From the manufacturer:
The Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro uses the same ground breaking technology as our Area 58™ and Area 61™ pickups. The Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro replaces the Virtual Vintage® 54 and VirtuAL 2® middle pickups. It has a warm, smoky sound, fattens up when you pick hard, and has a special grade of Alnico 2 magnet to reduce string pull. Like all of the Virtual Vintage® models, it’s dead quiet.
The major difference between the Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro and the Area 61™ is in pick attack. The Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro has a fatter, “woody” tone, and the sound almost seems to compress when picked hard. Blues players favor this type of sound for the way it fattens up solos, particularly in the bridge position. It’s also good in the neck and middle positions to warm up bright-sounding guitars.
Works in all three strat positions.
Ethan's picks for best videos/sound-clips:
Check out this improv video showing off the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pro pups in the neck and middle positions. On a low gain setting these pups sound nice and fat. You get kind of a woody tone with a very pronounced pick attack; and as you dig into the strings, these pups seem to compress a bit – giving you this fat, round sound that snaps and stays smooth during a solo. The frequencies seem to be pretty balanced with a slight hump in the top end to give you a sweet treble response for incredible detail and rich harmonics. Overall, these pickups have a nice vintage ring to them with no noise at all.
The player is Vitor Isaia and he is using a Fender Strat MIM 2013 through a Yamaha THR5 on the crunch channel and an MXR M69 for low gain settings.
Here is a shootout of three different sets of noiseless vintage pickups, including the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pros. You really can’t go wrong with any of these pickup sets; they each have their own unique voicing and have only minor variations in the tone. The Virtual Vintage 54 Pros can be heard at the following times: neck – 0:37, middle – 1:07, neck/middle – 1:37, neck (overdrive) – 2:07, and neck/middle (overdrive) – 2:37. The DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pros definitely do a nice job at preserving true single coil tone, while canceling the hum typically associated with them. You get all the slinky strat sounds you need, including the quack and punch (especially in the neck/middle position). These pups definitely have a warm, smokey sound in the middle and neck positions, without sacrificing the glassy detail you get from single coils. All in all, the Virtual Vintage 54 Pros are incredible noiseless pickups that preserve the true charm of a single coil.
The player is Camilo Velandia and he is using a Fender Custom Strat through an Axe FX II to demo the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pro pickups.
Here is a quick improv clip demonstrating the DiMarzio Vintage 54 Pro pups in the neck and middle positions on a clean setting. The player is soloing over a backing track, allowing you to hear how these pups sit in a full mix in a lead context. There is plenty of pick attack that comes through, allowing each note to punch and cut through the mix with a nice snap. The low end warms up the tone a bit, keeping everything sounding round, while the top end adds sparkle and the mids stay focused. These pups are slightly fatter sounding than your traditional single coil pickups, but aren’t quite in humbucker territory either. They have a unique voicing and a very woody character that can add a lot of personality to a strat. Best part is, they are noiseless!
The player is Vitor Isaia and he is using a Fender Strat MIM 2013 through a Yamaha THR5 with a Joyo Vintage Overdrive and a Boss RC3 Loop Station.
This clip highlights some of the clean tones you can get with the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 pups in the neck and middle positions. The player in this video has a little reverb dialed in and demonstrates with a few jazzy licks. It’s apparent that these pups are incredibly clear and clean, giving you pristine detail without sounding overly bright. The lows really warm up the tone enough to give you a full, round sound. There is plenty of sparkle in the top end and each note punches through with a natural compression. The pick attack is strong and every nuance in the playing is captured with absolutely clarity. There is a little too much reverb dialed in during this clip, but you can definitely get an idea of how glassy these clean tones are.
The player is Vitor Isaia and he is using a Fender Strat MIM 2013 through a Yamaha THR5
This video compares a set of DiMarzio pickups to Van Zandts. The DiMarzio set includes a Virtual Vintage 54 pro in the bridge position, which I will be focusing on. Skip to 2:22 to hear a quick demonstration of this pup on a light overdrive setting. You can instantly hear that the Virtual Vintage 54 pro gives you a killer vintage rock sound. It has all the bite and twang of an original single coil and more. As you dig into the strings, the tone compresses very gently to keep solos sounding smooth, and the treble response adds plenty of chime and attack to cut through with amazing detail. If you lighten up your picking, the tone starts to clean up entirely without losing character. In the bridge position, the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pro gives you a powerful and dynamic single sound with zero noise and pure vintage tone.
The player is Tim Zurowski and he is using a Fender Strat (Tobacco Burst) through a first year tweed Blues Junior with a Weber ceramic Blue Dog speaker.