OK- so they had a SD Blackout set at Guitar Center. I already have an EMG Zack Wylde set (81/85 combo in my Les Paul), and against the advice of the Guitar Center salesman, who said the Blackouts sound the same as EMG's, I bought the Blackout set to try out and replace the EMG's.
Within 5 minutes- Oh my god- these things kick but. I already have my Les Paul wires up for the EMG wiring harness with the 18 volt mod, so I just removed the EMG's and installed the Blackouts. Through my Carvin V3 into Vintage 30's, the Blackouts have alot more response and punch than the EMG's, to the point where it sounds like the Blackouts are punching through your speakers. There's a nice low end growl and punch the Blackouts have compared to EMG's.
The Blackouts are also more articulate, clearer, and quieter than EMG's, while having a warmth between active and passive pickups.
I have yet to try it out on the clean channel, but the Blackout neck was clearer than the EMG-85, which was a tad too bassy and muddy.
The Blackouts do seem geared towards high gain metal- I'mm have to adjust my amp to get some classic rock tones out of them
My main point is these don't sound like EMG- they're more like EMG's on steroids, like comparing a '59 to a Duncan Custom.