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Brian-jUdnf

EMG EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup



Sound Quality

[Perceived output level] Very high output -- Similar to a Dimarzio X2N level output. [Tone] In my observation, the EMG-81 has incredible high and mid range peaks. The bass is cut a bit. The pickups really scream. They pick up pinch and artificial harmonics beautifully. There is very little magnetic pull from the pickup, so they are very close to the strings. I would not say that the EMG-81 pickup has as much character as a passive pickup. There is a definite difference comparing it to other high-output passive models. The EMG-81 seems "sterile", yet very loud and "hostile". [Sonic evaluation] As mentioned above, the EMG-81 is very loud, very, VERY sterile clean (if you're not clipping the input stages of your preamp). There are incredible high and mid range tones, but a definite cut in bass ranges. Overall, the pickup is good for high gain effects or amps. The pickup is VERY quiet compared to other passive models. [For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable] Thrash/Metal musicians will love the EMG-81. It's loud and ballsy, and will not sqeak easily. You will not get shocked when holding your guitar and touching a microphone (etc) because you do not ground the pickup. Rock or other softer music musicians may find this pickup a little too brass or too "cold". There is tons of pure gain pouring out of the EMG-81, but it does not have the "warm" qualities of passive pickups. [Perceived output level] _High_; you have to lower input volume for most signal processors to avoid overloading [Tone] Punchy lower mids, piercing highs. [Sonic evaluation] Without distortion sounds clean but harsh on bridge position. Deadly with overdrive and scooped eq. No noise on any settings. No uncontrolled feedback. [For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable] A bit too sterile/cold for blues/Santana singin' lead tone (depends on amp etc of course). [Perceived output level] WOW! Really high (it is the hottest of all EMGs) much more than 'hot' (sorry) passive pickups Uses a 9V battery (the battery lasts about half year). If you use it along with passive pickups the EMG is much louder! [Tone] warm bass, distorted biting treble. [Sonic evaluation] Really has that edge, cuts through for solos, not so great for clean sounds (the thing is meant to be dirty). [For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable] Use it for hard rock/all kinds of metal. Bridge position. If you want great clean sounds, which do not 'bite' then this is not the thing. [Perceived output level] Extremely high-output, almost too harsh [Tone] Very well balanced, kind of brittle in a maple body though [Sonic evaluation] [For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable] Sucks for clean or blues or even moderate rock, great for metal and thrash.

Reliability/Durability


Price/Value


General Comments

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10 (it is not that versatile after all)

 

 

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Reviewer's Background



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