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Author Topic: Miracle Man set Review  (Read 4493 times)

V-volant

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Miracle Man set Review
« on: March 03, 2015, 01:02:25 AM »
Hello fellow BKPers, as per Kiichi's request, here is a review of the MM set. I'm new to the forum but I've been using BKPs for a bit more than three years and have stalked the forums since so I feel it's time for me to contribute. As a newcomer, I have just found out about losing your ¾ finished post while writing it due to inactivity, d’oh! I hope this second review is as good as my first draft.

A few brief notes on the guitar and the rig. This MM set is found in a Jackson KV2T (neck through all mahogany+ebony 24 3/4 scale). The sound of the guitar is neither bright nor dark, but it definitely veers slightly towards the darker side of things, as it lacks many sparkling and more abrasive qualities found in the overtones and the attack of brighter guitars. The sound is nice and woody, not being particularly thick sounding like many thick necked LP shaped guitars, but offers plenty of bass which is perfect for metal. For the most part, the guitar is run at large living room decibel levels into a Peavey Bravo 112 running into a WGS loaded Invader/HM75 Voltage 212 slanted cabinet. No pedals necessary. Also, the guitar is played in E std. and Drop D, with the very rare D std. thrown in there. Unless played clean, I rarely use the middle position. I’ll do my best to keep this review sensical through a borrowed forum language and non-rambling sentences.



Why I got the set: undeniably metal flavoured, non-ultra contemporary pickup. Not all of the frequencies come at you at once like with many high output maple necked guitars but the pickup is well voiced for older thrash and death metal. Think the style of music that came from the 'post-1980s Lee Jackson/Marshall let's turn lots to 11' acolytes of metal. Two sounds that really exemplify this approach to metal are early Children of Bodom and Stone. The sound is obviously tight, thunderous, and single notes have a very pleasing quality to them when played fast – almost a soothing quality to the single notes. I think what makes the MM particularly adept at capturing that 80s+ overdriven/metal sound is it's EQ: it has plenty of juicy bass, mids that can be controlled well through an amp, and a nice bite to it. :evil: The sound of the MM is compressed for BKPs, but not in the modern pickup sense of some other manufacturers. Sometimes I think that the sound of the guitar could be opened up a little bit more and less dark, but I play a lot of Stone/Opeth/Megadeth/sweep picking on that guitar and those thoughts quickly go away once I start playing.

Miracle Man bridge: When it comes to the bridge MM, I imagine many are wondering 'what does it sound like for palm mutes and riffs?' and 'what does it sound like for solos?' To begin, the attack of the pickup is neither ultra-throaty like that of the nailbomb, but offers enough accelerated attack and cut in order to excel at the style of music that came out of the ‘let's turn lots to 11' metal wave. The bass response of the MM is one of my favorite things. While in my experience the Aftermath and Abomb offer a decidedly faster decay to the bass, the Miracle man gives you a nice bass roll off following a great juicy burst of oomph. What the hearty bass of the MM allows you to do is carve it easily to your liking through controlled picking hand techniques. This enables incredibly percussive, distorted and growling guitar – yet not flavoured in the contemporary ‘hit you all at once’ way. When using palm mutes, the big controllable bass of the pickup starts to make you grin. Guaranteed. Although I don’t have too much to say about the mids of the pickup here is what I can say. Mids to me are a quality of how ‘focused and in your face’ the sound is. What I find particularly awesome about the MM bridge is that due to it’s voicing, you can play around with the mids a lot back and forth on the dial, instead of hitting a kind of ‘ouch that’s too much’ wall. This is part of the ‘turn lots of stuff up to 11’ approach that I previously mentioned. By soaking up the mids of the amp the pickup is able to get a menacing low-mid growl that rarely sounds harsh as you turn up the mids. Lastly, the Miracle man bridge amuses me in the way the high end can be either ‘quite passable but not distinguished’ on clean, that is, not too biting with a certain lack of pretty overtones, but incredibly thrilling with gain! This pickup will sing because of the combined high end quality and bass roll off. Although I know that the high end of the guitar delivers such sounds, I have a harder time describing what that high end is. If I had to say a few words about the high end it would be this: few overtones, more than enough bite to cut through the rock band setting, quick note separation, sings when run in single notes, dark-ish subtle sizzle after the attack (the pickup is NOT overly dark though, only the roar/sizzle). Overall, the bridge Miracle Man is made for older metal, but won't stop you from playing clean passages for songs or for practice. The bridge is voiced for big and long sounding bass, controllable mids which turn into thunderous growl, and while not offering a load of high end, it delivers enough cut for the percussive rock/metal band sound. Lastly, single notes can get very focused and tight, but in an almost soothing way, and riffs will start to sound menacing and growly once  your picking technique and amp mids encourage this metal pickup to thrive.

