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Author Topic: PK and NB enigmas  (Read 9245 times)

Dr. Vic

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PK and NB enigmas
« on: March 04, 2009, 08:14:24 PM »
Greetings !

I have just registered on this great forum where I found very helpfull informations, thank you all guys ! :good: I need some explanations about the Painkiller and the Nailbomb :


About the PK :

The PK is told to be thin (or dry sounding) and because it is VERY bright it better has to go in dark sounding guitars. It's voice is often associated to old metal school, especially old Mustaine sound (Peace Sells, Rust in Peace, Countdown to extinction) which is very precise, crunchy, agressive and tight but it's true rather sharp than thick or meaty.

BUT THAT SAID, on the other hand, I read some posts stating that the PK is very fat and full sounding, fat with a fat ceramic magnet, fat with lots of bass and a huge bottom end. I also read that the PK has more bass than the MM   :gne:!!  For instance I read that the Painkiller seems to have the miracle man tightness with a fatter sound with more bass response and biting treble.

These statements are quite opposite to me, maybe it is just a question of language, but where is the truth ? :wallbash:
Is the PK thin (dry) or thick (fat) ?
Isn't the voice of the MM more powerfull and thick for fast rythm tracks ?
And what do you guys call a « huge bottom end » ?
And if the PK has this old school metal vibe, why do people say it is modern sounding ?



About the NB :


That is the pickup on which I saw the most controvertial opinions !!!!.

It is often said on this place NB has rather a deep, thick, extremely punchy/percussive low-end AND a very hot, open and aggressive midrange grind/crunch. And it's description says it all : « a huge agressive assault (,,,) with punchy mids». What's more I even read that if the PK was « old Mustaine » period, the NB will be « current Mustaine » sound which is still agressive and still tight in the bass. Reading that I might understand the NB as a less tight, more warm PK but still with a specific upper mid cut in its voice...a British voice !


BUT THAT SAID, lots of review (have a look at harmony central) are mentioning a « scooped » pickup :roll:, sometimes « muddy »   :(  in dark sounding guitars with an overall « smooth tone »...As for me (I do not want to receive « all the drama of thunder and lightning ! » from all of you guys  :rip:) BUT when I listen to Tim clip of the NB and the other ones, I cannot feel thoses agressive mids. I feel it rather warm, fat and soft (for the rythm chugga things) and fluid (in the leads). I make this statement while comparing NB clips at least to S. Steven clip of the RY (still A5 powered) that sound more agressive and biting to me and far more straight talking, with more « in your faceness » imo...  It just « seems » not to cut thru the mix, as well as either PK, RY or even MM (even if this one is told to have the smoother mids) ...



So is there agressive mids in the NB ?
And is the voicing of the NB somewhere close to the PK (british voice), of course with all the difference Ceramic / A5 makes regarding warmth, tightness, versality (though the PK is told to be very versatile too ?)
Can you point me to some clips with a great chuggy / growly / biting riff with some fast palm mutes ala « modern mustaine » to see how it tastes ?  :band5:

I also read somewhere that « the PK would be a DARKER and tighter alternativ to the NB » and I do not understand that : is the NB brighter than the PK ?  :stupid:
 


Any help will be greatly appreciated ! :drink:


Cheers !
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 08:48:16 PM by Dr. Vic »

MDV

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2009, 09:12:44 PM »
Well, I've found the PK to have a bright, open high end AND a huge low end. Mine is double screw pole though, which ups the lows maybe 15% or so.

The MM has about the same lows (I've had MM, covered MM and settled on a double screw 23k MM), but more low mids and less high mids and is smoother and more compressed.

The NB is fairly balanced, has less lows than a PK (I've had double screw poles of both in the same guitar, so the difference levels out), and a more even EQing after that. Its a lot looser and not as big or punchy sounding. More organic. I dont think its smooth - the NB is the only BK I've palyed I didnt like - I thought it was loose (compared to the manner that I am acustomed to being kept in with my main pickups being PK, A-Pig, C-Pig and MM) and kinda harsh.

