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Thread: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

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    Mojo's Minions jmh151's Avatar
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    Default SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    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.

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    Mojo's Minions Petrovsk Mizinski's Avatar
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Good review bro.
    Once I heard the Blackouts, I knew SD was on a winner.
    It's their best pickup ever IMO.

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    Baron Von Shred Zerberus's Avatar
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    And the lesson learned: Never listen to a GC salesman, because even when they´re half right (as was here the case) the rest is BS

    Glad you like 'em
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerberus View Post
    And the lesson learned: Never listen to a GC salesman, because even when they´re half right (as was here the case) the rest is BS

    Glad you like 'em
    The particular salesman is OK, but he's a bass player. I guess in the eyes of a bass player EMG's are close enough. The rest of the Guitar Center salesmen are like snake oil or used car salesmen.

    The huge difference is the added bottom end on the Blackout bridge. Usually I had to put an EMG-85 in the bridge to get bottom end since the EMG-81 was so thin and trebly. Not the case here. The Blackout bridge has a growling bottom end, whereas the EMG's were a bit muddy.

    The Blackout set is also very well matched tonally. I don't have to make adjustments to my tone controls when switching pickups, something that was needed with EMG's, and most pickups in general.

    I also have an EMG-PA-2 preamp booster installed since I needed extra oomph and power from the EMG's occaisonally. It's not needed with the Blackouts, though I did leave it installed.

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    Toneologist Perry D's Avatar
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    we have another first hand view on how guitar center is full of dumbasses

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    The GC guy told you they sound essentially the same because they're marketed as a "better" sounding version of the 81/85 (I say "better" because I've not used them). Additionally, all the famous guys using Blackouts were EMG users up until recently, so it would be logical to assume they're not THAT different.
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    I would imagine comparing pickups JUST because they're both active is about as correct as saying a Duncan Distortion sounds just like a Super Distortion.
    But I've yet to try EMGs so I'm just assuming.

    Blackout's are great pups though!

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Wait a minute...

    You've never tried EMGs ?

    If you play shred leads with lots of fast licks and want to cut through the mix like a mofo in heat when playing live, EMGs are there for you !

    If you play rhythm though, I don't doubt the Blackouts would do the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diocletian View Post
    .
    But I've yet to try EMGs so I'm just assuming.

    Blackout's are great pups though!

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    I can't agree with the statement that they're cleaner and more articulate, but they sure as **** have more output and bass!

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Ohh really?

    So the Blackouts are not as precise, clean and articulate as the EMGs?

    I won't be ditching my EMGs soon then !

    Duncan better improve their reverse-engineering skills....(just my opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual Kevorkian View Post
    I can't agree with the statement that they're cleaner and more articulate, but they sure as **** have more output and bass!

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Their hotter and mushier than EMG's... not as tight. They aren't loose, especially compared to something like a JB, but the bottom end isn't the same. I've got guitars with both Blackouts and 81's (different woods, sure) right now, and compared the 81/85 and Blackout set in my old LTDM400NT when the BO's first came out in 2007. My observations still stand!

    Honestly, the only reason I'm using Blackouts over EMG's is because I don't want to route out my 1077XL... but I've been heavily considering it lately.

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_Abuser View Post
    If you play shred leads with lots of fast licks and want to cut through the mix like a mofo in heat when playing live, EMGs are there for you !

    If you play rhythm though, I don't doubt the Blackouts would do the job.
    Both blackouts and EMG's will do either job just fine, and in a similar manner. I've tried both and prefer the slightly more organic and articulate feel of the blackouts, but I know at least one person who has tried both and prefers the feel and sound of EMG's.

    *edit* and there he just posted!

    Duncan better improve their reverse-engineering skills....(just my opinion)
    Aye, just to clarify, have you tried the Blackouts?

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_Abuser View Post
    Wait a minute...

    You've never tried EMGs ?

    If you play shred leads .
    I am unable to play shred leads, owing to the fact I'm not good enough, technically.

    But Marty Friedman manages alright with a JB, and you hate them, so.....

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Nope and I have no intention to do so if I have to pay for it.
    But what would it change anyways?

    I'm very opinionated about this subject (Blackouts) and the fact that Duncan seems to have copied EMGs and then pretend theirs are better.

    EMGs ARE kings and pioneers in active pickup design. Seymour Duncan (or any other company...) won't be able IMO to touch EMGs anytime soon.

    Seymour Duncan passive pickups just KILLS passive EMGs though.

    Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses, but EMG definitely wins any active battle over any manufacturer IMO. Can't be any other way...I'm a very traditional guy and the original is always the best to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by krankguitarist View Post

    Aye, just to clarify, have you tried the Blackouts?

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Correction : Marty Friedman MANAGED to shred. His tone and playing went downhill since 1994.

    Anyways, I don't classify Marty as a shredder, although he is a very tasty player and I dig his solos.

    I dislike the JB, but that doesn't mean I can't shred on it. One's shredding ability is not related to the pickup at all. It's just that certain pickups are better for certain applications and the JB is better for blues/jazz stuff IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diocletian View Post

    But Marty Friedman manages alright with a JB, and you hate them, so.....

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_Abuser View Post
    Nope and I have no intention to do so if I have to pay for it.
    But what would it change anyways?

    I'm very opinionated about this subject (Blackouts) and the fact that Duncan seems to have copied EMGs and then pretend theirs are better.

    EMGs ARE kings and pioneers in active pickup design. Seymour Duncan (or any other company...) won't be able IMO to touch EMGs anytime soon.

    Seymour Duncan passive pickups just KILLS passive EMGs though.

    Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses, but EMG definitely wins any active battle over any manufacturer IMO. Can't be any other way...I'm a very traditional guy and the original is always the best to me.
    If you're going to continue posting in threads about Blackouts dont you think you should at least have a clue what it is you're always putting down?

    I've never tried going to the moon or into space, so I don't go on a NASA forum telling the astronauts how the Saturn 5 kicks the shuttle's ass.
    Posting with authority about a subject you have absolutely ZERO experience with is just stupid.
    Last edited by Diocletian; 02-21-2009 at 12:50 PM.

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    I think you are right.

    But I can't help myself whenever someone says Blackouts are better than my beloved EMGs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diocletian View Post
    If you're going to continue posting in threads about Blackouts dont you think you should at least have a clue what it is you're always putting down?

    I've never tried going to the moon, but I don't go on a NASA forum telling the astronauts how the Saturn 5 kicks the shuttles ass.

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_Abuser View Post
    Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses, but EMG definitely wins any active battle over any manufacturer IMO. Can't be any other way...I'm a very traditional guy and the original is always the best to me.
    It certainly is interesting how many people are quite happy with essentially 3 different pickups from EMG.
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    BrandNewGlossologist Diocletian's Avatar
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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_Abuser View Post
    I think you are right.

    But I can't help myself whenever someone says Blackouts are better than my beloved EMGs.

    I understand you really love your EMGs, that's great that you found a sound you enjoy so much.
    But I really don't see why you continually put down Blackouts when you've never even tried them.
    What's the point?

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    Default Re: SD Blackout vs. EMG 81/85

    You have a valid point. But these three pickups are made with just the perfect recipe (IMO of course), so there is no need to look elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    It certainly is interesting how many people are quite happy with essentially 3 different pickups from EMG.

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