Miracle man neck: In my experience, the neck MM is able to excel at the 'flamethrower' type of single note picking, seriously, but it's not all it can do. I particularly like the middle position and the neck position of the guitar for cleans into an amp that has plenty of bite and sparkle to it. Although not an open voiced bright low wind pickup, you can get convincing neck/middle cleans with the right amp (cut the bass, add in sparkle and chime). Despite not having the wonderful 3 dimensional, airy and pretty quality found in many lower wind pickups, one need not be worried that cleans won’t sound good, a sentiment which I think is shared among forum reviewers. It won’t be very pretty, but with very low gain it can sound relatively uncompressed and clean (i.e. good!). What I particularly like about the neck pickup is it’s ability to deliver mean yet soothing sounding single note runs, while not needing the help of an OD/boost pedal to keep it very tight and focused. Since the pickup is wound very hot by BKP neck standards, this has the effect of reducing a lot of the open big bass flutey-vowal like quality that so many vintage neck pickups have, but the MM neck does retain some of that in order to deliver wonderful fluid neck shred sounds. The bass is not huge, and the pickup is voiced to it’s bridge counterpart, but the combination of less bass+focus+neck pickup characteristics and very appealing to me as a distortion player. Although voiced to the bridge, one difference I find between the two pickups is that the bass rolls off faster for the neck than the bridge. This quick decay to the note really helps the pickup sound focused and tight when delivering what some would call note spam. To give an idea, some of my favourite things to play on the neck position are things like Mr. Crowley's (3:54+) solo, Ashes in Your Mouth (3:25-4:06) solo, and various 3 or 4 note ascending/descending runs.

Hope this helps!
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T

ericsabbath

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 02:09:14 AM »
that's a really great review, brother

and matches pretty much everything I can remember from my MM times, although I had the set in a les paul copy

welcome to the forum  :grin:
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Kiichi

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 05:18:47 PM »
Lovely review, thank you so much. Your description of the bridges midrange was especially great. Also I have never wanted to the neck that much, but now I am fully intrigued.

This goes straight to the sticky. First MM neck review on there! Again, thank you!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 07:31:10 PM by Kiichi »
BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

fdesalvo

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 07:01:21 PM »
Thanks for your time, V!

V-volant

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 08:44:11 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome folks. I'm glad to hear that there is now a MM neck review out there. It's strange that a lot of pickups seem to be forgotten. When I got the set, I was initially pulled by the bridge (as most are), and I figured why overthink other potential matching neck pickups like the MQ, Emerald, or Cold Sweat when you have one ready for you - so I got the set. I'll get some pictures if I can find my camera.. The set is black battleworn with black bolts, and the guitar is very dark green with a nice worn look to it on the hardware and pointy ends, I think Flying V fanatics would approve!
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T

Alex

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 08:45:22 PM »
I like most parts of your review (though I only know the bridge unit), but I can't agree with the description of the treble end. I find the MM has a lot of treble and is quite cutting there; it has more highs than an EMG81 (which has mostly upper mids). I also found the MM to have a lot of overtones and harmonics on the top end.
Maybe these things are guitar specific. The rest of the review I agree with (mids, low end).

I would add that this pickups starts to sound bigger and powerful when you raise the volume on a tube amp, especially once it gets the valves really cooking. It really starts to push air.
Current BKPs: Miracle Man, Nailbomb, Juggernaut, VHII
Past BKPS: Holy Diver, Trilogy Suite, Sinner, Black Dog

V-volant

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 08:58:46 PM »
That's interesting on the high end. My thoughts about it are probably derived from my extreme dislike of most high end on amps. I usually de-dime the treble right away on any amp I play, and then slowly turn it up to flavour. If alone, it will be around 1-2 on the dial, and in a group setting more around 4 to be properly heard over the other noises. Makes me think I have tinnitus if I dislike high end so much to the point of pain.  :shocked: Sadly, the last time I played EMG81s was around 4 years ago, so I have no real comparison to it. However, you are right when it comes to my guitar. It does tend to soak up frequencies well as opposed to offer a 'don't go past X on the dial' threshold like with my strat. In my experience, this is very much like a Marshall style amp vs a Boogie style, one soaks up and the other is more finicky and needs sweet spots.

Cheers!
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T

Telerocker

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 12:02:03 AM »
Great review, thx!
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

V-volant

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 02:22:45 AM »
I hope no one minds a bit of necromancy, here are the promised pictures.  :grin:
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T

V-volant

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 02:24:09 AM »
More.
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T

V-volant

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Re: Miracle Man set Review
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2015, 02:24:53 AM »
Last one, since I can't seem to upload more than 1 at a time.
Bareknuckles: VHII(b)/IT(n) Fender Stratocaster, Holydiver(b) ESP Edwards E-AL-120, MM set Jackson KV2T