Bear in mind that BKs are VERY sensitive to the guitar you put them in, so YMMV. Also, much more sensitive to pickup height. If you want the variable-eliminated what-the-pickup-really-sounds-like story the best man to ask is Tim. We've hammered out most of the characteristics of most of the pickups between us (theres still some disagreement that probably stems from the  different guitars and setup proclivities of different users) and a lot of us have used different BKs in the same guitar, or the same BKs in different guitars, which is what gives you a much better understanding of the pickup, but Tims testing is extremely extensive - if in doubt (like if we arent saying the same thing) ask The Man.

dheim

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 08:31:54 AM »
...and what you get here is, of course, contraddictory ideas...  :)
me and mdv have got a completely different opinion of the nailbomb - that is, by now, the BKP i prefer.
i cannot say what's the difference with the painkiller because i haven't got yet my set... but i don't find harsh at all the nailbombs... just "open" and organic, with a great and balanced midrange... not too bright (but brighter and clearer than a Seymour Duncan JB), with a sound that's perfect for lead purposes. cleans are excellent, clear and defined. if you're after ultratight rhythm sounds (and mdv is, explaining his dislike) it can be a bit too loose, though, and it's not the most aggressive sounding BKP...
scooped is maybe the ONLY word that i would never use to describe the NB (i don't read anymore HC reviews, they say everything and its contrary and are often written by kids with 2 or 3 months of playing experience, so are perfectly useless). no, not the only one... muddy is another... as i said before they can be a little loose for some purpose, but they're definitely tighter and clearer than most pickups on the market, and are very versatile... so i don't think you'll make a bad choice if they're your first BKPs.
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

too many? ;)

MDV

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 09:00:26 AM »
Oh, hell yeah, the nailbombs nowhere near scooped. Or muddy. I can easily see how people like it, I just dont. It lacks the surgical precision I need. A-Pig is my cutoff for that (tight for an A5, so it is).

Dr. Vic

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 09:51:00 AM »
Thanks for the replies !!!!

If the PK has more lows than the NB then this might be a clue to understand why the PK is darker than the NB. GOOD POINT !  :D

Then if the PK and MM seems to have about the same amount of bass I thought there was more chunk or meat in the low strings for rythm works with the MM rather than with the PK. (maybe it is a question of voicing instead of frequencies details) :?

For instance MDV clip « holy tyranny » is incredibly tight, agressive, biting AND clear, To me this is what I call an  « agressive assault » with an absolute in-your-faceness. BUT I do not hear fatness / thickness which is why I would like to know what do you call a « huge bottom or low end ».  I feel it to be dry like...............your throat if you were to the pub to see a France-England rugby match without having the chance to have at least one little fresh beer to be served...at all.  :drink:



 
Then regarding the NB I appreciate to see lots of likes and dislikes that expresses all our different personal tastes which makes the richness of all theses discussions. :wink: As for tightness the thing is that the NB might just not be for tech metal....

BUT my question is toward it's agressivity and mid cut and you both agree to say the EQ is very balanced. So of course there are mids in there but if they are open, fat, organic then I might understand that doesn't help to make them focused, biting and agressive, like the RY or the PK.

So, it is true the NB clean habilities are really tempting BUT  where is the « huge agressive assault » of the NB with it's « punchy mids », that you expect to have for some serious riffage  :?:

Oh and I won't go to harmony central anymore, I promise   :lol:


MDV

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 10:08:18 AM »
Well Holy Tyranny falls victim to recording mechanics - 4 tracking guitars that need to mix with a kick and were planned to mix with a bass as well, plus the 245bpm with lots of palm muted 16ths and youre (or rather I was) forced to use a tone with a lot more high end and less low end than the PK will naturally give through, say, my powerball or a 5150 or dual recto set to 5-5-5 (or 5-5-5-5 or whatever). The settings on my tonelab as I recall were nearly all treble - it was one of the modern metal settings on something like bass 3 mids 0 treble 8.

That PK has about the same low end, maybe just the tiniest shade less, than a C-Pig in the same guitar.

