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Product 582532

EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup GOLD 

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The EMG 81-X Active Humbucking Pickup provides increased headroom giving the voicing an organic and open tone while still maintaining the clarity and...Read More

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See All EMG Humbucker Pickups
      OVERVIEW

      Offers increased headroom with an organic and open tone while maintaining the clarity and response that EMG's are renowned for.

      The EMG 81-X Active Humbucking Pickup provides increased headroom giving the voicing an organic and open tone while still maintaining the clarity and response that EMG's are renowned for. Using powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils and powered by a newly designed preamp, the 81-X shines with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high-end cut and fluid sustain.

      Traditionally used in the bridge position, this active guitar pickup will make your leads slice right through even the densest mix like a hot knife. When used in both positions the sound can only be described as blistering. Other recommended pairings include the EMG 85-X and the versatile EMG 81-X/60-X combo. Give it a try and experience why the "X" factor is exciting players all around the world.

      The replacement pickup package Includes: EMG's exclusive solderless Quik-Connect system; split shaft volume/active tone control set, output jack, battery clip set, screws & springs.

      FEATURES
      • EMG's exclusive Solderless Quik-Connect system Includes:
      • Split shaft volume/active tone control set
      • Output jack
      • Battery clip set
      • Screws & springs

      Take your guitar tone over the top! Order today.

      SPECIFICATIONS

      81-X Active Humbucker Pickup

      • Logo Color: Silver
      • Magnet Type: Ceramic/Steel
      • Resonant Frequency (kHz): 1.72
      • Output Voltage (String): 4.00
      • Output Voltage (Strum): 8.50
      • Output Noise (60Hz): -105
      • Output Impedance (Kohm): 2.00
      • Current @9V (Microamps): 80
      • Battery Life (Hours): 3000
      • Maximum Supply (Volts DC): 27
      Reviews
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      Review Snapshot®

      by PowerReviews
      EMG81-X Active Humbucker Pickup
       
      4.5

      (based on 11 reviews)

      Ratings Distribution

      • 5 Stars

         

        (9)

      • 4 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 3 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 2 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 1 Stars

         

        (1)

      80%

      of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

      Pros

      • Good quality (4)
      • Improves sound (3)

      Cons

        Best Uses

            • Reviewer Profile:
            • Professional musician (3)

          Most Liked Positive Review

           

          no longer a 1 trick pony

          I have been using active pick ups for the past 10 years, started with the EMG 81 and then switched to the EMG 60 after hearing the tones on "Death Magnetic". My...Read complete review

          I have been using active pick ups for the past 10 years, started with the EMG 81 and then switched to the EMG 60 after hearing the tones on "Death Magnetic". My curiosity got the best of me when I heard people claiming the Blackouts sounded better so I got a used AHB-2 and I was hooked at first. That is until I got a Peavey 3120, a high gain head does not mix well with such a hot pickup as the AHB-2 and I missed having a useable clean sound as my frankenstrat only has one pickup. I was ready to go back to the 60 until i saw the 81-X. It is such a nice change of pace from the AHB-2, the 81-X still has plenty of output for metal and chugging but it has much more clarity and the low E string pinch harmonics are back!!! I thought my technique was bad as i could NOT get good pinch harmonics with the AHB-2. The 81-X also has a very good clean tone considering it is a high gain pickup, the only complaints I have with the 81-X is the noise due to interference from other electrical devices and it is a very tight fit compared to the EMG 60, but other than that I am very pleased with the new design from EMG, it is very versatile. Of course I am curious to hear how the AHB-1 but for now the 81-X will be in my guitar for quite a while.

          VS

          Most Liked Negative Review

           

          Very upset I bought this pickup

          I got this pick up because I custom ordered a les paul baritone model from Rondo music. I wanted to make sure the bottom end was thight and picked up the lower notes since...Read complete review

          I got this pick up because I custom ordered a les paul baritone model from Rondo music. I wanted to make sure the bottom end was thight and picked up the lower notes since I tune down around drop G or A standard. At first, I was ok with it. It was quieter than the stock pick ups (by that, i mean overall volume) but I figured it was the price to pay for lower tuning. I still had to use a noise gate and I'm the type that does not use a lot of distortion because I like it to be audible as well.

