Cool new gear: Seymour Duncan Blackouts Modular Preamp

Add active pickup output to any passive pickup.

Seymour Duncan have brought out another great product this week. First it was the Liberator, with it’s great solderless pickup installation capability, now they’ve taken that concept further with the Blackouts Modular Preamp.

The Blackouts Modular Preamp gives you the capability to take any 4 conductor passive pickup, and give it the extra output of an active pickup using the Blackouts active pickup technology.

Being that the preamp is all built into a volume pot means that it should be a nice simple install on most guitars.

Here’s the details from Seymour Duncan:

Ingenious System Gives Passive Pickups the Aggressive Sound of Active Pickups for Ultra-Heavy Guitar

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA—The genre-defining crunch and wail of heavy rock guitar often comes from active guitar pickups, which have a built-in, battery-powered preamp epoxy-sealed into a stark black casing. It’s a distinctly modern sound married to a patently modern look.

Now for the first time, guitarists can get the power of active pickups with the look of classic passive pickups.

Seymour Duncan, building on the huge success of Blackouts™ active pickups, announces Blackouts™ Modular Preamp, which can make any passive pickup with four-conductor cable an active pickup. The Blackouts Modular Preamp is the same balanced differential preamp that delivers the award-winning, low-noise tone of Blackouts pickups, but removed from the pickup housing and integrated with a high-quality volume potentiometer. Simply by swapping a volume pot for a Blackouts Modular Preamp volume pot, any player can get active tone with a classic look—or the look of any pickup.

For the award-winning tone of Original Blackouts, Seymour Duncan has designed Blackouts Coil Pack pickups, passive humbuckers specially voiced to deliver true Blackouts sound. Coil Pack pickups are available separately as single neck or bridge replacement pickups or as part of a complete two-humbucker Blackouts Modular Preamp set.

Classic Hot Rod

As Seymour Duncan Vice President of Product Frank Falbo describes it, a vintage-looking guitar with a Blackouts Modular Preamp installed is like a stock car that’s been hot-rodded under the hood. “Many players want a vintage-looking guitar to have that powerful active sound—like a classic ride with a souped-up engine. What makes that possible is the new concept of separating the preamp from the pickups. Now you can ‘Blackout’ any passive pickup you want. And with Blackouts Coil Packs you’ll get the same power and tone of Original Blackouts.”

Blackouts active pickups won Guitar World’s Platinum Award, and Guitar Player described their sound as “simply outstanding” for their “amazing” “sense of authority … throughout the frequency spectrum.” Blackouts have been praised for a more organic sound, commanding lows, superb highs, and significantly less noise than other active pickups. It’s the preamp that makes Blackouts pickups stand apart, and it’s that same preamp that’s now available in a modular form.

Solderless Connections

Blackouts Modular Preamp has the same bare-wire Lockdown connectors as Seymour Duncan’s Liberator™ Solderless Pickup Change System. That means connecting a Coil Pack, a different Seymour Duncan pickup, or any manufacturer’s passive pickup is an incredibly simple, solderless procedure, requiring only a mini-screwdriver to secure the pickup and battery leads into the rock-solid screw-clamp connectors.

Blackouts Modular Preamp continues a long tradition of innovation from Seymour Duncan, which is now entering its 35th Anniversary year of helping musicians across genres achieve superb tone. From the heaviest rock guitarists to true vintage-tone disciples, Seymour Duncan provides an unparalleled selection of high-quality pickups that take musicians’ sonic needs seriously.

I love the idea of this. I’ve played EMG equipped guitars for a number of years now, and loved the output, but I also love a number of passive pickups tone. Some of them haven’t had the output I would have wished for though, so throwing one of these into a guitar with a lower output pickup sounds like an amazing thing to me. I was interested in the new Liberator system, but this Blackouts Modular Preamp really excites me. I hope to try it soon.


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