Short answer: Yes, get the Bartolinis.
For more information on Bartolini pickups follow this link:
Our "standard" pickups are a gold or chrome cased alnico 5 magnet humbucker with individual pole piece adjustments. They are made by WSC or WooSung Chorus, a Korean guitar parts manufacturer. Their pickups are used in a lot of top guitar brands for OEM applications and are something of a well-kept secret. Variations of this same pickup are often sold in the $100-$150 and up range. They are fully wax potted to minimize noise and feedback.
I have a stockpile of these pickups and include them in the base price as a way to keep the entry price down. They offer an especially high sensitivity and output level, necessary for a responsive touchstyle feel. The tone is punchy, almost dirty, somewhat compressed on the high end, with plenty of growl on the bass side. These are solid pickups for rock, blues, metal, and the like or for modeling guitar or bass amps. People who use a lot of effects would be happy with these. For non-connoisseurs and people on a tight budget, these will out perform many higher-priced pickups.
They are standard-size humbuckers and as such can be upgraded or swapped out by any qualified technician.
Our standard pickups are pretty good, but once you get used to hearing Bartolini's all day, well you get sorta spoiled. The wide-open luxurious sound of the Bartolini humbuckers really is in a class by itself. The output is high yet not distorted. With separate pickups hand picked for the bass and melody string sets, the frequency response is even from the lowest lows, right up into the upper reaches of the fretboard. When used passively, without active preamps, the sound is very pure and open. Playability and headroom are improved due to increased sensitivity and the broader tonal palette.
Running passive pickups saves the bother of worrying about and dealing with batteries and any additional electronic complexities. Some players actually prefer the cleaner sound of passive pickups.
Bartolini Active Preamp:
Our active preamp circuitry was custom designed for our application in collaboration with Bill Bartoini himself. It includes a Bartolini TC-6 stereo preamp powered by a 9v battery in a flip out battery box and internally adjustable boost circuits with treble bleed caps that can be used to balance the output and/or to dial it up to 11. With active circuits, the output, and headroom go up a couple notches, letting the full, robust character of the tone shine through. Playability is improved as well with the increased sensitivity and broader tonal palette. Good for players who need extra signal strength due to their setup and musicians interested in maximum sonic potential.
Manufactured by Graph Tech, these are piezoelectric sensors, basically like tiny microphones in each bridge saddle right where the string contacts the saddle. They are installed just like normal bridge saddles but with wires that run under the bridge to specialized preamp circuits. The resulting tone is very bright with an aggressive attack. Often described as producing a more "acoustic" tone. They work especially well when blended together with the Bartolinis to provide a highly sensitive, fast, rich, powerful, feeling and tone with absolutely nothing missing.