Sound — 9
The X2N is a total high-gain moster, and a choice alternative to the usual EMGs. The output from this pickup is strong and defined, and in comparison to an EMG 81 much higher from my experience A/B-ing the two side by side in my home. Want to fatten up that solid state, or maybe turn that boutique tube amp into a total screamer, then the X2N may be just the ticket for you. The tone of this pickup caught me off guard at first. Being used to the High Mid-heavy sound of my EMG 81 and Gibson 498T equipped guitars, the balanced output of the pickup seemed muddy to me at first. After playing it for about an hour, however, I grew to love the even response, as the wide frequency range it covers makes this pickup a total sledgehammer tonewise. The treble, mids, and bass are all present, with the bass being big yet defined, the mids somewhat warm but balanced, and the highs sizzly and aggressive, perfect for hard rock and metal applications. The surprising thing about this pickup is how well it cleans up, I can take a gained-out and boosted amp to very light crunch levels with just the knob, and how nice the clean sound is. As long as you can keep the amp clean, the warm, jazzy tones this pickup brings clean are wonderful. This is an extremely versatile bridge pickup, especially if it is wired for coil splitting. The only drawback to this pickup tonewise and output-wise is that the sheer volume from it makes it hard to pair with other pickups. Makes it.
Overall Impression — 8
The thing I love most about this pickup is the sheer versatility of it. While made to be a monster, rolling back the volumes actually cleans it up very much, and the even response means it can really be tailored to fit any sound. I have this installed in a basswood Jackson Dinky, and it really brings out the warm yet articulate sound of the guitar. I can't find any real fault other than the difficulty matching pickups, as you will be relegated to other higher output pickups for the neck, unless you plan on using this split most of the time. If you're tired of the standard EMGs most metal guitars come equipped with nowadays, try the X2n, I think you'll be pleased with the difference.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This pickup was bought in a used guitar, and it's already taken a couple knock from both the previous owner and myself. It still sounds great, even after I rescues it from the horrible electronics job it had when I bought it. I'd definitely depend on this pickup, and I know it shouldn't cut out on me, as there are now batteries.