View Full Version : Soundhole pickup suggestions please
02-14-2007, 10:53 AM
I would love to get a nice acoustic/electric but funds do not allow, atm.
I have a nice old Ibanez acoustic that sounds and plays pretty good. I started doing a lot of duo gigs and would like to incorporate the acoustic into the set. A soundhole p'up would be a great quick fix.
I would be plugging the guitar into the clean channel of my Aiken Sabre. It's a lot like a great Fender Super.
Any suggestions that are around the $100 range? I want it to sound good and a volume knob would be nice but the guitar is almost 30 years old so I don't want to plunk down too much. I also plan on getting a nice acoustic/electric this year, anyway.
Thx for the help.
02-14-2007, 01:30 PM
I've been happy with the Baggs M1 active - a little more than you want to spend new but you can probably find a used one around your price range. I've been seeing a lot of these and the Fishman soundhole pickups on some big stages lately.
02-14-2007, 02:09 PM
Thx for the suggestions jgm. I'll start there.
+1 on the M1
The only soundhole pup that might be (matter of taste) better is the Sunrise. The Fishman is not bad but both of these are better.
02-14-2007, 08:41 PM
M1 for sure.
02-14-2007, 09:01 PM
I still swear by the DeArmond 210 although they are getting harder to find in the $100 range. Yes, you have to be careful about feedback but there ain't nuttin' out there that even comes close to the tone these produce.
02-18-2007, 01:47 AM
+1 on m1 and sunrise. the dimarzio reference acoustic also sounds every bit as good.
all of these are going to sound a lot fuller and more "acoustic" thru a buffer/preamp and straight into the p.a., much more so than any electric guitar amp, no matter how "clean". ever plug a vocal mic into a guitar amp and try to sing through it? the same thing is happening to your acoustic sound.
02-19-2007, 07:53 AM
02-19-2007, 01:17 PM
I have fishman matrix in my bridge, and really never have liked the sound hole pickups, the bridge pickup is a lot cleaner and better IMO.
however here is a really nice comparison of acoustic pickups.
02-19-2007, 01:21 PM
I just bought a Baggs, and while pricey, it sounds much better than those peizo bridge units. Will take quite a bit of volume before it feeds as well.
Austinrocks raises the bottom line question here... it really is a matter of taste. Any acoustic pickup (or system) is a series of trade-offs between price, complexity, feedback resistance, and accuracy. I believe it is impossible to completely accurately amplify an acoustic. Much of the experience of a good acoustic comes from the intimacy of the instrument. So I don't attempt to amplify it so much as to make it bigger.
Personally, I hate under-the-saddle pickups. I've had a bunch and never liked any of them even in conjunction with another source. The attack seems odd and I don't like the quack. Most soundhole pups loose a bit of the "acoustic" sound but IMHO make up for that with warmth and feedback resistance. Surface mounts can sound very accurate but are susceptible to feedback and can exagerate the artifacts (body noises). Having multiple sources often helps different sources to make up for the weaknesses of others.
My main acoustic is a Lowden O25C custom with a Sunrise soundhole and a McIntyre surface mount that go through a Sunrise stereo buffer to a Raven PMB-1. It sounds GREAT and is huge with a touch of chorus and of reverb but obviously isn't simple or inexpensive.
02-19-2007, 08:23 PM
The Baggs outperforms a Sunrise anyday of the week. Sound much more "acoustic", and has all the anti-feedback convenience of a magnetic design plus soundboard transduction. I went through pretty much every soundhole design before landing on the M1. The Sunrise does the job, but when I had the Sunrise with the Baggs side-by-side, it became very evident that the Sunrise sounds very magnetic, almost sterile in a way. IMO, I found the M1 to sound much "woodier" and truer to the nature of the acoustic instrument.
02-19-2007, 08:47 PM
02-20-2007, 06:28 PM
royd - couldn't have said it better.
JRenn - I have to agree. I played Sunrise pickups for years and at the time there was nothing that touched it, but there is definitely a Sunrise tone. There was some guy on TV (Letterman maybe?) the other night and I could tell what he was using before I came around the corner. Funny compressed thing when strummed.
The Baggs is much more "live" sounding to my ears and I was really impressed the other night after I had installed a K&K and an M1 active into my Composite Acoustics Dread (and may I add - what a trio for a stage rig). The Baggs had as much top sensitivity as the K&K. Really. You could drum your fingers lightly on the top and either pickup came through the amp about the same. Wild.
The Sunrise has been a great pickup over the years and has a helluva reputation, a lot of highly repsected players using it very visibly. But it was designed many years ago and as far as I can tell hasn't changed one iota. Frankly, I think new designs have simply surppassed it. While the Sunrise is no slouch, I don't miss the weight, the need to use a proprietary buffer and the poor availabilty. I wonder how well it would be received if it were introduced today?
02-27-2007, 06:35 PM
I've been using a Sunrise on my 6 string for the last 12 years or so.Various venues ,from Bars,Coco Cola sheds,The Fillmore ,Royal Albert Hall.
I guess it depends what playing technique you use.I fingerpick with bare fingers .It doesn't sound magnetic to me ,unless you got your ears in the mains.As the sound spreads itself around the house ,it sounds surprisingly natural.I say 90% of bad amplified acoustic sound is due to a lack of proper EQ.Most people EQ an acoustic guitar like it's a hi-hat
I don't use the buffer .I either run the guitar into a small Mackie mixer to the house OR into a generic EQ pedal to a 50 watt Marshall.Feels great
02-28-2007, 09:58 AM
I'm new here (see the introduction folder) and have been wondering how to electrify my new (to me) Breedlove AD20/SR Plus. It's coming down to the Baggs M1 Active, K&K Western Mini (if it'll fit the Breedlove), or some undersaddle deal.
I'm leaning toward the M1 active, moreso since reading this thread.
03-07-2007, 11:06 AM
I'd like to try the M1. I have been using a Sunrise combined with a PUTW into a Pendulum Audio SPS1. Just adding a little of the PUTW (heavily EQ'd BTW) makes the overall sound more natural than the Sunrise by itself, but the guitar sounds great like this. I tried the sunrise buffer and I thought it made a huge difference compared to unbuffered but the buffer in the SPS1 was just as good so I sent the Sunrise buffer back.
I have a LR Baggs M1 also. Great pickup.
03-08-2007, 09:39 PM
I'm currently using a Baggs X Bridge (passive, I didnt want a battery inside my guitar) and a Sunrise thru a Pendulum SPS. I think the combo is outstanding. I wouldnt want to use either of the pickups by themselves - they each have their voice/flaws, but blended they sound great. Both pickups have required proper eq'ing (and setup for that mattter) to bring out the tone of my guitar and thats where the Pendulum comes in. The parametric allows me to notch out what the pickups add.
But remember...consider the entire signal chain....heck, I switched out some cables the other day and found myself reconfiguring my eq to account for the difference in tone from the cables.
Sometimes I think I just like turning the knobs ;)
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