What’s nice about active, low impedance pickup design is the compact size. The coils are a mere 5mm tall by 10mm wide. Stick two of ’em coils sideways, put adjustable poles in the middle, aligned at right angles, and you can still fit the whole assembly inside a standard Strat single coil enclosure with enough space underneath for the preamp.
This configuration is turning out to be my favourite! The coils are connected series phase-opposing, like a typical humbucker. The Neodymium magnets’ north all point toward the center. This setup doubles the signal strength while eliminating the hum. The overall signal strength is about twice that of the standard vertically oriented single coil. But the hum (which is already insignificant to begin with because of the low impedance), cancels out. The coils are dead quiet! And I mean dead quiet! Using an oscilloscope, I had to place a hefty power transformer a few millimetres above the coil to actually see the hum being cancelled while switching one coil on and off.
The sidewinder concept is not new. The unusual pickup geometry is decades old, yet there only are only a few examples, including the EB humbucker from Gibson (50s early 60s), the Bicentenial Thunderbird pickup (also from Gibson), Bill Lawrence L-250, the P-90H Humbucker (again Gibson), the Lace “Holy Grail” and the futuristic looking Q-tuner.
Slap on a low noise preamplifier into a low impedance sidewinder, and you have an ultra-quiet pickup with very tight bass, pure natural mids, high-definition sparkling clean sound with lots of overtones way beyond the human hearing range. That’s the way I like it! Perfect. Just perfect!