Author Topic: DiMarzio or Fluence  (Read 448 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
DiMarzio or Fluence
« on: October 02, 2019, 02:02:47 pm »
I have a difficult decision to make regarding my Chapman ML-1 (HSS). I want to trick it out into a metal shred machine. I am caught between loving the sound of the Fishman Fluence Modern in the bridge, but also loving the sound of the Chopper and Tone Zone S in the middle and neck positions respectively.

I love the clean tones I got from the Fluence Modern Bridge when I played my bandmate's guitar. Obviously it also sounded incredible under high gain. But Fishman only offers "strat-voiced" single spaced pickups at this moment. I wanted to go beefy, so I'm very limited there if I go with the Fluence line.

I don't want to route my guitar for HSH, probably. I also can't mix Fluence with DiMarzio in this case: Fluence pickups all use a preamp and won't accept passive pickups into the circuit, and wiring around it would be a pain. So it seems like I must go with all passive or all active.

I originally planned on going with DiMarzios all the way but I couldn't decide what bridge pickup I wanted to use. I may wind up going that route in the end, so I'm soliciting some suggestions/reality checks from you.

The guitar currently has a Steve's Special, and I'm just not digging it. It's mid-scooped, which is cool, but not where I want to go with this anymore.

I'm looking to keep some of that aggressive mid-range (a bit of "Aw") and massive gain from the Fluence Modern, along with that top-end clarity and harmonics. Like an EMG 81 but more "open" on top.

I started by looking at the X2N, but found it was a bit too "twangy" and flat across the frequency spectrum, so I might want something with more midrange.

Been looking at Dominion Bridge, Super 2, and D-Activator X as well.

If you have any other pickups you think I should explore, even from other brands, please drop me a line.



TL;DR: Anyone have an opinion about which high-output bridge pickup (not the X2N) might blend well with the Chopper and Tone Zone S, and ape some of the tone of a Fishman Fluence Modern bridge?



Thanks for reading!

Offline HarlowTheFish

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2019, 04:02:31 pm »
The D-activator and D-activator X will be the closest things in the catalog to voice 1 of the Fluence moderns, and either something like the Tone Zone or Dominion would be closest to voice 2.

If you want EMG 81-like, the D-activators (standard is very bright and lean on the bass, X is more 85-ish with good low-mids to high-mids push) will probably be your best bet.

If you want to try something with the SS before you ditch it, try either a TS-type OD with a lot of mids or an OD with a mid control to push your amp - you get some really cool sounds with a scoopy pickup and a middy OD.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 10:40:01 pm »
Thanks for the response, I'll definitely look into those pickups. They do sound like they'd be more in the ball park. X is sounding pretty great to my ear so far.

Also thanks for the OD tip. I will go out of my way to try the mid-bump ODs into a dirty amp, that sounds like a cool trick. I still think the Steve's Special was not the right choice for how I'll use this guitar or how I play, but I'll make sure to experiment a little more before I move on.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2019, 03:05:48 pm »
D-Activator neck in the bridge.

Interesting!

Offline HarlowTheFish

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Karma: 8
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 03:46:54 pm »
Yeah if you want something lower output using a neck pickup in the bridge is a pretty good pick (and if you're a fan of the EMG 60 using that same pickup in the neck wired in parallel works pretty well).

Offline Wrath of nature

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
  • The Forever chasing tone
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2019, 02:28:27 am »
 That's a good question and challenge to compare. DiMarzio Evo 2 & Evolution neck combo against any Fluence pickup. That's my vote.
After the best combo between bridge, middle & neck in a 3 way selector. I know it's key in DiMarzios for what I search.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 03:54:44 pm »
That's a good question and challenge to compare. DiMarzio Evo 2 & Evolution neck combo against any Fluence pickup. That's my vote.

The Evo 2 is definitely up my alley, but I think I'm going to try the Fluence line and see how I like it. I'm really into their whole Multiple Voicing concept, and their customer support has been really awesome to me so far.

