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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gonna throw out an arbitrary question, and if we can't figure this out I guess I'll put some sound clips up to better illustrate what I'm hearing.

Just had a Crunch Lab 7 / Liquifire 7 combo installed in my RG1527. They sound fantastic overall, but both pups hiss more than any humbucker I've ever used when I add gain. I've owned Aftermath 7, D Activator 7, Evoloution, Tone Zone, and FRED, and as far as hiss goes the CL/LF take the cake. To emphasize: I'm talking about a steady "sssssssssssss." Not a buzzing or electrical sound.

I've read Crunch Lab 7 reviews where people have said "it's noisier than other pups, though not as noisy as D Sonics." I've never played D Sonics, so I can't compare. All I can say is the CL7/LF7 are hissier than any humbuckers in any of my other guitars.

Normally, I don't use a gate when playing leads because i don't want notes being cut off, and I can tolerate a certain amount of normal hiss. But with the CL7/LF7 there's enough hiss (the hiss is identical in all 3 switch positions) that I can't see going without a gate, which is a bummer.

Based on what I've described, does this sound normal? For those of you who own a CL/LF, did you find it "hissier" than your past pups?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, the lack of responses doesn't give me a warm fuzzy.

Extremely busy for the next week, but I'll try to post some sound clips and do an A/B/C comparison between my 3 guitars. I think that'll give people a better idea of whether what I'm hearing is "normal hiss" or if I got duds. A noise gate easily hides the hiss, but I just hate using a gate for leads unless I ABSOLUTELY have to.

I've been hearing/reading that DiMarzio had some QA issues with the Crunch Lab 7's for a span of time... though I've not heard the same about the Liquifire 7's.
 

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If they are pickups that are designed with unbalanced coils (i.e. not matching resistance on each coil) they will be more prone to hiss or hum. That comes with the territory. I have a feeling these two models do feature unbalanced coils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, sound clips are going to be unnecessary, because I did a little experiment and now know that the issue has something to do with the stereo configuration I'm using, NOT the pickups themselves.

First, a bit of technical background...

The tech installed a single stereo output jack, rather than two separate jacks (as on the old piezo-equipped Ibanezes). He did this at my request. I'm not an electronics guy at all, so here are his exact words:

"The mags are true bypassed now. I used a 4 conductor stereo switch jack. This allows the mags on the tip and the piezos on the ring while the sleeve and switch-contact turn power on/off"

So, my setup is: I run a stereo TRS cable from my guitar's output jack into a Y cable (mono & mono), and plug the Y cable into the left & right line inputs on the back of my POD HD Pro. On the POD, I configure said inputs for "Line Guitar L" & "Line Guitar R" and pan both to center. Then, I simply switch between 100% mags or 100% piezos. No blending. Everything works as it should, but this is where I get the low-level hissing.

As an experiment, I decided to instead plug a standard guitar cable in and go into the normal guitar input on the front of my POD. This works, I just can't use the piezos when I do this... only the magnetic pickups. Guess what? The hissing was gone.

As soon as I went back to the other configuration (stereo TRS cable > Y splitter > L & R line inputs), the hissing was there again.

So, the pickups themselves are fine and sound fantastic. I'm just going to have to use a noise gate in order to use the whole stereo TRS and Y cable getup. Shouldn't be a huge issue, really. It takes very little gating to eliminate this hiss.
 
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