Fishman Matrix Infinity vs. K&K Pure Western?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by jrm, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Hey friends:

    I think I've narrowed down my search to these two pickups for my baritone that will be coming in soon. I know they both take different approaches to amplification so I thought I'd get a read on which you would put in your own guitar. From what I hear the newer Fishman piezo's don't have the piezo quack due to some changes over the last few years...fwiw.

    Guitar will be played plugged in mostly in a church setting. Moderate volume levels, so I 'll need to take feedback into consideration. This guitar has an irregular shaped soundhole, so a feedback busting cover wouldn't be an option.

    Which do you think sounds more natural? Thanks!

    -jon
     
  2. Beagle1

    Beagle1 Member

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    When you say "church setting"...do you mean like one or two people playing acoustic guitars, or an actual band (ie drums, bass, etc) in a church setting?

    If the former, I recommend K&K because it will get a more natural tone and should not be overly prone to feedback if there are not a lot of other instruments in the mix.

    If it's a band, some sort of undersaddle/Piezo pickup will definitely work better to help control feedback. I haven't actually heard the new Fishman Infinity yet, but I would also recommend checking out the DTAR Wavelength pickup if you're going to look at an undersaddle. The DTAR has an 18 volt preamp for better headroom and sounds fanstastic with little or no EQ.
     
  3. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Thanks for asking Beagle. The "church setting" involved a little bit of both. Sometimes it will be a simple setup with another guitarist and a piano, but other times it will involve a much lrger group with drummers and other instruments.
     
  4. doubleneck

    doubleneck Member

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    Put the new infinity into my gibson j-100 about a month ago. I could not be happier, the new preamp and controls really work very well and are just about totally stealth inside the soundhole. Really sounds so natural I don't feel I have to eq it. The tone control makes for very easy eq adjustments.
    Steve
     
  5. jrm

    jrm Member

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    thanks doubleneck. That is good input! Anyone else?
     
  6. chickenbackside

    chickenbackside Member

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    I posted some clips of a K&K Pure Western Mini installed (with superglue) onto my Taylor 412CE on my local forum. They may be helpful to you.

    The reverb for all the clips are applied in Logic Audio software. The settings are identical. The reverb is Logic's convolution reverb, Space Designer. The reverb patch is called "Guitar Hall" and the decay is 1.9 sconds long.


    Firstly, a clip recorded with a microphone so that you know how the guitar sounds like acoustically, and therefore compare it with the pickup sound.

    The signal chain of this clip:

    412CE > AKG C12VR tube condenser mic > Vintech X73i preamp > Tubetech CL1B tube compressor > Apogee Rosetta AD converter > Logic Audio
    http://homepage.mac.com/adam.madmusic/FileSharing131.html



    This next clip was recorded with the guitar plugged into the exact same signal chain:

    412CE (K&K)> Vintech X73i preamp > Tubetech CL1B tube compressor > Apogee Rosetta AD converter > Logic Audio
    http://homepage.mac.com/adam.madmusic/FileSharing129.html



    This last clip was recorded with the guitar plugged into an LR Baggs Para DI, which should be relevant to a lot more people as the Para DI is a very common tool.

    The signal chain is:

    412CE (K&K) > LR Baggs Para DI > Apogee Rosetta AD converter > Logic Audio
    http://homepage.mac.com/adam.madmusic/FileSharing130.html




    I find that the K&K has some of the woodiness of the Baggs iBeam and some of the crispiness of a typical undersaddle piezo. A good balance for amplified live playing that's quite resistant to feedback. Works for most things. Could be a bit more woody for fingerstyle, but that might cause some issues for hard strumming.

    If you're after an accurate acoustic tone, it's still quite a distance away.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  7. konavet

    konavet Member

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    I have the Infinity in my CA 7iM-ce (composite acoustic) and find it to be OK, but still a bit quacky to my taste. Obviously it's a different beast (carbon fiber), but I have grown to really like its acoustic sound, while the plugged in sound takes a lot of tweaking before I can tolerate it.

    I have a K&K PWM in my Taylor 555, and really like it much better. Easier to eq, no battery, pretty much just plug and play. As a previous post said, neither is a true acoustic sound (need a good condenser mic or two for that), but the K&K comes closer to my ears.
     
  8. chris77

    chris77 Member

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    I just installed the matrix infinity in my Taylor 410 ce I figured out how to remove the ES system without any harm to the guitar and reinstall any pickup you want. I LOVE the Matrix it is very natural and I could not be happier, I have the bass response switch turned to the on position to help add some punch.
     
  9. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Hey Shawnsbox.. how is it in terms of "quack"?
     
