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  #1  
Old 01-07-2017, 08:51 PM
tcn_acou tcn_acou is offline
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Default Martin GPC-28E - Aura Enhance VT observation

Hi guys, new here.

I just got a Martin GPC-28E with Fishman's Aura VT Enhance. I noticed that for the "Enhance" wheel function, when it is turned up between 50% to 100%, it causes the D string notes to be much louder than the other strings somehow, to the point anything played on the D string overpowers the other strings. This is kind of putting me off using the Enhance function at its high settings.

The effect is even more obvious with reverb turned on, I am using a Fishman Loudbox Artist amp.


Just wondering if this is the normal behaviour for the Fishman Aura VT Enhance pickup?
Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:21 AM
tcn_acou tcn_acou is offline
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er anyone..?
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:02 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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I recently got a Martin GPC-18E and thoroughly enjoy its acoustic tones; the Aura VT Enhance is another matter. The Aura VT Enhance pickup/preamp system looked good to me on paper and prior to buying my guitar I auditioned a Martin OMC-18E in a local store and found the system to be very mid-rangey and trebly, especially when engaging the Enhance soundboard transducer. I went ahead and ordered my Martin GPC-18E hoping it would have more bass resonance, which it does, acoustically, but the Aura VT Enhance system is still rather mid-rangey and trebly. In my opinion, with all EQ flat on a mixer, and only using the guitar's onboard EQ, the amplified tone is barely passable. The Aura VT Enhance system needs the additional EQ capabilities of a mixer, amp or outboard preamp/EQ to get a good amplified tone. View my "NGD: Martin GPC-18E Aura VT Enhance" thread here.

I sent an email to Martin inquiring about if there are any switches or trim pots on the endpin preamp that can adjusted to increase the bass-frequency output of the Enhance transducer. I never received a reply.

My advice is to add in just enough of the Enhance soundboard transducer (25% max) to get some of its top and body resonance into the mix with the Matrix/Aura section of the system. I actually ordered a new Tusq saddle and fitted it because the Tusq saddle that came in the Martin leaned forward a bit too much for my liking. This is typical of the way Martin installs it saddles for UST usage. I like my saddles to be just a bit smaller in thickness than the saddle-slot so they don't lean but are easily removed with the fingers.

Another possibility is that you're getting what I call "string ping" or the "sitar effect" on your D-string. It's the tinny overtone you may be hearing--even without amplification--that emphasizes the D-string in the mix, especially when coupled with the mid-rangey and trebly characteristics of the Enhance. This can likely be eliminated by shaping the top of the saddle behind where the D-string passes over it and comes down the rear of the saddle's top. I think I've noticed "string ping" or "sitar effect" occurring on the D-string and G-string much more often since the introduction of compensated bridge saddles, regardless of material used, and brand of guitar.

I think the potential of being a really good pickup/preamp system exists in the Aura VT Enhance but may be realized with some tweaking or updates from Martin/Fishman. I hope the above helps in resolving your concern.
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2016 Taylor 614ce ES2
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2016 Taylor 322ce ES2
2015 Taylor 618e ES2
2015 Taylor 356ce 12-String ES2
2014 Taylor 814ce ES2
2014 Martin HD-28 Trance Amulet M Dual Mono M-VT
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-10-2017 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:41 AM
2Fenderman 2Fenderman is offline
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hey, try to switch to a rear saddle of bone, it becomes softer sound, maybe it helps,
I switched it off a behind-saddle on a Martin HD 35 from bone to Tsuq and got a high bad lud at the G or was it D string, switched back to the bone and it was good.
The problem may also be that the saddle is not right / plan (downside). you can check it by taking it off and put it towards something steel that is known to completely plan and look towards a bright light, if you see light in between some places, let the files / ground plan, this should be done by professional person.
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:55 AM
tcn_acou tcn_acou is offline
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Many thanks for the useful information SpruceTop and 2Fenderman, looks like I should have done more research before deciding on the GPC-28E.. I would have preferred a pickup that works well without any external EQ tweaking unfortunately..

Just to share, I posed the same questions to Martin's and Fishman's customer support and just got their responses.
- Martin said that they only recommend a small amount of Enhance in a live situation.
- Fishman informed that the enhance control could be boosting frequencies that would make the D string more pronounced, but also mentioned that if the D string is louder no matter where I play on the fretboard, then it could be a mechanical issue, and gave some advice on saddle adjustments.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:44 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcn_acou View Post
Many thanks for the useful information SpruceTop and 2Fenderman, looks like I should have done more research before deciding on the GPC-28E.. I would have preferred a pickup that works well without any external EQ tweaking unfortunately..

Just to share, I posed the same questions to Martin's and Fishman's customer support and just got their responses.
- Martin said that they only recommend a small amount of Enhance in a live situation.
- Fishman informed that the enhance control could be boosting frequencies that would make the D string more pronounced, but also mentioned that if the D string is louder no matter where I play on the fretboard, then it could be a mechanical issue, and gave some advice on saddle adjustments.
As mentioned, you can make sure the bottom of the saddle is flat by putting it on a known flat surface like a machinist/inspection surface plate or a pane of glass or mirror. Then, by shining a light on the far side of the bridge, look for gaps along the bottom of the saddle where the light shines through. If any gapping is excessive, it can affect the Matrix UST string balance. I suspect your problem is "string ping/sitar effect" and it's common, especially if you strike that string with a flatpick at an angle and not square. The Enhance transducer seems to be really picking up this characteristic. Your guitar shop should be able to greatly reduce or eliminate this annoying characteristic by checking the string seating at the nut and by slightly modifying the saddle just behind where the string passes over the top and down the rear slope. Good Luck.
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2016 Martin D Jr. B-Band A1.2N-1470
2016 Taylor GS Mini-e Koa ES2
2016 Taylor 614ce ES2
2016 Martin GPC-18E Aura VT Enhance
2016 Martin D-18
2016 Taylor 322ce ES2
2015 Taylor 618e ES2
2015 Taylor 356ce 12-String ES2
2014 Taylor 814ce ES2
2014 Martin HD-28 Trance Amulet M Dual Mono M-VT
2013 RainSong WS1000 Fishman Prefix+T
2009 RainSong WS1000 Fishman Prefix+T
Line 6 L2t Speaker
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  #7  
Old 01-11-2017, 10:54 AM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Consider taking it to your Martin dealer or repair shop and asking them to address the D string, if you suspect it is a mechanical issue. I suspect the enhance feature is more to provide "air" to the UST signal. Some folks like the UST signal, others don't. Once you have the D string sorted out, try a TC Electronics Body Rez pedal or a Zoom A3 with your new GPC guitar. I think you will find a simple "one knob" solution to improving the acoustic tone. You can dial in a little of the enhance sensor too.
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Last edited by martingitdave; 01-11-2017 at 11:40 AM.
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