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Dimarzio DP228 Crunch Lab

 
One thing has stayed consistent throughout John Petrucci's long and successful career: the DiMarzio pickups in his guitars. John has been pushing the envelope of progressive metal since the late eighties, and the DiMarzio Crunch Lab Bridge Model ensued from Dimarzio's most recent collaboration with John. He used this guitar pickup throughout Dream Theater's tenth...


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A strangely surprising pickup featured

Comments I have a EBMMJP6 that came with a D Sonic. I never liked that tone because I always found it too harsh and too stiff. I quickly replaced it with a Steve's Special, and it stayed that way for about 2 years.

Lately, after experimenting with some PAFs in Les Pauls, I realised I really liked pickups with a nice midrange and very sweet, rounded top end. The Steve's Special was far from this, and I grew tired of that tone, though it was something I loved for more than 10 years, ever since my JPM90HAM in 1998.

So I decided to try the Crunchlab and Liquifire combo, mainly to try to get a fatter neck tone to compensate for the 24 fret position as opposed to a 22 fret position in the neck. The Liquifire was nice, but what really amazed me was the Crunchlab. I never expected a hard hitting, high powered pickup to sound so sweet.

Yup, you heard right. It fits right into a blues jam with super low gain and soulful playing better than most other high output pickups I've tried. It's almost like an oxymoron. high powered sweet sounding indeed.

demioblue+astateofgrace.mp3



Liked about it It's fat, big and has enough midgrange to sound a little "vintage" if you play it through a slightly broken up amp, or a fully clean amp with a tubescreamer. It's dynamic enough to cross genres and literally confound listeners who think that you might be playing a PAF instead. Yet it's got enough compression and power to push the amp into distortion with a little help into hard rock and metal sounds. Very wide range of character to be found in this one pickup.


Didn't like Don't like the bar design, but that's an integral part of the entire pickup. Can't do without it.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By whitestrat
Nov 15, 2010
 
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Definitely a keeper. featured

Comments I purchased a Dimarzio Crunch Lab to test in an mahogany RG that I found a little muddy sounding with the stock pickup. I had played one a bit previously that was installed in an basswood PGM model and was very curious about it since it sounded quite good.

I use it primarily with high gain distortion sounds, and some clean sounds.

I installed it with the bar toward the neck (away from the bridge) and found it to sound warm, with nice even mids. It is a very, surprisingly, clear and articulate pickup. The low end was not muddy and required very little adjustment to my usual sound to get working. Everything seemed pretty great with this pickup. Even the highs sounded very good, clear, not shrill, but still retaining bite and presence.

So far my reaction to the pickup has been mainly distorted, but I also found the Crunch Lab to be a pretty good pickup when played clean, or with low amounts of distortion. It is such an even sound, that cleans don't get boomy as some humbuckers do when used with clean settings.

It was very responsive to volume knob changes, and dialing down the guitar output produces a nice jangly distorted tone with much less gain. Almost a vintage sounding vibe to it this way.

I've tried many Dimarzio's and always like them in some ways, and hate them in other ways. The Crunch Lab is one that is going to stay installed in this guitar for the foreseeable future. I'm impressed Dimarzio, and hats of to John Petrucci for knocking this one out of the park.


Liked about it Smooth, clear even tones. Moderate output and great tone.


Didn't like One thing I don't like about this pickup is that it wasn't created long ago. I wish I'd had this years ago.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By blackspy
May 19, 2010
 
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VERY Impressive DiMarzio... featured

Comments I put the Petrucci Crunch Lab/Liquifier combo in a new Ibanez RG 350m & also in an 08' Ibanez RGR420 (not pictured) for comparison purposes after the not much prompting from DiMarzio's ace pickup guy Jeremy Johnson, who has NEVER steered me wrong before..
:}

Score one more for Mr. Johnson.

The crunch lab is great if you play with ALOT of gain, like I do, yet need your bridge pickup to not sound like a chainsaw. I liked the basic tone of the Drop Sonic, but it had some quirks I just never warmed up to...
This is like the final FINISHED version IMO.

Tight lows, pronounced mids and highs without being TOO shrill.

This pickup seems to my ears to sound like a less trebly JB, or a EVO without the painfull high mids..

I tried this guy out in the maple boarded RG 350 & the rosewood boarded RGR and with the exception of the maple bringing a hair more bite to the table, the Crunch Lab sounded almost identical in both guitars.
BTW, I mounted the solid bar facing away from the bridge on the advice of DiMarzio tech persons..

I ran the Crunch Lab into a BOSS GT8 on a Soldano setting into a Peavey Windsor 100 watt tube head, then into a Hughes & Kettner 4 x 12 w/ Celestion Vintage 30's on high gain for 3 entire 4hr cover rock shows and it sounded incredible. Great harmonics and clarity. When they say crunch they mean it. Not a screamer of a pickup, but all the frequencies seem balanced and clear. Still reasonably hot, just not over the top.

