Price paid: $ 80
Sound — 9
I purchased this pickup to play '80s rock metal and more modern melodic lead stuff. In my trem equipped guitar, I've found it to be the perfect combination. It has plenty of bass without being floppy on the low end, and the highs are smooth, not piercing. Good dose of mids for those bold '80s tones, and to cut through the mix in a band situation. Kind of reminds me of the EQ one would get from running a tubescreamer into their lead channel, but without the super bright highs. I would rate it as a fairly hot pickup, but not over the top. I bought it to add some bass and take away some treble for my PRS SE Custom 24, and it's just the ticket. Works nicely with my amp's lead channel as well as pedals.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've never had a problem with a DiMarzio pickup, this looks to be another nice one. The finish doesn't scratch or smudge easily, and should take plenty of wear and tear. Plenty of wire length for installation. I'm not a huge fan of the wire system DiMarzio uses, as the shielding can be a pain to strip off when installing the pickup, but once you get it installed, you're good to go. Comes with some nice mounting hardware as well. Looks to be built to last. Not really much else to say, I don't think Steve Vai would be using these pickups if they weren't reliable!
Overall Impression — 9
This is a great pickup if for players who are into '80s tones, as well as someone wanting a hot pickup that can cut, but doesn't want the toppy bite of something like the Evo's. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but after using for a few months, I wouldn't dare switch it for anything else. My only beef is the look: it has a somewhat boring matte finish on the bobbins, and doesn't quite fill up the pickup ring the way my stock pickups did. Also, I'm not a big fan of the hex screw look. But it's about sound right? So overall, I'm still very happy with this great bridge pickup.