DiMarzio Area 58/61/67 Analysis

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Antigua, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    [​IMG]

    I got a look at an Area T, and posted about it on TDPRI https://www.tdpri.com/threads/dimarzio-area-t-analysis.1013907/ It looked really decent from a technical standpoint. They made some design choices that appeared to do a good job of isolating the coils, and preventing the lower coil from overloading the upper coil. I've also analyzed the Fender Noiseless https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/fender-vintage-noiseless-analysis-and-review.404990/

    Stacked humbuckers are known for not sounding real "single-coil-like", but the Area T had properties that were very close to a vintage single coil, so I ordered an Area 58, 61 and 67 with the intention of putting the three of them into a Strat. Unfotunately, the Strat versions of the Area T don't appear to be quite as on the mark as the Area T.

    DiMarzio claims on their website that all three models feature AlNiCo 2 pole pieces, but the Area 67 I have on hand appears to use AlNiCo 5 pole pieces. The Area 58 and 67 have lower inductances and higher resonant peaks, while the Area 61 has a higher inductance and a lower peak. The values of all of them are on the hotter side, with resonant peaks in the mid 3kHz range, closer to Texas Specials than 57/62's.

    These pickups use special covers that are more spacious than a vintage correct cover, so if you want to change the colors, you have to order new DiMarzio brand covers.

    Given that the Area 61 has the highest inductance, it's probably a logical bridge pickup. The Area 58 and 67 are too alike for it to matter where one or the other goes, although it appears that the Area 67 uses AlNiCo 5 instead of AlNiCo 2.

    The thing that makes these stacks special is that they dummy coil underneath has a lower turn count with a low DC resistance, and it boosts the inductance as well as voltage output with permeable core pieces that are embedded on the under side. These also have a steel guide around the upper coil that is intended to enhance the magnetic field of the upper coil. This is better than the Fender Noiseless design for at least two reasons 1) the low resistance of the lower coil means there less dummy coil loading 2) the pole pieces do not extend through both coils, each has their own dedicated cores.

    I did further testing of the Area 58 as being representative of all three, since it appears that they are essentially all built the same. The appear to be more single-coilish than Fender Noiseless Stack, but not quite as much as the Area T. Where as the Area T's lower coil appears to produce a nearly equivalent noise voltage as the upper coil, it looks like the Area 58's noise coil isn't quite as productive as it's upper coil. So long as the lower coil is producing some voltage, there will be some noise cancelling, but it appears that the Area T probably cancels noise more thoroughly. Also, it appears that the lower coil picks up and cancels out a higher proportion on "good signal" from the guitar string. If I had to guess why this is, the Area 58/61/67 appear to have a shallower top coil, and a larger lower coil than the Area T. It might have been due to Tele bridge versus Strat pickups size constraints that they ended up this way.

    I'll install them in a Strat as soon as the cream cover replacements come in the mail to replace the black covers it came with. I suspect I won't dig them as much, based on the specs showing a higher inductance and a lower coil that sucks up some of the output, but I will give them a shot. I think I'd prefer three of the Area 61's, so I might buy two more of those and only use that product in all three spots.



    DiMarzio Area 58
    - DC Resistance: 6.025K ohms (top: 4.697k, bottom: 1.3460k)
    - Measured L: 2.688H (top: 2.273H, bottom: 0.7171H)
    - Calculated C: 119.19pF ( top: 221.5pF,bottom: 185pF)
    - Gauss: 650G (AlNiCo 2)

    DiMarzio Area 61
    - DC Resistance: 6.361K ohms (top: 5.034k, bottom: 1.2989k)
    - Measured L: 2.940H (top: 2.551H, bottom: 0.7131H)
    - Calculated C: 97.28pF (top: 178.76pF, bottom: 173.70pF)
    - Gauss: 650G (AlNiCo 2)

    DiMarzio Area 67
    - DC Resistance: 6.008K ohms (top: 4.731k, bottom: 1.2753k)
    - Measured L: 2.680H (top: 2.294H, bottom: 0.7006H)
    - Calculated C: 73.30pF (top: 103.96pF, bottom: 163pF)
    - Gauss: 900G (AlNiCo ?)

