the gain to maximum and play solos with it. This pickup is used by players like John Petrucci so if you're looking for his sound (which I was) this pickup is the thing to buy. The Air Norton (s) is also popular in the bridge position but I have not tried it in the bridge. And as usual you should never use a humbucker in the middle position.
Overall Impression — 10
I love the tone and character of the pickup. Especially the sustain, it's incredible! The only thing I hate, well I should say dislike instead, is the fact that chords are a bit to muddy. But install a push/pull pot and you will be all set! An amazing pickup which will suit any style!
Reliability & Durability — 9
The pickup seems like it will last. It's a quality pickup! And I have never heard a pickup breaking down by itself so I am not that worried. But I have had some problem with the installation of my DiMarzio Super Distortion so I hope that won't happen on this pickup.