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Donlis DS51, only $24/set

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Antigua, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Sel...e/494803458.html?spm=2114.13010608.0.0.CGPKLo

    [​IMG]

    A few days ago I reviewed the Donlis DS53 , and this here is a second set I received from Donlis. Where as that set costs about $35 USD, this set goes for about $24 USD, and the difference in price comes a difference in quality.

    First, the obvious, the bobbins are plastic, the leads wires has insulated with plastic, and the coils are insulated with a generic polyester film tape. The pole pieces are AlNiCo, so none of that stuff matters once the pickup is in the guitar, but there is something unusual about the "AlNiCo 5"; it's strange to see such low inductances, around 1.9 henries, for 5.8k DC resistance.

    I was expecting these to be very bright pickups, but much to my surprise, they sounded rather full enough. They do sound really nice. I've yanked stock Fender plastic bobbin AlNiCo pickups out of guitars because because something was underwhelming about them, but that's not the case with these.

    If you want a set of good Strat pickups for only $24 (not for one pickup, for all three pickups), look no further.

    Be forewarned though, the neck and middle are 50mm spacing instead of 52mm, so if you want to change the cover color you'd have to order yourself a couple 50mm covers, which are readily available on the Internet. The bridge pickup is 52mm. The narrow spacing actually improves the high and low E pole / string alignment, so this is more of a bonus than drawback.



    Donlis DS51 Bridge
    DC Resistance: 6.43K
    Inductance: 2.249H
    Calculated C: 137pF (147-10)
    Coil width: 0.6045"

    Resonant Peak: dV: 16.1dB f: 8.75kHz (black)
    Loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.7dB f: 4.17kHz (red)



    Donlis DS51 Middle
    DC Resistance: 5.78K
    Inductance: 1.935H
    Calculated C: 124pF (134-10)
    Coil width: 0.6165"

    Resonant Peak: dV: 16.1dB f: 9.16kHz (green)
    Loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.9dB f: 4.46kHz (gray)



    Donlis DS51 Neck
    DC Resistance: 5.75K
    Inductance: 1.911H
    Calculated C: 141pF (151-10)
    Coil width: 0.5850"

    Resonant Peak: dV: 15.6dB f: 9.37kHz (pink)
    Loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 7.0dB f: 4.52kHz (black)

    Pole piece flux density: 900G - 1100G


    Bode plot:

    [​IMG]




    It's unusual to see such low inductances of 1.9 henries for a 5.8k DC resistance. By comparison, a Fender CS 69 measures inductances of 2.2H for DC resisitances of 5.4k, that's more inductance for less coil. I checked a little loose piece of coil wire around the eyelets and it did measure the correct diameter for 42AWG, so process of elimination puts the blame for a low inductance on the AlNiCo pole pieces. This means that the AlNiCo 5 in these Donlis singles have a lower permeability than typical AlNiCo 5 pole pieces. The dB at resonance is also a little higher than typical, at 16dB, as opposed to 15dB, which probably also owes to a lower permeability. The Gauss strength of the AlNiCo pole pieces measures good, so there is no problem there.

    The capacitance measures between 120-140pF are not great by boutique "hand wound" standards, but they're consistent with the capacitances observed in most of Fender's stock Stratocaster pickups.



    [​IMG]
     
  2. zhutwo

    zhutwo New Member!

    Age:
    30
    5
    Aug 23, 2017
    Toronto, Canada
    I bought their Alnico 2 set because I wanted to try A2s in a strat.

    They sound great, but I have no idea if I even received the right set as mine have beveled pole pieces and the DCR I measured was 6.3 5.7 5.7 which is some ways off from the 6.4 6.0 6.0 advertised.

    Are you planning on reviewing any more of their sets?
     
  3. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
    Antigua, thank You for the great review! I want to order these DS-51. Does they sound closest to fender 57/62 from cheap pickups?
     
    StratPlus97 likes this.
  4. kidmo

    kidmo Strat-Talk Member

    88
    May 25, 2008
    Acadiana
    What's the ETA for these, website says 20-40 days. Also, why don't they take PayPal. They look good, I'm hot to try the alnico 5 & 2 mixed set but I don't see the $35 set...
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  5. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    The DS51 is lower wound than either a CS69 or a 57/62, but they're still pretty close, tone wise, clear and glassy, 70's era Strat tone. Another issue with the DS51 is that the pole piece spacing graduates from 52mm to 50mm to 48mm, B M N, so it's a hassle to find correctly sized covers if you want to change out for different colors. If you like the color as it is, there's no problem.

    Even though the DS53 is a little pricier and closer to Fat 50 specs, it's an all around better pickup set.
     
  6. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    I regret to report that I ordered the Five-Two from Donlis and found that they arranged it backwards. They put the AlNiCo 2 under the wound strings and the AlNiCo 5 under the plain strings. I messaged them and they have not responded, which is a first. Since AlNiCo all looks the same, you can't know what you've received without a magnetometer, but I happen to have one. They are essentially unfixable. I'm a little curious to try them out anyway, but I don't expect great results with having under emphasized wound strings and over emphasized plain strings.