    Area 58 unloaded: dV: 10.2dB f: 5.80kHz (black)
    Area 58 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.3dB f: 3.51kHz (blue)

    Area 61 unloaded: dV: 11.1dB f: 5.48kHz (red)
    Area 61 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.5dB f: 3.28kHz (green)

    Area 67 unloaded: dV: 11.1dB f: 9.81kHz (pink)
    Area 67 loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 5.7dB f: 3.85kHz (black)





    [​IMG]


    The unloaded Q factors are a bit lower than real Strat Q factors, probably due to the metal shielding and the screws the hold the assembly together, but the loaded Q factor is very close to a real single coil Strat pickup, which at +5dB at resonance, is closer than a Fender Noiseless, which had a lower Q factor under load around +3dB.

    The bode plot shows the Area 67 with the likely AlNiCo 5 pole pieces having a much higher resonant peak. Based on the capacitance measurements, it appears that the upper coil of the 67 has a much lower capacitance than the 58 or the 61. That might be a manufacturing oddity and not something intentional.


    This plot shows the output of the upper coil alone versus both coils together:

    [​IMG]

    Here the loss is about about -2dB, only slightly better than the Fender Noiseless, and not nearly as good as the Area T. Again, I suspect this is because the top coil of the Area T is more substantial.


    This plot shows induction from the side of the pickup, as opposed to the top, so that both coils receive the same input:

    [​IMG]

    It appears that the lower coil produces less voltage than the upper coil, where as with the Area T the same test showed the two coils producing a much closer voltage.



    Induction from the side, to compare the voltage output of the top versis the bottom coil:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    Excellent info as always, and as a big fan of the Area 58, and 61 I say many thanks. In practice I find the 61 to be a touch mellower sounding than the 58, although I like both of them in the middle and neck positions. I found the 61 to be too thin sounding for the bridge position, and on one of my Strats have the 58's paired with a Virtual Solo in the bridge, and the other The Chopper with the 2 61's.
     
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  3. Nerd

    Nerd Strat-O-Master

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    So... are they Kinman clones or not?:D
     
  4. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    I've never seen Kinmans. I'd be interested, they get a lot of high marks on these forums.
     
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  5. Nerd

    Nerd Strat-O-Master

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    I'm thinking to replace the bridge pickup in my main strat. I may donate it to you but this one is Gen2, may be different to early Kinmans and therefore Dimarzio Area
     
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  6. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    I'd more willfully buy noiseless single coil sized humbuckers if I could be sure they wouldn't have a sapped tone. The MojoTone Quiet Coils had me hopeful, but the magnetic circuit of the two AlNiCo bars seems to be lacking. The Area T had be excited but the Strat versions don't look overly promising.

    There is a way the Strat Area stacks might be improved though, I'll see if it's feasible, if more space were added between the upper and lower coil, the lower coil would cause less drag on the signal, but the issue might be that Strats are not routed deep enough for the pickup to be made taller. They're already pretty tall to begin with.

    It's the proximity that is the problem. If you look at the Ilitch system, it's basically the same idea, but with a dummy coil that is far away from the primary coil. Another way to go would be to remove the low part of the coil entirely and store it in the control cavity somewhere, but that's extensive pickup surgery.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  7. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    Fenders Gen4s are a lot taller than the Areas and they just about fit in a modern Strat routing, in my case an Am Std Strat. The Gen 4s were strangely noisier than Areas which is why I replaced them.
     
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  8. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    That's the story. a lot of people won't buy DiMarzios because the rumour is DiMarzio took Kinmans design them patented it in the USA before Kinman got around to it. A bit like patenting double cream bobbin humbuckers, which got up a lot of peoples noses too.
     
