Price paid: € 80
Purchased from: thomann
Sound — 9
The DiMarzio Air Zone DP192 is a medium output passive humbucker. It is generally seen as a bridge pickup and is marketed as such by DiMarzio. I've bought this pickup to install it on my Ibanez RGR321EX because the stock pickups were just trash. In the beginning I was leaning towards an active set of pickups like the EMGs but I'm no fan of their sterile sound. The real deal for me were the Bareknuckles WarPigs which can really go head to head with any active pickup and still retain the characteristics of the guitar itself, sacrificing a little output in the process. Sadly I found them too HOT and more importantly - too bassy, something that my naturally bassy RGR321EX couldn't handle very well (bass wood body). This is when the AirZone picked my attention. A medium output humbucker with hyped bass and mids, just what I needed to sound brutal and yet retain some natural sound. After I installed the AirZone in the bridge I tried it on the Single rectifier (series 2) I own. Totally awesome punk distortion! Sadly the pickup lacked the brutality of the WarPig and wasn't as good for metal on it's own. This is where my secret weapon - the Maxon OD808 came into play. It added the much needed bass definition and low mid crunch to the whole equation making the distortion perfect for metal. In all honesty the WarPig is the better pickup because it is also very versatile but for me it was just TOO brutal.
Overall Impression — 9
What I love about this pickup is the way it sounds in my guitar. I really want to hear one in a mahogany body guitar where it probably will sound just as good. I mainly play metal and punk. The pickup cannot give you what other active or high output passive pickups can but the lack of brutality is compensated by its natural sounding, organic tone. I wouldn't recommend it for metal if you're going to use only the amp for distortion, however if you use it with boost it is definitely capable of pulling it off.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's pickup and pickups tend to last. I think it might outlive me, it will just lose some output. The guys at DiMarzio have been kind enough to answer some questions I had about their line of pups and gave me advice which particular pickup I should chose for the tone I was after.