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mV output values vs DiMarzio

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  • mV output values vs DiMarzio

    I saw the output test sheet and understand it is a sticky topic but it made me think of the DiMarzio pickups that are rated with mV ratings and their highest output pickup the X2N is rated at 510 mV and the jazz neck is rated at 501mV do you guys really think that these output values are correct? I mean are SD's vintage output pickups really the same level of output as the highest DiMarzio's? I've used several DiMarzio's and know the super distortion (which is rated at 425mV is louder than the jazz neck which is rated at 501mV. Do you think there is a difference in the way they measure mV output? What are your opinions on this?
    It's funny how some stories became historic,
    especially when the authors clearly wrote them to be metaphoric,
    But people will believe anything when it's written in stone or ancient scroll...-Fat Mike

  • #2
    I think the difference is in the Testing Methodology.

    DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan used two different methods as inputs. Inputs meaning, the equipment simulating strumming the strings over the pickups or whatever was done.

    If the input was consistent for all DiMarzio pickups, then the output values are accurate and meaningful relative to all DiMarzio pickups. If the input was consistent for all Seymour Duncan pickups, then the output values are accurate and meaningful relative to all Seymour Duncan pickups.

    However if the inputs were different between DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan, comparing DiMarzio output values to Seymour Duncan output values is an "Apples to Oranges" comparison.

    If all the DiMarzio pickups were also tested using the Seymour Duncan equipment, those output values could be compared to the Seymour Duncan output values. The same goes if all Seymour Duncan pickups were also tested using the DiMarzio equipment.
    I miss the '80s (girls) !!!

    Seymour Duncans currently in use - In Les Pauls: Custom(b)/Jazz(n), Distortion(b)/Jazz(n), '59(b)/'59(n) w/A4 mag, P-Rails(b)/P-Rails(n); In a Bullet S-3: P-Rails(b)/stock/Vintage Stack Tele(n); In a Dot: Seth Lover(b)/Seth Lover(n); In a Del Mar: Mag Mic; In a Lead II: Custom Shop Fender X-1(b)

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    • #3
      Yeah, you can't compare across brands, because the test wasn't performed the same way. Every pickup in the Duncan list was performed with everything being as close as consistent as possible. Who knows how other companies do the same test. So it is good to compare the Jazz and Alnico II Pro, but not the Jazz and Super 2.
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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      • #4
        Don’t forget that frequencies affect perceived volume, for example if you take a guitar rig, turn the mids right down on the amp, then turn the bass and treble up to give you the same actual output, a person would perceive the sound as being quieter (I believe that’s how it works).

        https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/fletcher-munson-curve/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mikelamury View Post
          Do you think there is a difference in the way they measure mV output?
          Yes, they are not measured the same between companies, so you should only compare relative outputs of Duncans to Duncans, DiMarzios to DiMarzios, etc. Even then, a pickup rated at 380mV may seem "hotter" than a pickup rated at 400mV, depending on a number of factors. These specs do little to tell you about the pickup's character or tone, so take any "output" ratings with a grain of salt and use them as a general guide only.

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          • #6
            I’ve used a bunch of DiMarzios and their numbers seem accurate, relative to other DiMarzios.

            I’m usually not a big numbers guy, but in this case I do like it. The bar that Duncan has on the EQ chart isn’t all that helpful unless you put all the bars next to each other.
            "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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            • #7
              Agreed on the bars, they just add confusion.

              I also think DiMarzio's relative output numbers are far more accurate and usable than what Duncan attempted (informally) a few years back.

              Duncan should just have DiMarzio do their "output" measurements

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikelamury View Post
                I saw the output test sheet and understand it is a sticky topic but it made me think of the DiMarzio pickups that are rated with mV ratings and their highest output pickup the X2N is rated at 510 mV and the jazz neck is rated at 501mV do you guys really think that these output values are correct? I mean are SD's vintage output pickups really the same level of output as the highest DiMarzio's? I've used several DiMarzio's and know the super distortion (which is rated at 425mV is louder than the jazz neck which is rated at 501mV. Do you think there is a difference in the way they measure mV output? What are your opinions on this?
                IIRC, DiMarzio plucks a particular guitar strings a bunch of times and records an average. The height of the pickups effects the output too. To many variables, inductance is the best value to have but it's practically kept a secret so that you won't be too certain about how any given pickup actually works.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mikelamury View Post
                  I saw the output test sheet and understand it is a sticky topic but it made me think of the DiMarzio pickups that are rated with mV ratings and their highest output pickup the X2N is rated at 510 mV and the jazz neck is rated at 501mV do you guys really think that these output values are correct? I mean are SD's vintage output pickups really the same level of output as the highest DiMarzio's? I've used several DiMarzio's and know the super distortion (which is rated at 425mV is louder than the jazz neck which is rated at 501mV. Do you think there is a difference in the way they measure mV output? What are your opinions on this?
                  For the record, the method used here gives peak voltage (maximum possible voltage) as measured by a lab meter from all the strings, with the pickups set @ a "normal" heights and located where they are meant to be : in bridge or neck position of a testing instrument, with "typical" RC loads.

                  The values obtained with this method are typically twice those mentioned by DM... and close to those mentioned by Duncan, if memory serves me. For example, my archives mention 724mV for a SH4 while Duncan specs state 737mV or something like that.

                  On this basis, I'd tend to multiply by two each voltage mentioned on the DM site : 1020mV from a X2N seems realistic compared to measurements done here on "hot" passive humbuckers with ceramic mags. In the same way, the 200mV of the EJ Custom B multiplied by two give 400mV: it's close to the 425mV obtained here from a TV Jones Classic B - and close also to the output of some P.A.F. clones, recalling that inductance alone is not really more meaningful than crude DCR when it comes to peak voltage: it also depends on magnetism. :-)

                  FWIW (= two Euro cents).
                  Last edited by freefrog; 03-23-2021, 11:17 PM.
                  Duncan user since the 80's...

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