Acoustic pickups

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by lydog, Dec 22, 2005.


  1. lydog

    lydog Member

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    So, my Taylor Expression System took a **** last week. As I bought second hand, I'm unsure if they'll repair it gratis. I should have heeded warnings about this system. It also got a lot of noise when the treble was up, and a consistent 'clicking' noise when my bandmate played it (although I never had this issue).

    And although I like the ease of use and the fact that I can go directly into a PA/Mixer, I think I'm leaning more towards getting a new system to amplify my acoustic. After some research I've narrowed it down to four systems:

    K&K Trinity System
    Sunrise
    K&K Ultra Pure
    LR Baggs M1

    Does anyone have any experience with these &/or recommendations. I'm unsure if I'll put this system in my 615ce or get a new gutiar altogether. (Found a 1971 D35 locally that I'd like to try for $2000). The 615 does seem a bit nasaly to me, and I love the tone from my J-40 so much more (but that is a heirloom studio/home guitar only).
     
  2. stephenT

    stephenT Silver Supporting Member

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    the best acoustic pickup IS the Sunrise. no pizeo quack, all the dynamics you need, no feedback. I installed a K&K for a second on a Collings OM, thought it was horrible.
     
  3. Stevoreen

    Stevoreen Member

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    I really like the sound of the K & K trinity system, but based on great reviews and simplicity of installation, I bought the M1 (active version) and put it in my Taylor and have been very pleased with it. It has a full balanced sound and it's very hard to make it feedback when playing live. The adjustable pole pieces and built in voume knob are nice too.
     
  4. kfowler11

    kfowler11 Guest

    Just to throw this in there, I bought a LR Baggs iBeam to replace the old Fishman Thinline in my 810. It sounds outstanding. I was totally floored. A friend had it in his cedar top Taylor and it sounded amazing. I've used it in some sizable venus and have been very pleased. Price is nice too.
     
  5. royd

    royd Member

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    I have a dual source in my Lowden - Sunrise and McIntyre surface mount. It is an amazing combo and either pup alone sounds pretty good, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
    I have had an M1 too and it is a great single source pickup. I'm not sure whether I like it better than the Sunrise alone but it is certainly close.
    IMHO, you would do well with either.
     
  6. empty71

    empty71 Member

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    +1 for the Baggs iBeam Active :dude
     
  7. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    There's a dealer's site called Shoreline Music, I think, and there are tons of clips available via links. I think the particular stuff was on "Dave's" website, you'll know if you go scope out the site. From that it seemed to me that trthe best sounding components were the K & K western, and the Joe Mills mic. Personally, I'd like to get something that would allow me to install both in my cars, and then have an external pre. I have a lot of guitars. I have Fishman (mic and piezo) in my guitars, and an LR Baggs dual source. I get decent sound from it, after having tweaked them A LOT, but I would like to try those pieces. I've never been into magnetic systems. Sunrise included, though that one is the least magnetic sounding. To me the expression system has that same magnetic sound. (makes sense, it's basically 3 magnetic pickups) My girlfriend has a guitar with ES in it, and Strumming chords on the first few frets, but moving up, it gets yucky, bulbous, like an strat neck pickup(I like that tone, just not for acoustic). And if you're playing with someone who isn't using an ES guitar, your hi end will sound thin. Sorry, but I poo on ES every chance I get.
     
  8. tubetone74

    tubetone74 Supporting Member

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    Go for the K&K. The Mini Western is the s*it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. jim0115

    jim0115 Member

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  10. mischultz

    mischultz Member

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    Their stuff does indeed sound fabulous and it's as good in person as it is in clippage.

    Here are the two caveats:

    1. It absolutely doesn't cut in a mix. It's so dimensional and has so little edge to it that you can find yourself struggling to place it live. Conversely, if you're talking about coffee shop/house concert solo acoustic gigs, you couldn't as for anything better.

    2. They need a *lot* of gain. I've used the Stealth undersaddle and #54 (two 27s working together) and both have required some manner of outboard preamp - I favor the Baggs PADI and/or GigPro - with the gain maxed plus a healthy dose at the mixer - at least 3:00 if not nearly maxed again.

    Please understand that I meant the first bit every bit as much as the warning; David makes a *great* pickup that is noticeably different in form and function from just about everything else going. Worth investigating...

