The overall perceived sound is a bit on the bright (but not shrill) side without forfeiting the bottom end. I believe, when DiMarzio describe this pickup as being similar to an active pickup, that they refer to the fact that it is very well balanced, thus very mid frequency-based. It is indeed very similar-sounding to an active pickup but a lot more organic overall. Chords and single strings bounce with crisp tonality. It's a superb upgrade in my Les Paul. With a little adjustment (heightwise) according to the strings, it complements perfectly my Duncan Distortion which I have installed in my Dean V. Great choice for bone-crushing metal tones! If you're after a pickup that has the same quality and characteristics of an active pickup but without the lack of personality (my opinion) that active pickups have, then the Activator is your choice.
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