Getting the best live acoustic sound (fishman aura)

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by guitar5, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. guitar5

    guitar5 Member

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    I have a $5k custom acoustic (rosewood/spruce mid size custom shape).
    It sounds absolutely beautiful. I've had it for around 6 years now and I'm still in love.

    When recording through an external mic I love the sound. It has a fishman prefix system and everywhere I play people say it sounds amazing, but I can't stand the piezo sound when I know how it sounds through a good mic.

    I've been doing some research and think I may try the fishman aura spectrum and send my guitar to fishman to have them create a custom image.
    My guitar is so unique it really doesn't match any of the guitars that have factory images created.

    Has anyone gone this route? How did it sound?
    Any other ideas/suggestions?

    Money really isn't that much of an object. I have a $5,000 guitar, I want it to sound the best that it can in a loud live environment.
     
  2. stratrat2000

    stratrat2000 Member

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    Try it with the stock and downloaded images first, I was able to find images that fit both my nylon and steel string guitars perfectly. Plus I use it to liven up solidbody piezos, where there was no option to image the acoustic sound.

    Also you should realise that what sounds the most natural in a solo setting rarely works in an ensemble mix.
     
  3. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    "In my opinion" a "Loud live environment" isn't really the place for the subtleties of a high end acoustic... That level of detail is really for the more intimate environment. Especially with other instruments are present... and is Why Taylor and Takamine dominate the live acoustic scene "when accompanied by a full band" (I'll add that caveat).... I got gobs of compliments on how good my $500 Washburn Acoustic sounded live through a Zoom A2... From real players that play Collings/Larrivee/Maton etc...

    But... if you don't mind dropping the bucks for a custom image of your guitar... absolutely go for it man...
     
  4. mosaic

    mosaic Supporting Member

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    I'm so tempted to get the Fishman Aura Spectrum for my solo acoustic gigs but if I know myself I'll be more concerned with making adjustments to the sound that I'll forget to enjoy the music. Still the Aura Spectrum sounds I've heard were amazing! I don't think you could go wrong.
     
  5. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    it sounds a bit pedestrian compared to the Aura... but for small change... give the Zoom A3 a try... you might be amazed. Even the A2 could give the first gen Aura a run... and the A3 slays it.
     
  6. suckamc

    suckamc Member

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    I use one on a TV gig and I like it quite a bit. Now, that's a bit different environment than a live gig (where I've never used it, though our stage is loud and it sounds great through the monitors). A friend of mine took one on tour with a fairly big artist who plays acoustic. He said the sound guy liked it, but with the main artist NOT using one (and going straight off of his pickup), the two guitars just sounded too different and didn't mesh well. That could be something to weigh if your situation involves two simultaneous acoustics.

    So, for me, the tone beats a straight piezo. FWIW I mix about 50/50 image/piezo. I think most people mix the piezo in to some extent, live.

    I've always wondered how well a custom image would work. If you go that route, I'd love to read your thoughts in the future.
     
  7. stratrat2000

    stratrat2000 Member

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    Yeah, 50/50 for me too. Higher and it gets "boxy", lower and it doesn't make enough of a difference in a live setting.

    I find the compressor to be great too. Nice and transparent - just helps you sit in the mix without any tonal change or obvious compression artifacts.

    The aura has a low noise ratio too - I run a low input with lots of headroom for percussive peaks and the noise levels are still well below the noise floor.
     
  8. stratrat2000

    stratrat2000 Member

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    At first yeah. I'm an inveterate tweaker by nature, but I found once I had the settings to my liking they stayed there. The only thing that changes is the image selector as I change guitars.
     
  9. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    I've gigged consistently on acoustic for many years and owned many units, including the Aura and LR Baggs preamps. I've tried to find something "better" but the old Zoom A2.1 is still the most reliable, best sounding preamp/fx unit I've ever used. Great unit if you can find one. I've tried to like it, but the Aura just sounds weird and synthetic to me.
     
  10. mralmostpopular

    mralmostpopular Member

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    I have used the Aura Spectrum for a few years now. The trick is finding an IR that goes well with your guitar. I actually found an IR that was a slightly different wood combination from my guitar that worked well. Experiment with it a little bit. You could send it in, but I don't think it's necessary to do so. With the limitations of the technology, you're probably not going to get a perfect replication of your guitar mic'd one way or another.

    There's also the Dtar Mama Bear available as an option.
     
  11. Rockerduck

    Rockerduck Member

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    I got rid of my Aura spectrum and got the A3 which is much better, smaller, has effects, boost switch, modeling, and DI. Plus a mic input to mic your guitar and play thru the pedal too at the same time.
     
  12. suckamc

    suckamc Member

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    Guess I need to try that Zoom.
     
  13. slugworth

    slugworth Supporting Member

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    Zoom better than Aura Spectrum? I'm glad you think so. ;)

    If you're looking for effects, then yes. For just a straight-ahead acoustic tone, I could not disagree more.
     
  14. barhrecords

    barhrecords Member

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    I think the Aura is the best solution, in a dedicated pedal format, for taming under saddle piezo pickups.

    I have not ever had a custom image made. I use the factory images.

    What I do is set the eq flat, turn off the compression.

    Then set the blend to full Aura; no direct guitar.

    I audition all the Aura images and make notes of the ones that I prefer.

    Then refine that down to 1 or two.

    Then change the blend to inject some of my direct guitar and make my eq and compression to taste.

    The Aura can create some fantastic tones from under saddle pickups.
     
  15. Matticus

    Matticus Member

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    What about using something like the Logidy and some acoustic IRs? I know that isn't as complete a solution as the Aura but is the concept still there? If so, you could audition those in your DAW using an IR loader.
     
  16. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    A3 is pretty boss. Horrible user interface.

    Another thing to try is the D-Tar Mama Bear. really great stuff there.
     
  17. 690MBCOMMANDO

    690MBCOMMANDO Member

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    I use the Baggs LB6 in my Olsons with the Venue DI and get great reviews from my sound guys and the crowd. YMMV.

    I find a lot has to do with the right pickup for the right guitar.
     
  18. slugworth

    slugworth Supporting Member

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    Most of the acoustic IRs you'll encounter are taken from either the Aura or Mama Bear.
     
  19. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    Better? Maybe not better.. But in many ways just as good... yeah... A/B the A3 with it sometime... snobbery aside it's a pretty impressive acoustic re-modeler.
     
  20. slugworth

    slugworth Supporting Member

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    I have, and I didn't think it was in the same league. Different strokes.

    All of the devices mentioned in this thread are pretty easy to come by on the secondary market, and easy to re-sell without taking much of a hit. Personally I prefer to try stuff rather than take people's word for it. To me it's worth what I spend in listing and shipping fees.
     

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