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Best soundhole pickup...

Braunzo

Member
Messages
7,119
I have a Seagull with a cedar top and I'm looking to very soon get a Martin 000-15. My band is talking about constructing acoustic material for smaller pub gigs. I know the pickup is going to sound like MY guitar. Just looking for a good quality sounding pickup, hopefully at a reasonable price. I was looking at the DiMarzio Super Natural, but I wanted to get a feel for what was out there as I've never played a live acoustic gig (not once in my ten years of playing or my seven years of gigging... Weird, right?).
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,468
For a soundhole pickup and playing acoustic in a band situation, there is nothing better than the Sunrise (IMO). I've tried every new that comes a long and I always go back to my Sunrise.
 

Braunzo

Member
Messages
7,119
These look stupidly hard to get a hold of and potentially really expensive. I did a little bit of googling and hadn't found too much information on them beyond that. You have anymore information on this brand/pickup?
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,291
What type of amplification are you using? That will really determine what to use.
For Ex. Larry Carlton used an EMG single coil in a custom fitting for his OM style
Valley Arts Acoustic so he could go into his Dumble set up.
 

Bananafist

Member
Messages
201
DiMarzio DP139 has the best sound to me. Not made any more, but if you see one used, worth getting.I don't use anything else.
Many people swear by the LR Baggs M1, and the Fishman rare earths are popular. They do a low end model.
The vast majority seem to like the K&K pickups, although not soundhole, they are pretty unobtrusive and not really expensive.;)
 

Braunzo

Member
Messages
7,119
I didn't see any soundhole style on the K&K site... I did see the external mic, which was nice, but that mic would get in my way as I pick across the fretboard sometimes for that really mellow sound. I will do some more research on these others...

And how I will be running this... Not sure, to be honest. Ideally, I'd like to go direct to PA if I could.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,550
baggs M1 is the one to get; frankly, it's as good as the sunrise if not better, as the baggs has some top sensitivity to add a bit of realism to the sound.

none of these are going to really sound like "your guitar", though. for that, you'll need mics, contact pickups, blended systems, etc., and a good bit more effort and money to set it all up. for a soundhole pickup, the baggs is pretty "acoustic" sounding.

the M1A has a preamp built-in, so it would be the best choice to go right into the PA.
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,468
baggs M1 is the one to get; frankly, it's as good as the sunrise if not better, as the baggs has some top sensitivity to add a bit of realism to the sound.

none of these are going to really sound like "your guitar", though. for that, you'll need mics, contact pickups, blended systems, etc., and a good bit more effort and money to set it all up. for a soundhole pickup, the baggs is pretty "acoustic" sounding.

the M1A has a preamp built-in, so it would be the best choice to go right into the PA.
Might be for you, but I've owned three Baggs M1 including the active version. I still own two Sunrise pickups and no Baggs. They tried to copy a Sunrise as they will tell, but for my ear, came up short. A good balance is difficult on the M1 without the bass side screws being too high, inhibiting your picking. The M1 always sounds like it has a film over the sound, doesn't sound open, but they clearly easier to find.
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
The Baggs design isn't really attempting to copy the Sunrise, but rather came about through independent design, and developed by following some fortuitous "mistakes" in early design that proved to be quite beneficial.

The Sunrise systems are indeed fantastic pickups, but I honestly feel that the Baggs M1 series have actually brought in a new era of acoustic soundhole pickups. I've installed them in a lot of guitars, and can't recall any instances of balance issues, though I have run in to some clearance issues on guitars with thin fingerboards and low neck angles.

Of course tonal preferences are highly subjective, and I can understand why some may prefer the Sunrise, especially with their preamps. I personally prefer the sound of the M1A though, with the convenience of a built in preamp and volume control, and for less than half the price of the Sunrise pickup and preamp combo I think it sounds at least just as good or better.

Short of those two top contenders however, I've not heard another magnetic soundhole pickup that can really hold a candle to them. If budget is an issue, I would definitely recommend the Baggs. If you already have a decent preamp or will be running in to an acoustic amp with a preamp section built in, you can do fine with the M1 passive. If you don't however, I think it would be pound-foolish not to spring the extra $30 for the Active version.
 

paaes335

Member
Messages
247
I advocate for the Sunrise, been using one for 20 years. That being said there's a lot more to choose from in quality soundhole pickups these days.
I was fortunate enough to open a few shows for Leo Kottke in the 90's, got to see him using his Taylors (6 & 12) both with Sunrise pickups and going through a Pendulum preamp. His sound was incredible, the bass strings were like thunder, of course he's Leo! Michael Hedges also got amazing sounds using Sunrise (he turned Kottke on to them.)
I play all instrumental fingerstyle with lots of tunings, the Sunrise responds great and not using fingerpicks, just some nail on my right hand, I can get the volume quite high before feedback.
Thing is, they're not cheap especially when you really need the SR buffer box to couple the pickup properly to amps, PA, etc. Jim Kauffman (owner of Sunrise) is a great guy and will respond quickly to any questions.
 

