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Author Topic: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?  (Read 7706 times)

08sg

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BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« on: July 13, 2013, 04:33:41 AM »
Hey guys. This is a mix of request and rant. I'm astounded that more manufacturers don't publish this stuff. There's nothing necessary to keep things like output in mV a secret - it's not part of the "magic recipe".

I've noticed the following on the BKP site....

RIFF RAFF HUMBUCKER
Output: Vintage Hot ("Vintage Hot" to me is a suggestion, that spans too many pickups, and is too ambiguous)
Bridge DC: 12.7KΩ *
Magnet: Alnico V

EMERALD HUMBUCKER
Output: Vintage Hot (same here)
Bridge DC: 12.7KΩ *
Magnet: Alnico V

BLACK DOG HUMBUCKER
Output: Vintage Hot (same here)
Bridge DC: 9.4KΩ *
Magnet: Alnico V

What's the ACTUAL output of these pickups mV?

Similarly, the Gibson Angus Young (Alnico 5) is rated at 13.5 KΩ - and from this we can assume it's a "hot" pickup. Although it's not ceramic, it has a very similar DC resistance to a DiMarzio SD. But still, Gibson doesn't tell you what the output is in millivolts. Why?

DiMarzio Super Distortion:
Output mV: 425
DC Resistance: 13.68 Kohm

DiMarzio Super 3 DP152
Output mV: 435
DC Resistance: 25.00 Kohm

Between these 2 DiMarzio pickups, there's a drastic difference in DC resistance, and yet they're output is much closer.

The Gibson 57 Classic Plus is rated at 13.8 KΩ, but it's nowhere near as high output as the SD by ear. I've played my SG with a SD in the bridge, along side an SG equipped with a 57 Classic Plus, and their differences in output is drastically different. 
Why do they even bother to publish the DC resistance at all then, it's not an indicator of anything that matters to us.

I really wish BK and other pickup vendors would publish the actual output of their pickups in mV. For no other reason, it helps people get an idea of actual output, that they can compare to the known output of other pickups they might own. DC resistance doesn't tell you anything relevant.

I don't think pickup companies understand enough, this costs us money, and if you're not happy with a pickup, whether or not they have a return policy, it's a PITA to have to take a pickup out after an install, then ship it back to the company to go through the process all over again. Thanks for reading.

Dave Sloven

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2013, 05:07:19 AM »
The more information the better!
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ericsabbath

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 05:40:23 AM »
the 57 classic plus is no near close 13.8k
that wouldn't even be possible for its wire gauge, unless it had huge coils
the 498t is around that dc reading

I believe voltage measuring requires a fully controlled enviroment where you could apply EXACTLY the same vibration to a string at the exact same distance from each pickup and then get an average measurement of each one
that could be useful comparing to one BKP to another, but would be completely worthless for comparing with the dimarzios results
it's not like Larry Dimarzio is a sales genius and everybody else is stupid for not doing the same
it's just not a simple thing to do, or the players would do that by themselves

also, the lay customer doesn't understand that the output doesn't depend only on the pickup
the guitar woods, body size, shape and mass, neck construction, resonance, scale length, string height, string materials are all responsible for how hard the string vibration will hit the magnet field
and this is completely ignoring the picking strength

my 8.3k alnico 5 riff raff in a PRS sounded way louder and hotter than a 18k ceramic miracle man in similar shaped korean Cort guitar
a dimarzio-like chart would point me to believe there was something wrong with the miracle man
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 07:30:31 AM by Eric Hellstyle »
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dingleberry

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2013, 05:57:30 AM »
The duncan site lists the resonance peak for their pups but why not just use your ears, more useful than any jargon. 
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Slartibartfarst42

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2013, 07:07:53 AM »
I agree that output would be useful. OK, there's be differences with the DiMarzio results as BKP might use a different set up but that doesn't matter. As long as the results for BKP pups is consistent, that's fine by me as it would help me to make an informed comparison.
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08sg

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2013, 08:31:33 AM »
It just makes it harder for me to order X BKP. I've been on here before, and for the classic rock tone (basically AC/DC stuff) I've relied so far on a SD believe it or not. I really like the pickup, but find it can compress too easily, and yet I love that boosted midrange. It's such an organic sounding pickup, and I'm only considering something else because I want more snap and detail in the midrange, less compression, but with all that midrange, and a similar output.

That's the one thing I really love about the higher output of the SD, although I live in a single home, I can drive the amp at a much lower volume with the SD. I tried an SG 61' re-issue along side my SG with the SD in the bridge, and I found the 57 classic plus bridge in the 61 was spongy sounding in comparison. It didn't have enough balls for my taste. Softer attack, less of that midrange thing I love so much. So I'm at a stand still with what type of pickup to look at.

What I meant by companies publishing the output in mV, is that it would at least give you a sense of what to compare it's output too. I can now look at some of the other DiMarzio pickups on their site, read the description, and because I know what to expect from my SD, it gives me a good guideline.

