From the manufacturer:
The best way to describe the Air Zone™ is to say it’s a vintage version of The Tone Zone®. It’s got the same low string-pull as our other Airbuckers™ for singing sustain, plus it has the big bass response and cool harmonics of The Tone Zone®, with extra sensitivity and control. It’s a great match for very hot amps, allowing the player to take full advantage of massive preamp gain without turning the sound to mud or fuzzy noise. It’s also a great neck pickup for jazz players who need to get the hollow-body arch top sound from a solid body, and it offers exceptionally good split and series-parallel capability.
Ultra-fat PAF® sound with more output. The dynamic range from soft to hard picking is very wide, and the combination of dual-resonance coils with the Airbucker™ magnetic field allows sustained notes to hang on to harmonic overtones longer, instead of becoming muddy as they fade. Will also work as a very warm, full neck pickup for jazz sound, and combine with The Tone Zone®, Super Distortion® and Super 3™ in bridge position.
This video features a demo of the DiMarzio Air Zone pickup in the bridge position. Skip to 1:34 to hear this pup on a clean setting. It definitely has a lot of mids, with a rolled off high end and warm lows. This yields a pretty sparkly clean tone that isn’t overly bright, but certainly not dark. It has a nice natural presence without sounding brittle. A little distortion kicks in around 2:30, when you can hear this pup in a rhythm context. The Air Zone really handles gain nicely and allows power chords to breathe and not muddy up. The midrange adds a lot of bite to the tone, keeping things sounding tight and focused. In a lead context, this pup has a very expressive sound with very pleasant harmonics and overtones (listen at 5:18). The design of these Airbucker pickups also allows for a very organic sustain. For an all around versatile pickup, you really can’t go wrong with an Air Zone in the bridge.
The player is Alex Starbard and he is using a strat through an Ibanez TBX65R amp.
Check out this clip, which highlights the DiMarzio Air Zone neck pickup. For the first 0:45 seconds, you can hear the Air Zone solo with some mild distortion for a smooth lead tone. You get a lot of presence in the midrange, great depth from the low-end, and rounded highs -- for a mellow sound with sweet saturation. A backing rhythm track kicks in at 0:46, allowing you to hear the Air Zone in a full mix lead context. This pup is fantastic for that killer creamy blues lead tone with beautiful sustain and rich harmonics. The Air Zone is a great selection for a true vintage neck pickup sound.
The player is Joe Hewitt and he is using an Ibanez Prestige RG2020x through an Egnater Renagade and an MXR Super Badass Distortion, Line 6 Echo Park, and an RC-30 loop station.
This clip does a fair job at highlighting the clean tones you can get with an Air Zone in the neck. In this position, you get a very full, transparent sound that is perfect for jazz. The lows and mids are pretty evenly matched while the highs are a bit reserved. The result is a very mellow, underwater tone with a very subtle snap to it. The Air Zone stays incredibly clear and articulate, giving you complete warmth without any mud. If you’re searching for a smooth neck tone with a lot of body, the Air Zone may be your best bet.
The player is Joe Hewitt and he is using an Ibanez Prestige RG2020x through an Egnater Renagade with a Line 6 Echo Park and RC-30 loop station.
This clip demos the DiMarzio Air Zone pickups in both the bridge and neck positions on three different settings (low gain, clean, high gain). Listen from 0:00 – 0:50 to hear each pickup on a low-gain setting, beginning with the neck. In this particular clip, the neck pickup seems to muddy up a bit, scrambling some of the lower notes while the high notes remain pretty articulate. Switching to the middle position, things start to clear up a bit as you get some of the bite from the bridge in the mix. The bridge pickup definitely dominates on a low-gain setting, boasting a true gritty crunch with focused mids and tight low end. When playing something more percussive and chord-driven (0:22), all the pickups seem to excel pretty well and have a lot of punch and clarity. Switching to clean (0:50), you can really see why people like these pups (especially the neck). The neck pickup has a beautiful warmth and snap that make for a perfect jazz tone. In the middle and bridge positions, you get a nice balanced sound with a very shimmery midrange. The cleans tones coming from these pups are fantastic. In the last section of this video (1:35), you can quickly hear the bridge pickup in a high-gain metal context. The player demonstrates by playing Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets.” The bridge pup handles gain pretty well and manages to stay pretty open and transparent despite the thick saturation. The accentuated low end and midrange works especially well in this context, giving you that classic chunky metal tone. Overall I think it’s fair to say that these pups are pretty versatile; the neck works wonders for clean tones while the bridge handles gain like a pro.
The player is Артём Матёвка and he is using a Gibson Les Paul China guitar.
This video compares a variety of DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups in a metal context. Competing for the bridge position are the DiMarzio Air Zone pickup and the Seymour Duncan JB. The Air Zone can be heard from 0:00 – 0:46 on a high-gain setting with a metal backing track. It’s apparent that this pup handles heavy saturation incredibly well. The low-end has a lot of punch and manages to stay very focused and clear without getting muddled in the mix. The upper mids and highs are incredibly smooth and add a delicate presence to the tone, allowing it to cut right through the mix with clarity. The Seymour Duncan JB in comparison at 0:47 sounds very similar and definitely excels in this application as well. The distortion has a more of a throaty sound and the low-end seems to pack a lot of power and punch; although I felt like the higher frequencies got lost in the mix and weren’t as sweet sounding as the Air Zone. Both pickups are great selections for high-gain applications, with very subtle differences. It comes down to your ears! Listen at 2:12 and 2:59 to hear the Air Zone and JB solo, respectively.
The player is Mendel bij de Leij and he is using a LAG guitar.