Air Zone vs Super Distortion?

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Offline alexh9

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Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« on: November 29, 2021, 02:56:10 AM »
Anyone have any thoughts on how these two pickups compare?

They're both doing that 'PAF on steroids' thing, and the EQ tone guide on the Dimarzio site is very similar for both pickups. I currently have a SD stock in my guitar (with stock 1meg pots), I like it, but I'm not crazy about the feel of ceramic pickups. I know the AZ has a ton of bass, I'm wondering if it's comparable to the SD in the low-end.

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2021, 02:45:31 AM »
Unfortunately I cannot contribute much as I never played an Air Zone thus far. I have played and still play the SD, and I have played the Tone Zone, both even in the same guitar. Output SD vs TZ is quite similar, SD has a bit brighter midrange color, TZ is a bit more scooped in the center and high mids. Both have a certain fizz on the top end. I dialed that out on the SD I still use by lowering the load on the pickup from 500k ohms to about 380k ohms.

Based on the specs I would expect the AirZone to have a tad less output and (hopefully) less fizz in the top end but as I said - no hands on experience with that one so far.

Cheers Stephan
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Offline greenlion

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2021, 08:05:37 PM »
The Super Distortion does not fell like a "Stiff Ceramic" pickup to me. The Seymour Duncan Distortion and Custom have that stiff feel to them but not the Dimarzio Super Distortion. The SD has more mids to my ears than the Air Zone does, although the Air Zone is not scooped by any means. The both have ample bass, but the Air Zone's bass seems a tad tighter. The Air Zone has amazing sustain, and the SD has great crunch. If the SD is "hairy", the Air Zone has more of a "neatly shaved" tone.

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Offline Aceman

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2021, 06:39:11 PM »
A Tone Zone, to me is a Super Distortion with a little "more" of everything.  A little hotter, a little bassier, a little thicker, a little fizzier etc.
The Air Zone is a a Tone Zone with a "little less" of everything. Except maybe highs.

Never really thought much about this...but an interesting question.  I guess I'd say they are very similar, but...the Air Zone is a more polite version of the SuperD.  Haven't played an Air Zone in a bit.  Have Tone Zones and SuperD's about. 

What do you want to play with it?




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Offline HeyNorton!

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2022, 01:10:05 AM »
Sd is 425mv
Tz is 375
Az is 323.

Those numbers mean less than how the eq/character of the pickup does.

You guys gotta remember that the BMT ratings matter for EACH string.

The bass doesn't just affect the lower strings, it gives the high e some body up high.

The highs give the lower strings clarity.

Something like a breed smears its mids all over everything. Lol.  It sounds glorious with gain and horrible for cleans as a result.

Aceman said in another thread, buy a pickup for the eq. 
I'll add that you should pick that eq based on what your guitar's unplugged sound is lacking, or what you want to correct/emphasize from it.

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2022, 02:33:23 PM »
I'm reading this and the first thing I'm thinking is how the Super Distortion sound with the Air mod?

Between the SD and the AZ, the best way I can describe the two is the SD is tighter with more crunch while the AZ is bigger with more fuzz. If anything the AZ is friendlier sounding and works great as a wall of distortion supporting a singer while the SD is more aggressive sounding.

Another option to throw into the mix is the Transition. It's very similar to the AZ but with a tighter more focused bottom end. You can think of it like an AZ after it's done a whackload of squats and booty workouts.
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BluesJam

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2022, 02:29:52 AM »
The 1 Meg pots will change the tonality/EQ  of the pickup and make them brighter.  I’m fairly confident that manufacturers test their pickups based on 250K for singles and 500K for humbuckers.  Your brighter 1M pots may not give you the desired tonality that is depicted in the tone chart

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Offline Slartibartfarst

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Re: Air Zone vs Super Distortion?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2023, 03:08:56 PM »
The Super Distortion does not fell like a "Stiff Ceramic" pickup to me. The Seymour Duncan Distortion and Custom have that stiff feel to them but not the Dimarzio Super Distortion.

I would have to agree with this. Historically, I've really never been a big fan of ceramic pickups as they can be stiff and cold compared to the richer tone of Alnico 5. I tried a Super Distortion entirely because so many of my favourite guitarists use them. I was really surprised when I finally got to try it because while it has the aggression and tightness I associate with ceramic, its tone is surprisingly organic. It's the most alnico sounding ceramic pickup I've ever tried because it genuinely offers great tone. After a lifetime preferring alnico 5 pickups, the Super Distortion is the best sounding bridge pickup I've ever used and is certainly my favourite.