Cleans are REALLY nice...

Like I said if you like the JB...

If you like a big bottom heavy distortion you will flat out hate this pickup.
My RGR is now my drop D guitar, which is why this went bye bye in that guitar in favor of a Super Distortion, but that's another review all together..

I never got a chance to try this guitar out with my metal band, so I can't vouche for how well she handles live with a full 5150, but I digress...

If you play Classic Rock to Avenged Sevenfold,Disturbed,Pantera, etc.. you will be happy..

1229092311.jpg

1229092312a.jpg



Liked about it It has an amazing clarity, VERY Duncan JB-esque.
IMO it improved on all the areas the DiMarzio Drop Sonic was lacking.
Cuts thru, but not shrill like an Evo bridge IMO...

It excells at distorted playing, but in split modes it comes frighteningly close to a strat.

Depending on your amp & EQ you can almost get a tele-like bridge pickup tone...



Didn't like For what these pickups are suppose to do, sound great with heavy distortion & clean up for beautiful clear clean tones, there's very few pickups that do it better.

Even in straight humbucking mode it sounds great clean...


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By Shreddy Krueger
Dec 30, 2009
 
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One of the best rock pickups to come out in a long time. featured

Comments I've been toying with pretty much every high-output Dimarzio for some time now. When the Crunch Lab came out I ordered one and put it in the bridge of an RGR with the solid bar toward the rear. This is one awesome-sounding pickup. Notes in chord are articulate, chugging metal palm mutes are brutal and nicely compressed, and leads (yes, even on the bridge pickup) cut right through the mix. I ordered another one and put it in the bridge of an SA series and got the same great result. The EQ curve favors the mids and the bass and I think the mid frequencies really are what make this pickup stand out in the crowd. I played both through a Mesa Mark V, Marshall JVM410H, Marshall 1974X, Marshall M15 Mini-Stack, and a Hughes & Kettner TriAmp MK II, along with dozens of models through Pod Farm--couldn't make it sound bad!!!

CrunchLabDirty.mp3

CrunchLabClean.mp3

CrunchLabClean.mp3

CrunchLabDirty.mp3



Liked about it Very articulate with many different styles.
Available with black pole pieces.
Versatile--can be installed reversed for a different sound (like the D-Sonic).


Didn't like Pricey because it's new.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By racerevlon
Nov 13, 2009
 
Last updated: January 11, 2010
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Dimarzio Crunch Lab featured

Comments After my recent shift towards metal, I found myself playing my guitar distorted more often. So naturally, I began to downtune my 6 string, wanting to get that nice crunch sound. Not owning a 7 string guitar, I wanted to really get some crunch going. So as soon as I found out about the Crunch Lab I went online and got one right away. After hearing the latest offerings from the metal god John Petrucci, I noticed he had a very smooth crunch tone, and wanted to emulate it somewhat. The moment I finished installing it, I cranked up my mesa, and instantly fell in love with it. Its almost a controlled smooth crunch, which is want you really want with respect to metal rhythm. Describing crunch as smooth, may seam odd, but that is really the only way I can describe it. The crunch on muted rock chords are controlled and then letting the rock chords ring out, really shows the pickup's ability to sustain and smooth a dirty distortion, allowing for complete control of the guitar. Shredding with this pickup is great because of the smooth nature of the pickup, each note gets its chance to shine, even at high speeds. If shredding is your guilty little pleasure then this pickup is for you. I ordered mine in blue to match my Ibanez J Custom RG-Paint-2 and looks great.


Liked about it Suprisingly the lead sounds on this pickup is just as tasty as its ability to crunch. Its crunch ability at high volumes, helps keep the sound controlled which I like. Of Course the choice of colors is always a large part of buying pickups and the fact that its never extra for any color combination from Dimarzio is great.


Didn't like The only thing I dont like about this Dimarzio pickup and pretty much any pickup is that the ends of the wires are always clipped clean. It would be nice to see a pickup company shave off a small amount of plastic over the wire ends, to make it easy for first time installation. Otherwise I find no fault with this pickup and really enjoy using it.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By IbanezFreak777
Oct 20, 2009
 
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One of the most versatile pickups I've ever played

Comments Before using this pickup, I was very into the Dimarzio Tone Zone. I really liked the Tone Zone, but I was looking for a similar sound with tighter bass and a more HI-FI sound. So I started to do some research. I played a Dimarzio D-Activator Bridge and really liked the tightness it offers, but there was something missing. I also played the Seymour Duncan JB, which I really liked for lead/solo stuff, but it's not as tight as I wanted to. So I emailed Dimarzio asking which bridge pickup could give me what I was looking for, and they told me to start with the Crunch Lab, and what a start!

