Well I am in the final steps of negotiating on a new guitar from the states and it has a typical 81/85 combo in there. I'm looking at removing them for a set of 57/66's because I can't stand the cleans on the 81s or the 85s as they sound like dull thuds and none of my guitar or amp combinations can pull a decent clean tone from them.
So my question is to those of you with the 57/66 set (Shawn I'm looking at you) is what are the cleans like? Every sample I can find online of them always has clean tones as a kinda tacked on 2 second snippet through poor settings. I like relatively bright cleans (not strat cleans) in the bridge and enough clarity in the neck and middle position that chords and finger picking don't get muddy and you can hear the full extend of the chord.
Otherwise I'll be tossing in some passives and my usual monster switching setups.
As for the guitar, it's a set 24.75 mahogany neck, mahogany/maple body, set bridge with ebony fretboard so there's some decent warmth in the wood combo and construction.
They're much better than the 81/85 combo, but I have a feeling you still won't be wowed by the cleans. To me, good clean tones = passives.
That said, if you like EMGs, and would like to try out a different flavor, definitely give them a shot. I've been incredibly happy with them so far, but I also haven't done any clean tone recording at all.