Kinman Strat vs Regular Strat Single Coils - Video Comparison

hardys

Member
Messages
1,738
I've been kicking around the thought of buying some Kinman noiseless pickups and have been listening to a lot of Youtube videos. While there are a lot of Kinman videos out there, few do a direct comparison of the 2 design types. The one here is the best I've found for doing that. There have been so many threads with people asking if they sound like single coils. Well, now they'll know.

I'm withholding my opinion, but curious what others think.

 

doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,917
Ok, I'll start. What I hear in these recordings, the Rumpelstiltskins were much crisper on the top end - to me in every position on the selector switch the Kinmans were "duller" on the very top end, missing what is to me anyway, the very thing that makes a single coil strat pickup what it is. The old "blanket" on the tone descriptor comes to mind when these stacked humbucker type pickups are immediately compared to real single coils. I think in isolation the Kinmans have a lot of other "strat-like" qualities, like quack in the 2 & 4 position, and do a decent job of "selling" trad strat tone, but back to back against real single coils, there is a lot of the signature single coil sparkle on the top end that is just missing. If you want to ditch the 60cycle noise with real single coils, try an Ilitch System (google Ilitch Electronics) - real hum elimination with no affect on your real single coil pickups. If your looking at Kinmans, for the about same $$ area you can get a real silent single coil system while using real single coils - I have had the backplate system on two strats and have the system now factory installed in two Suhr's (its the system that Suhr licensed from Ilitch - Suhr now features a new proprietary system of their own, developed in-house and is not available as an aftermarket install as far as I know at this point). In a live band mix, no one would think you were not playing a strat with the Kinmans, but the back-to-back comparison recordings kind of lay it out there. If you never heard the Rumpelstiltskins, the recording gives you what sounds like an ok strat. My .02 cents.
 

Mystix

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,265
I disliked both sets of pickups and the only sound I could even call acceptable was the Rumple neck sound -

but did not really hear any "magic" in any position. It actually sounded like a neck Tele pickup most of the time IMHO.
Too rounded, too sterile.

I love Strats and have to hear glassiness, quack, woody, sparkly, tones

Like wind cries mary woody airyness

or sultans of swing quack

but I heard none of that in these pickups.
 

ToneKing

Member
Messages
1,424
I can't speak for the Rumpelstiltskins, but I can for the Kinmans. First off, that clip doesn't even come close to the sounds that I get from my Kinmans, which are Woodstock + sets. If you want pretty accurate, totally silent and musical pickups, they will do the job. I have and have had plenty of genuine single coils from various manufacturers with the stock EJ and the CS 69's being my favorite of that type. But for my needs in a modern ggging situation where noise can be an issue, the Kinmans win hands down. I have been playing strats since 1980 and I gotta say it is refreshing to be on a stage and be dead silent and still sound like a strat. Ymmv
 

StratoCraig

Member
Messages
3,213
I haven't tried Kinmans, so all I can say is either they don't sound very good or that's a poor demo.

Here's a demo I did comparing Zexcoil pickups to Fender Original '57/'62s a few months ago. This, dare I say it, is a good demo and shows how close the Zexcoils are to true single-coil tone without hum.

 
Last edited:

t.hendrix

Member
Messages
1,900
I built a stratvwith the wood stocks , very unimpressed. I would not buy them for anything . They sounded muted , dark,lack of high end crispness . Pass waste of my money .
 

Guitarwiz007

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,874
I haven't tried Kinmans, so all I can say is either they don't sound very good or that's a poor demo.

Here's a demo I did comparing Zexcoil pickups to Fender Original '57/'62s a few months ago. This, dare I say it, is a good demo and shows how close the Zexcoils are to true single-coil tone without hum.

Great demo and I really like those Zexcoils!
 

zul

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,320
Second the zexcoil sentiment. I have an SV5 neck and a SV5O mid.
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,571
hardys,

thank you x's 100!! Clean examples. YEA!! Good detective work.

Liked the Rumples a little better.

Kinman's were darker and a few other things.
But, if not A/B'd compared I would like them fine. ( on their own).
In a band situation the darkness prolly wouldn't make a big diff, and the noiseless factor is a great plus.

Thanx again for linking the clean examples.
Whaddever your gender, 'you da man'!!

.
 

Guitarwiz007

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,874
I haven't tried Kinmans, so all I can say is either they don't sound very good or that's a poor demo.

Here's a demo I did comparing Zexcoil pickups to Fender Original '57/'62s a few months ago. This, dare I say it, is a good demo and shows how close the Zexcoils are to true single-coil tone without hum.

