I was very excited to get my blackout in the mail. It is just the normal blackout bridge (not metal). In 10 minutes I was able to pop it right on with the emg quick connect and start playing. I put it in my LTD Viper 300. The blackout is a little more sensitive to height adjustments than the emg I noticed right off. Also, the 18volt mod didn't sound all that great so I removed one of the batteries and the blackout cleared up nicely, the gain was a little overboard and fuzzy with the 18volts.
I played for hours with the blackout and noticed it is a lot warmer than the emg81, powerchords have much more character if you let them ring out, very ideal for slower/doom/stoner type metal. I suspect it adds some much needed beef if you are currently using standard or drop d tuning with an 81. I tune my Viper to Drop C and that is the only tuning I use with this guitar...I don't think the blackout is ideal for this tuning. The lows dominate and the highs are lacking imo.
The Blackout is much louder than the 89 in the neck, which is perfectly fine for me except that when I remove the 18v my 89 doesn't sound as good. Neither pickup sounds good clean imo, even with the guitar volume down. With my EMGs and 18v this guitar sounds wonderful clean. There don't seem to be any issues using the 89 and blackout combined, it ups the volume compared to the 89 alone and sounds like you would expect it to.
81 vs Blackout
I recorded what must be the worst a/b in history complete with pops and crackles, a terrible condenser mic, sloppy playing..I just can't bring myself to post it, maybe I'll keep working on this until there is something worth posting. When recording, however, i was able to hear clear as day that the EMG81 18v is the one for me...I suspected this would happen, it it ain't broke don't fix it. the 81 is great for down tuning and I still sound razor sharp when I'm pummeling the metal rhythm. The blackout sounds fantastic, don't get me wrong, the added benefits of full rich power chords, extra mids, punchy lows, and absolutely the best pinch harmonics you will ever get will certainly win over most people. That is really the only thing that gets me, I wish I could get those blackout harmonics with my 81.
I'm pretty sure I'll be selling the blackout, but I'm going to keep testing and see if I can make it work. Ok, I'll shut up now and go back to work.