Perhaps I'll wind up back here with the DiMarzios later on... I supposed we'll see! I'll try to keep you folks updated. I figure it's gonna be a couple months before I pull the trigger on these.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2019, 08:14:05 pm »
Uh oh, folks, I just discovered Railhammer's Alnico Grande and the bridge pickup might be a game-changer for me. Learned that Dan Mongrain of Voivod/Martyr/etc plays those and I REALLY like his tone. Tight and clear, but with bite and spank. I figured he was using active pickups and some special kind of amp, but no: Alnico Grande into a Dual Rec (Mark V for solos).

I might end up scrapping my Fluence plans and going with the Alnico Grande plus the Chopper and Tone Zone S after all.

Why are these decisions so difficult to make? :P

Offline DarthPhineas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 666
  • Karma: 19
    • View Profile
    • Darth Phineas Guitar Gear Reviews
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2019, 05:35:52 am »
Dig deeper in to the Fishman single space pickups. The ones that come with the HSS set are supposed to be hotter/beefier than the regular SSS Strat style options.

Donít know if they come separately or only as a set. Best thing to do is to call Fishman and discuss it with them.
Gear Reviews   |  Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2019, 01:39:04 pm »
Dig deeper in to the Fishman single space pickups. The ones that come with the HSS set are supposed to be hotter/beefier than the regular SSS Strat style options.

Thanks, DarthPhineas. So, for a long while now I have wanted to have the beefy sound of a Tone Zone in the neck of my mahogany strat. I just couldn't decide on the bridge pickup. The Tone Zone is voiced in a way that one could achieve rounder, jazzier tones from a clean amp.

So that's driving my concept for the most part. I'm still not totally convinced about giving that up... but that Modern Bridge sounds unbelievably good.

I spent quite a bit of time via email with the customer support trying to suss things out for an HSS setup. They had lots of great answers, but they never said whether or not the pickups were voiced differently from their strat set or not. I also never asked them. Maybe I'll ping them to confirm this.

I know they have a "3dB Boost" option to better match output with hotter humbuckers, and their resonant peaks are ever so slightly different from the strat set. I wish they had some way to understand how hot their pickups are, like how DiMarzio lists the output milivolts, and Railhammer provides a "1 out of 10" scale.

Donít know if they come separately or only as a set.

You can buy them one at a time. I've also seen loaded pickguards for strats with an HSS setup. Fishman's site is not all that clear about these things.

Here's some more info you won't find on their website:
  • All (actually most) Fluence pickups have a preamp embedded within the pickup itself.
  • The preamp can power 2 coils (ex: one per humbucker).
  • The Single Space Active (SSA) pickup similarly can power 2 coils, but it only has 1 coil.
  • They offer a Single Space Passive (SSP) pickups that can be powered by the SSA and is priced at 80 bucks rather than 110.
  • You can totally use two SSAs in an HSS configuration if you want, but there's no need to pay an extra 30 bucks. You can use the SSP and run it off the SSA to save yourself some money.

There is nowhere on their website where this is clearly spelled out, but this is what I learned from their customer support.

Offline DarthPhineas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 666
  • Karma: 19
    • View Profile
    • Darth Phineas Guitar Gear Reviews
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2019, 04:20:31 pm »


I know they have a "3dB Boost" option to better match output with hotter humbuckers, and their resonant peaks are ever so slightly different from the strat set. I wish they had some way to understand how hot their pickups are, like how DiMarzio lists the output milivolts, and Railhammer provides a "1 out of 10" scale.




Resonant peak is tricky, as not all sites list it. Duncan used to, and you can still find many of theirs is you search for the old ďtone chartĒ thatís hidden on the page from before the site renovation.