One of the best demos I've seen of pickups. You should give classes and others, take note. This is how it is done. Would love to hear those Zexcoils next to the DiMarzio Areas. I have found that I'm not a huge Kinman fan. Well done my friend. Well done.
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,571
I disliked both sets of pickups and the only sound I could even call acceptable was the Rumple neck sound -

but did not really hear any "magic" in any position. It actually sounded like a neck Tele pickup most of the time IMHO.
Too rounded, too sterile.

I love Strats and have to hear glassiness, quack, woody, sparkly, tones

Like wind cries mary woody airyness

or sultans of swing quack

but I heard none of that in these pickups.
Those two iconic songs were recorded loud, and as on Sultans, 3 amps too! And factor in compression, etc.

Recorded as in the Kinman/Rumple link demo, I doubt if any Strat pups would truly rise to the occasion.

.
 
Last edited:

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,910
Youtube Demos really don't tell you much of anything. I've heard things on youtube sound identical, when I know for a fact from having used said things IRL they are nothing alike.

I've used Kinman and Dimarzio noiseless strat pickups since the late 90s when they first appeared. Have used Zexcoils to. Here's my real world observations:

Zexcoil: You like them or you don't, but they don't sound like real single coils, or even older noiseless single coils, not even close. They really don't sound like anything else either. They have their own sound. The neo magnets give them a lot of cluck even though they tend to be much more mid-rangey than a single coil, with less low and high end. Here I'm talking about the ones that are supposed to sound like singles, not the ones that are some kind of bucker sound (though those do not sound like anything else at all either). That cluck fooled me when I first heard them absent a point of comparison. When comparing them directly to real singles or Kinman/Dimarzio, like I said, they do their own thing, but what it is not is an authentic single coil sound. They are to singles and good noiseless what EMG is to passive humbuckers. Kind of going for the same thing, but most definitely different and with it's own flavor that, as I said, you either like or you don't.

Kinman/DiMarzio: They have both been through several iterations since the late 90s when they first appeared, or if you want to go back to the 80's technology where the hum eliminating coil was a mirror of the sound producing coil. They've gone back and forth over the years as to which I thought did a better job of capturing the "real" single coil thing. Since the Area line ('67, '58, '61, '54, HB2, Injectors, Solo) appeared, DiMarzio is the clear winner. What I mean by that is this: The Dimarzios respond like a real single and have the "breath" and "air" of a real single. Kinmans, even the impersonators, do not, although the impersonators are a lot closer than the "aged" sound line. Even Kinman's 'breathiest" impersonator does not have the glass and air of the Areas. Whether that works for you or not depends on what you want; I find in some guitars that darker sound can help, especially if the guitar is particularly bright, it's just another flavor available. But if I want that single coil thing, even on a hotter pickup, I go with the DiMarzios. I've pulled Impersonators out of guitars because they were just too dark or compressed, replaced with Areas and the guitar opened up and went from meh to wow.

When I see people dis the Areas and say "they don't sound like a real single", I facepalm. Where that comes from is they don't sound like any PARTICULAR other company's pickup. That said, they nail all the "real single" things, the response, the high end extension that frankly other noiseless brands are lacking. If your point of comparison is single coil X, having compared about 20 brands/models of real single directly vs. kinmans and areas, I can tell you that 'real' single coils A-Q sound less like real single X than the areas do. "Real" singles are all over the map. Some are dark, some don't quack for sh*t, some are really scooped, some have strong mids, etc. Areas fall easily within the parameters of the 'real' singles I tested them against, and are closer to the middle of the curve than a lot of the others. Overall, I preferred the tone of the Areas to any of the 'real' singles, although most of them had their charms, there were things i'd criticize about any of them, Areas included, but on average 'what I could live with tone wise', the Areas were my overall favorite. Never mind that they don't hum.
 

Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,585
It depends on how you play and where you play. I like gain and playing in dive bars too much to be able to use a stock pickup Strat. I have one Strat with Kinman pickups the first AVN version and another Strat with vintage Fender pickups with the Illitch system. They both work great. Either one is much preferable to me than needing to leave a guitar in the bag because it's too noisy for the venue. If there are two Strats in the room and it's a studio or gear obsession type thing, then I'll notice and appreciate a slavishly vintage Strat, but any other time, I'm going to be hearing the notes and the playing, after about 2 seconds thinking about the subtlety of the #2 and #4 Strat sounds. Those sounds don't suit me anyway, too friendly, to phased out, I don't know great enough drummers to use them.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,910
Illitch system
I tried that for a while. Just wasn't quiet enough for me. Under stage lights in old venues..... quieter, but just not quiet enough.

