The Area 58 has obvious similarities to the Virtual Vintage"2.1 it replaces, but there are several non-visible performance factors that have changed. Dynamic range and string definition are greatly increased, leading to improvements in both clean chord-playing and overdriven soloing. The Area 58 is very sensitive to small height adjustment differences: close to the strings produces a fatter, slightly compressed blues tone and further away yields crystal clean sounds. The final improvement is in noise reduction. All of the Virtual Vintage"pickups have better hum cancellation than full-size humbuckers. Area 58 and Area 61 are even quieter.
Strat"pickups in the late 1960s used full-strength Alnico 5 magnets. The patented magnetic field of the Area models is more efficient and focused than it is on "true'' single-coils, which allows the use of Alnico 2 instead. There's much less magnet pull, but no loss of output. This is a major advantage in the neck and middle positions, where sustain and intonation can both suffer if the strings are exposed to strong magnetic fields. In the bridge position, the patented technology of the Area 67 produces a sound that's very bright but not brittle.
The sound of the Area 61 is centered on single-coils from the early 1960s, but it's also based on heavy strings and strong hands. The Area 61 captures the tonal bedrock this sound is based on. Like the Area 58the Area 61 really responds to different pick attacks: played hard, it sounds louder and tougher than you'd expect from a vintage pickup, but it cleans up immediately by picking softer or rolling down the volume control. And like the Area 58its ability to cancel hum is superior to full-size humbuckers.