    It does take about two to three weeks to get pickups from China.
     
  7. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    @Antigua

    You ever review any GFS offerings?

    Ive got a set of their vintage alnicos sitting around but these prices you posted up are tempting.
     
  8. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    I looked at the GFS Boston Blues, they have cool looking blue colored coils. Low capacitance, technical specs similar to a CS 69 or 57/62. They are of good quality, but priced at $70, you can get the BYO Storm set for $5 less and it's more "boutique" set, essentially identical to David Allens. I'd also rank the Donlis DS53 above anything GFS sells, seeing as it's half the price and just as good. I'd steer clear of any GFS that has a cover and isn't explicitly spec'd as "nickel silver".
     
    amstratnut likes this.
  9. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
  10. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  11. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    Yes, it would be near impossible to remove and replace the pole pieces from fiber bobbin pickups.

    I think you'd remove about 800 winds from the ds53 to land the the high 5k range. Considering their low cost, I'd give it a try, but maybe buy a backup set.
     
  12. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  13. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    52
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    If their QC is that bad, I think I'll pass.
     
  14. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between

    $23 for the DS53 is a killer deal. On AliExpress it looks like the price has climbed to $40 for the DS53. Still a great deal, as similar GFS pickups cost around $75 per set. The BYO Storm set for $60 is probably the best deal, since they're essentially David Allens.
     
  15. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
    Storm looks killer! I live in poor country so 25$ is max . If we add 600 turns to DS-51 and unwind 600 turns from DS-53 what difference will be ?
     
  16. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    I'd say the DS51 and DS53 are around 600 turns apart, maybe a little more than that.

    Keep in mind it's a tricky thing to take of turns of wire, and would work better with the fiber bobbin DS53, because it the DS51 has plastic bobbins, and if you try to unsolder the eyelets, the bobbin will surely melt. Also make sure you can identify the wire that comes from the "end" of the coil, and not the start, becuase if you break the start wire by mistake, the situation would be unfixable, and you would have to try to rewind the pickup with new wire.
     
  17. StampWah

    StampWah New Member!

    Age:
    29
    8
    Feb 15, 2018
    Ukraine
    Thought 1000 turns is 1 KOhm and Plastic bobin pickup can have much parasitic resonances when playing loud.

    I have much soldering exp so it's not a problem. Donlis are celebrating Chinese New Year now so they can send me pickup and reply your V-II failure in march


    My Strat has 48-50-52mm so maybe to order DS-61 and add 600turns? Does this have a good view https://ru.aliexpress.com/item/Free...108.1000016.1.11403924NTG2ev&isOrigTitle=true
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  18. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    327
    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hey @Antigua, did Donlis ever respond about the 5/2 pickups you gotmthat were arranged backwards? I thought those would be a nice set but definitely would want the correct configuration.
     
  19. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    I have an update on the Donlis "Two Five", https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pr...ml?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.8.5f835b80T2PfvK They say they put A2 under the plain strings and A5 under the wound strings, but using a Gauss meter such as this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075XDSTQD/?tag=strattalk05-20 I see that the wound string pole pieces have strength in the area of 750G while the plain string poles are around 1000G, meaning that it's the reverse of what they spec'd, and also the reverse of the Seymour Duncan "Five Two" upon which this product is modeled. Whether Donlis made this mistake on all of them, I dont know I only bought a set of three, but seeing as how the staggered pole pieces are heighted according to the string positioned, it's probable that many sets they sell, if not all of them, are the same way.

    I installed them in a Strat today, just for the fun of it, and you might be surprised to know that I took out a set of Lollar Blondes for these, because though they sound good, I have several other Strats that sound good, I'd rather have one that sounds bad just for the sake of variety. Plus Lollar insists on selling flat pole pieces, and I've come to hate that look, I just can't shake a preference for staggered pole pieces.

    I like how the Donlis "Two Fives" sound, it puts more prominence on the unwound strings for sure, but not to a bad effect. When you strum a chord, it sounds less busy, the lower strings sound like a subtle rhythm section while the plain strings have a lead sound. The three note triads are a little cleaner. Instead of six string fighting for attention, it's sort of like three tenors with a backing orchestra.

    The reason I never bought the Seymour Duncan Five Twos is specifically because they were described as being well balanced, and that's not something I feel I want from a Strat, I like the staggered pole pieces and the peculiar emphasis on certain strings, but I bought the Donlis set because it was so cheap and I wanted to see how a Five Two sounded, but I'm happy I ended up with something unusual. One way to get a similar effect with AlNiCo 5 poled Strat pickups is to simply degauss some of the pole pieces and not others, in a controlled manner, as described here http://www.tdpri.com/threads/degaussing-or-aging-alnico-pole-pieces.805766/
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
    Andrew Wasson likes this.