For example, if you look at something like the DiMarzio Breed bridge pickup:
Magnet: Alnico 5
Output mV: 356
DC Resistance: 16.32 Kohm

If I was to compare this pickup to a BKP, based on the DC resistance, I'd have to assume the DiMarzio might be like the output of say the BKP Nailbomb at 15.7KΩ. Both of these pickups have a midrange spike that I'd probably love. But, is it a "dark" sounding pickup? The SD has a compressed feel to it if you use too much gain, but it's definitely not dark.

I want to avoid anything like the Seymour Duncan JB thing if at all possible. I've heard them a few times, and they just sound like that blistering 80's hair metal Ratt sound. Not my thing. It's got that CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK grating sound that I just don't like.

Kiichi

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2013, 11:54:00 AM »
Why do they even bother to publish the DC resistance at all then, it's not an indicator of anything that matters to us.
While I too would certainly like to see mV readings for BKPs as they certainly are helpful comparing output, you can not say that the DC resistance does not matter to us.
You just gotta understand what it is.
Where the DC reading comes into use is when comparing pickups wound with the same type of wire. There a higher DC tells you that the PU is hotter (more compression and more output).
So there is a use, but it is not the one most people assume.
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08sg

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2013, 03:05:20 PM »
Kiichi... I guess that's the dilemma then.. Once you start getting into higher output, especially with ceramic magnets, you get more compression.

Maybe it's this particular SD in my SG standard. My brother in law owns a 2003 Dean Time Capsule, it also has a SD in the bridge, and the SD in the Dean is considerably spankier, and more articulate than in my guitar. I could always sell my Gretsch to finance a Dean Z, but I really wish Gibson made a thicker, maple capped version of the SG, with the smaller tear drop pickguard.

Gibson did some weird pickup cavity routing on the SG standards that don't make sense to me. Take a look:
http://postimg.org/image/hu43mvbfd/

That route, interacts with the pick-guard believe it or not, and it makes this kind of hollow CLOCK sound. This doesn't happen on the SG 61' models, because there only enough wood removed for the pickups. I've found the 61's have a tighter spankier sound, but yet their neck joints aren't as solid as the standards.

I think Gibson should redesign this guitar, and glue the neck into the middle of the guitar, or even through like on the Firebirds. I just find that Dean has exceptional quality, and their neck joints are something to be admired. Fantastic consistency, and with Gibson, it seems these issues are overlooked, and their neck angles seem to be a suggestion rather than a consistent standard. Of course, all these things affect the tone, midrange response etc.

Philly Q

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2013, 03:51:39 PM »
I think Gibson should redesign this guitar, and glue the neck into the middle of the guitar, or even through like on the Firebirds. I just find that Dean has exceptional quality, and their neck joints are something to be admired. Fantastic consistency, and with Gibson, it seems these issues are overlooked, and their neck angles seem to be a suggestion rather than a consistent standard. Of course, all these things affect the tone, midrange response etc.

That is a good point.  I love SGs, but I've lost a bit of confidence in them due to concerns about the neck joint - never had a break as such, but I've had several MIJ SGs (built in the vintage Gibson style) which have had cracks in the paint around the neck joint.  I think the current SG Standard/Special neck joint is stronger, but not necessarily so good for tone.

They should also have 24 frets as standard, since there's room for those two extra frets already.

Sorry, off topic!
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ericsabbath

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2013, 05:02:47 PM »
you simply cannot compare pickups like that
every pickup purchase  is a leap of faith
it may work for you or not, no matter what the charts say
what we do here is sharing our personal experiences so you can have a vague idea of how it should sound, but based on OUR ears, hands and rig, and lot of us might report completely different impressions
I disagree with some of the official descriptions and charts, and that's as normal as you liking a super distortion for AC/DC
I'd never say the nailbomb has a midrange spike
I'd compare it to a duncan custom or something, but it's not as compressed
at least bkp clips are much more useful than dimarzios overproduced clips

I believe we told in the other clip you better be looking for an overdrive, clean booster or something if you really decide on getting a bkp and you're worried about output differences
even if it was possible giving you dimarzio standard milivolt measurements, that wouldn't mean anything in compression and tone
if you want a hot and middy ceramic pickup, there only two bkp options: aftermath and painkiller
both are pretty loud, but no near as compressed as a super distortion
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 05:05:30 PM by Eric Hellstyle »
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FELINEGUITARS

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2013, 07:24:46 PM »
Kiichi... I guess that's the dilemma then.. Once you start getting into higher output, especially with ceramic magnets, you get more compression.

Maybe it's this particular SD in my SG standard. My brother in law owns a 2003 Dean Time Capsule, it also has a SD in the bridge, and the SD in the Dean is considerably spankier, and more articulate than in my guitar. I could always sell my Gretsch to finance a Dean Z, but I really wish Gibson made a thicker, maple capped version of the SG, with the smaller tear drop pickguard.