          I noticed my neck pick up, that was still stock, was the same amound of noise as my neck pick up when distortion was up. This went on for about 4 to 5 months because the other day, as I'm playing (And I only use this one for recording so it gets played about 2 hours a week, tops) I hear this 'pop' noise like I unpluged the amp without turning it off, and all of a sudden the buzzing is way louder than any pick up I've ever had before.

          It's in the shop right now as I type this, and after 48 hours they can't figure out what's going on so their tech guy is taking it. I'm without my guitar, easily, for the next two weeks because of this pick up.

          I never got a tone I liked with it anyway, and comparing it, it just has more high end treble than the original 81 by emg. Still no mids, no 'body' of tone. It sounds horrible. It's so 'hollow' sounding, like those cheap treble speakers in a sound system. I guess if that's "cutting through the mix" you can keep it.

          Wish I never bought them. I understand what people meant by active pickups having no character and terrible tone.

          I'll be giving a passive set a go after I get it back. Even rolling down the tone doesn't help it's lack of mids. It just instantly cuts the treble and it sounds like a bass pick up.

          Do yourself a favor and stay away. Hopefully giving Bareknuckles a go this time around.

          This emg 81x is an overpriced paper weight.

          Reviewed by 11 customers

          Sort by

          Displaying reviews 1-10

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          5.0

          Awesome pickup

          By JT

          from Northern VA

          About Me Novice

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Dynamic
          • Easy install
          • Good Quality
          • Improves Sound
          • Punchy

          Cons

          • Not Great Clean

          Best Uses

            Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

            Put this pickup into a cheap Yamaha Pacifica and it roars now. The 81-x has got all the punch of the original 81 but is more dynamic and less compressed. Still have to turn down the volume a little to get decent cleans. Install was relatively quick. Little harder if you've got a pickguard, but still went pretty fast. Overall great product by EMG.

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            outstanding pick up lots of high end cut

            By flying v 85

            from long island new york

            About Me Professional Musician

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Functional
            • Good Quality
            • I Love This Pick Up
            • Improves Sound
            • I Would Recomend A Friend

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Concerts
              • Practicing

              Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

              hi im frank.i bought an epiphone les paul custom from musiciansfriend.com.i had the stock humbucker alnico 57s.they souneded alright.but when i heard of the emg 81x pick ups.i bought them and had them installed on my guitar.wow!!what a outstanding sound.i never bought pick ups like theses.what a sound.it has a lot of high end cut and long sustain.i use a powerful distortion box boss.it has alot of crunch in the coils.the 60s pick up oustanding blues sound.alot of buttery harmonic sound.lots of low end cut.i would defently buy this pick again.it was worth the investment.

              Comment on this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              excellent sound!

              By Anders87

              from el paso ,tx

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Good Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Concerts

                Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                recommended.

                Comment on this review

                (1 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                1.0

                Very upset I bought this pickup

                By ART

                from Upstate New Yor k

                About Me Professional Musician

                Pros

                • Bright Tone

                Cons

                • Noisy
                • No Mid Presence
                • Not Functional
                • Poor Quality
                • Tone Is Horrible

                Best Uses

                • Paper Weight

                Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                I got this pick up because I custom ordered a les paul baritone model from Rondo music. I wanted to make sure the bottom end was thight and picked up the lower notes since I tune down around drop G or A standard. At first, I was ok with it. It was quieter than the stock pick ups (by that, i mean overall volume) but I figured it was the price to pay for lower tuning. I still had to use a noise gate and I'm the type that does not use a lot of distortion because I like it to be audible as well.

                I noticed my neck pick up, that was still stock, was the same amound of noise as my neck pick up when distortion was up. This went on for about 4 to 5 months because the other day, as I'm playing (And I only use this one for recording so it gets played about 2 hours a week, tops) I hear this 'pop' noise like I unpluged the amp without turning it off, and all of a sudden the buzzing is way louder than any pick up I've ever had before.

                It's in the shop right now as I type this, and after 48 hours they can't figure out what's going on so their tech guy is taking it. I'm without my guitar, easily, for the next two weeks because of this pick up.

                I never got a tone I liked with it anyway, and comparing it, it just has more high end treble than the original 81 by emg. Still no mids, no 'body' of tone. It sounds horrible. It's so 'hollow' sounding, like those cheap treble speakers in a sound system. I guess if that's "cutting through the mix" you can keep it.

