DiMarzio Area 58/61/67 Analysis & Review Mar 28, 2020 18:18:19 GMT -5
Post by antigua on Mar 28, 2020 18:18:19 GMT -5
I got a look at an Area T, and posted about it guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/8909/dimarzio-area-analysis-review It looked really decent from a technical standpoint. They made some design choices that appeared to do a good job of isolating the coils, and preventing the lower coil from overloading the upper coil. I've also analyzed the Fender Noiseless guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/7731/fender-vintage-noiseless-analysis-review
Stacked humbuckers are known for not sounding real "single-coil-like", but the Area T had properties that were very close to a vintage single coil, so I ordered an Area 58, 61 and 67 with the intention of putting the three of them into a Strat. Unfotunately, the Strat versions of the Area T don't appear to be quite as on the mark as the Area T.
DiMarzio claims on their website that all three models feature AlNiCo 2 pole pieces, but the Area 67 I have on hand appears to use AlNiCo 5 pole pieces. The Area 58 and 67 have lower inductances and higher resonant peaks, while the Area 61 has a higher inductance and a lower peak. The values of all of them are on the hotter side, with resonant peaks in the mid 3kHz range, closer to Texas Specials than 57/62's.
These pickups use special covers that are more spacious than a vintage correct cover, so if you want to change the colors, you have to order new DiMarzio brand covers.
Given that the Area 61 has the highest inductance, it's probably a logical bridge pickup. The Area 58 and 67 are too alike for it to matter where one or the other goes, although it appears that the Area 67 uses AlNiCo 5 instead of AlNiCo 2.
The thing that makes these stacks special is that they dummy coil underneath has a lower turn count with a low DC resistance, and it boosts the inductance as well as voltage output with permeable core pieces that are embedded on the under side. These also have a steel guide around the upper coil that is intended to enhance the magnetic field of the upper coil. This is better than the Fender Noiseless design for at least two reasons 1) the low resistance of the lower coil means there less dummy coil loading 2) the pole pieces do not extend through both coils, each has their own dedicated cores.
I did further testing of the Area 58 as being representative of all three, since it appears that they are essentially all built the same. The appear to be more single-coilish than Fender Noiseless Stack, but not quite as much as the Area T. Where as the Area T's lower coil appears to produce a nearly equivalent noise voltage as the upper coil, it looks like the Area 58's noise coil isn't quite as productive as it's upper coil. So long as the lower coil is producing some voltage, there will be some noise cancelling, but it appears that the Area T probably cancels noise more thoroughly. Also, it appears that the lower coil picks up and cancels out a higher proportion on "good signal" from the guitar string. If I had to guess why this is, the Area 58/61/67 appear to have a shallower top coil, and a larger lower coil than the Area T. It might have been due to Tele bridge versus Strat pickups size constraints that they ended up this way.
I'll install them in a Strat as soon as the cream cover replacements come in the mail to replace the black covers it came with. I suspect I won't dig them as much, based on the specs showing a higher inductance and a lower coil that sucks up some of the output, but I will give them a shot. I think I'd prefer three of the Area 61's, so I might buy two more of those and only use that product in all three spots.
DiMarzio Area 58
- DC Resistance: 6.025K ohms (top: 4.697k, bottom: 1.3460k)
- Measured L: 2.688H (top: 2.273H, bottom: 0.7171H)
- Calculated C: 119.19pF ( top: 221.5pF,bottom: 185pF)
- Gauss: 650G (AlNiCo 2)
DiMarzio Area 61
- DC Resistance: 6.361K ohms (top: 5.034k, bottom: 1.2989k)
- Measured L: 2.940H (top: 2.551H, bottom: 0.7131H)
- Calculated C: 97.28pF (top: 178.76pF, bottom: 173.70pF)
- Gauss: 650G (AlNiCo 2)
DiMarzio Area 67
- DC Resistance: 6.008K ohms (top: 4.731k, bottom: 1.2753k)
- Measured L: 2.680H (top: 2.294H, bottom: 0.7006H)
- Calculated C: 73.30pF (top: 103.96pF, bottom: 163pF)
- Gauss: 900G (AlNiCo ?)
Area 58 unloaded: dV: 10.2dB f: 5.80kHz (black)
Area 58 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.3dB f: 3.51kHz (blue)
Area 61 unloaded: dV: 11.1dB f: 5.48kHz (red)
Area 61 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.5dB f: 3.28kHz (green)
Area 67 unloaded: dV: 11.1dB f: 9.81kHz (pink)
Area 67 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 5.7dB f: 3.85kHz (black)
The unloaded Q factors are a bit lower than real Strat Q factors, probably due to the metal shielding and the screws the hold the assembly together, but the loaded Q factor is very close to a real single coil Strat pickup, which at +5dB at resonance, is closer than a Fender Noiseless, which had a lower Q factor under load around +3dB.
The bode plot shows the Area 67 with the likely AlNiCo 5 pole pieces having a much higher resonant peak. Based on the capacitance measurements, it appears that the upper coil of the 67 has a much lower capacitance than the 58 or the 61. That might be a manufacturing oddity and not something intentional.
This plot shows the output of the upper coil alone versus both coils together:
Here the loss is about about -2dB, only slightly better than the Fender Noiseless, and not nearly as good as the Area T. Again, I suspect this is because the top coil of the Area T is more substantial.
This plot shows induction from the side of the pickup, as opposed to the top, so that both coils receive the same input:
It appears that the lower coil produces less voltage than the upper coil, where as with the Area T the same test showed the two coils producing a much closer voltage.
Induction from the side, to compare the voltage output of the top versis the bottom coil: