EMG's sounding dull (FIXED)

  • Hi there,


    I have a KPA and I'm experiencing some problems with my setup. With passive pickups my tone sounds killer, but when I plug in a guitar with active pickups it's sounding really dull. The strange thing is, it seems to be losing gain even though the pickups should be more 'hot'.


    I've tried the obvious things; change the battery, made sure the input is not orange/red, tried changing some stuff about the tone itself, tried other guitars, other cables but the problem keeps persisting4.


    After some research I found out about Clean Sense but even with that it still sounds dull.


    If anyone has suggestions, ill be as active as can be.


    Kind regards,


    Mark Hendriks

  • The wood of the guitar can make a difference...

    Please.... watch Tested: Where Does The Tone Come From In An Electric Guitar?. TLDR: wood has infinitesimal influence on tone in electric guitar.


    I have similar problem with my active guitar - it requires additional EQ and tweaks to Presence, to "unmud" it and still the dynamics of playing is not comparable with passive pickups. I don't think it is possible to get "passive-like behavior" from an active pickup. Different beast.

  • Have you tried other profiles with the EMGs? If I tweak a profile with some SD Distortions and then go play it with EMGs then the tone is different. Even going from a SD Distortion to a SD JB on the same profile will yield different tone and characteristics and much more so when using another pickup brand and resistance. That's how it should be.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • I threw out the EMG 81/60 set from my Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone, and replaced them with Fishman Fluence Devin Townsends.

    Why? Because the EMG sounded dull and lifeless to me, regardless of the amp. They do one thing great, that's metal rhythm guitar. Chuggachugga...and pinch harmonics...

    But any dynamic playing, crunch or clean sounds? Very uninspiring, to say the least.

    To me EMGs are overhyped, but it's all a matter of personal taste.

    The Fishmans transformed the Ibanez from "meh" to "yeah!", at least for me.


    The active Fishmans don't cause any problems with the Kemper, even though the output of the bridge PU in "modern humbucker" mode is insanely high.

    Sounds (to my ears) as nice as through a valve amp.

  • After some research I found out about Clean Sense but even with that it still sounds dull.

    I do not believe you understand what clean sense does. It wouldn't have any effect on bright/dull. I think it's because of the way the manual is written that people have a misunderstanding of what clean sense does. To understand it, watch the video. It really explains it well. usually when gain goes up on an amp, it gets louder but often a cleaner sound will cut more because it's less compressed. Clean sense balances the volume so that you can have volume rise,stay the same or even get lower as the gain on the profile gets turned up. I understand it better than I can explain it, but again watch the video. Distortion sense works completely different.

  • It was something stupid, obviously. I tried chaning my cables, but the thing is, they both were 10m long. Apperantly EMG's lose their volume on these lengths, I didnt know that and did not think of that.


    Conclusion: use either high-end cables if they're long or use shorter cables.


    Resolved, thanks for the help anyway.

  • Guitarius

    Changed the title of the thread from “EMG's sounding dull” to “EMG's sounding dull (FIXED)”.
  • It was something stupid, obviously. I tried chaning my cables, but the thing is, they both were 10m long. Apperantly EMG's lose their volume on these lengths, I didnt know that and did not think of that.


    Conclusion: use either high-end cables if they're long or use shorter cables.


    Resolved, thanks for the help anyway.

    That’s interesting to hear if somewhat surprising as EMG provide a low impedance buffered output which should be ideal for driving longer cable runs.

  • It was something stupid, obviously. I tried chaning my cables, but the thing is, they both were 10m long. Apperantly EMG's lose their volume on these lengths, I didnt know that and did not think of that.


    Conclusion: use either high-end cables if they're long or use shorter cables.


    Resolved, thanks for the help anyway.

    I recall some people (right or wrong) running 2 batteries with their EMGs. Can't remember what it was supposed to do.

    I thought since EMGs are low impedance they would drive longer runs better. (like a mic cable vs. guitar cable)If not, that's another reason for me not to like them. Something about them always struck me as flat and inorganic. Just my opinion.

  • I recall some people (right or wrong) running 2 batteries with their EMGs. Can't remember what it was supposed to do.

    I thought since EMGs are low impedance they would drive longer runs better. (like a mic cable vs. guitar cable)If not, that's another reason for me not to like them. Something about them always struck me as flat and inorganic. Just my opinion.

    Each to their own, of course.


    But phrases such as 'inorganic' tend to be banded around a little as if it's a trait of EMGs. Many of the best basses I've played have had EMGs. My favourite Strat sounds came from an EMG loaded Strat. The 81? The ones I've played have always been in guitars that didn't interest me before I even picked them up so I was destined to be non-plussed but I can't say as they were a problem (a LTD and an Epiphone before you ask - both aimed at the metal side of things).

  • Having run a few sets of EMG 81/85's, they have their pro's and con's.


    They are not subtle pickups but they do tight metal sounds very well.


    Therefore the comments about inorganic is probably correct but by design. They have a very precise response.

  • Each to their own, of course.


    But phrases such as 'inorganic' tend to be banded around a little as if it's a trait of EMGs. Many of the best basses I've played have had EMGs. My favourite Strat sounds came from an EMG loaded Strat. The 81? The ones I've played have always been in guitars that didn't interest me before I even picked them up so I was destined to be non-plussed but I can't say as they were a problem (a LTD and an Epiphone before you ask - both aimed at the metal side of things).

    Oh yeah! EMG's on a bass are excellent I agree. Most bass players I know that have active and non active basses rarely pick up the non active, the EMGs there make a big difference. Never played the singles. I have only had EMG 60 and 81s

  • Therefore the comments about inorganic is probably correct but by design. They have a very precise response.

    The inorganic statement comes from what me ears tell me. It's like I can't hear the wood in the guitar as ridiculous as that sounds. That being said, I struggle with the idea that you can hear wood at all in an electric guitar. Now I know wood does make a difference obviously, And hollow bodies will feed back (sometimes in a great way) live. We had a discussion here once about ES-335 plugged in and recorded, could you hear it's a hollow body at all or detect it out of a bunch of solid bodies? I own a real nice one but sometimes think it's a novelty and a "looks" thing as when recorded, mine could be any solid body Gibson. And I agree with the EMGs being precise, and maybe the best choice for metal guitar.