Price paid: $ 70
Purchased from: musicians friend
Sound — 8
The Hz h4 is what most people refer to as the passive 81. I find that this description is pretty acurate, but it definitely lacks the same oodles of output that is produced by the 81, which is to be expected when you buy a passive pickup. I'm playing it through a Peavey Vypyr 15 and a Marshall vs100 reverb with a rp250 in front and a Boss eq through the effects loop(only the marshall). I have the h4a, which is the bridge position pickup. This pickup is very clear, especially when it is loud. When I compared it to the 81, the definition of notes was so much better. This pickup is leaning more towards the high end mids, so its gets what I call a "gravelly" sound at low volumes. This is definitely meant to be played LOUD. I admittedly only compared it to the 81 and the hz h2, the other pickups that I was looking at. The 81 was just too noisy, and the h2 wasn't giving me the output I needed. The h4 was right where I needed to be.
Overall Impression — 8
I love the clean heavy tone I get at high volumes, but I would say that the gravelly sounds I get when I turn the amp down past 11 oclock is somewhat of a pain because I have to keep it CRANKD all the time, (only true of the marshall, the Peavey sounds more or less the same at all volumes.) I installed this into my ec400 to replace the 81 a while, but decide it would be put to better use in my alexi 200. Both guitars sounded good with the pickup, though the alexi brings out the mids much better. Again, this is a bridge position.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have had it for four months, and so far I can't complain about anything. It has been very dependable. Aside from me placing the wire on the back of it on backwards when I first got it, this thing is grade a. Make sure you do place the wire on right tho, otherwise you get a single coil sound, not sure if it actually causes one of the rows of coils to deactivate or what, but that's what it sounds like. I would also recomend having an expierenced solderer install it, I did it myself but I have practice at this. The pickup is a trooper, don't have to change any batteries or anything.