EMG X series

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BassKitty101, Jan 26, 2013.


  1. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    So recently I decided to go the way of EMG after skimming over some reviews and was absolutely disappointed when I purchased the EMG P active pick up. Even with a BTC control I just couldn't tame that pick up or get any warmth out of it at all. I could however see it being useful if I played heavier music or music where you really need to be at the front of a mix in a upper mid sort of way.

    Anyways, after that purchase I was hesitant to buy anymore EMG stuff especially after seeing that I couldn't find any solid reviews of the new X series or Alinco pickups.

    I ended up just taking a risk and getting it anyway and I must say I was impressed.

    I bought the EMG PAX pickup with a BTC control and it sounded SOOOOO much better than the old P to me.

    The X-series really makes a difference with the tone and brings back down from a "I'M GOING TO RIP OFF YOUR FACE AND MURDER EVERYTHING YOU LOVE" to a "I'm going to cut through the mix in a nice way!"

    The PAX not only has that new x series pre-amp but it also has alinco magnets!

    Now be warned, when EMG says "vintage" in the PAX description it honestly doesn't mean vintage. I wouldn't buy this if you like very fat or extremely round sounds as it just isn't built for that.

    It does give a nice variety of sounds that the previous P just couldn't though IMO. I use it for quite a few different styles of music and honestly it's a very versatile pickup where I couldn't find that with the old versions.

    It also sounds great across the entire spectrum of the bass, no SUPER LOWS just to have brittle highs that wouldn't cut through the mix no matter how high you cranked your mids.

    Overall, a great pick up in my opinion and it really broke that stereotype of sterile electronics that EMG seems to have.
     
  2. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    I also purchased an EMG JAX pickup as well and it's pretty much similar to the above. Definitely sounds like a J and not a P but similar characteristics.

    Notable differences:
    The PAX seems to naturally bite a little more than the JAX.
    The JAX also responds differently in terms of the spectrum of frequencies.
    For example, if you boost the lows of your amp a ton and crank the gain the JAX will clip when you reach up near the 12th fret on the E string while the PAX responds rather differently by clipping when you are open on the E string.

    Keep in mind that this clipping only occurs if you boost the lows and gain unreasonably.

    Also the JAX seems to have a tad more weight to it's higher register than the PAX but the PAX seems to be a tad more even across the strings.

    And without it even needing to be said both pickups have close to no noise whatsoever. I can turn my ABM 500 to 10 on the master volume with overdrive and the tube pre engaged and still have ridiculously quiet feedback. It's honestly strange.

    Overall both pickups are great IMO and if you were waiting for a decent review to see if the new X series is any different than the old ones I would say this is what you are looking for.
    Disclaimer: I do use the ALINCO X series. Not the regular x series so take it with a grain of salt I suppose.
     
  3. crguti

    crguti

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    Copenhagen, Denmark.
    nice review. thanks for sharing.
     
  4. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    No problem, figure I'd help out somewhat as I had a lot of trouble finding anything on this product!
     
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  6. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

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    I recently installed the JAX in my custom Supersonic. I have it strung w/GHS flats and although it's a 24 fret modern design, I wanted both a modern and a warmer "old school" tone. If I'm correct this is how they are marketed. I have a few active basses, and a couple w/EMG soap-bars/preamps. I got what I will assume was the standard JAX (not ALINCO X) and their V/V T 9v preamp. To start with, the output is much less than my other active basses, and even less than my passive basses. If I am usually at 9:00 on the amp V-knob, I have to be at at least 12:00 or more to get a similar output/volume. It sounds ok/good, but is this normal? The other EMG's I have are much higher output, and my flat-wound clad J w/Audere-powered Lindy Fraylin split-poles is massive in volume and tone. I did everything by the book for the install, and everything works fine but it's just that the output seems low. Batteries (fresh) were changed out w/no change.

    As far as otherwise, I agree that these pu's don't wield the big-fatness of my J set-up, but are defined and have a nice presence none the less. I have yet to push them through a big amp in a live situation but played it at a jam last night through a 2/12" (Mesa Boogie) cab. I started to get an impression of what it sounds like, but didn't want to raise my amp (SWR 400s) gain and risk blowing a speaker.

    You seem to have a handle on these pu's and will appreciate any insights.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie Supporting Member

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    This made me laugh out loud. JimmyM thinks the X series are just brighter pickups than the standard series. He also thinks he can get a flat sound out of his Ampeg though. *hides behind a wall*

    But you may have enjoyed a PA just as much as the PAX. The PA will sound more "organic" than a P, the PX will have more headroom than the P. So you can see your sound as having more headroom and being more "organic" from getting a PAX.

    On my 6 string bass I really enjoyed the 45TWX over the TW's however I'm really digging the ND3's I got from SGD Lutherie.

    My Aerodyne Jazz is still rockin the PJX set I got and I love how those pickups sound.
     
  8. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie Supporting Member

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    Keep in mind that EMG's will lose bottom end and volume if they are not very close to the strings. This might be what's going on possibly.

    See the EMG documentation for string height settings.
     
  9. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks tylerwylie but that's not it. They're both at 1/8" which is ideal. Maybe it's normal as tonally they are very transparent yet colourful - I dig the way they/the bass sounds overall. Just wonder about the output discrepancy.
     
  10. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    What I personally like doing with these to get a powerful sound and get some of the lows you feel aren't quite there is I bought an EMG BTC control and I turn up the dial all the way for the bass knob.

    Now while that usually would just be gross for the tone what I do is then turn down the bass via amp controls (My amp has a 7 band equalizer) So I'll turn the 60hz WAYYYY down but it still warms up the bottom end and gives it some power without making it super muddy and throwing off the mix with lows.

    Just my personal take on it!
     
  11. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    Ah I wasn't sure, After using the regular P pickup by itself I didn't want to take a risk so I got the thing that was the farthest away from it in their line up (which in my opinion was adding the X series and the alinco magnets.)

    Although like you said it might just just be the transition from J to JA that I liked more than the X series transition.

    Part of the problem were there was just no reviews of these products that I could find! Part of why I made this haha!
     
  12. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    Also, I have noticed that these are a tad quieter.
    Compared to my PAX pickups I have to turn these up slightly but nothing too drastic. If it isn't pick up height for you that could be causing the problem (And you can get these pretty darn high) then the only solution I can think of is just turning up your gain which won't hurt the amp (just played through one of those recently too!) or possibly getting a btc control and doing the boost/ reduce thing I mentioned.

    Overall though these did take a while for me to really get used to sound wise so don't be afraid to mess around with em!
    My favorite aspect of these is that they have so little noise I can EQ them to get a bunch of different sounds that I really don't have to worry about increasing the noise! :hyper:
     
  13. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

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    Much thanks for your input - I will explore options and enjoy playing it while I do! I felt more concerned about the 2X12" cab turning up the gain. The amp is mine but the cab belongs to someone else.
    .
     
  14. BassKitty101

    BassKitty101

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    You shouldn't have to worry about turning up the gain at all!
    As long as you keep your master volume somewhat down accordingly more gain won't hurt, just means a louder signal coming in.

    Adjusting the gain to where it is about as loud as your other bass will certainly not harm the cab :D
     
  15. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

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    thanks BK- I'll try that. I also have an MXR micro amp which boosts the signal nicely. All & all, I really like the EMG-X J/J system on this bass and love the clarity and tone (and operational quietness) it delivers. The more I play it the more the volume difference is quickly becoming a non-issue!
     

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