The Crunch Lab is a very versatile pickup that can give a nice fat, big sound, but also it sound tight on the bass and with a Hi-Fi quality. I would say that it's like a Hi-Fi version of a JB. Also, the sound changes depending the position is mounted. In a LTD M-103FM that I have (which has a basswood body/maple top, maple neck and maple fretboard) I found that the bar towards the neck sounded too bright in overdrive. Beautiful for clean sounds though, but I was looking for a little warmer, fatter sound. So I just turned it the opposite way (bar towards the bridge) and BAM!! There it was. So creamy and fat, but it was still tight and aggressive.

However, I preferred the bar towards the neck on my Ibanez PGM30 (which is basswood body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard) because this guitars sounds warmer by nature, in comparison to my LTD. So that extra brightness that the bar towards the bridge has helped to balance the the sound of my PGM30.

This is the type of pickup that you can't go wrong. If you don't like the sound of one position, just rotate it around. It worked for me.

Check these samples out for you to compare between my old Seymour Duncan JB and the Crunch Lab on my Ibanez PGM30:
Seymour Duncan JB: http://snd.sc/ZE3jfc
Dimarzio CL (bar towards the neck): http://snd.sc/QboXH6

Also, check a sample of the CL on my LTD M-103FM (bar towards the bridge): http://snd.sc/ZDhFfC

DiMarzio Crunch Lab Test Drive (video)



Liked about it Very versatile pickup. Very clear and articulate. IMO, sounds similar to a JB but as tight as a D-Activator bridge. Sounds different depending the installation position, which helps in fittings the tastes of the player.


Didn't like Would like to have a little more of that vowel sound that can comes from pickups like the Tone Zone, JB, old PAFs, etc., but without affecting the tightness of the pickup.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By alchemus
Nov 13, 2012
 
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A nice surprise!

Comments I recently acquired an RG-770 that has a Dimarzio Crunch Lab/ Liquifire combo. I'd been wanting to try these out for some time now, and finally have them. See my other review for the Liquifire. The Crunch Lab is a nice surprise! I find it as kind of a cross between an Evolution and a Breed. It has that clarity and punch of an Evo, but also has the warmth and creamy smoothness of a Breed. I ran it from the RG770 into my B-52 AT100 and was blown away by the pure gainy crunch of this beast. It also cleans up nice on the clean channel.


Liked about it Sweet clarity while providing creamy crunch.
Also sounds great through the clean channel.
Plenty of gain.


Didn't like Dimarzio's site advertises these in various colors, but all online retailers only seem to have them in black, white, cream and zebra. The price is also quite a bit higher than similar Dimarzio pickups.


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.5

By AlaskaBat
Sep 17, 2011
 
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An excellent Pickupthat excells in most high gain situations

Comments Well I have this on an Eternal Decent prototype EX 50 LTD, along with the matching liquifire in the neck, which I will also review.
It is a custom ordered version so it's red/black with black poles and black rail, this is an aesthetic difference to the standard models with chrome/nickel poles.

It has the bar towards the bridge I have yet to try it with the bar towards the neck, which I plan to when the one i've ordered for my 550 has arrived so I obviously like the pickup.

Typical Dimarzio features like 4 way wiring for various pickup options like splitting and parralell wiring for the middle...



Liked about it It's punchy has sustain sounds great through high gain but still clear, has the right amount of frequencies for my personal tastes in the lo mid and high band without anything being in your face...
I like the clarity it has and it's ability to cut through without being piercing or harsh, it's not muddy like some high output pickups too which is very nice...


Didn't like Erm a minor(no pun intended there) complaint but It does what it does very well but you probably wont coax many good bluesy tones or find it usable for lower gain stuff...
It doesn't do to well for cleans unless split either.


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By ozzuk
Jul 09, 2011
 
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Clearly handle drop tunings.

Comments I have spend a little time with the Crunch Lab in a RG770DX. Seems to work out great. Running .10-.46 in D standard. I am amazed and how well it handles the drop tunning with out getting muddy. You can still chord and the note clarity is there even with a highly over driven amp. I play in a 80's hair metal cover band so for the motley crue and slaughter tunes this pick is perfect fit. I find it has a more well rounded sound then the D-sonic had. If you are looking for not clarity in your solo's or even in your chording and your play a lot in D standard or lower seriously consider this pick up. It surprisingly cleans up quite nice and coil taps too making it far more diverse then first anticipated.


Liked about it -Clarity in Drop tunings
-Cleaned up well with volume roll off
-Loads of out put


Didn't like Fairly one sided, if you aren't playing in D standard or lower this might not be the pick up for you. Really shines in lower tunings.


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By cpallstar
Dec 25, 2010
 
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Exactly what I was hoping for

Comments I replaced stock DiMarzio/IBZ on my Prestige RG2550. Was hoping for tighter bass as stock pickups sounded muddy for palm muting. Wasn't really looking for more output as stock pickups are pretty hot. This pickup gave me exactly what I was looking for.

