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-   -   Martin/Fishman Enhance pickup (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=547441)

occimoron 05-21-2019 05:23 PM

Martin/Fishman Enhance pickup
 
I recently picked up a Martin OMC-35E with the aura VT Enhance system installed. Iím really impressed with how good it sounds, both through a Fishman Loudbox Performer amp, and recorded direct. I have to roll off the highs a bit on the loudbox amp. On a recent gig where I played mostly electric through a fender deluxe reverb I plugged the OMC in through an EQ pedal and even got great tone through the deluxe amp.

Acoustically, the guitar seems to lack a bit of volume and is a bit bright, compared to an OM 21 that I recently had. Iím curious if the enhance pick up, which is attached to the bridge plate, is heavy enough to affect either volume or the tone. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience on this?

Thanks.

Chriscom 05-21-2019 07:35 PM

I can't answer your question, just wanted to say your guitar is very much like my GPC-28E which has the same pickup, and I love it as well. On the few occasions I played it through generic bar house systems (before I stopped risking it there!) it sounded remarkably good with little tweaking, and of course in my home systems it's superlative IMO.

The relative lack of projection is partly the result of its being an Orchestra style with a less-deep construction--it ain't intended to be a dreadnought, blowing your socks off. This doesn't work for everyone but it suits me (and of course electronically it's not an issue).

One difference between yours and mine is, I wouldn't call mine bright. Too busy to check tonewood types, strings etc. at the moment.

AeroUSA 05-21-2019 08:18 PM

Yes it really is excellent. I run the Enhance on full.

martingitdave 05-22-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by occimoron (Post 6067571)
I recently picked up a Martin OMC-35E with the aura VT Enhance system installed. I’m really impressed with how good it sounds, both through a Fishman Loudbox Performer amp, and recorded direct. I have to roll off the highs a bit on the loudbox amp. On a recent gig where I played mostly electric through a fender deluxe reverb I plugged the OMC in through an EQ pedal and even got great tone through the deluxe amp.

Acoustically, the guitar seems to lack a bit of volume and is a bit bright, compared to an OM 21 that I recently had. I’m curious if the enhance pick up, which is attached to the bridge plate, is heavy enough to affect either volume or the tone. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience on this?

Thanks.

My observation with the Aura VT Enhance is that it is a good sounding pickup. I do think it has some dampening effect on the guitar. But, it isn't the enhance transducer. I've removed one and it weighs very little. It's most likely the cumulative result of the controls and the under saddle transducer. So far, I haven't found many good sounding pickups that are better at high volume than the Fishman Matrix with Aura.

AeroUSA 05-22-2019 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by martingitdave (Post 6068172)
My observation with the Aura VT Enhance is that it is a good sounding pickup. I do think it has some dampening effect on the guitar. But, it isn't the enhance transducer. I've removed one and it weighs very little. It's most likely the cumulative result of the controls and the under saddle transducer. So far, I haven't found many good sounding pickups that are better at high volume than the Fishman Matrix with Aura.

Sorry Dave but I disagree and you know how fussy I am about this stuff. I also feel this pickup is WAY underrated and some people donít give it a chance to dial it in. I have a couple of minor eq cuts and run the Enhance on maximum. It really is my favorite system at the moment.

martingitdave 05-22-2019 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AeroUSA (Post 6068290)
Sorry Dave but I disagree and you know how fussy I am about this stuff. I also feel this pickup is WAY underrated and some people donít give it a chance to dial it in. I have a couple of minor eq cuts and run the Enhance on maximum. It really is my favorite system at the moment.


Itís underrated. Fishman picked the exact features that modern players need and squeezed it down as small as their tech will allow. Iím not suggesting itís a large dampening effect. But I do hear some. I had one of these and took the whole system out in a fit of OCD. Of course it was not that much difference and the guitar had more utility with the system than without.

Petty1818 05-22-2019 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AeroUSA (Post 6068290)
Sorry Dave but I disagree and you know how fussy I am about this stuff. I also feel this pickup is WAY underrated and some people donít give it a chance to dial it in. I have a couple of minor eq cuts and run the Enhance on maximum. It really is my favorite system at the moment.

I think it's underrated because it's a pickup that's specific to Martin guitars. I personally will never buy an acoustic just for the pickup. I feel like a lot of people are the same so it probably isn't as tested as other systems.

With that said, I have never noticed any tonal change with the Matrix UST. However, I do remember reading reports of the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend being fairly heavy and dampening the tone of the guitar. Considering the Aura Enhance has just as much stuff in the guitar, I would expect a bit of tonal change. Just to clarify though, isn't it difficult to hear a change when the guitar comes with the pickup already installed? I would think you would need a before and after.

On a side note, I had a Matrix mic blend in my guitar for years. When I removed it, I actually missed the unplugged tone I had with the Fishman system. Sometimes a UST or a more dampening pickup can have positive impacts.

Chriscom 05-22-2019 08:02 PM

I had one of these and took the whole system out in a fit of OCD.

I don't know you well of course but based on what we see here at AGF, that is sooooooo Dave.

I'm convinced that at the edges of fine sound, we hear things just differently enough to provide endless entertainment in conversation. Just about everyone can agree on the inferior sound of a quacking piezo duck, but at the best levels of acoustic amplification it's like wine critics with different palates.

By the way Dave, when you say Fishman Matrix with Aura works very well at high volumes, do you mean with the outboard Aura Spectrum DI Imaging pedal? I think you've mentioned this before.

martingitdave 05-22-2019 08:12 PM

Martin/Fishman Enhance pickup
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscom (Post 6068429)
I had one of these and took the whole system out in a fit of OCD.



