I love the emg 81/85 setup, I already have a set installed on an Epiphone G400 along with an AB afterburner. So this may be a biased review because they are my favorite pickups. I wanted to refresh the electronics to a 1987 Gibson SG and put some new passive humbuckers on. Then I thought, the hell with it, I will put some old trusty EMGs on it. The 81, in the correct distance from the strings, delivers the optimal dynamic response and characteristics to the sound for my playing style. I mostly play traditional heavy and epic metal. The pickups' attack is great for riffing, the harmonics sound great. Great for solos and awesome for bending. I use this on a Marshall JMP1 (mostly OD1) - EL34 100/100 -1960B. I've read lots about the fact than the cleans are not so clean but with my previous experience I knew that with the right distance from the strings you can get good cleans without affecting your distorted sounds.the package comes with high quality, potensiometers nad all the cables you need. The solder-less system can be installed by an 8 year old kid, it is a great innovation, you can't go wrong with it. I haven't installed the PA2 yet cause my SG will need some mods (very thin body), but since it's similar with the afterburner and I know it gives a nice sounding boost - a compressor on your chain won't let it shine though. great overall price and awesome thomann service as always. My only con is the height of the PA2 but ok, my guitar is way thinner than the average guitar.
I'd recommend this for any death or thrash metal players who are looking to get a darker, more distorted sound out of their axe. The bridge pickup (81) is very crisp and it gives screaming leads and really crunchy lows, while the neck pickup (85) is a lot smoother but also muddier. My only complaint would be that it takes a lot of setting changes to get a clean sound (as expected, of course). Because of the gain booster, you'll have to either switch it off, or turn down your volume and tone and switch to the neck pickup, to get a proper clean sound.
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