I think I'm going to try this after tonight's gig. After playing at home volumes I think the 81 might be a little too tight/thin for my RG550 (which is only tuned half a step down) but the true test will be tonight when I have my rig roaring behind me so I can truly 'feel' it. I love the EMG 81, but I've only ever really used it for C# and below in the past, not really for anything close to standard.
After doing some preliminary reading, it seems the 85 is a little smoother, less scooped, less sterile, and a touch fatter (also hotter?). Does anybody have any experience behind this?
I like the 81 in the bridge better. I have an 85 in the bridge of an RG570, and it's not bad, but the 81 is better. I've tried just about all combos of EMGs in the bridge and neck and my favorite pair is the 81/60 combo. The 85 doesn't have the 81 bite.