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Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

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  • Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

    Some while ago, I posted about receiving a new EMG 85 which didn't sound like my old (not that old, probably from 2010-2015) 85. I tried recording it DI, and the waveform was vastly different. Much more headroom to the preamp. I gave that pickup away to a friend because it did work, but I was left under the impression that I might've gotten a mislabeled 85X.

    Anyway, a couple days ago, I received a new 57/66 set I ordered direct from EMG. I was under the impression this 57/66 set used the same preamp as the standard non-X series line of EMG's. Well, I tried recording them, and lo and behold! The headroom was massively greater than my 81's, 85, and 60 that I have (all of which record at the same level). The max level was the exact same for the 57 and 66, so if it's a defect, it's in both of them. The 57 is also a much louder pickup than the 81, which I was expecting since that's what everybody seems to comment. But the headroom was massively broader.

    I'm not complaining. They sound nice. They definitely sound more dynamic and responsive than my 2010-2017 EMG's with a broader EQ range while still sounding hot and focused like EMG's. But I wonder if they're doing anything new to the preamp. Or maybe I've been mistaken this whole time and the 57/66 actually use the X series preamp.

    So what is up? Anyone know?
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 07-09-2020, 03:26 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

    If I recall correctly, the preamp is specific to the 57/66/JH line of pickups. As you noted, they are hotter in actual output, but there are also internal tweaks and construction differences that make them respond and behave differently than the older EMG designs (81, 85, etc).

    I remember your discussion of the 85 you had and I still think it's possible something wasn't quite right with that pickup.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

      I donít know but if itís true Iíd give them a shot.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

        I sent an wrote EMG to see what they had to say about it. But the evidence seems to point towards what you're saying, Masta. I remember owning the Hets some time ago and thinking they had the same preamp as the standard series, but maybe I was wrong.

        Either way, these EMG's do sound very nice. Out of the ones I've tried, they are definitely the most dynamic and passive-like, even compared to what I remember the 81X/60X being like. I thought the whole "yeah, these are new and improved" was marketing BS, but while they do still sound like EMG's with the dramatic low-end rolloff and high-mid focus, they definitely have a different feel from the 81/85 I'm used to.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

          That sounds like the X preamp, but who knows?

          Back when I used EMGs I preferred the guitar pickups on 9V but the bass pickups on 18V. I like the bit of compression you get on 9V. The bass pickups also sound better with 100K pots. The old preamp has a higher output impedance.


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

            Another thing is the op amp they used, the LM4250 has been discontinued. Maybe they changed op amps?

            Itís the same op amp MusicMan used in their preamps. Itís a low power chip, and you can adjust the slew rates. On lower slew rates it used less power but rounds over the waveform a bit which gives a softer tone.


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

              Interesting! When was this op amp discontinued? Recently?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                Originally posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
                Interesting! When was this op amp discontinued? Recently?
                https://www.digikey.de/product-detai...-NOPB-ND/18943
                Last date to order: Aug 7, 2018
                maybe emg stocked some of them.

                you might be on to something

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                  Interesting! I ordered that weird 85 in question well after that date. And all of the rest of my EMG's are dated 2017, the latest.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                    haha,

                    wait a while and the old EMGs get now a collectors item����
                    true vintage��

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                      Alright, so EMG replied. For anyone that's interested:

                      Our non X preamps haven’t changed in design, the 57/66 set have a preamp that is very similar to the X-series preamp to try to get a more of a mix in headroom between an active and a passive pickup.
                      Masta' C was 100% right.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                        Actually...

                        I found out from Rob (EMGís founder/owner) that they did indeed change, and thatís why the current draw went up from the 80 microamps and 3000 hours of battery to 400 microamps and 600 hours of battery life.

                        I have not listened to them, I donít have any insight into whether the headroom or tone has changed, whether itís ďnew and improvedĒ, Iím just confirming there is indeed a change.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                          Originally posted by frankfalbo View Post
                          Actually...

                          I found out from Rob (EMGís founder/owner) that they did indeed change, and thatís why the current draw went up from the 80 microamps and 3000 hours of battery to 400 microamps and 600 hours of battery life.

                          I have not listened to them, I donít have any insight into whether the headroom or tone has changed, whether itís ďnew and improvedĒ, Iím just confirming there is indeed a change.
                          They probably changed op amps. Which I what I suspected. So itís got a higher slew rate, which would make it sound cleaner and brighter.


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                            Originally posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
                            Some while ago, I posted about receiving a new EMG 85 which didn't sound like my old (not that old, probably from 2010-2015) 85. I tried recording it DI, and the waveform was vastly different. Much more headroom to the preamp. I gave that pickup away to a friend because it did work, but I was left under the impression that I might've gotten a mislabeled 85X.

                            Anyway, a couple days ago, I received a new 57/66 set I ordered direct from EMG. I was under the impression this 57/66 set used the same preamp as the standard non-X series line of EMG's. Well, I tried recording them, and lo and behold! The headroom was massively greater than my 81's, 85, and 60 that I have (all of which record at the same level). The max level was the exact same for the 57 and 66, so if it's a defect, it's in both of them. The 57 is also a much louder pickup than the 81, which I was expecting since that's what everybody seems to comment. But the headroom was massively broader.

                            I'm not complaining. They sound nice. They definitely sound more dynamic and responsive than my 2010-2017 EMG's with a broader EQ range while still sounding hot and focused like EMG's. But I wonder if they're doing anything new to the preamp. Or maybe I've been mistaken this whole time and the 57/66 actually use the X series preamp.

                            So what is up? Anyone know?






                            I bought an EMG-81 back in 1999 for an 87' MIJ Charvel at the old Mars Music [the first EMG i ever had] and it just slays/kills, everything you want in a heavy rock pup, however i bought a Zakk LP EMG 81/85 set last fall and they wern't even on the same planet tone wise. Got rid of them. EMG clearly isn't making the same stuff.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Did EMG change their preamp design recently?

                              Originally posted by frankfalbo View Post
                              Actually...

                              I found out from Rob (EMG’s founder/owner) that they did indeed change, and that’s why the current draw went up from the 80 microamps and 3000 hours of battery to 400 microamps and 600 hours of battery life.

                              I have not listened to them, I don’t have any insight into whether the headroom or tone has changed, whether it’s “new and improved”, I’m just confirming there is indeed a change.
                              Interesting! Do you happen to know when the change was? I assume it was somewhere between 2018 and 2019.

                              Comment

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