MDV

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 10:09:17 AM »
Oh, thanks for the complementary (parts oif the!) description, btw :D
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 10:10:48 AM by MDV »

dheim

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 11:21:14 AM »
at least in my view (but maybe we don't have got the same tonal needs) NB has got a very nice and punchy midrange... but i think that Tim (the Boss) makes better pickups than descriptions! NBs are quite refined pickups (in a modern and aggressive way, of course), and NOT the raw sonic assault you're supposed to expect from the description and the name itself...
exactly what you're planning to buy those pickups for? what's your main style?
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

too many? ;)

Antag

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2009, 12:49:36 PM »
Where to start? :)

PAINKILLER

The PK is told to be thin (or dry sounding) and because it is VERY bright it better has to go in dark sounding guitars.
Not convinced about this.  My Jackson KV2 is a VERY bright guitar & the PK sounds awseome in it (clips here & here)

On the other hand, my Charvel model 5 is very thick sounding & bassy. It's a really quirky guitars so my first impressions post was probably made before I'd experienced the best of the PK (clip here

Is the PK thin (dry) or thick (fat) ?
Fat.
Isn't the voice of the MM more powerfull and thick for fast rythm tracks ?
No.  I'd say the MM is more "dense" & "intense" wheras the PK is more "in yer face".  Damn, now we're back to square one with different interpretations of language :lol:

Are you familiar with the term "Djent"?  That's the PK all over (see here if you're not :))

And if the PK has this old school metal vibe, why do people say it is modern sounding ?
Presumably because the power & ceramic tightness makes it ideal for very modern technical metal (e.g. Meshuggah kinda stuff & MDV's excellent lips).

I guess the reference to old school metal is simply because of the name referring to a Priest song.  But remember that Painkiller is relatively modern priest.  I'm not convinced there's anything "old school" about it...


NAILBOMB

...with a specific upper mid cut in its voice...
That's the most accurate part of your first paragraph :)

a « scooped » pickup :roll: ... with an overall « smooth tone »
I can only assume that whoever wrote this confuse it with the Cold Sweat.  It is absolutely NOT scooped - if anything it's the exact opposite of scooped.

muddy
um, no.  Absolutely no way.

So is there agressive mids in the NB ?
Yes, I think so.

I also read somewhere that « the PK would be a DARKER and tighter alternativ to the NB » and I do not understand that
Me neither.  Big difference in power, voice, dynamics, eq.


I think that one mistake many people make is choosing a pickup to "offset" (or work against) certain qualities in a guitar, where often the best thing to do would be to accentuate those qualities as these are what make that guitar special (i.e. bright pickup in bright guitar as opposed to bright pickup in dark guitar).  I think I made that mistake with the Nailbomb - having tried it in 2 Les Pauls & a PRS, it wasn't until I put it in my alder strat that I really heard it at its best.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 12:51:22 PM by Antag »
BKPs: HD, MM, NB, PK, CS, Ab (b&n); Am (b only); VHII, Tril (n only); IT, Slow, Sult (m&n)

Dr. Vic

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2009, 02:39:40 PM »
I know it has a lot do with words : thanks for having make me learn a new one : Djent !!  8)

Your clips of the PK are more fat than the MDV « holy tyranny » sound, but still too much dry sounding for my personal tastes. For instance I have to tell « Rust in Peace » is my favorite metal album, but for it's songs and style, and not for it's sound, that I find too sharp and thin (dry), not enough fat (thick), ballsy....

The kind of sounds I want to nail will be something in between Dream theater (going under), megadeth (youthanasia and TSHF album), or Linkin Park (meteora album) or even Ozzy osbourne in the Zakk area (M. Tinkertrain, Perry mason). Something in between all theses kind of flavors (but not beyond tech-death metal) Just Thick + aggressive. I never use detunings and I play a 6 strings. 

I think the PK is associated to old school metal because you can easily nail those « rust in Peace » « countdown to extinction »,  « reign in blood », « Kill'em all » vibe, Does that make sense ?