clemduolian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,435
I've owned and used Sunrise, Baggs M1 and Duncan MagMic. All really good sound hole pickups and each slightly different from the other. I have a Duncan in my Collings 12 fret dread and it works great for playing out. A good preamp with EQ (I use a DTAR solstice) will be invaluable no matter what pickup you choose.

Good luck in the search. Warning...it may become a life-long quest.
 

Fenderguy88

Member
Messages
10
Best pickup for the money would be to just buy the lr baggs imix system.

but for sound hole i'd go with the M1, but get a good di to go with it. They are the most on natural sounding thing in the world. Very bright and mid range overdose. With the para di, it cuts out the mids and blends it back to a good sound
 

slowth

Member
Messages
801
LIked the M1 while I had it.. good value. The sunrise is the venerable..

but I've read very good things about the mi-si magnetic pickup. It's a low profile magnetic which some have said sounds fat and warm and most like the sunrise at a lower price.
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,468
LIked the M1 while I had it.. good value. The sunrise is the venerable..

but I've read very good things about the mi-si magnetic pickup. It's a low profile magnetic which some have said sounds fat and warm and most like the sunrise at a lower price.
I have one of the Mi-Si acoustic duo magnetic pickups, it is fat and warm. Has a bit too much mid range for me plugged in straight but with some EQ you can get them to sound great. The size is ideal, you can install it in the soundhole without slacking your strings, it's lightweight and built beautifully. For folks who've been bothered by the pole pieces of soundhole pickups (the M1 in particular) when fingerpicking the Mi-Si installs out of the way w/ no poles sticking up.

Sounds better than an M1 to my ears, not quite the balance, string separation and clarity of the Sunrise, still the Mi-Si is a very nice design. It's an active pickup without batteries, you charge it up, takes a minute w/ the provided ac adapter. You can also charge it up with a stereo cable and a 9volt battery.

 

mannish

Member
Messages
9,494
I HIGHLY recommend the original Fishman Rare Earth pickups - I have played a LOT of acoustic music and that is all I used for years. I have since put K&Ks in all my guitars
IF you are interested in a Rare Earth I have several and would be willing to part with one. I had considered the Sunrise but I was very pleased with the RE so no reason to change.
 

royd

Member
Messages
2,039
I too have owned a Fishman RE, two Baggs M1's, and three Sunrise. I always come back to the Sunrise. With work you could get the Fishman to sound pretty good. I liked the sound of the M1 almost as good as the Sunrise except, if you hit it with a pick or a fingernail it makes a nasty loud click and while it does pick up some top vibrations, if you hit the top, it also reproduces a very high pitch click rather than the thud I look for.

So... I would go with the Sunrise first (and it does sound better with the Sunrise buffer box although the box isn't necessary), the Fishman 2nd (maybe look at the blend version with a mic added for a better picture of the guitar's sound but also less feedback resistance), then the Baggs. I have heard good things about the Duncan MagMic and the MiSi but I haven't used either one so can't be helpful.

Lots of Sunrise users out there - in addition to Hedges and Kottke, Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Lyle Lovett all use them and they are very popular among modern fingerstyle players as half of a dual source system similar to the one that Hedges used.

here's a link to some video and audio comparisons of a few soundhole pickups http://www.fingerpick.com/pickups.htm
 

crzyfngers

Member
Messages
5,130
i've seen lyle lovett a few times and sunrise is good enough for him. it's good enough for me.
in case you need a reference, he was on elvis costello's show with kris kristofferson, rosanne cash and others. check it out. listen to how much "bigger" his guitar is than any of the others.elvis was sounding great too but i think he was plugged into a tweed something.
 

Ocelot

Member
Messages
1,036
I'm a Lyle fan, but I thought his guitar sounded thin on the Costello show. Ray LaMontagne, whose music I have little use for, had the best acoustic sound. I have no idea what pickup he uses.
 

crzyfngers

Member
Messages
5,130
I'm a Lyle fan, but I thought his guitar sounded thin on the Costello show. Ray LaMontagne, whose music I have little use for, had the best acoustic sound. I have no idea what pickup he uses.
really? i thought his guitar buried the others. guess i'm getting old. was ray on a different episode?
 




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