Another option I didn't mention above was Bardens. Like Zexcoils, they do not sound like single coils, they have their own thing, and you like it or you don't. To my ear, they are very scooped and have a lot of the qualities of a '70s strat pickup, very nice, delicate clean tone. Unlike any other pickup, everything they make has a very extended high end, not to the point of being sharp, but the extremely high frequencies where the nuance of the initial pick attack envelope lies, Bardens have that like nothing else. You like it, or ya don't. They mask nothing. Clean they track fast picking amazingly; they will also track F ups amazingly, so if you don't have really clean technique, you might want to avoid. Personally, I love the clean tone. Overdriven that scooped nature and ultra high-end breath might make them come across as not having enough body for some folks.
 

ToneKing

Member
Messages
1,424
I have used the Illitch system, but they did change the tone of my stock pickups and it does not eliminate the noise. It reduces it down to a more manageable level. The Dimarzios sound good, but they do not have a good #2 and #4 position, which for my needs on a strat is essential. The ZExcoils I have never tried, but to be honest I am to traditional and can't stand the look.
 

Fons

Member
Messages
526
When I see people dis the Areas and say "they don't sound like a real single", I facepalm. Where that comes from is they don't sound like any PARTICULAR other company's pickup. That said, they nail all the "real single" things, the response, the high end extension that frankly other noiseless brands are lacking. If your point of comparison is single coil X, having compared about 20 brands/models of real single directly vs. kinmans and areas, I can tell you that 'real' single coils A-Q sound less like real single X than the areas do. "Real" singles are all over the map. Some are dark, some don't quack for sh*t, some are really scooped, some have strong mids, etc. Areas fall easily within the parameters of the 'real' singles I tested them against, and are closer to the middle of the curve than a lot of the others. Overall, I preferred the tone of the Areas to any of the 'real' singles, although most of them had their charms, there were things i'd criticize about any of them, Areas included, but on average 'what I could live with tone wise', the Areas were my overall favorite. Never mind that they don't hum.
Well, I hope you don't mind me saying, but I had the Area's in my Strat and the were a big disappointment. Dull, lifeless and no oomph nor spank as the real thing does have. The above Zexcoil video is much more convincing to me.
 

songtalk

Member
Messages
3,483
FWIW, I bought the Kinman Broadcaster pickups and put them in a tele. They were dark, sterile and noise free. Didn't really care for them or any noiseless pickup I've ever used.

I use Wilde Alnico Microcoils which are true single coils with a shorter magnetic field due to very thin wire (170 gauge?). They are noiseless enough for me and have MORE clarity than regular F-type single coils.

Highly recommended.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,910
Well, I hope you don't mind me saying,
I don't mind you saying you're entitled to your opinion. Which particular Areas did you have? There are a lot of different ones, like any pickup you have to match to the guitar.

Again, don't believe videos. I've been in the room for hours with all the stuff I talked about installed in guitars I've had for years and know the tone of. I didn't find the zexcoils to sound anything like singles, less so than even the noiseless pickups from the 80s like the old Duncan stacks and DiMarzio HS series.

I use Wilde Alnico Microcoils which are true single coils with a shorter magnetic field due to very thin wire (170 gauge?). They are noiseless enough for me and have MORE clarity than regular F-type single coils.
170 gauge?? That would be impossible to wind with. Your tonal description sounds like Bardens.
 

songtalk

Member
Messages
3,483
I don't mind you saying you're entitled to your opinion. Which particular Areas did you have? There are a lot of different ones, like any pickup you have to match to the guitar.

Again, don't believe videos. I've been in the room for hours with all the stuff I talked about installed in guitars I've had for years and know the tone of. I didn't find the zexcoils to sound anything like singles, less so than even the noiseless pickups from the 80s like the old Duncan stacks and DiMarzio HS series.



170 gauge?? That would be impossible to wind with. Your tonal description sounds like Bardens.
They sound nothing like Bardens.

They are the last design of the late great Bill Lawrence. They are eddy free and use alnico II rods on the alnico microcoils, which are designed to mimic 60s fender pickup tone more closely, or neodymium as in the true original mocrocois. These have adjustable poles and can do a LOT of different stuff. They are machine wound at special tensions and the pickups are uniquely potted in some sort of epoxy. They are definitely like 170 gauge.

They sound like the Wilde keystones if you are familiar. But more noiseless and more clarity.

Bardens have a harsh upper midrange and the microcoils have none of that. They are incredible.
 

LReese

Member
Messages
2,154
I have used the Illitch system, but they did change the tone of my stock pickups and it does not eliminate the noise. It reduces it down to a more manageable level. The Dimarzios sound good, but they do not have a good #2 and #4 position, which for my needs on a strat is essential. The ZExcoils I have never tried, but to be honest I am to traditional and can't stand the look.
I'm still very pleased with the Ilitch systems - its the built in system. One's on a push-pull to disable the system. My ears aren't good enough to tell a difference - Also its definitely very quiet. I've also got am older Ilitch (Suhr Branded) backplate on another Strat - no issues with that either.
 




Trending Topics

Top