X2N Review - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 506
X2N Review

Hi all!
Recently, I got an X2N to replace the Breed bridge in my guitar... so yeah, might as well give a review on this unique pup.

The X2N is Dimarzio's highest output humbucker, right up there with 510mA of output as compared to the Evolution bridge (404mA), Fred (305mA) and Tonezone (375mA). It looks hella nasty with its twin bar magnets.

On to the tone... the X2N is a MONSTER on gain. Expected eh? But the thing is, most applications of the X2N has been with scooped mids, your standard heavy metal eq setting, which gives it a thin sound. The tone guide at dimarzio's shows the mids of the X2N is on par with its treble and thats quite a lot of mids! So!
When you up the mids on your amp so its say, Bass 6 Mids 7 Treble 5, you get a THICK crushing tone. Very different from what you usually heard from players using the X2N. Of course, should you like Chuck Schuldiner's tone, that scooped mids with high treble, or Michael Romeno's tone, the X2N will do that with ease.

On using the X2N as a lead as per Chuck Schuldiner, it sounds thin (scooped mids) but very very cutting. Its got a lot of bite and the sustain is great!
If you up your mids, the tone starts to fatten up a lot, however, you wouldn't get a Tonezone thickness lah... check out the recording below for how thick it can go.

Now, for other applications, the X2N is surprisingly versatile! If you are on a clean channel, the X2N's high output would probably overdrive your amp if it doesn't have high headroom but then that sounds very much like a tube amp abt to break up, nice cruncy tone.
On clean clean, I imagined the X2N turning my guitar (Ibanez S520EX) into a strat, albeit with slightly thicker tone! When I turn the X2N to parallel wiring, I get a great funk guitar tone! Yes, its great for strumming funk lines and your pop songs. However, overall clean tone is thin although it retains its cutting qualities and its not as warm as a Breed but still it does not sound synthetic.

In a nut shell, the X2N is a tremendous pup for high gain music and even within that, it can be versatile going from thick to thin all the while maintaining a crushing drive. On the other hand, the will be others who are more interested in whether it can handle other forms of music and thats where it can do it. Of course, don't try jazz with this.

And yes, I love it to death.

Here is a recording of the X2N in action. The Left and Right rhythm guitars are all using the X2N and so is the Lead.
Equipement and settings as follows.
Guitar (Ibanez S520EX with X2N bridge) --> TS9DX (standard TS9 setting with gain at 8 oclock, level MAX and tone at 1 oclock) --> Boss SD-2 (Lead channel, level at 10, tone at 1030, drive at 1.30) --> Roland Microcube (JC setting, tone at 12) --> Computer using cakewalk SONAR
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to go thru the clean tones of the X2N in the recording but well, here it is in all its heavy metal glory.

X2N Showcase

Shredcows is offline  
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 11:15 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 150
Re: X2N Review

wow sweet, that x2n sounds pretty nice! Awesome review!
ElectriK is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 01:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: China
Posts: 186
Re: X2N Review

Right on Daniel!

I have one in my RG770 and I just love it. It gives you great control over tone (thick-thin, as you say) AND dynamics. It's surprisingly versatile for such a high output pickup and responds well to changes in pick attack.

Harmonics are good (they don't jump out, but it's not hard to get them) and sustain is eternal, agreed.

It's a single minded sredding monster, and its great clarity means it will NEVER mud out in chords but give you great picking definition. I love that 'umph' you can get with it.

Clean is not useless at all, you just have to roll back the volume a bit and pick lightly. Split with a middle single coil, it has good twang.

Actually, I have a Breed bridge lying around and was thinking of replacing the X2N just for fun. Now you've saved me the work! Will I regret putting in the Breed? (sorry I'm lazy, I just hate changing pups and strings!)
AirGuitarHero is offline  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Singapore
Posts: 506
Re: X2N Review

Oh ya, thanks AirGuitarHero! I forgot abt its harmonic response and overall dynamics.... Exactly as you said it!

Hmmmm.... I swapped out my Breed bridge for the X2N. I find the Breed bridge moderately thick and very dynamic. It responds well to your picking and harmonics are good but you got to hit the right spots. I'd say its got a vintage tone but with modern power.
On clean, it shines. Its beautiful. I was astounded when I first heard the breeds in a JEM 7DBK. On my guitar its full hum sound was very well balanced and responsive. Tone wise, moderately thick too and warm. On parallel, its almost acoustic guitar like. I played my guitar straight into a mixer and on parallel, it really sounded like a piezo acoustic albeit more natural and warm sounding!

Right now, i miss my Breed's wonderful cleans but the twang of the X2N is good enough and contrasts nicely with the Breed neck's more fat and les paul-ish tone. I really prefer the X2N's gain though... thicker than the Breeds by a notch and with much more power.

Shredcows is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, Essex, UK
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Re: X2N Review

I have 2 black X2N's lying around here actually, waiting to go in a guitar when I get time. Cant wait to put them in, its all about the gain! The higher output the better for me, nice review.
the.godfather is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Singapore
Posts: 506
Re: X2N Review

Well... you know... its not ALL about the gain... its also about looks.

Twin blade pickups rule.
Shredcows is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,469
Re: X2N Review

Thanks for the sound sample, man. That's some interesting tone you've got there. It's always good to hear samples of people using different pickups for comparative purposes.
lyconxero is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: China
Posts: 186
Re: X2N Review

I just checked the sample. Killer tones! Especially the lead. It's funny how my gear is totally different but you can still hear the X2N through it.
AirGuitarHero is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 02:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Re: X2N Review

I always hear so many people badmouthing this pickup, its my absolute favorite humbucker out there, and i have it in 3 of my 5 guitars(the other 2 have evolutions) however i use it with a booster switch as well, that is a 10x gain boost(you want to talk about high output!)
goth_fiend is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 02:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Re: X2N Review

Originally Posted by goth_fiend
i use it with a booster switch as well, that is a 10x gain boost(you want to talk about high output!)
JAYSUS!!!! Do you want to burn your amp?

There can NEVER be too much gain
AirGuitarHero is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Re: X2N Review

\m/ \m/ is all i have to say
goth_fiend is offline  

acoustic guitar , breed bridge , chuck schuldiner , clean tone , evolution bridge , heavy metal , les paul , output pickup , scooped mids , tube amp

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