I play metal on the JB and 59. I have been for the past 25 years. They are my favorite pickups. Sure they dont have the output of an EMG but they are great pickups. If you want to seriously move back to active pickups I would suggest buying a set of EMG's if you like them. I use the JB in the pridge pickup of all of my guitars and through any of my amps (5150, Krank, Marshall) they sounds amazing with more gain then i could ever need. If i can make a suggestion on your amp settings.
Gain on 4
Presance and Resonance at 12:00
Try that, if that doesnt work for you try a higher output passive pickups like a Screamin Demon, Invader, or the Dimebag Pickup all made by Seymour Duncan.
Hey jason thanks for the reply!
The pickups really do deliver a great clear tone, i have tried guitar through other metal amps and did love the result. Im thinking that it is the amp itself (being a combo ran through 4x12) might be the issue for me. I dialed in similar settings to the one you reccomended just yesterday and was liking how they sounded. I shouldnt be so quick to judge the pickups, first guitar with passives so getting used to the transition. Thanks for your time and input! Have a good one
One thing you may want to try is thtorwin an Ibanez TS9 Pedal or TS7 in front of the amp. I find it really helps clean up the tone a bunch. You can find them anywhere between $50 and $150