Soldano x88r/SLO inspired preamp demo, part 4 (video)

Soldano x88r/SLO inspired preamp demo, part 4 (video)

crunch_lab.jpg



Liked about it tight bass, never flubby
* nice highs, enough to cut through without being shrill
* I know it's not important, but it looks awesome with chrome bar pole


Didn't like Nothing that I can think of.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By bancika
Apr 13, 2010
 
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No surprises here

Comments I'm not that kind of player who keeps following his idols gear still as I'm a drean theather fan since 1994,I decided to try it.
All my guitars have an evo bridge cause to me it's the best pickup to my needs so I nevet thought about trying another pickup but.....well I tried crunch lab and the only difference between it and evo is it has less mids,but it's a very small difference,sustain is the same,volume(output)is the same.
Like evo it's an awesome pickup but if you already have an evo don't spend money thinking this will sound REALLY different.
I'm giving 5 stars because if I didn't have evos this one would be the best pickup to my needs.


Liked about it 1- Tone

2- Sustain


Didn't like Small difference from other hi gain pickups.
Well what else could I expect?
Maybe it'd make my guitar fly?


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By 6fingers
Jan 22, 2010
 
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best pickup i've played yet

Comments i've played them all. this one has all the attributes i like and need in a pickup for hard rock and modern metal.


Liked about it clear as hell. clearer than a d-activator and just as tight through the low end. retains just the right amount of warmth. single not articulation is very prominate. the pickup has plenty of bite even in a mahogany body. the pickup can be mounted with the blade to facing the neck or bridge. i preferred the blade facing the bridge.


Didn't like nothing, worth every cent. there was no second guessing here flip-flopping back and forth trying to figure out if what i had previously was better.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By bhuard75
Dec 27, 2009
 
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Great Pickup!

Comments Nice and punchy, great tone!! A definite improvement on the D-sonic.


Liked about it Good price, great tone, cuts through the mix very well!


Didn't like Hard to find in stores, pretty much have to order it, could use more color choices


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By guitarist for hi
Nov 16, 2009
 
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pure gravy

Comments I installed this badboy with a Liquifire in the neck (like most JP fans) of my Ibanez SZ720fm. These replaced the stock Duncan Designed pickups which weren't all that bad, but wasn't quite what I was looking for. I'm playing through a Peavey Valveking112 with only a chorus and tube screamer hooked up. When I first plugged in, i couldn't believe how clean and articulate the Crunchlab is for both clean & dirty channels. Total night/day difference compared to the stock pups. It's also very versatile so you can get great blues, jazz, metal, etc. tones with minimal amp tweaking. Best pickup I've used to date!


Liked about it -Smooth tone all-around
-Cleans are chimey
-Distortion is tight and articulate
-Looks killer


Didn't like -nothing I didn't like.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By silverctr
May 29, 2012
 
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One of the best things ever to go inside a guitar.

Comments Holy crap, this thing is awesome. I haven't even put it in a guitar yet; my friends and I just crudely wired it to work without being put in the guitar, so I could hold it over the strings and hear how out sounds without soldering it in yet. Running it through a little Peavy Rage, I was blown away. Just from this simple wiring, I heard it in series and parallel, both with the bar facing the bridge and neck. In series, when the bar faces the neck, the notes are thick and have unparalleled presence, yet still are clearly defined. The lows crunch unlike any other pickup I've heard before. With the bar facing the bridge however, it's clean as hell, but not quite glassy. It's still got a bit of warmth, but it has more way attack and definition. Almost like an active pickup, but with more tonal character (all without the batteries!). Either way, it sounds perfect, depending on your style. In parallel, both positions manage to sound identical, but it actually almost has a "woody" quality, like a Texas Strat pickup on steroids.

Even from this "extensive" test, I could tell that this pickup could work with almost any style. After playing it, I was so frustrated that I had been missing out for so long. I've been unhappy with my tone for ages, and with this pickup, I don't need to do any work to get the best tone I think I've ever heard. It's dynamic across the board, and sounds different depending on how you install it. Plus, it just looks badass with the black bar on one coil with the adjustable pieces on the other. Highly, highly recommended. You cannot do better for the price, it's just impossible. It's probably the best bridge pickup ever made.


Liked about it Every single thing about it. It's everything a good bridge pickup should be. Plus, it sounds very different depending on what direction it's facing, as well as whether it's wired in series or parallel. The versatility is staggering, and each path holds up incredibly in its own way. It's far better than an active pickup, yet needs no battery and is at least $20 cheaper. I could gush on and on...


Didn't like I don't like how this site won't let me rate this pup higher than a 5. I also don't like that you don't have this pickup. Please get it and make me happy. You won't regret it.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By EXshad
Oct 22, 2010
 
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