Ok, here's the dealio.
I've been using EMG pups for YEARS now, but I'm never happy with the tone I get from my neck pickup no matter what I do. I've tried the 81, 85 and 60 in every position and both 9 and 18v, but nothing makes me happy. 85 and 81 both sound good in the bridge, but the neck is lacking. 81 in the neck is better than the 85 (for me) But I'd really like to have something that's just a little rounder than the bridge, but something that isn't just 100% flub. I just don't want "that EMG neck pickup sound"
I've always wanted to try some different pickups, since the ONLY pups I've ever used have been stock Ibanez INFs and EMGs and I've been looking around at a few of the "Tried and True" combos that people seem to swear by, and thought, "well, why not".
-Blackouts (Least appealing option, steering away form actives)
I'd be willing to try BKP's if they weren't so expensive. Same deal with Nordstrand and Lundgren. There's also the Jon Schaffer "ice buckers", but they're equally cost prohibitive, so I won't be buying any of those.
Advice and comments about these pickups is really what I'm after. Personal experience with each is a major bonus. The guitar they're gonna be going in is an Ibanez RGT42DX. Maple/Walnut Neck-thru with mahogany wings. You guys are welcome to make suggestions as well, of course. These are just a few things are are not EMG that seem to be highly praised across the board.
You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't try out a Duncan Jazz. I always prefer the JB/Jazz combo over JB/59. I'm not a huge 59 fan.