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  9. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have a set of Area Ts and they definitely have more of the rawness that is missing in a lot of noiseless sc pickups. I like the Area SCs as a super quiet ‘57/62 alternative

    Another qreat breakdown Antigua
     
  10. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Strat-O-Master

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    For the Area 58, did you notice any variation in the magnetic field strength across each of the poles? I think the G, B, E Poles for the plain strings may have weaker magnets than the poles for the wound strings.
     
  11. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much for doing these breakdowns and posts. I learn so much from them

    Have you ever done an analysis on the Seymour Duncan Classic Stacks 4 +? I’d be really interested in reading what your thoughts are on them as they are REALLY close to an SSL 2 in tone.
     
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  12. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    No, I dont really care for stacks that much, I've been very reluctant to buy them. They all have the same shortcoming, a dummy coil that is too close to the primary coil. The Area T was the best I've seen, the larger pickup foot print helped in that case. It looks like the Classic Stack is also made in such a way that it can't be taken apart without also being destroyed, glued into the plastic shell.
     
  13. stylemessiah

    stylemessiah Strat-Talker

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    Wouldnt surprise me, being that large corps in the USA treats Australia like a backwater

    I can tell you that Kinman was a well known tinkerer back when i first started playing in the late 80's and was a down to earth guy who could work wonders on your guitar even back then. I lived in Brisbane and he was the local go to guy to get the best out of your guitar.

    The story goes, as i remember it through the fogs of time, that Dimarzio sued Kinman, even though they were technically infringing his patent, issues a few years earlier, but Kinman decided to not spend money travelling to the states to defend something he thought was ridiculous and obviously easily defensible. Got steamrolled

    I wouldnt doubt Kinmans word for a second, stand up guy.

    I would never have bought Dimarzio anyways, theyre just a company i always saw as selling hotter pickups than id ever use.
     
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  14. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    If their pickups are not that good then what does it say about kinman since they supposedly copied him:D?
     
  15. stylemessiah

    stylemessiah Strat-Talker

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    Where did i say they werent good?, read my post again

    I said:

    "I would never have bought Dimarzio anyways, theyre just a company i always saw as selling hotter pickups than id ever use."

    Meaning that was my impression of Dimarzio as a brand....largely overly hot pickups that i wouldnt have bought anyways...i like strictly vintage low powered pickups

    Didnt trash their pickups, said i personally wouldnt have bought any of their pickups, regardless of the kinman saga, and for the record that opinion was mine from well before the saga, as in decades....

    Nice try, but please troll properly next time :)

    No food for you today
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  16. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    It's hard to see how any stack can be good, just given the geometric realities. I'm experimenting with one of the areas so see if they can be made better by increasing the space between the top and the bottom coil. The pickup makers are inclined to make Strat pickups shorter so that they can be lowered without hitting the bottom of the route, but if a person will willing to require that the pickups be set a little high, they lower coil can be further isolated from the the top coil. The DiMarzio Areas would make this easy because they have two little screws on the bottom and they easily come apart.

    I accidentally broke the top coil in the process of removing the metal surround, but I was able to carefully repair it.
     
  17. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    When you copy something that means you try to do it as close to the original as possible...so if those are copies of kinmans they must be like kinmans that you profess they were great...or just as bad if you think they are bad..... thats called logic.
     
  18. stylemessiah

    stylemessiah Strat-Talker

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    Just stop

    Theres enough going on in the world without you spreading negative attitude on top of it

    Go find someone else to pick on....

    btw, congrats for being the first person i put on ignore here
     
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  19. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Unlike you though i own several sets from both....not talking out of my ass about things i know nothing about....also iam not the one that implies that someone stole without evidence now thats called negative attitude to say the least....
    As for the ignore part i cant lie...iam sad....you were such a big part of my life that i hate to see gone...
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020