Antag, in your review "Painkiller first impression" mention " Tonally it's totally different to the MM, more mids & treble, less bass"  I really tought the MM would have more chunk and be more generous and fat sounding in the bass than the PK but I should be wrong, I need to listen back to some MM clips... :headphones4:

You guys seems to agree to say the NB has aggressive mids but that's still a mystery to me : I do not find them.  :boulet:
As Dheim said I might have expect them to be more raw, less refined. I am also positive the Man had take the time to choose the most appropriate words to describe the BKP range, that's why I'll be glad if someone can make me learn more about what MDV called with accuracy the « what-the-pickup-really-sounds-like story »...

MDV

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2009, 02:43:28 PM »
The kind of sounds I want to nail will be something in between Dream theater (going under), megadeth (youthanasia and TSHF album), or Linkin Park (meteora album) or even Ozzy osbourne in the Zakk area (M. Tinkertrain, Perry mason). Something in between all theses kind of flavors (but not beyond tech-death metal) Just Thick + aggressive. I never use detunings and I play a 6 strings. 

Then miracle man or even holy diver.

Antag

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2009, 02:58:57 PM »
The kind of sounds I want to nail will be something in between Dream theater (going under), megadeth (youthanasia and TSHF album), or Linkin Park (meteora album) or even Ozzy osbourne in the Zakk area (M. Tinkertrain, Perry mason). Something in between all theses kind of flavors (but not beyond tech-death metal) Just Thick + aggressive. I never use detunings and I play a 6 strings. 

Then miracle man or even holy diver.
I was thinking "Holy Diver or possibly Miracle Man" :lol:
BKPs: HD, MM, NB, PK, CS, Ab (b&n); Am (b only); VHII, Tril (n only); IT, Slow, Sult (m&n)

Dr. Vic

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2009, 03:30:58 PM »
Why guys a MM over a PK if you agree to say they have about the same bass and thickness ?
I fear the lack of versality of the MM which is reviewed as the least versatile in the BKP range and the most "only metal". (I want a bridge humbucker that has to be useable with cleans.) My guitar has to stay versatile + I fear the MM to be too compressed

And why a HD over a NB if it is said here the NB can nail "modern mustaine sound". Can anyone say which current Megadeth song is close to the NB ?

The pickup I am going to replace will be a TB4 JB which lacks tightness / aggressivity for some metal (but which is still OK for cleans rythm works, especially when splitted). I want something really better for metal and the HD is the one closest to the JB in the BKP range, I think the HD won't be "enough" evil  :twisted:

Quite funny to look at some PK or NB and be pointed at a MM or HD  :lol:

fatbagg

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2009, 03:36:54 PM »
I play all instrumental music in a band, and dop all lead guitar and heavier rythm work (for themost part).  The painkiller will let your rig and your guitar sound its best.  Non coloring, and EXTREMELY tight and focused, but still has GREAT low end...Lots (and lots) of midrange push and open vocal quality, but doesnt sound honky, just Extremely harmonic and clean, and an amazingly clear top end, great treble but is not too bright...I am VERy against bright pickups, and generally go through about 10 per guitar to find the right one, and my treble on my amp is ALWAYS under half...The painkiller is not bright in my rig, it makes me sound like me...It also has the best articulation and characteristic response for your right hand.  Whether Im playing dream theater or Joe satriani, it sounds AMAZING DUDE!!!

Antag

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Re: PK and NB enigmas
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2009, 04:01:08 PM »
The pickup I am going to replace will be a TB4 JB which lacks tightness / aggressivity for some metal (but which is still OK for cleans rythm works, especially when splitted). I want something really better for metal and the HD is the one closest to the JB in the BKP range, I think the HD won't be "enough" evil  :twisted:
I made that change & really liked it :D (my RR1T became my #1 guitar as a result)

Is this evil enough?  How about this? or this? or this? :twisted:

IMHO it's absolutely wonderful clean, really versatile

The one thing I'd avoid is de-tuning - it does it OK down to around drop-C# but I think the PK, WP, NB (or CWP though I don't have one) are better at going really low.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 04:09:08 PM by Antag »
BKPs: HD, MM, NB, PK, CS, Ab (b&n); Am (b only); VHII, Tril (n only); IT, Slow, Sult (m&n)