Author Topic: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro  (Read 11689 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Schneidas

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 205
  • Karma: 8
  • The sun don't shine on the sea of MAAADNEEEEEESSS!
    • View Profile
    • Schneidas' Myspace page
Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:28:10 am »
May I present this little gem to you?

Seriously, I feel pretty strongly that this is one of the best noiseless singlecoils for the neck position of a Strat.
For some reason, I kept overlooking this pickup on my search through the noiseless singecoil isle.
Maybe it's the name: '54 to me implies a bright sound and general 50's music which I'm not too fond of.

Anyway, the VV '54 Pro is everything I want from a neck pickup. It has a perfect balance of warmth and brightness, meaning it's warm - yet it still has an edge.
It's a really expressive pickup. There's tons of different voicings depending of how and where you hit the note. It's very woody and a little airy, yet still has a hint of glass in it's sound especially with the right picking technique.The attack is wonderfully juicy & slightly compressed.
Where the Area '61 pickup left me with a relatively bland taste - the '54 Pro was like a big juicy medium rare steak.
The '54 Pro is perfect for any kind of Blues and Rock. I wouldn't recommend it for Malmsteen type of Shred though. You might need something a little tougher there with a sharper Alnico5 attack.
But it's perfect for any kind of overdriven Hendrix, SRV or Rory Gallagher...

Requirements:
It works perfectly with 250k volume and tone controls - but the one thing it wants is to be put really close to the strings (which is not a problem, due to the softer Alnico2 magnetic field). Close to the strings - it shines. Back it up too far, and all those qualities start diminishing instantly.

Now I need an equally great bridge pickup!
'54 Pro in the bridge anyone?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 05:25:41 am by Schneidas »

Offline Matt_B

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 193
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2009, 11:46:23 am »
I'll be installing a VV 54 Pro in the bridge position of my Strat very soon so I'll post my review of it after that's done and I've played it for a little while.

Offline Matt_B

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 193
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 07:36:41 am »
I've had the VV 54 Pro in my Strat (ash body, maple neck, 250K pots with a 330 picofarad treble bleed) for about 5 days now and here are my thoughts so far.

When played clean through a Fender Twin (or the Axe-FX's simulation of it), this pickups sound bright and clear, like a good Strat should, but it doesn't sound too thin. The bass and mids are there but they're not overpowering. When this pickup is combined with an Area 67 (in the middle position), it has that classic glassy Strat tone with just a little more oomph but not too much. ;)

When played with slightly distorted sound (the Axe-FX model of a Marshall Plexi), the Strat characteristics come shining through. It's got that standard vintage Strat tone but again, it's not too thin nor is it too thick.

Finally, when the pedal is put to the metal and it's played through an Ibanez Tube Screamer and Mesa Triaxis (again, the Axe-FX's version of both), the pickup really screams. Please note that I'm using the Tube Screamer sim to not only boost the signal into the Triaxis but I'm also using it to shave off some of the high end as well as add a little midrange (3 dB at 638 Hz) to thicken things up.

Overall, I'm very happy with this pickup so far and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants classic Strat tones with a little more oomph. It's a great alternative to the Area 58 or Area 61.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 07:47:52 am by Matt_B »

Offline wxs3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1001
  • Karma: 27
  • Embrace the Madness, The Madness is Good
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 08:24:48 pm »
I've had the VV 54 Pro in my Strat (ash body, maple neck, 250K pots with a 330 picofarad treble bleed) for about 5 days now and here are my thoughts so far.

When played clean through a Fender Twin (or the Axe-FX's simulation of it), this pickups sound bright and clear, like a good Strat should, but it doesn't sound too thin. The bass and mids are there but they're not overpowering. When this pickup is combined with an Area 67 (in the middle position), it has that classic glassy Strat tone with just a little more oomph but not too much. ;)

When played with slightly distorted sound (the Axe-FX model of a Marshall Plexi), the Strat characteristics come shining through. It's got that standard vintage Strat tone but again, it's not too thin nor is it too thick.

Finally, when the pedal is put to the metal and it's played through an Ibanez Tube Screamer and Mesa Triaxis (again, the Axe-FX's version of both), the pickup really screams. Please note that I'm using the Tube Screamer sim to not only boost the signal into the Triaxis but I'm also using it to shave off some of the high end as well as add a little midrange (3 dB at 638 Hz) to thicken things up.

Overall, I'm very happy with this pickup so far and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants classic Strat tones with a little more oomph. It's a great alternative to the Area 58 or Area 61.