    Best,

    Michael
     
  11. jim0115

    jim0115 Member

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    So that one likely won't work for me. I'm not doing a solo thing, but an acoustic band with another guitar, bass, and piano. Also, the reviews on Harmony Central for the PTWP's were not good. Lots of frustration with not finding the sweet spot for installation, and disappointment with the low output, even with a preamp.

    How are the LR Baggs line, and is one of their pickups better than the other for my application? The guitar is a 1971 Martin D28.

    I see no one mentioned the Fishman line as a favorite. Is there a problem with that brand?
     
  12. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    I have LR Baggs in all my Martins
    I Beam in the 00028EC & Dual Source in the D1228 & 000038H
    Both sound great. The Dual Source has more output since the output is active. (9volt)
    [​IMG]
     
  13. royd

    royd Member

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    Any time you use a surface mount transducer you have to fiddle with positioning. The one exception might be the Baggs Ibeam which is positioned by your bridge...
    Again, I really like thw M1 but for a band situation, you can't beat a Sunrise. Add a surface mount transducer to bring back some of the artifacts and it sounds amazing. Two sources often can be used to compensate for weaknesses in one or the other. You would need either a stereo pre-amp like the new Duncan Solstice or an older Raven blender (what I use) or two dedicated channels in your PA.
    If you're interested, the link in my sig goes to some tunes that all include my live acosutic set-up and even the pieces that have an additional micropone still seek to be close to the live sound.
     
  14. jim0115

    jim0115 Member

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    I'm leaning towards the Baggs I-Beam active pickup. Three questions:
    1. Does this pickup cut through well in an acoustic band setting (2 guitars, bass, piano)?
    2. Is feedback a problem?
    3. Even though it is an active setup, does adding the Baggs Para Acoustic DI Preamp further improve the sound, or is that just added baggage?
    Or would it be a better setup to go with the I-Beam passive and the above mentioned preamp?
     
  15. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    That's the site I was talking about. I didn't like the PUTW sound at all, myself. I'd still call it an improvement over the ES.

    Every type of system has a "sound" of it's own. Magnetics soud different from piezos. which sound different from contact systems, mics, ETC. Personally, I hate the magnetic sound. All the while, I'm hearing electric guitar. Magnetics I've heard definitely have better dynamic range. The ES is outstanding in that respect. Just not my sound. I'll take the "quack" any day. I'd still prefer an undersaddle and mic blended. A 3-way system can be even cooler. I used to jam with a guy who had wires hanging all over his guitar. He had a mag (rare earth), internal mic and pickup submixed through a little mixer, and apreamp taped to his strap. Great tone, but damn, tough to commit to all those pickups. And what a mess!

    But really, listen to the clips on that page. Tons of systems are well represented. No matter how good the pickup sounds, though, if you're going to be playing in a band cointext, the PA is critical. Don't skimp.
     
  16. royd

    royd Member

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    what waxnsteel said is very true... each pickup does have its own sound... but as he hates mags, I hate the quack of under-the-saddle pups. It all adds up to what you like and what compromises you're willing to make.

    As for the choice between the active and passive I-beams, I would always choose passive with an external pre-amp. That way you aren't stuck when you want to switch systems as you're expoeriencing with moving from the EX system... you'll have holes etc. in your guitar in places that you don't want or need them.
     
  17. jim0115

    jim0115 Member

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    The guys at Shoreline are recommending the M1, or the Sunrise. They think that the volume necessary to cut through the mix when playing with a bass player will create feedback problems if using soundboard pickups. If I settle on the M1, and decide to buy a Baggs preamp as well, is there any advantage to getting the active M1 versus the passive M1?
     
  18. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    course, the high strings still sound like your playing thru an archtop. but yea, the lower wound strings are AWESOME. wish i could somehow get a lower E, A, D only version.

    and shame you didnt like the K&K. did you have the right size pickup? they make a large version for big bodies/bridges, and a small version for OM's, etc.

    IMHO, i think the Pure Western the best thing out there. PLENTY of output for at least a 10ft. cable run to my DI box, and sounds nice and woody. not to mention, there's no battery to fuss, and its the least intrusive!!!

    as for the iBeam, its waaay too fussy for my needs, and only the active version is worth getting. the passive is waaay too noisy, even w/ a 3 ft. cable to my DI box. :(
     
  19. Stevoreen

    Stevoreen Member

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    The active model has a volume wheel right at your fingertips that I find useful in live situations.
     
  20. jim0115

    jim0115 Member

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    I went ahead and ordered the active, but decided to hold off on the preamp for now until I see how much eq'ing I can get from the PA.
     

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