Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

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sixstringslaya
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Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

Postby sixstringslaya » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:06 pm

I was wondering if the Lithium pickups are easier to shape the tone compared to actives like the Polarity pickups? Meaning can you shape the sound on the Lithiums with your amp to dial in more lows, reduce highs, etc compared to active pickups.

I was also wondering if the pickup routes on a DC600 can accept active pickups like EMG's if one wanted to swap out the Lithiums? I had my eyes on the EMG James Hetfield set but not sure if they can fit in a DC600. Does anyone know if that can be done? I realize there is no battery compartment so I guess the battery could be placed in the wire compartment?

Thanks for any comments.

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UnexplodedCow
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Re: Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:33 am

Tone shaping is usually passive on a guitar or amp, unless an active module (the old Carvins had this) is used on the guitar, an EQ pedal, or if the amp has an active EQ section. Boosting frequencies is only available with active EQing, not passive. Even active pickups have a passive tone control in almost all cases; including EMG, Fishman Fluence, Blackouts, and the Polarity line.

With that said, active pickups have a broader range of sound, typically with excellent bass response, and extended treble response beyond that of a typical passive humbucker. Yes, a handful of passive, high output humbuckers have extended range, but most don't.

The pickup routes were changed several years ago, and are standard size, so pickup swapping is not an issue. Last year, I swapped in Fluence moderns (same size as an EMG) to my Vader. No battery compartment since it came with passives, so everything was packed into the control cavity. It fit on that model, but barely. The DC600s have a larger control panel, so it should not be an issue. I went with a 5 way super switch (to get coil splitting) and dual push/pull pots for the "hf tilt" function (capacitance similar to a long cable), as well as the second voicing option, which is very useful.

If you like the Het set sound, I'd suggest the Fluence moderns, as they can do the 60/81 sound just fine to my ear, but have the second voicing, and overall feel more responsive than an EMG. The Polarity pickups also look interesting because of having a similar design to the Fluences.

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sixstringslaya
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Re: Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

Postby sixstringslaya » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:36 pm

Thank you so much for the detailed and informative info! I really appreciate it and I think I am actually going to go for the Fishman pickups now. They sound heavy! Among many aggressive metal tones, Im especially chasing that Metallica tone for my covers and after watching a bunch of youtube vids with the Fishmans I think they are right up my alley.

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Re: Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:03 pm

sixstringslaya wrote:Thank you so much for the detailed and informative info! I really appreciate it and I think I am actually going to go for the Fishman pickups now. They sound heavy! Among many aggressive metal tones, Im especially chasing that Metallica tone for my covers and after watching a bunch of youtube vids with the Fishmans I think they are right up my alley.

The cool thing with the Fishmans is that they have a bunch of different flavors of heavy with the Tosin, Killswitch, Devy, Merrow, and Willie Adler sets depending on what you're looking for. I'm not 100% on how Kiesel does the wiring but you'd probably be able to drop those other ones in with little to no mods if you don't need splits.

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Re: Lithium -vs- active Pickups (Polarity) tone shaping

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:43 am

At least for the Z6X I have, Kiesel went with a 3 way blade switch, regular volume pot, and push/pull tone pot for the second voicing. An EMG will drop in, and work with the Fishman harness, but the voice switching won't do anything. If the "HF Tilt" and coil-splitting are desired, that's going to require doing it post factory, as I don't think Kiesel does it from the factory. However, those two options really don't do a whole lot. It's subtle, even on clean tones. The coil-split is more like a mild volume drop, with a hint more treble. The "HF Tilt" can be useful to get in line with a typical humbucker sound, especially for a "woman tone" chaser (my opinion).

All the various models get a lot of praise. Personally, I like the Moderns, and have heard the other types as well. The most popular is probably the Tosin set, with the Devon Townsend set being second. The Keith Merrow set uses the Modern neck pickup, but changes out the bridge for his own type. The Killswitch set seems to either be loved or hated, but I didn't run into them as much when listening to clips. Of course, the Classic set is also much loved, but for covering Metallica, the Moderns do it in spades, but with a little more clarity, and sustain.

It's something that has to be played to feel. When pushing a high gain amp (I've been playing on a mid-gain 5150 model pushed by a mid-gain tube screamer), they can get into so much sustain that they are borderline sustainiac, and other players have asked me. High volume feedback works extremely well, and is controlled easily. Feedback pedals (such as a Boss FB-2) work just fine. The biggest difference I can say between these and any other pickup I've played is the response. The sound is responsive, not really compressed, but immediate. They're just too easy to play, and going back to passives is kind of annoying as they have to be worked harder to get what I want.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.


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