Originally Posted by Randy
Killswitch Engage is actually the band that largely popularized the 85 in the bridge, while I personally don't like the sound or the band, they are definitely associated with mainstream metal sounds moving to Alnico bridge pickups.
I'm not sure how groundbreaking of a discovery "lower output pickups hit with a boost/preamp sound better than higher output ones is", EMG and active pickups in general might have beat you to that one by several decades. It actually amazes me to see the number of guys who think running low output passives with a clean boost or a TS (which are definitely not "passive" and powered by a battery or an equivalent adapter) is fundamentally different than EMGs. You've got the passive bits going into a powered boost for tone shaping. It's the same thing.
Not speaking of anyone in this thread specifically of course, but more in generalities. It's always a laugh when I see some guy on boutique forums being like "I've discovered my natural tone by taking pickups that are wound to be low output and then hitting them with a preamp of some sort before they hit the front of an amp".
It's like, "Congratulations tone genius, you've just discovered the reason active pickups were invented".
Of course we all know that if the preamp/boost bit powered by a 9 volt is outside of the guitar in a pedal it's natural and organic, if it's inside the guitar that's an aberration.
As far as high output vs. low output. Depends on the guitar. Mainly the scale length and the construction, as well as the tuning of the guitar. The kind of pickups I like in 24.75" and 25.5" are not the same.
Single coils sound great in the bridge, I like the EMG dual modes for that reason. The S and SA are both great sounding pickups.
I also like amps with adjustable input impedance, like old school Riveras. Not just a high gain in and a low gain in, an actual pot with a range of values for adjusting input impedance. Of course, two options, a high gain input and a low gain input is standard, but I like amps with a tweakable section. Don't know why that never caught on.