To add to Matt_B, I also have a 54 pro in the bridge of my strat along with 2 Area 61's neck and middle.  Under gain (I use a boss gt-8, plexi amp model, with a tube screamer) this pup is just incredible!  I first listened to the VV 54 (the original) and was suggested to check it out by James Byrd.  James used the original 54 on Flying beyond the 9 and his tone was great.  The 54 pro is just as good and mixes well with the Area 61s.  This strat does almost every thing in the texas blues/rock to 80's rock/metal.  I really like this combo of the Area 61s and 54 pro, it has me rethinking about replacing my Hs4/HS3 pickups in my other strat with a full set of 54pros.
My first aftermarket pickup was a Super Distortion back in the 70's.  I strayed and tried Rio Grandes, Duncans, and EMGs only to come back to Dimarzio.  Funny were life takes you.

Offline oilpit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
  • Karma: -52
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 12:55:33 am »
Will the '54 Pro do Andy Timmons style lead sounds?
Fat, juicy and bubbly?

Or does it fart out under high gain?

Offline Butch Snyder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
  • Karma: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 07:46:34 am »
I just installed a pair of VV 54 Pros in the neck and middle position of my Telecaster.  So far, I like them.  We will see how they fare...
-Butch Snyder

Offline KH Guitar Freak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 836
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 11:38:27 am »
I would have thought the '54 would be the less bright if not the least compared to the other Dimarzio singlecoils...

Offline darkbluemurder

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 901
  • Karma: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 07:20:47 am »
'54 Pro in the bridge anyone?

Yes, me. I have it in two different strats, combined with an Area 58 in the middle and an Area 67 in the neck. The VV 54 Pro replaced Area 61s in both guitars (I needed those for another guitar in the neck and middle positions). It sounds great clean and overdriven. It is quite similar to the Area 61, maybe there is a little more roundness which is more than welcome in the bridge spot, and the attack seems to be a bit softer (the emphasis being on "a bit").

As for the rest my experience with this pickup matches that of Matt_B.

Cheers Stephan
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone

Offline darkbluemurder

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 901
  • Karma: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 07:24:18 am »
I would have thought the '54 would be the less bright if not the least compared to the other Dimarzio singlecoils...

Compared to Area 61 about the same brightness, only a bit less.
Compared to Area 67 definitely less bright. The Area 67 is by far the brightest of the Area series.
Compared to Area 58 less bright, but not by much. Different tonal colour. Does not have the smokiness of the Area 58 (but the Area 61 and 67 don't have that either).

Cheers Stephan 
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone

Offline darkbluemurder

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 901
  • Karma: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2016, 04:51:11 am »
This weekend I set up my H-S strat (VHPAF in the bridge, Area 67 neck) as H-S-S and added a VV 54 Pro in the middle. The volume pot is a 500k log but I added a 470k resistor to bring the load closer to 250k for the single coils.

In the middle position I hear the VV 54 Pro as an Area 58 with more low end. It's bright on the top end, maybe a bit less than the 58 but the low end is definitely more prominent. Instant SRV "The Sky is Crying" tone.

I did not have any problem matching the individual outputs of the pickups together. The bridge (neckside coil) + middle combination sounds excellent, too - very quacky and crisp. I am not overwhelmed by the neck + middle combination, which is a bit dark and slightly muffled but that is a combination I rarely use anyway so I can live with that.

When the next string change is up I will add a push-pull pot to add the neck pickup to any combination so that I can get the bridge + neck combination, too.

Cheers Stephan
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone

Offline darkbluemurder

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 901
  • Karma: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 10:57:09 am »
After having played with that combination a bit more I must say that adding the VV 54 Pro as middle pickup was the right move for this guitar. With a bit of height adjustment I now got all positions to sound good. What a fun guitar to play now.

Cheers Stephan
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone

Offline RayBarbeeMusic

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 52
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2016, 11:02:07 am »
IMO the '54 is the fatter/smokier version of a '61.  I use it in various positions on different guitars where a '61 isn't fat enough and an injector neck is too dark.  It sits nicely in that space, though I do wish there were something between a '54 and an injector neck. 

On guitars where it's in the middle, or just in general where the neck/middle combo is too dark (the majority of guitars really), I wire the switch so that that position gives me bridge+neck instead, or, if that's too bright given the pickups and guitar, all 3 pickups in parallel.  Much more useful tone IMO.

Offline PaulLester

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 32
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Virtual Vintage '54 Pro
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 03:14:16 pm »
Bump!

Wasn't here for some time. I could use little help. Someone on other forum said that DiMarzio Virtual Vintage could sound really close to P90. I was wondering: does VV 54 comes close with 250k pots? I kinda look for something like noiseless P90.. Duncan Quatter Pound was close, but hum killed it.

Tnx for any info.