Gibson did some weird pickup cavity routing on the SG standards that don't make sense to me. Take a look:
http://postimg.org/image/hu43mvbfd/

That route, interacts with the pick-guard believe it or not, and it makes this kind of hollow CLOCK sound. This doesn't happen on the SG 61' models, because there only enough wood removed for the pickups. I've found the 61's have a tighter spankier sound, but yet their neck joints aren't as solid as the standards.

I think Gibson should redesign this guitar, and glue the neck into the middle of the guitar, or even through like on the Firebirds. I just find that Dean has exceptional quality, and their neck joints are something to be admired. Fantastic consistency, and with Gibson, it seems these issues are overlooked, and their neck angles seem to be a suggestion rather than a consistent standard. Of course, all these things affect the tone, midrange response etc.

Before driving yourself crazy over pickups there are a number of things worth trying to get the best out of the SG - even with the same pickup it has in it.
I suspect thart the reason the Dean sounds better or spankier is because everything counts, - like the the wood, the hardware, the routing and the way it's put together
Little things may add 5% here or there but add a few of those things together and it adds up to a lot.

You might try the following (please disregard if already different to what I'm saying.)
Basically making sure you are getting the most acoustically from the guitar and then optimising the elecs

1) try having an Earvana shelf nut fitted - amazingly as well as making chords sounds so much more in tune - there is a big effect on the clarity of the chord sounds.
2) Fit an aluminium tailpiece in place of the zinc one fitted - will liven up the high end again
3) Try Tonepro locking bridge and definitely try the locking tailpiece studs in conjunction with the aluminium tailpiece suggested in  number 2
4) Try swapping the pots that are likely to be 300k ohm pots to some 500k or the BKP/CTS 550k pots, and have it wired in 50s wiring while you are at it - lots of extra punch to your tone.
5) finally - in for a penny /in for a pound - consider swapping the ceramic disc caps to something better - maybe the Jensen caps (it'll be tight but it can all fit in an SG

See what you think of the sound with the existing pickup after doing that and you may find it surpasses your friend's Dean.

One of the troubles with DC readings is that it doesn't tell the whole story
A mule might seem as loud as a Painkiller , even though wire type, magnet and DC readings will all differ.
The PK technically may have a greater millivolts but you may feel the Mule keeps pace sonically.
The frequency emphasis will be different and the perceived compression too.
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Kiichi

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2013, 07:58:50 PM »
As always great advice from Feline. Listen to that man!
Especially the pots are important if you have 300k in there. Super easy change (sides the lead free solder xD) and great effect!
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Alex

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 10:57:19 PM »
I feel that numbers "sell", from a marketing point of view, but descriptions are worth much more.
The BKP descriptions I found to be spot on, perfectly written. It seems a pity that lots of people don't read them and then ask questions on forums, that are kind of answered in the description; ironically, I did that myself in the past.
Other manufacturers descriptions I found less useful.
Milivolts aren't really that helpful. Both the AirZone and the ToneZone felt really hot and strong, much more than their mv rating suggested. I guess the midrange push is really what makes pickups drive preamps.
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08sg

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2013, 08:20:04 PM »
Feline, Eric is bang on as well. I did post something similar to this awhile back. I'm so hung up on the output issue, because I love the SD's midrange -but again, too compressed.

I really want to just cave and buy a Riff Raff, I think that's more what my ears WANT to hear. It has a better snap to it, and I just think this SG can't spank the same way the Dean can. What's frustrating to me, is that Gibson COULD make an SG that spanks in a very similar way. I agree, those little elements worth 5% contribute to the totality of how the instrument responds sonically. This Dean has so much natural midrange, it's like the pickup (SD) is married to the resonant frequencies that the guitar produces - and I don't know how they figured that out at Dean.

Part of the reason I'm so hooked on the super d, is that it drives the amp easily, and at times, I really like it, but again, it doesn't snap, or spank enough. I'm thinking maybe I need a brighter, snappier midrange pickup - like the Riff Raff?

Here might be a better question I can ask... of those of you who own the riff raff, does it output, behave, sound, feel etc, anything like a Gibson 57 Classic Plus? That's something I can go on, because I know what that pickup sounds like.

I shouldn't focus on output so much, it just seems that the higher output pickups have a meaner sounding, honky midrange - which I love. I don't want a pickup with a flat midrange response.

ericsabbath

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Re: BKP's output rating in MILLIVOLTS?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2013, 02:16:23 AM »
I can see what you mean with the "spank" effect
riff raff is not honky, but naturally "spanky"
but it's hard to say if it will be enough to make your guitar sound spanky by itself
string and pickup height can help a lot with that
having 500k+ pots is a must
if that alone doesn't solve the problem, the aluminum tailpiece certainly will
but if you want a truly spanky tone AND a high output tone, the painkiller is hard to beat
it's a big midrangy tone with lots of edge without going fizzy
remember you can send it back to bkp if you're not 100% satisfied
but this is ignoring any effect devices you could use
I'm 100% sure that you can get exactly what you're looking from the riff raff combined with the right pedal(s)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 02:18:20 AM by Eric Hellstyle »
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