EMG 81/85 vs. Seymour Duncan Blackouts

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Make sure to watch the video FIRST … Then VOTE!

I prefer the ...

  • Seymour Duncan Blackout pickup Set (57%, 443 Votes)
  • EMG 81/85 Pickup Set (43%, 341 Votes)

Total Voters: 784

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  1. joão says:

    I have 2 guitars, one with the EMG 81/85 set and the other with the blackouts, and I can say that yes, the blackouts sounds much better, in the cleans, in the high riifs, the only thing I feel the EMG better is in lead guitar and when I am playing solos.

  2. Marc says:

    Well I am an EMG 81 user but I must say I do like the sound of the Duncans for their clean tone. They sound too muddy for high gain IMO. The EMG’s seem to have a clearer low end and more distinct mid range. I think an 81 in the bridge and a duncan BO in the neck might be an interesting setup.

  3. SGEbony says:

    Here are both the 81 and the BO in mixes:

    http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/equipment/490392-seymour-duncan-blackout-bridge-vs-emg81-round-2-dtb-content-d.html

    I personally think the EMGs owned the BOs here. Just my opinion though.

  4. jay says:

    I don’t like active pick ups but they do have certain uses.I have the 81-85 set but when I heard the black outs they just sounded more full than the Emg set.

  5. Tony says:

    EMGs sounded thin on the clean tone, while the Blackouts were warmer. On the overdrive tone, they were virtually identical to my ears. On the final highest gain sound, the Blackouts were again more full sounding, so overall…

    Blackouts win!

  6. Russ says:

    Thanks for the comparison. There’s so much gear out there that it’s often a difficult decision to make unless you can A/B two similar products – and most of us aren’t able to do that for one reason or another. So please keep up these kinds of shootouts – they are really helpful.

    It would have been difficult for me to make a choice without this video. As you say, there’s no wrong answer and it comes down to personal preference. I definitely prefer the Duncans. The best way I can explain the way the EMG’s sound *TO ME* is that they’re sterile and lifeless, while the Duncans sound warm and have so much more character.

    I don’t have any guitars with active pickups, but I’m looking to get one. This review just made my decision on choice of pickups an easy one.

  7. TVLTNT says:

    TTK, I’m also not one for active pickups however regardless in this case. I like the nice sound of the Duncans totally.

    It’s sort of a NO brainer just IMHO.
    TERRY

  8. Bob says:

    To me on the clean channel especially, I thought the 2 EMGs sounded too similar whereas the Blackouts each had a distinct sound. Thanks TTK! Love your shootouts!

  9. David says:

    Interesting shootout — I personally don’t care for active pickups, [ I'm old school ] The EMG’s sounded to me way thinner than the Duncans, so I would probably go with them if I had to choose.

    Great job TK !!

  10. nellymalta says:

    Funny thing personal preference. I have EMG’s in 2 of my guitars but I think i actually prefer the Blackouts based on the shoot out.

    Hey, TTK. I think you should consider doing a shootout between these beasts and their low budget competitors from GFS/Irongear etc and perhaps throw in a $9.99 chinese ebay cheapy for fun. I guess it would take too much setting up though.

  11. Stray says:

    With distortion (how I mostly play) I think the EMG’s were clearer and more distinct, whereas the Duncans were melodic mush? I have owned lots of Seymour’s products through the years, but in this setting the black-outs wouldn’t be one of them.

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