with what amp does they sound identical??
because in my podxt, my chepo ibanez with the stock pu, my RG550 with dimarzios (Evolution and Air Norton) and my ESP with EMGs 85 and 60 sound very similar
but when i play through my Mark IV or other amps, there is a HUGE!!! differnce between my guitars
when i removed the 81 from the bridge of my ESP, i thought "i shoud put this to the chepo ibanez to make it sound good.." (its an RG170 that my ex-girlfriend got it for my, for my birthday) sure there was an imporvemt in tone, but it didnt make the Ibanez sound like my ESP is any way!!!! so i decided to sell the 81...
yes, active pus have charachter, they put it to your guitar, but also amps have charachter, that doesnt mean that when you plug any guitar to an amp, they will all sound the same, thay'll have the same charachter though.. thats how active pups work...
then its up to you, if you like that character or not... and please people, there are other EMG pickups except the 81!!!
its not better than passives, just different, although thay have some characteristics that i would love to have in a passive also....
again, my personal experice and opinion..