Price paid: $ 389
Purchased from: Sound Centre Music Gallery
Sound — 10
This pickup has been dubbed by some as the "EMG Killers", and for good reason. EMG pickups have been shown the door The level of output this pickup dishes out towers over that of an EMG 81. I have loaded my ESP SV Standard with these pickups, and I run it into a Valve driven Solid State Randall RH300G3 Halfstack (with the respective cabinet). Before installing the Blackouts, my SV had an EMG 81 set, so that's for all of you Who would say that my comparison is invalid. I find the EMG 81s to sound extremely thin compared to the Blackouts. I also find EMG 81s to rob your tone of your guitar's natural woodiness. Prior to installing the Blackouts, I found my tone to resemble early Devildriver. Now, it can be compared to later Machine Head. These pickups sound extremely thick, with more than enough highs and mids. They also punch out some mean lows without getting muddy. You'll need an amp with a lot of headroom though, to prevent breakup on a clean sound. Apart from that, The cleans sound lush and pristine. This pickup is available in individual Bridge and neck models, or as a set. The bridge pickup is great for heavy riffs, leads and cleans. The neck pickup is also great for a more fluid lead sound. It gives a woodier tone that buzzes with character.
Overall Impression — 10
I bought a set of these pickups for my ESP SV Standard, purely following the hype out of hearing and reading all the positive reviews about them. I had never A/B'ed these pickups with EMG 81s. However, upon plugging my guitar in with the new pickups, I knew I made the right choice. I recommend this pickup to any and all active pickup freaks, and especially metal guitarists.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I daresay these pickups will last a long time. A single 9 volt battery will power one pickup for 1420 hours plugged in. Divide that by 2 (710 hours) for the life of the set. This is a high quality pickup, and I could definitely depend on it to not only do the job it needs to, but to do it exceptionally well.