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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Noiseless Stacked Single Coil Pickups: Entwhistle and Dragonfire

I just purchased a set of Dragonfire Noiseless stacked single coils,
and two Entwhistle 57 Noiseless stacked single coils, on Ebay.

The Dragonfires were about $60 USD a set plus $12 shipping and $15 import duties/handling = $88 ($30 USD per pickup = $35 Can.).

Dragonfire Strat Pure Noiseless Pickup Set


 The Entwhistle 57s were $30 USD + $10 shipping
(no import/handling duties to Canada) (=$40 USD each or $45 Can.)

Entwistle ASN 57 Alnico noiseless

 First off, they look near-identical, except the Entwhistles (unlike the Ebay pic),
had four metal eyelets and a 4-wire cable, whereas the Dragonfires were
simplified, with three eyelets and a 2-wire cable, prewired.

Presumably, the Dragonfires have simplified the wiring because there is only
really one feasable wiring option (e.g., series) and less chance for wiring errors
by buyers.

The Entwhistles are advertised as Alnico magnets (and there are no under-magnets, just the pole-pieces) and they look identical to the Dragonfires.

The Dragonfires are advertised as copies of Fender Noiseless 'vintage',
and so presumably the Entwhistles are also copies of that basic design.

Both look near-identical and appear to have been made from the same factory.
Something of importance to those looking for the best price.

 Differences in wiring harnesses shown below:
The Entwhistles allow for bypassing the noise-cancelling coil,
and other wiring options for experimenting, whereas the
Dragonfires are pre-selected but simple to wire up.

There is probably no RWRM configuration for the 'middle pickup' option,
since the noise-cancelling coils remove the need for fancy phase reversals,
or magnet inversions.  The quack' factor however will be different with the
extra coiling, but probably no different at all from standard Fender noiseless.

Both sets seem to have identical magnet staggering, probably as a result of
the use of the same Alnico magnet sets.

A quick measurement of the Dragonfire coils showed no difference in DC
resistance between the Neck and Middle pickups, (e.g. 10.18k for both),
while the Bridge pickup is slightly overwound (e.g., 10.21k for bridge).

Presumably had I ordered a full set of the Entwhistles, there would also be
a similar difference:  They make you specify which position you want for
each pickup bought on the Ebay page.

Although there is no electrical difference between the Neck and Middle,
there may be another difference, for instance a different grade of Alnico
magnet or different degaussing, for each position.   They are clearly marked
on the back to prevent mixups.

I am not set up to measure magnetic differences or resultant impedances.

I fully expect both sets to perform about as well and sound very similar to
the standard ('vintage') Fender noiseless, or slightly better.

I am not imagining to be able to tell much difference.

those buying these pickups should be aware that REMOVING any extra shielding, i.e., copper or even paint in the pickup-cavities, or reverting to an unshielded plastic pickguard might give the best results, as the metal shielding is
known to roll of the treble response and dull the pickup sound.

So far it looks as though the Dragonfires are a licensed copy of the Entwhistle, which is roughly a knock-off of the Fender Noiseless, but with probable improvements by Entwhistle, who appears to be the designer behind these
nice, cost-effective Noiseless pickups.

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