The Crunch Lab 7 and Liquifire 7 pickup are what John Petrucci is using in the studio in late 2008 and early 2009.
Here is an example of how that sounds on that album:
Of all the groovy patented tech DiMarzio uses, the Virtual Vintage is on both and the Dual Resonance is on the CL7.
Virtual Vintage Tech
What’s that? For the most part, they put ”dummy poles” between the normal pole pieces. The installation is in the underside of the bobbin, so they are not visible when looking at your typical operating humbucker. The purpose is to alter the inductance to ”tune” the coil(s) in a way not traditionally possible.
As an aside for the pickup techno geeks and for the purposes of induction speculation, the pole pieces on the Crunch Lab 7 are the same ones used in the Super Distortion. The Liquifire 7 uses the same bolt style poles as the PAF Pro or the Titan.
Dual Resonance Tech
Dual Resonance is basically mis-matched coils. It’s common for several pickup companies to allow about a 5% variance. But Dual Resonance is an intentional mis-matching of the coils to produce a specific “tuning” of the pickup’s voice. According to the patent, it is pretty much about putting a similar number of turns on each coil. But with different wire gauges. Again, just the CL7 has the Dual Resonance tech in this set.
This set is going into an Ibanez Universe 7-string. That’s a basswood body, 24-fret maple neck, 25-1/2″ scale rosewood board, and Edge 7 locking tremolo system. The harness is original, as is the middle Blaze single coil. The guitar has a standard tuning of low B on the 7th, using 09-54 strings.
The Ibby Universe switching that I’ll be covering is as follows:
Let’s face it. If you are playing a 7-string, you are probably into a rarified landscape of rock and metal. In other words, you want a certain sound. LOL! Before the inevitable “will it chug?” starts, just read the room. John Petrucci and Dream Theater are the elder statesmen of prog metal. That’s like asking “will Superman wear a cape?” HaHa!
Crunch Lab 7
One of the issues with some of the 7-string options out there is that frequencies can start to mush in to each other. Especially in the low mids and the extreme low end. That is not the case here! The CL7 fills up the space with an open clarity more so that a punch to the chest. That’s going to give you a bigger sonic tapestry, as well as push you to be a better player.
The lows are heavy and tight without being compressed. The high end is bold and smooth, delivering leads and solos that have a solid footing as well as velvety legato. In this guitar, the in-between position with the stock Blaze single coil yields some snappy and spanky character on a clean amp setting.
You probably notice the similarity in appearance to 2006’s D Sonic 7. Of course, there are some that can rightfully ascertain that the CL7 is a next step in evolution of the D Sonic 7. Many players like to flip around the position of the bar bobbin and pole bobbin of the D Sonic. For this CL7 evaluation, I am maintaining the common CL7 orientation seen in use by Petrucci of the bar toward the neck and poles toward the bridge.
The LiquiFire 7 is an excellent pairing. You can tell these are voiced as a set when flipping from one to another. So there’s no big shocking shift in the vibe. The LF7 does have a firmly audacious low end that can knock down doors in the exact way that you want it to. The vocal quality in the mids and upper mids are part of the touchstone of the lyrical quality of a Petrucci solo. When on a clean setting, you get the clarity for nuanced chording and for extensive modulation effects. The in-between position on this guitar is sonic nirvana for those processed clean tones that are once again en vogue.
Crunch Lab 7
Series – 11.661 K
Inductance – 7.721 H
Split – 5.528 K
Split – 6.153 K
Parallel – 2.91 K
Magnet – Thick Ceramic
Output – 410 mV
Series – 11.225 K
Inductance – 6.963 H
Split – 5.639 K
Split – 5.604 K
Parallel – 2.809 K
Magnet – Ceramic
Output – 270 mV
If you like the 6-string version, you will be at home with this set. As has been my experience with the DiMarzio approach to the same model across the different platforms, it’s as if they start from the ground up. Meaning that they appear to prioritize the target at the end of the road more than the path it takes to get there.
The Crunch Lab 7 and LiquiFire 7 set is going to be good for fusion, hard rock, progressive metal, djent, nu-metal, thrash, metalcore, hardcore, blues rock, garage, classic rock, alt rock, tech metal, shred, 80s rock, 80s metal, tech metal, and more. The LF7 is available in a wide selection of bobbin colors, several cover options, and 3 pole piece colors. Due to the physical aspects of the bar bobbin, it’s best to contact DiMarzio to discuss the available color options for the CL7.
For reference, this DiMarzio 7-string humbucker pickup set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. In addition, real cabs in use are Marshall 1960B, Mojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.
7 string 8Ω 59 Alnico 2 Alnico 3 Alnico 4 Alnico 5 Alnico 8 Bare Knuckle BKP Brown Sound Celestion Ceramic Custom Shop Dean DiMarzio DMT Dual Resonance EVH Fishman Floyd Rose Fluence Gibson Humbucker Ibanez JB Jimmy Page John Petrucci MJ Mojotone P90 PAF Pariah Pickup Professor Guitarism Satch Satriani Schaller Seymour Duncan Singlecoil Single Width Speaker Steve Vai Tech Tip Tremolo