"It sounds sterile."

Jakedog

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Boy oh boy oh boy. I hope Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and David Gilmore don’t see some of these responses. I’d hate to think how much their feelings would be hurt to suddenly find out how terrible their pickups sound to a bunch of guys on the internet.


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Teleterr

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I like EMGs but I do think they sound sterile. And P-90s dirty. I think the cleanliness concepts extending into how you percieve/experience sound is both valid and in this case true. BTW Bartolini makes a "Warm" bridge HB, and sure enough it is.
 

chemobrain

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No, it doesn't. Your mind simply can't adjust to accept a new approach. EMGs, Lace Sensors, Fender Noiseless pickups.... you would not be able to tell a difference between them and the "traditional" pickups in an A-B test. Sure, you may hear differences, but you'll hear differences between different varieties of traditional pickups anyway.

They're not "sterile"; they simply do the same thing while eliminating some of the inherent problems associated with doing it the old way.

And don't get me started on "warm"....

I have no idea what classic, authentic, old school, warm, vintage, classic with regard to pickups, guitars amps, guitars, or stomp bowes,
I have been blessed with knowing ignorance and enjoy the silence and freedom from this type of discursive thought.;)
 

JD0x0

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I normally see "sterile" when people refer to pickups that utilize new methods, active pickups, noise cancelling, etc. It's actually pretty silly.
Some of these methods are not new, and do in fact sound bad (depending how they're executed).

FWIW, most 'active' pickups are literally just passives with a preamp onboard the guitar (you could technically do the same thing with a pedal FWIW)
The biggest effect in them is the buffer. The buffer extends your high frequency range and negates some losses of long cables and such. The resonant peak of our passive pickups tends to be in the reproducible range of guitar speakers. So we can hear this frequency 'spike' which tends to give a lot of character to the sound**. When using a buffer it's possible to push that resonant frequency so high, the speakers are no longer able to reproduce it. What you end up is essentially flat frequency response, it may not sound as good in certain contexts, especially overdrive. You don't necessarily want a lot of bandwidth especially high frequency bandwidth when creating distortion, which adds lots of overtones.



**This is actually where a lot of these 'character' phrases come from, and Bill Lawrence, even has a nice little chart to associate different tonal descriptors with different resonant frequencies for his microcoil coloration
10 kHz = air
6+ kHz = sweet highs
4.2-4.5 kHz = sparkle, classic bell tone
3-4 kHz = bright, harsh, "icepick"
2.3-2.6 kHz = warm
1.8-2.1 kHz = aggressive, power ++ on bridge
1.4-1.6 kHz = darker, "jazzy"
1.0-1.2 kHz = distortion



While not perfect, and everyone probably has their own criteria for this stuff, this chart actually does largely hold true, IMO. If your guitar has a resonant peak around 4000hz-4500hz it would usually be described as 'sparkly' with 'bell like' qualities. If your resonant peak is closer to 3Khz, it sound can sound more 'bitey' or harsh.. 2200-2600 definitely has what would be described as a 'warmer' tone. 1.4-1.6khz would probably be described as 'woody'

keep in mind, a lot of these frequencies are present in 'active' pickups due to the wide bandwidth, but since there's no resonant peak, it's flat across the spectrum, before it gets to the amp, so it doesn't take on those distinct characters. We're mangling the EQ anyway, at the amp (and speaker), but some people overlook the fact that those resonances can compensate for EQ shapes in other parts of the signal chain, like from the amp's tonestack and the speaker's frequency response. Sometimes the resonant peak can work with you, sometimes it works against you. I find I like the behavior of passive pickups, and would rather not add two active devices (the pickup's preamp, and an EQ) to compensate.
 
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beyer160

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Boy oh boy oh boy. I hope Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and David Gilmore don’t see some of these responses. I’d hate to think how much their feelings would be hurt to suddenly find out how terrible their pickups sound to a bunch of guys on the internet.


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The music that made them famous (and the music most people still listen to) was all made with that crappy obsolete junk gear from the '60s and '70s though. It's a matter of personal taste if you prefer Cream era Clapton or Michelob era Clapton, but I know which one I like.
 

JD0x0

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Boy oh boy oh boy. I hope Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and David Gilmore don’t see some of these responses. I’d hate to think how much their feelings would be hurt to suddenly find out how terrible their pickups sound to a bunch of guys on the internet.


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Do either of them even use their EMG guitar any more? David seems to only use his for maybe one song (coming back to life) I don't follow Clapton, but I thought he was mainly back to passives, too. I hated my active EMG's. I had the DG20 set and never got along with them. I will say though, with the Treble and bass boost to get that scooped "Coming back to life" tone, it really did nail it easily, but there really is just an inherent quality, that I would describe as a sort of 'sterile-ness' too them. And don't get me wrong either, I like some Hi-Fi aspects to my guitar tone. (I really like old PA speakers for guitar drivers), I just can't get along with some of those pickups.. I love my passive Bill Lawrence micro coils, though.
 

otterhound

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Chris Klein still offers Fender style Alnico 4 single coil pickups but doesn't advertise them because no one wanted them . Guess I am no one because I liked them from the first time I used them . Anyway , the reason that no one wanted them was because Fender never used Alnico 4 magnets in any of their pickups . Well , that has apparently just changed . Makes me wonder if any of those folks that wouldn't touch them before will now want them . Relevance ?
 

Mjark

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There is absolutely no way to tell, post processing, if you are listening to a real amp, a modeler or computer plug ins. In the mix, it's impossible.
True. Someone messaged me wanting to know what amps and mics I use to record with. He was surprised to hear I go direct from a Vibro Champ XD. That said, I'm not in any rush to get rid of my buzzy single coil pick ups.
 

Sollipsist

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The urge to propagate myths and the urge to bust myths both stem from the same need to feel special via enlightenment. Ironically, both sides should be more validated when fewer people agree with them. Once you convince enough people, you're no longer special.
 

alnico357

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You are all wrong.

You have to spend exactly $24,933 on gear to sound halfway decent. To sound good, it’s $49,866.

Sorry, those are the rules.

The above numbers are close to the equatorial diameter of the Earth, 24,901 miles, and twice that, 48,902. For a more earthy tone one must spend $24,901 on gear, or a multiple thereof.
 




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