I don't know you well of course but based on what we see here at AGF, that is sooooooo Dave.



I'm convinced that at the edges of fine sound, we hear things just differently enough to provide endless entertainment in conversation. Just about everyone can agree on the inferior sound of a quacking piezo duck, but at the best levels of acoustic amplification it's like wine critics with different palates.



By the way Dave, when you say Fishman Matrix with Aura works very well at high volumes, do you mean with the outboard Aura Spectrum DI Imaging pedal? I think you've mentioned this before.


Guilty as charged! Incidentally, and in all seriousness, Iím actually working on my OCD. Iím an engineer, so mine is a little bit weirder than the run of the mill compulsions.

So, my hope is that I can make these lifestyle changes stick. So far, Iím not making big strides. But baby steps are good too.

Matrix plus Aura pedal is very popular with loud bands.

noledog 05-22-2019 08:57 PM

* I've played extensively the VTE including the OM-35 with the single Aura image, and the VTE with no Aura found in the 15, 16 series, as well as, the full Fishman F1 Aura Plus that came on the Retro Series of which I had on my 000-18e Retro... the F1AP sounded far better sonically than any VTE when used plug n play in that 1) it was authentic to the actual tone of my 000-18, 2) much more versatile 3) greater tone shaping 4) more feedback resistant 5) much phatter sounding 6) much less if any quackiness.

** While the VTE is certainly a quality, usable system, it falls short compared to the F1AP sounding thin, especially the non-Aura version. I found that using any fair amount of the enhance feature makes it feedback prone, and hollower, plus using the Matrix by itself is very quacky.

*** Having said that, you can phatten the VTE up with some outboard EQ and a notch filter, but plug n play it's no contest. IMO the F1AP has been Martin's best system to date and one of the most authentic I've used... but it's a moot point as it has been discontinued in part because it does not immediately appear user friendly to those who don't really get down into it's capabilities. Thus the much easier VTE has replaced it.

**** Of the choices Martin currently offers, I would take the Anthem over the VTE as it sounds warmer and thicker. But it too benefits from an outboard EQ. While they both employ a UST, I never found the harder material Matrix to affect the unplugged tone while Baggs Element soft, braided material does affect the unplugged in some folks view. Both the VTE and Anthem have SBT/Mic respectively attached to the bridge plate thus may have a small dampening effect.

***** There is always a compromise, however, I found the F1AP with only it's Matrix UST to have no unplugged affect and yet with it's Aura imaging to have a much more pleasing plugged in tone that worked great for my solo performances at high volumes. It truly rivaled the MIJ Taks that I use. If I didn't like the Tak's a bit more, I would still be using the F1AP as my main system. But I've been using the Tak's many years and they just work for me... and that's the key, ya have to find what works for you and your style and your ease of use. Some musicians are lazy and don't put the time in to really dig into these systems, or the trial and error etc.. and just want something easy and that's ok. I have plenty of fellow musicians here locally that ask me how to get a good sound and I enjoy helping them. One recently bought a Martin 000-15 with a VTE under my guidance from Maury. He doesn't like to fuss or learn about the variety of systems available so boom, the 15 VTE works fine for him! ...and he's a really good pro in these parts. So enjoy your Martin with VTE, learn to optimize it's capability as I hope it works well for YOU!!

Best wishes,

eric

AeroUSA 05-22-2019 09:49 PM

I just want to say that I run the volume and enhance on maximum and the tone on zero. I hope this will help someone. Feedback is rare unless Iím backed right into a corner.

SpruceTop 05-23-2019 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by martingitdave (Post 6068172)
My observation with the Aura VT Enhance is that it is a good sounding pickup. I do think it has some dampening effect on the guitar. But, it isn't the enhance transducer. I've removed one and it weighs very little. It's most likely the cumulative result of the controls and the under saddle transducer. So far, I haven't found many good sounding pickups that are better at high volume than the Fishman Matrix with Aura.

... and there's also a lot of wiring and control modules under the hood. I even rearranged the wiring on my Martin GPC-18E Aura VT Enhance to make less contact with the top. I don't think all that crap had much effect on the sustain as the guitar has great sustain and sounded great acoustically but I could never bond with the pickup/preamp system's tone. It needed external EQ to sound decent for me. Finally, I traded it in on my Huss & Dalton TD-R and haven't missed that Martin since then.

JackB1 05-23-2019 08:07 AM

The VT Enhance system without the Aura or Aura Plus sounds very thin and not great by itself. The Aura image helps tremendously to thicken up the tone. The Enhance part of the pickup is great for those who do a lot pf percussive stuff on their guitar. Really makes it come through very loud. I have a Martin with the Aura+ system and it sounds wonderful, but it barely picks up any percussive tapping on the guitar.

Chriscom 05-23-2019 08:40 AM

Iím actually working on my OCD. Iím an engineer, so mine is a little bit weirder than the run of the mill compulsions.

So, my hope is that I can make these lifestyle changes stick. So far, Iím not making big strides. But baby steps are good too.


Very cool, all best to you Dave. Thanks for the Matrix/Aura response; I've been eyeing that pedal for awhile.

occimoron 05-23-2019 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by martingitdave (Post 6068394)
I had one of these and took the whole system out in a fit of OCD. Of course it was not that much difference and the guitar had more utility with the system than without.

Great. That's what I wanted to hear. And I agree the sound is great. Haven't tried the Anthem, but so far this is my favorite pickup system for sound quality and feedback resistance.

Thanks all.


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