  10. chris77

    chris77 Member

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    Well I have played it only three times now in a live setting and am still on a high from escaping from my ES system which IMO was the worst thing Bob Taylor ever did to a guitar. So my opinion I think is slanted but as of right now It is the most natural UST I have ever played. It was crazy, the first time I played it I kept making my sound guy turn it up in my wedge because All I thought I was hearing was MY GUITAR, untill I realized my guitar plugged in finally sounded like my guitar unpluged. So I love it as far a Quack it is a UST but if there is any, it sure isnt getting in the way of the true sound. But in a few months you know I may be singing a different song.

    shawn
     
  11. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    The K & K will always sound more natural than any UST, nature of the beast. USTs are short of character and kind of sweet sounding and dampened - and then of course most of the USTs have low headroom and will compress in an ugly way when they do so. I don't think you can compare the two like this, rather you could say they complement eachother, a bit like an UST and a gooseneck microphone would but in a different way.

    That character thing is an interesting matter I find. To my experience you won't hear much difference between a $200 axe or a $2000 one since the UST will read the strings, whilst cushioning the strings. The K & K pure reads the top instead and you will hear the characteristics of the brand and pricelevel of instrument you are playing better.
     
  12. jonnyfishstix

    jonnyfishstix Supporting Member

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    K&K or the DTAR wavelength would be my choices
     
  13. jrm

    jrm Member

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    well, I went ahead with the K&k pure western. I only got a quick chance to plug it into my church PA for about 5 minutes and it sounded just as I expected. it's a little boomy at some points, and a bit mid-heavy.... however I'm sure this is nothing that a quick eq couldn't fix. Perhaps a Pre-amp is in order too for maximum tone shaping possibilities. Of course, this is my first time really working with a baritone so it will be a learning experience.

    I decided on the K&K because I figured the deep low end of a baritone might see too much compression with a UST. when i coupled that with the advice i received here, it seemed that the K&K was a natural choice! so far I really dig it. However I know I will need to spend more time with it plugged in to make it really shine!

    thanks for all the help fellas.
     
  14. Eskimo_Joe

    Eskimo_Joe Rocker, roller, way out of controller Supporting Member

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    Reviving this discussion, any other opinions/experiences?
     
  15. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I have had both ... in different guitars. My suspicion, in a baritone, as the OP said, the K&K might be very feedback prone. The Matrix Infinity much less so.

    But ... in my dreads (D-18GE, Eastman AC420B, Guild D-212) I use K&K minis, with the K&K preamp. Sound great, and not usually a feedback problem. My Breedlove Roots OM/SRH came with a Baggs Element VTC, and that's OK, too, but it will likely go into some other guitar in the near future, and I'll install K&K's in the OM, too. I had the Matrix Infinity in a D-35 that I sold a few months ago. It sounded fine, especially through a Baggs ParaDI to cut any slight "quackiness".
     
  16. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    I put the K&K into a recently acquired Collings "D-18"type. It has a "through" saddle so an under saddle p.u. is not an easy/clean install. I use it with a Para/DI, and was surprised at how tolerable (for a p.u.) it is. W/ a condenser mic, where permissable: pretty damn good!
     
  17. rusty

    rusty Supporting Member

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    the k&k was just too "far away" sounding and boomy in my dreadnoughts :( i was pretty bummed about that one...

    finally settled on fishman matrix -- got lots of compliments from sound guys, BUT now......i use it with their AURA Spectrum preamp pedal...it's the coolest acoustic guitar accessory i've ever bought i think...sounds amazing...tuner/DI/compression all in the same box too!

    Martin D-18 w/ Fishman Matrix Natural & Aura Spectrum

    first clip is pickup alone...then with aura at 50/50 blend...same for the fingerpicked passage...pickup, then aura...all EQ was flat for comparison.
     
  18. McStrats

    McStrats Member

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    The K&K and the Baggs pre have an impedance mismatch. A K&K pre will sound much better with a K&K pickup.
     
  19. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    As much as I would be shocked at "much better", this is what I have been given to understand (and I presume you are talking "specs", as opposed to a general listening survey). Hence my surprise at how good it sounded, as is. I will try the recommended resistor across the input of the Baggs box for better matching and listen for improvement. Being thatIam neitherrich nor impractical, I will not discard the Baggs (as I like it's e.q. and it's D.I. capability) to purchase another yet another piece of gear.
     
  20. 89strat

    89strat Member

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    Sorry to hijack the thread a little, but I'm interested in the Matrix Infinity also. I'm mainly an electric player, so pardon my ignorance, but if I install this in my acoustic, can I go right into the PA system with it, or do I still need a DI box or preamp.
     

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