Tried them a long time ago, not a fan of batteries, tone difference for me was not worth the hassle. USB is a pain in the azz, always the little voice in the back of my head going, "please don't die on me now". Comfortable with a batt operated wireless at a jam, thats about it.
Has anyone tried the current Deluxe Roadhouse Strat? I’m intrigued by its mid boost circuit with six position selector to dial in mids. But they’re not true active pickups…could be pretty good, actually.
For a minute I almost changed my vote. I have an active bass, but… the pickups are passive, the EQ is active. I don’t have any active pickups. That said… I played a guitar with Seymour Duncan Blackouts… and they were pretty awesome… that said… I would still probably take a good set of passive pickups.
My very first experience with actives was a PRS SE Torero, used, at the local GC.
I’d talked a lot of trash about PRS up to then, and had no use for them, active pickups or Floyd Rose bridges, and this guitar had all three!
But I pulled it off the wall, plugged into a Blues Jr Tweed and…it was an awesome guitar! It had sold when I went back for it, but that was a part of a continuing process of realizing that I couldn’t let the internet decide what I liked or disliked.
To be clear: it was a very well built guitar that made guitar sounds when played through a guitar amp. Which is all I ask my guitars to do.
My Ed O’Brien Strat is similar: I don’t like artist models (especially an artist I have to Google search—or maybe that’s why buying this artist model didn’t bother me). I wasn’t sure if I’d get along with the kinda chunky 10/56 neck. It’s technically HSH configuration, and that’s my least favorite setup. It’s got active electronics! All kinds of electrical voodoo going on under the pickguard.
Yet it’s my favorite of the 3 Strats I own, and the first guitar I grab when I don’t think about which guitar to grab.
Active pickups are just another way ‘round the mountain. I think of them like my two PRS guitars: blank slates that stay out of your way when you’re trying to do what you do.
I had SD Blackouts in my 7 string, and they sounded good through my interface, although I had to flip a toggle for that. The battery died within 5 months despite careful output jack management and I convinced myself to replace them with passives. I didn't want to deal with A: replacing the battery every 4 months (because clearly 5 was too long), B: figuring out why my battery needed to be replaced three times as frequently as others', or C: worrying that I needed to replace the battery. Also, I found the volume control didn't clean up like I'm used to.
They did sound good though. I went with Black Winters as a replacement, and they sound good too.