Re: Tone Zone, Air Zone, Norton, Fred, Or Dual Sound
I hated the AN in the bridge position. It's thin and anemic. The "air" technology has something to do with a slight separation between the magnet and the poles, from what I've heard. Like there's a filler strip in there separating the two. In other words, it's somewhat of a weakening of the magnetic pull. I don't know how they compensate for it with the windings or whatever. But with the reduced output, I feel you get a reduction in low end power between the two. They may read the same frequency response on a pickup tester, but when you're actually playing, each frequency area is essentially competing with all the others. The AN seems to lose any authority in the low end. Dynamically speaking, harder hit notes will tend to deliver less low end crunch, when compared to the same non-air pickup. But that's an advantage for neck pickups and in situations where you're trying to stay bright and jangly in a lead situation. But the PAF Pro is doing that for you already, and you want to change that.
That's why I think the Air Zone is a decent bridge pickup. (not necessarily for you in particular) because it eliminates the objection people have to the TZ sounding too thick or "bricky". Some say to move the TZ away from the strings a little and it's better. In a roundabout way, the AZ sort of does that from the inside. It moves the magnets away from the poles internally so you can have the AZ right up against the strings (improving the attack and dynamics) while still not getting muddy.
Don't get the AN for bridge. It's really only a neck pup IMO. The Breed, while it may be a good choice for you, is wound up real hot like the TZ, and is pretty thick sounding. It sounds to me like you really don't want to let go of the sparkle and sizzle in the high end that you're getting right now from the PAF Pro. You just want to add some chunk and output to it, but still retain the harmonics and dynamics. That's why I still think the Fred and Norton are good choices, and maybe the Air Zone.