But when it comes to output, it will be apples and oranges from one brand to another. DiMarzio has mV and Duncan listed some mV years ago... but the methods are admitted different and a 350 mV DiMarzio and a 350 mV Duncan are far from the same.
Gear Reviews   |  Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram

Offline BluesJam

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2019, 11:53:09 pm »
I donít like batteries or pre-amps.  A boost pedal works too and much cheaper.

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2019, 06:24:39 pm »
Dig deeper in to the Fishman single space pickups. The ones that come with the HSS set are supposed to be hotter/beefier than the regular SSS Strat style options.

So I got a response from Fishman confirming that "the SSA/SSP pickups are voiced differently because they are designed to be used with an onboard humbucker. So there is a shift in the resonant frequencies to allow them to sound better with the humbucker pickups."

They didn't elaborate on how differently they are voiced. I asked for more details since I can't find any sound clips of these pickups anywhere on the internet right now. I also asked for a confirmation that they have the same two-voice setup: a Classic Strat voice, and a Hot Texas Strat voice. I have seen on another forum someone claiming they could not wire the pickups for that second voice https://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?330877-Fishman-Fluence-HSS-config-with-SSA-SSP-and-Open-Core-humbucker. (Hope it's kosher to cross-post to another forum thread.)

I wish Fishman put a little more effort into marketing these particular pickups. There are no official sound clips to reference, and their marketing is muddled at certain points: The literature says they are "multi voice" like the SSS set, but there is no verbal description of what Voice 1 and Voice 2 sound like, so I feel like I am left making a bunch of assumptions.

They also also say they are voiced differently to match a humbucker bridge. But it's not immediately clear what that means in practice.

I am not really into the idea of paying a substantial premium for pickups when I don't understand their feature set, or don't get to hear how they sound beforehand. If I wasn't so infatuated with the sound of the Modern Bridge, I would have given up by now and gone with a different manufacturer for my HSS guitar.

I still may spring for a loaded pickguard SSS set for my proper strat, though. At least the sound of those pickups are well-documented.

I donít like batteries or pre-amps.  A boost pedal works too and much cheaper.

Preamps aren't important to me other than the benefit of being able to turn down the volume and preserving the tone. Boost pedals can't accomplish that. Otherwise I'm agnostic on active vs passive.

But what IS important to me is the tone of the Fluence Modern Bridge I played, and I'm willing to jump through a hoop or two to get that tone... if I can figure out what the heck I want to do about these single spaced pickup slots. Thanks for your input.

Offline BluesJam

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2019, 06:35:51 pm »
If Fluence is your thing then buy them.  There are plenty of mods to get the potentiometer to have a smooth taper in volume and tone.

Passive pickups are subtractive in nature.  Active Pickups can add to tonality due to the active circuitry.  Personally, I donít like a bunch of electronics and battery operated pickups. 

Offline mysteryloaf

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
  • On my way
    • View Profile
Re: DiMarzio or Fluence
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2019, 01:20:01 pm »
They also also say they are voiced differently to match a humbucker bridge. But it's not immediately clear what that means in practice.

Got a response from customer support:

"The SSA/SSP pickups do not have the same voicing as the 3 Strat pickup set. There is a resonant shift with these pickups to make them more compatible with the humbuckers. They are designed to have a traditional vintage voice. There are not multiple voicing changes for the SSA/SSP."

So, the marketing for the SSA/P pickups is wrong when it claims "All Fishman Fluence Pickups: Are Multi-Voice. Set and forget, or wire-up to toggle between two musically complimentary voices."

The SSA/P don't have multiple voices, which is pretty disappointing since the marketing led me to believe otherwise. The multiple voicings is a major advantage of this line of pickups in my view, and justifies the higher price. If the pickups don't offer multiple voices, I'm not sold on the price point. These SSA/P pickups are a compromise for me anyway, since I had intended to go with big humbucker-sounding pickups for the single spaced slots.

I'm going to look into how in the world I could run both a Fluence Modern Bridge along with passive pickups. But I may wind up opting for a passive bridge instead for the HSS build, and use the Fluence line in a different guitar altogether.