The best acoustic pickup I've heard!!

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by RockinB23, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. RockinB23

    RockinB23 Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Location:
    CA Bay Area
    I just bought a Martin D-42 custom shop model. Its basically like a D-28 Marquis but with the 42 style inlays and a torch headstock inlay. It has the typical vintage style through saddle FWI. The guitar came with a Highlander IP2 Dual System installed. So its the IP2 undersaddle pickup and Highlander mic all hooked into IP2 Preamp and Stereo jack. I pulled out my stereo cable and hooked this into the sound system at my church straight in and the results were breath taking!!! By far the best plugged in sound I've ever had and I've had some great guitars with good systems but this one kept every thing I like about that Marquis tone and amplified with beautiful results!!!!!! Pricey pickup but well worth the money!!!

    PS The guitar sounds great unplugged as well.
     
  2. Mortician

    Mortician Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    The Highlander IP-2 is a great PU! Sometimes it is a bit difficult to get a good balance but once you do watch out. I have the internal mic but have never been pleased with it sounds way to thin for me. How does your mic sound?
     
  3. RockinB23

    RockinB23 Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Location:
    CA Bay Area
    I haven't tried just the mic by itself yet. I will have to try it sometime. I ran the stereo cable straight into a DI Box.

     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    33,553
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    into one regular DI box?

    those have mono inputs, so if the guitar actually had a separated stereo output signal, you likely were just hearing one channel, typically the pickup.
     
  5. RockinB23

    RockinB23 Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Location:
    CA Bay Area

    It was into a Fishman DI its a Pro EQ XLR preamp model. You raise a good question as too if the mic was even on or not. I may need a new stereo preamp. I plugged it in at home to my Presonus Firewire audio interface and ran it through my studio monitors and it sounded really good at home as well.

    EDIT: Just bought a K&K Dual Mix Pro ST unit which should fix the stereo TRS cable issue, a big shout out to Ted at Blue Start Music for being really helpful!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  6. Pa'ani

    Pa'ani Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,481
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    So. Cal
    I have a Highlander IP-1 pickup that has been installed in my Kevin Ryan Mission Grand and it sounds incredible!
    I also have a Highlander IP-2 Dual System pickup with out the mic. So I have been thinking about installing the IP-2 with my Sunrise magnetic pickup.
     
  7. TravisE

    TravisE Member

    Messages:
    3,478
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    WV
    I was really tempted by this pickup but didn't like what had to be done to the saddle slot in order to properly install it. It's risky because if you don't like the pickup, your bridge is fairly screwed afterward. Correct me if I'm wrong on that, by the way. That was the way it was explained to me. I've got a vintage guitar and didn't wanna take that chance.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    33,553
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    yeah, there's other under-saddle pickups that are every bit as good, and don't require such radical alteration of the slot.

    most of them also have the option to run a second pickup through to the ring output just like the IP-2. (there's no preamping here, it's just a pass-through.)

    also, an under-saddle plus a magnetic can be neat, but you're kinda duplicating the strengths and the weaknesses of the two pickups; they both hear the strings directly and are therefore feedback-resistant, but niether one has any real top sensitivity, so there's less realism or "acoustic-ness".

    the usual trick is to combine either one with a more natural-sounding source like a contact pickup or an internal mic, so that each pickup complements the other.
     
  9. royd

    royd Member

    Messages:
    2,000
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I usually don't care for under the saddle pups but have heard installations of Highlanders that sounded very, very good to me - the best UTS installs I've heard. I would expect that the skill or luck of the installer is critical though and a poor install might sound pretty bad.

    And I agree with Walter, adding a mag to a UTS doesn't add much if anything to the picture. I would say either a mag or a UTS paired with a mic or a soundboard transducer gives you a better picture. That way the strengths of one system compensate for the weaknesses of the other. So, adding that mic in the the UTS should add some air that the UTS misses. You won't need a lot of mic.

    I have been using a Sunrise mag with a McIntyre SBT since the mid 90's and I'm happy with my sound. Here's a video of me playing with my daughter from about '98. The guitar is an '86 Lowden with that pickup system through a Raven PMB-1 blender.

     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  10. ballynally

    ballynally Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    I've never been very happy with my Rare Earth system (in hole magnatic+mic).Magnatic is good for blues but doesn't sound very natural, and a mic in the guitar mostly picks up the wrong frequencies. You can hear it clearly if you put your ear against the hole. Those bassy harmonics you don't want.
    An UST has too much squeek, and a contact pickup too much body noise.
    I think a combination of UST and contact pickup is the ticket, but you should be able to have separate EQ possibilities for each, to filter out the weaknesses. Some people have gone back to using mics after years of frustration, but you have to beef up the low level volume with a good preamp.
    And then there's another option: stop worrying about the sound. Come on, you can do it!
     
  11. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

    Messages:
    466
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Los Feliz, CA.
    I dunno....I can (with a lot of blood, sweat&tears) coax a Rare Earth Blend to sound pretty natural.

    Here is a clip direct to Pro Tools. No Hocus Pocus, a slight touch of the dreaded Pro Tools D-Verb and that's it. Not perfect but not "un-natural" either.

    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=8332674
     
  12. ballynally

    ballynally Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011

    nice work. with any system one can find a decent acoustic tone, be it magnetic,mic, ust, or contact pickup. They all have certain qualities, but also limitations. It's the trick to find the right combination. Like with the rare earth. I used to dial in just enough of the mic to give the guitar a more open feeling. I've also send the 2 separate outputs and eq-ed them to my liking, filtering most of the bass and treble out of the mic, and some low and high mids out of the mag. I do like way single notes sound with the rare earth more than the strumming, more direct and less sqeeky than a UST without the side effects. Hence my preference for countryblues using this system. I do prefer the UST for strumming, and use some guitars for that. So, you see, my point is, none are perfect. I still think a mic in front of the side of the hole is the closest to the sound of the guitar itself. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings for instance went back to mics (sm57s) after searching for their sound extensively. And they probably still use a few filters for the unwanted harmonics
     
  13. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

    Messages:
    2,911
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Wait. You got a new guitar and you think it sounds good? :omg

    Seriously though, I fully support your statement, but you have to add "so far". All acoustic pickups suck. Some suck less than others, and I will agree with you that, unfortunately, there is often a direct correlation between cost and sound. Gotta love highlander. Not saying they are the best. Am saying "gotta love highlander". I run K&Ks too. Both have been the best I've heard... So far... :p It's just that the Highlander is the best I've heard so far most recently.

    I'm old enough that the "so far" statement also applies to old school Dearmond soundholes and sunrise. Never getting rid of either of those. Still use the Dearmond once a week. It's one with the external cable. Pop it in, hit the electric jam! The sunrise is used less often, but loved more.
     

Share This Page