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  #1  
Old 09-12-2017, 11:40 AM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Default Emerald X20 VTC, Anthem or K&K??

Which do you prefer??

Why??

If K&K, did Emerald install it or was it done later??
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2017, 01:38 PM
121 121 is offline
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Emerald installed the K&K in my X20.
It works really well, but I play acoustically most of the time and don't use the K&K very much.
I selected K&K because I did not want a battery inside the guitar.

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Old 09-12-2017, 01:42 PM
kramster kramster is offline
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Cool photos... you sanded down contact area it appears.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kramster View Post
Cool photos... you sanded down contact area it appears.
Emerald installed, I did not sand down the contact area.
With my clumsy fingers I would have messed up the install.
It was better left for those folks at Emerald.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:13 PM
Tom2 Tom2 is offline
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I will always go passive. No battery operated guitars for me. There are plenty of outboard preamps with volume and tone controls that sound at least as good, accept the output of passive pickups, and won't die in the middle of a show.

Also, as someone who has mixed live sound, I don't like it when musicians have volume and tone controls that directly affect the live feed. From the stage, they have no idea how it sounds to the audience. If vocalists used mics with volume and tone controls, I'd lose my sanity.

I recall Emerald requesting that you inform them if you intend to buy an acoustic only guitar and install a k&k later, so they can sand the contact points during manufacturing.

The Barbera system that Evan is about to receive is also passive, and it's built into the saddle instead of being mounted under it. Looks interesting.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:25 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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I'll be able to better answer this question in about a month and a half! I have an X7 with a VTC on the way but my X20 with the K&K is still six weeks out.

Tom is correct, Emerald has to specially prepare the surface where the K&K will be installed so if you bought one without a K&K you cannot just add your own.

I know this as I had one some time back and though about doing just that but after speaking with Emerald about it they informed me that they need to rework that area to make is smooth enough to take the transducers.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:58 AM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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I agree. K&K is easier to deal with, a little less intrusive, less STUFF attached to the guitar, no battery... My problem with K&K is that I have trouble when plugging it into some devices. Take a POD HD500 for instance. No matter what I do, it seemingly clips the signal. However the signal doesn't distort, it just goes dead for a bit. It made me think I had a bad K&K install. But when I bypass the HD500 I can wail on the guitar with no issues. Tried it in sound systems and my Digitech Trio+ with no issues at all. Maybe an Impedance mis-match with the HD500??

So the "plug and play" nature of the Anthem is enticing... however I LOVE the tone of the K&K. Especially the thick and rich bass. I have never heard another pickup system produce such nice bass. That right there is the big trade off, since the Anthem's bass is ALWAYS handled by the piezo. Not one guitar store around here has an Anthem installed, so I can't test it out. I listened to many online videos and it does sound pretty good. Just a bit hollow when compared to the miced tone, but not bad at all.

This guy does a very good review on 2 guitars, with an A B to the miced tone on both with various playing styles.



As far as K&K prep, you don't have to have them do it. They told me a competent tech (key word there) could do the install. Then they offered to prep the area to make future install easier. They don't sand prior to making the guitar, it's done after. As such, anyone could do it. They even said they would talk with my local tech to advice him. Great guys at Emerald!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2 View Post
I will always go passive. No battery operated guitars for me. There are plenty of outboard preamps with volume and tone controls that sound at least as good, accept the output of passive pickups, and won't die in the middle of a show.

Also, as someone who has mixed live sound, I don't like it when musicians have volume and tone controls that directly affect the live feed. From the stage, they have no idea how it sounds to the audience. If vocalists used mics with volume and tone controls, I'd lose my sanity.

I recall Emerald requesting that you inform them if you intend to buy an acoustic only guitar and install a k&k later, so they can sand the contact points during manufacturing.

The Barbera system that Evan is about to receive is also passive, and it's built into the saddle instead of being mounted under it. Looks interesting.
I know what you mean, ran both sides of sound (musician and soundman). A distorted keyboard from someone cranking their volume mid set is always nice . I've also been the guitar player standing there for 5 minutes, waiting for my signal to be muted so I could unplug, while everyone stares at me wondering why I'm still up there. So I started running a volume pedal at all times, with the heel set to 100% off. However, I ALWAYS had the volume pedal at 100% on for sound check. I don't want my signal distorted to the audience. I could also add some manual tremolo effect when I wanted to. Nice when live and the tempo shifts a bit.

The Barbera system is interesting, but I really wonder about having it on a steel string guitar. From what I have read and seen, you can't file a Barbera saddle. That's probably why it's a lot of classical players using them, much less intonation adjustments in general (not all though).
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:08 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonius View Post
.....I know what you mean, ran both sides of sound (musician and soundman)..... I've also been the guitar player standing there for 5 minutes, waiting for my signal to be muted so I could unplug, while everyone stares at me wondering why I'm still up there.....
Not very kind to the audio equipment or the audience, but after waiting a reasonable amount of time, pull the plug and let it "pop". The sound tech WILL notice you from then forward.

I've also been on both sides many times. I always try to hold the cord and make eye contact to get confirmation it is OK to unplug. But if they aren't looking.....
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Not very kind to the audio equipment or the audience, but after waiting a reasonable amount of time, pull the plug and let it "pop". The sound tech WILL notice you from then forward.

I've also been on both sides many times. I always try to hold the cord and make eye contact to get confirmation it is OK to unplug. But if they aren't looking.....
A volume pedal is also a cheap and pretty easy way to deal with this particular situation.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:28 AM
121 121 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Not very kind to the audio equipment or the audience, but after waiting a reasonable amount of time, pull the plug and let it "pop". The sound tech WILL notice you from then forward.

