Kinman vs Fender Noiseless ... are they basically the same?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by rockindillo, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. rockindillo

    rockindillo Member

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    I'm very taken with the Kinmans on a couple of friends' Strats and quite fancy them for my next project.

    However, they are rather pricey and I have also been considering Fender Noiseless units as an alternative as there seem to be a good few of them on eBay for a decent price.

    Am I right in thinking they are very similar in design and sound? I seem to remember one party taking the other to court a few years ago over some kind of patient infringement (can't remember which way it worked).

    Any thoughts, recommendations and suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. rockindillo

    rockindillo Member

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  3. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    I am not qualified to answer this question because I have never heard kinmans in person.

    However, I have read a lot about them and based on the reviews and sound clips I don't think they are even on the same page. From all accounts, Kinmans can get a a pretty vintage and woody type sound. I have heard numerous guitars with Fender Noiseless pups and they are always bright and a little harsh. Dimarzio areas are not as bright as the Fenders either and I think if you are looking for a better "deal" as far as price the area sould be something I would look into.
     
  4. rockindillo

    rockindillo Member

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    Are the DM Areas noise-cancelling, like the Kinmans and the FNs?
     
  5. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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  6. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    The Kinman and Fender designs are actually very different. In fact, the Kinman design is rather unorthodox, but it seems to work quite well. You can read about it on Kinman's website http://www.kinman.com/html/myStory.htm

    Tonally, they are both shooting for variations of the same themes: medium to medium-hot output single coil strat tones without the hum. Also remember that Fender has three different noiseless designs: the Vintage Noiseless, the Hot Noiseless (designed for Jeff Beck), and the Samarium Cobalt Noiseless (SCN) designed by Bill Lawrence (the company, not Bill & Becky...another long story). Kinman also has 3 sets (and more variations if you want to mix & match models) depending on what you're looking for: the Traditional MK II set, the Blues set, and the Woodstock set, each with their own distinct spin on various vintage sounds.

    The point is that there are alot of "apples to oranges" comparisons that go on here so make sure you're doing your homework.

    Personally, I've had experience working with all 3 Fender designs and the MK II Kinmans. The Fender Vintage Noiseless was probably my favorite with the Kinman MK II's a close second. The Hot Noiseless had great low end but were a little too "hi-fi" for my taste and the SCN's had little to no vintage mojo whatsoever. Keep in mind that these experiences are subjective and based on one particular guitar.

    That being said, I have gone away from noiseless pickups entirely and have instead opted to shield my guitars properly, use good cables, and stick with real single coil pickups. There's just no comparison IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  7. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    Here's what I've found...note I haven't played all the models of all pickups but...

    Fender Noiseless (From 2000 Strat Deluxe), I disliked, lifeless and flat.

    Kinman MK II (put in the 2000 Strat Deluxe), good tone and feel but pricey.

    DiMarzio's Areas (#1 Strat), best pickups I experienced and great price.

    I run Area's in my #1 Strat and have no need to change.
     
  8. Cosmik de Bris

    Cosmik de Bris Member

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    I have two Strats one is Alder with SCNs and the other is Ash with Kinman Woodstocks in it. They are both very quiet but the Kinmans have that real Hendrixy sound which I like. The SCNs are very good for high gain stuff. Maybe it's the guitars but they sound nothing alike.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the kinmans and the dimarzios are in a league that the fender noise-canceling versions can't touch.
     
  10. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Big +1 on the Dimazio Areas more single coil sounding than all the rest including the Kinmans.
     
  11. doveman

    doveman Member

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    I have a clip of Area 58-58-61 setup in the clips section ... I posted Monday I think.
     
  12. beej

    beej Supporting Member

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    The SCNs were designed by Bill Lawrence the person, as in Bill & Becky.

    My two cents, having played both Kinmans and Areas is to consider the Bill Lawrence offering- the L200. I think the Areas sound more natural than the Kinmans, and I think the Lawrences sound even better than that. In all the shoot-outs I've done, I've picked the L200. But everybody's got their preference, and thank god we've all god different ears.
     
  13. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I thought the Kinmans I used were the "strattiest" sounding noiseless pickups I'd ever used. Compared to them, the Fender "standard" noiseless were dull.

    Fender's "Hot Noiseless" pickups were much closer to the Kinmans, but not better than them. I stuck with the Kinmans.

    --chiba
     
  14. wleeds

    wleeds Member

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    And, the L280/290 set are just as quiet and well rounded as anything else out there. You can't beat the price either. Hand made by Bill, not the comany.
     
  15. Martian

    Martian Member

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    I've tried them all. IMHO, the the Kinmans blew away everything by a mile until DiMarzio came out with the Area series and dethroned them. The DiMarzios to me are now the best and importantly too, the best bang for your buck. I currently have the 58/58/61 combo in my in my #1 Strat and am going to try the 67 in the neck. As always, YMMV.
     
  16. rockindillo

    rockindillo Member

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    Thanks for all your wise words, guys. Looks like the Areas are the way to go, then - especially if I can get one of my Stateside pals to ship them to me.
    As is often the case over here in the UK, they're almost twice the price in the UK!
     
  17. Luie

    Luie Member

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    I read all this glowing reviews about dimarzio area 58 and 61 so I got a set hoping to get better than kinman traditional mk-II set which I had for a while. I was totally happy with the kinman mk-II but the reviews here convinced me the areas were better so I paid up for a set of areas.

    I took the kinmans out and put the areas in, did not change the pots or anything just a fresh set of strings. I adjusted the areas to where the kinmans were set but my first impression was they are dull and a bit lifeless using the same amp settings too. I fiddled with the adjustments and my amp controls many times for about 2 weeks but in the end I had to admit the kinamns were so much better.

    The kinman mk-II set is definitely more alive and has better highs and the attack is more satisfying. The whole sound is more open and responds so well. With the areas 58 and 61 it felt like I had to push the notes out and it was more work to do. I have been spoiled with the kinmans being so responsive and easy to play. With them I forgot what its like to have to work hard at playing ordinary pickups. I dont play distortion only clean but loud. I like to hear the details in the sound and I like to feel stimulated and a bit excited I like it to be easy with the sound kind of exploding out the amp even when played soft.

    I listened to a sound file for an artist mentioned on another forum Harry Jacobson using the areas and he got a great sound that I like. But I think he was using way special effects to get that sound because I couldnt get close with my areas, hes probably using a sound modeling effects rack. I like honest sound and dont use effects.

    I play at my best when my pickups are exciting to play, the dimarzio areas didnt stimulate me to be at my best. I put the kinmans back in and the disappointment has gone away an Im really enjoying playing at my best again.
     
  18. phazerz

    phazerz Member

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    Luie, you need 500K pots to hear the Area's !....
     
  19. Lespaulsignature 74

    Lespaulsignature 74 Silver Supporting Member

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    Fralin just came came out with a set of noisless Strat pickups but there is very little info out there on those PU's. There was a thread started here recently about the noisless Fralins.

    I know this has nothing to do with his single coils but I just put a set of Fralin Hum Canaceling P90's in my Lp Special and they sound very close to the Lollars I had in it.
     
  20. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

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    I had Kinmans in a strat. Sounded really good.
    I have Suhr's with the SSCB system in another strat and find I like that a tad better.
    Nothing wrong with the Kinmans though.
     

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