DiMarzio Mirage – Initial Thoughts

Let’s dive into a comprehensive exploration of DiMarzio’s latest product launch – the Mirage pickups. Before diving in, it’s important to note that these views are solely based on the information provided by DiMarzio to the public. As we have yet to acquire the set for a hands-on experience, consider these thoughts as an introductory analysis based on available specifications and data. Once we have the set in hand, we will provide a detailed, hands-on review that encompasses the pickups’ performance, tonal characteristics, and overall value.

The Periphery Legacy

First, let’s delve into the history behind the Mirage pickups. They are a signature set for Jake Bowen of the progressive metal band Periphery. As a fan of Periphery’s complex and inventive style, this launch holds a particular intrigue for me. Interestingly, this is not Bowen’s first foray into signature pickups. A decade ago, the DiMarzio Titans, his first signature set, made their debut, finding a place in the hearts and guitars of many metal enthusiasts. Jake is the last of the Periphery guitar trio to release a second signature pickup set, with Misha Mansoor releasing his Bare Knuckle Ragnarok after the Juggernaut set, and Mark Holcomb releasing his Seymour Duncan Scarlett and Scourge following the Alpha and Omega pickups.

A Mirage in the Making: The Long-Awaited Release

Anticipation for the Mirage pickups began brewing nearly a year ago, thanks to the cryptic teasers dropped by Jake’s signature Ibanez JBM9999, which included these elusive pickups. However, the prolonged wait, coupled with the release of other high-profile pickups such as the Seymour Duncan Scourge and Scarlett, admittedly caused a degree of frustration and a slight wane in interest. Despite this delay, the wait is finally over, and we now have official details about the Mirage pickups from DiMarzio.

The Mirage Bridge Pickup: A Closer Look

On first impression, the Mirage bridge pickup does seem a bit underwhelming. This perception arises from the apparent similarities between the Mirage and the Titan. From what we can deduce, the Mirage bridge pickup appears to be a Titan with a few more winds, sporting a DC resistance of 11.4K, compared to the Titan’s 11.07K. The pole pieces and the magnet appear to be identical based on output readings, suggesting we’re essentially looking at a mildly tweaked version of the Titan. This hypothesis is further corroborated by a close look at DiMarzio’s own tone guide, which, through a slight increase in power and reduction in resonant frequency, points to the minor changes brought about by the additional wire windings.

DiMarzio Mirage Bridge Tone Guide
DiMarzio Titan Bridge Tone Guide

Given the Mirage’s striking similarities with the Titan, I would caution Titan owners against rushing out to replace their set with the new Mirage. It is important to keep in mind that in the world of passive pickups, ‘more’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’. Changes in these pickups can be quite nuanced and may not always translate into a notable tonal difference. Hence, if you’re currently considering purchasing a new pickup and are torn between the Titan and the Mirage, remember that either would serve you well. The difference between them is likely so nuanced that you won’t discern any substantial tonal disparity. However, don’t interpret this as a dig at either pickup. In fact, we love the DiMarzio Titan here. It’s an excellent pickup. If you like the Titan, you’ll like the Mirage.

 DiMarzio Mirage BridgeDiMarzio Titan Bridge
DC Resistance11.4 K11.07 K
Magnet TypeLarge CeramicLarge Ceramic
Pole PiecesDouble ScrewDouble Screw
Wire Gauge42 AWG42 AWG
PriceStarting at $99.99Starting at $99.99

A Fresh Perspective: The Mirage Neck Pickup

In contrast to the Mirage bridge pickup, the Mirage neck pickup brings an interesting twist to the table. As the first Strat-type pickup associated with Periphery, it’s opening a new chapter in the band’s tonal legacy. The Mirage neck is essentially a spin on the DiMarzio Chopper, a strat-sized humbucker known typically for its use as a bridge pickup. However, this type of pickup has a lot of potential for metal in the neck position, and possesses a lot of qualities usually found in the best of them. A highlight feature is its use of a neodymium magnet, a rare find in the guitar world, which promises a stronger magnetic field and potentially unique tonal properties.

DiMarzio Mirage Neck Tone Guide
DiMarzio Chopper Tone Guide

While the neodymium magnet does introduce a fresh dynamic, it may not necessarily be a compelling reason to swap out a Chopper for the Mirage neck. If you’re content with your current sound and simply looking for a more powerful version, then the Mirage neck could be a potential upgrade. However, if you’re seeking to convert an HS or HSS guitar into a djent powerhouse, the Mirage neck or the Chopper could be excellent options. Even Jake still uses a Chopper in one of his beautiful LACS Ibanez models.

 DiMarzio Mirage NeckDiMarzio Chopper
DC Resistance8.89 K9.16 K
Magnet TypeNeodymiumCeramic
Pole PiecesDouble BladeDouble Blade
Wire GaugeN/AN/A
PriceStarting at $99.99Starting at $89.99

Conclusion: The Mirage Set - To Buy or Not to Buy

In conclusion, the DiMarzio Mirage pickups offer intriguing possibilities for both Periphery fans and guitarists seeking a new tonal frontier. While the Mirage bridge may be very similar to the Titan, it provides a slight variation in DiMarzio’s lineup to try. On the other side, the Mirage neck introduces some exciting novelties that could provide a novel approach for a metal neck pickup. As always, your specific needs, preferences, and the style of music you play should be the primary factors guiding your decision. We’ll provide a follow-up with a detailed analysis of each pickup’s specs with audio demonstrations in the coming weeks.

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