                Wish I never bought them. I understand what people meant by active pickups having no character and terrible tone.

                I'll be giving a passive set a go after I get it back. Even rolling down the tone doesn't help it's lack of mids. It just instantly cuts the treble and it sounds like a bass pick up.

                Do yourself a favor and stay away. Hopefully giving Bareknuckles a go this time around.

                This emg 81x is an overpriced paper weight.

                Comment on this review

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                81 - X awesome Metal Pickup

                By Big Lar

                from Central PA

                About Me Professional Musician

                Pros

                • Easy install
                • Easy To Use
                • Good Quality
                • Improves Sound

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    Installed the 81X in my Hamer Californian along with a Floyd Rose Special and a Big Block and let me tell you the sound and sustain is awesome. Playing through a JSX head with custom 212 cabs loaded with Vintage 30 speakers. You will need some good speakers to handle the output of this pickup. Very nice distortion, sustain and very easy install.

                    Comment on this review

                    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    no longer a 1 trick pony

                    By Xntrick

                    from chicago

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    I have been using active pick ups for the past 10 years, started with the EMG 81 and then switched to the EMG 60 after hearing the tones on "Death Magnetic". My curiosity got the best of me when I heard people claiming the Blackouts sounded better so I got a used AHB-2 and I was hooked at first. That is until I got a Peavey 3120, a high gain head does not mix well with such a hot pickup as the AHB-2 and I missed having a useable clean sound as my frankenstrat only has one pickup. I was ready to go back to the 60 until i saw the 81-X. It is such a nice change of pace from the AHB-2, the 81-X still has plenty of output for metal and chugging but it has much more clarity and the low E string pinch harmonics are back!!! I thought my technique was bad as i could NOT get good pinch harmonics with the AHB-2. The 81-X also has a very good clean tone considering it is a high gain pickup, the only complaints I have with the 81-X is the noise due to interference from other electrical devices and it is a very tight fit compared to the EMG 60, but other than that I am very pleased with the new design from EMG, it is very versatile. Of course I am curious to hear how the AHB-1 but for now the 81-X will be in my guitar for quite a while.

                    Comment on this review

                    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    A nice alternative to Blackouts

                    By JR-GuS4w

                    from Undisclosed

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    I have guitars with the 81x/85x, the SD Blackouts AHB-2, and the original 81/85. Both the EMG X series and Blackouts have much improved cleans compared to the original EMGs. The X series still have much of the original EMG tone, but they are much quieter, have slightly less output, clearer top end, and a more open/less compressed sound. The Blackouts have much higher output than either series of EMG - a bit too hot I think, which compromises the cleans a bit and slightly masks the tone of the guitar. If you want something really over the top, so with the SD's, but of the three types, I prefer the new EMG X's.

                    Comment on this review

                    (1 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Not Great

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    This pickup just doesn't sound good. The Seymour Duncan Blackout is superior in every way possible. The regular 81 is also better. Don't be fooled. This is NOT a regular 81 with more dynamics. This is a completely different pickup than a regular EMG 81.For all considering the 81x => buy the Seymour Duncan Blackout instead.

                    Comment on this review

                    (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Finally!

                    By White Phosphorus

                    from Connecticut

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    Easy to install worked perfect.... finally a pickup i can install. Did not have to solder anything. I also own a guitar with 2 emg81s and a dean Z with 85/81 setupSound on the X: Much Briter.... good aggressive bite! I like it more since i play a heavy style the britness defines my notes and sound more.

                    Comment on this review

                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    81x,sa-x

                    By metal head 2009

                    from dothan, alabama

                    Comments about EMG 81-X Active Humbucker Pickup:

                    I recently purchased the 81x and two sa-x pickups for a guitar that I love the way it played but just did not have enough juice for my taste.The tranformation was unreal when I installed the X's, I have a set of pasive HZ's on my baritone that I've always been happy with but I was blown away by the active setup on my other guitar,everything they claim to do,they do,the tone is very even,your lows don't over power your high's or visaversa the SA's are almost acoustic sounding,very clean,very nice and super quite, when you kick on the distortion well all I can say is I was NOT!!! disappointed the 81x is all you would expect just a little more fine tuned then a regular 81.I would recomend them to anyone.

                    Comment on this review

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