I've also been on both sides many times. I always try to hold the cord and make eye contact to get confirmation it is OK to unplug. But if they aren't looking.....
As I mentioned earlier I don't use the K&K in my X20 much, but when I do, I use it with the Orchid Muting DI Box.
This DI box has an input impedance of 1 meg. (which the K&K likes) and a Muting switch to prevent those pops when switching instruments and unplugging cables.

http://www.orchid-electronics.co.uk/Muting_DI_Box.htm
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:09 PM
Tom2 Tom2 is offline
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My live rig also allows me to mute, and it splits the signal so I can eq my monitor feed without messing with the main feed. No need for active electronics on the instrument at all.

Barbera's web site has almost no info, but it does indicate that they can customize. Might require an email or phone call.
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:55 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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I got into volume pedals back when I played bass. I usually played a 6 string. When playing octaves I could somewhat emulate the tones of a double bass and cello being played at the same time. I'd strike the notes then immediately swell them in, to give it a bowed sound. The initial strike was not heard, just the swell. This worked best in more ambient atmospheres. However as I got quicker at it, I used it quite often. Couple that with some string bending or neck bending for vibrato and you get some nice tones. So I then translated that over to the acoustic realm.

All that aside... I guess people have very little to say about the Baggs VTC or Anthem. It was all K&K comments, then we got side tracked. Aside from the needs for some external eq and impedance matching with the K&K, I still find it to be the most acoustic.

Agree/disagree??
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:06 PM
Jimmy Koh Jimmy Koh is offline
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Let me contribute a bit here.

I have just taken delivery on my custom Emerald T8 Woody with a VTC.

I am skeptical with the VTC at first but I went ahead because:

1. I play unplugged most of the time. The active system is really handy should I really want to plug it in.

2. Why a VTC and not a K&K? This question is instrument specific, I think. For a small guitar that has limited soundboard area for string vibration/interaction, I would think an active system is required to really boost the volume for plug-in situation. Also, the VTC is zero feedback and I can experiment many types of pedal with it, even drive pedals for some al di meola style play (not as if I can play like him..).

3. Flexibility - the VTC's UST nature allows it to be remove and re-installed easily. The K&K, once dismantled, will require some good effort to put back. With the VTC, I can have it remove and replace with a mag pickup on the center soundhole of the T8.

4. Tone - I have good experience with the AER AK15+ mic/ust system. But in live situation, I have to mute the mic all way and using only the ust because of feedback issue. But the ust alone handled the situation quite well, so I don't see no reason for not using a ust again. The VTC also somewhat responsive to percussive movement so it's good with a looper for some Ed Sheeren moments too. So is the VTC really a plug-and-play-and-forget it solution for any situation? In my opinion, no. Some users in this forum and many others from outside said that it is boomy on the bass side. This happened to me. So I remove the saddle and ensure the ust film sensor is properly placed and compressed evenly under the saddle. Still, the low E sounds louder. And then it came to me that the thickness of the saddle where the low E sits on is thinnest because of the radius of the saddle that may have explained for this phenomenon. Someone in this forum has also commented that the preamp of the VTC is programmed with default bass boost. But as Capt Jim has mentioned in one of my earlier thread, the bass can be dialed down and I have done that with my amp, so the VTC is good to go for a basic plugged-in situation. Not the best though, but we have to agree that the VTC is the cheapest of all pickups offered by Emerald, and if you want better, many options are available out there.

I have a question for all K&K users - do you not EQ your tone with the amp? Is the K&K really a plug-in and play solution with the amp's EQ on neutral setting?
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:24 AM
Long Jon Long Jon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Koh View Post
Let me contribute a bit here.

I have just taken delivery on my custom Emerald T8 Woody with a VTC.

I am skeptical with the VTC at first but I went ahead because:

1. I play unplugged most of the time. The active system is really handy should I really want to plug it in.
Jimmy , I appreciate your input because until now everyone seems to be comparing the K&K Mini with the Anthem instead of the VTC,
which is a little unfair and kind of "apples vs oranges."
The Anthem is obviously a much more expensive option than the VTC or a K&K Mini and has a microphone in addition to the UST,
so more like a K&K Trinity which is a lot more costly and has a gooseneck mic and on board pre amp in addition to the usual 3 transducers.

I have a K&K Mini fitted in my Martin HD28V and I really like the simplicity and the sound,

BUT on my new Emerald I am probably going to go with the standard VTC , as that's what Emerald have chosen,
so I'm betting it's not too shabby, they do 'em all day long, and it's their cheapest option.

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PS. I hardly ever plug in anyway, but here's a heads-up for anyone who hasn't tried 'em....

NON rechargeable Energiser LITHIUM batteries are practically immortal !

I use them in everything. Had one in my Taylor's ES2 for a couple of years, various remote controls etc, 5 years or more, still going strong. Long long shelf life, Never leak. Worth the extra, (forget re-chargeables they generally don't hold the full voltage very long, v poor performance , spend more time on the charger than in the appliance IME)
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Koh View Post
I have a question for all K&K users - do you not EQ your tone with the amp? Is the K&K really a plug-in and play solution with the amp's EQ on neutral setting?
Great post, Jimmy. I have an X7 with a VTC on the way that I'm looking forward to putting through its paces.

I also have an X20 custom build due in October that I elected to go with the K&K for simplicity sake and also because it's been my go-to pickup for all my guitars when I have the choice. It will be nice to A/B their performance although there will be the difference of body size.

As to your question above, I have always had to EQ any and every pickup I've owned. For me this is more about the way I play (fingerstyle with no nails) than the guitar or pickup itself. I always need to dial the trebles way up to compensate for the soft tone of no pick or nails. Mids and Lows vary depending on amp, guitar and room.
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