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Old 03-08-2018, 10:07 PM
Kittoon Kittoon is offline
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Default Remove Martin's pickup system? Install KK passive?

I have a one year old Martin OMCPA1 which not only is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played (think electric guitar) but also physically very pretty. Well, I find i don't play the guitar much. It's Martins electronics. I wanted to pit Martins latest pickup system against all my other guitars which are fitted with KK passive pickups. I prefer EVERYTHING about the KK over Martins Aura+ system. To me, something is missing with the tone. -Just not "authentic" (for lack of a more technical description) I am using a nice DI box but just can't quite the Martin "meat" one would expect. This may sound goofy, but I wonder if one could remove Martins pickup system and install KK's passive approach. -Or would this be a very bad idea! (No need to mention impact on resell value. Comfort/Tone is the issue) Any great thoughts? Thanks!

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Old 03-08-2018, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kittoon View Post
I have a one year old Martin OMCPA1 which not only is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played (think electric guitar) but also physically very pretty. Well, I find i don't play the guitar much. It's Martins electronics. I wanted to pit Martins latest pickup system against all my other guitars which are fitted with KK passive pickups. I prefer EVERYTHING about the KK over Martins Aura+ system. To me, something is missing with the tone. -Just not "authentic" (for lack of a more technical description) I am using a nice DI box but just can't quite the Martin "meat" one would expect. This may sound goofy, but I wonder if one could remove Martins pickup system and install KK's passive approach. -Or would this be a very bad idea! (No need to mention impact on resell value. Comfort/Tone is the issue) Any great thoughts? Thanks!

Kittoon
This is a very interesting question and one I recently thought about as well. I have a Martin OMC-18E with Fishman Aura VT Enhance and when I compared it to the K&K in a different Martin (Hog/Adi dread), the K&K was way more natural sounding.

My concern is that the Fishman Aura VT Enhance Endpin jack also has the trapdoor battery compartment, so Iíd have to bypass that and see if I could use that Endpin jack. (So I think). Its not that the Fishman Aura VT Enhance is horrible, but I think the Baggs Anthem sounds better and so does that K&K.

Sorry I canít answer your question but I wanted to validate ..its a good and worthwhile question to ask.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:59 PM
swarfrat swarfrat is offline
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I totally do not get the current trend to carve a giant hole in the guitar and install a 37 band eq plus tuner, flanger, harmonizer, etc.... Ok I'm exaggerating on the effects but still. Phantom powered end pin jack should be the ideal. One half inch hole and that's it. Knobs and switches can go on a belt pack.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by swarfrat View Post
I totally do not get the current trend to carve a giant hole in the guitar and install a 37 band eq plus tuner, flanger, harmonizer, etc.... Ok I'm exaggerating on the effects but still. Phantom powered end pin jack should be the ideal. One half inch hole and that's it. Knobs and switches can go on a belt pack.
In the case of the Fishman Aura VT Enhance, they made a but cut in the base of the guitar for the end pin jack and battery. I get it. The trap door is convenient to swap batteries. (Which donít last more than 27 hours of playing time) So it kind of makes sense in that region. But still, after market systems put a battery inside a pouch in the guitar leaving it more organically unaltered.

I also think Martin moved away from Fishman Aura PLus (Which only had a couple knobs and small LED Window. But back to the topic the OP was asking, ...can you put a K&K inside a Martin that had the Fishman Preamp?
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:43 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Kittoon, the short answer is, yes, it's possible to replace Martin's built-in electronics with a K&K Pure Mini. If you want to go completely without onboard electronics you can do that, and K&K also has some onboard preamps that you can use if you like.

http://kksound.com/preamps.php

What I'd suggest you do is first find a good local guitar repair tech, if you don't have one you work with already. With many of my performing instruments I have pulled out one pickup system after another until I've found one that I've liked in that guitar. Sometimes components from one company's products can be used with another's: EMG used to make a dandy little onboard preamp about the size of a postage stamp that they intended for use with their undersaddle acoustic guitar pickup, but which my repairman repurposed to power a number of different pickups in several of my instruments. I've still got one or two of those around.

So the onboard preamp that's already in the guitar might be able to be used with a K&K Pure Mini. (This is where it's crucial to have a repair tech who thoroughly understands impedance and all that other electronics stuff, which I do not.) And that's what I would explore if I was in your situation, before proceeding with anything else.

If you just flat don't want any batteries or preamps in the guitar at all, it's no big deal at all. Use the existing jack that's already in the guitar, and either leave the now-disconnected preamp with its knobs in place, or else yank all that stuff out. I've done it both ways. If you do remove the existing preamp you might want to have your repair tech plug the resulting holes where the preamp knobs once were - my repairman cut some plugs out of Indian rosewood and glued them into the side of one of my guitars that I still own and use. You can tell where they are if you go looking for them - it wasn't an invisible repair - but you have to know to find them.

Good luck with this. Please tell us what you end up doing.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 03-09-2018, 04:39 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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The only thing I would add is that the K&K is like herpes - it's forever. Kinda.

It is not worth installing unless you use glue rather than putty, so you use glue, as I did. If, however, you later change your mind about the utility of this pickup for you, as I did, well forever can only be limited by an experienced repairman. Having decided that the K&K in particular and soundboard transducers in general were not for me, I simply cut the wires and moved on.
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Old 03-09-2018, 04:50 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swarfrat View Post
I totally do not get the current trend to carve a giant hole in the guitar and install a 37 band eq plus tuner, flanger, harmonizer, etc.... Ok I'm exaggerating on the effects but still. Phantom powered end pin jack should be the ideal. One half inch hole and that's it. Knobs and switches can go on a belt pack.
Gotta say, I'm with you here. The best sound I ever got was with a passive pickup and an outboard pre-amp. It's not that I object, as many do, to having a battery in my guitar, it's changing the stupid battery when it dies in the middle of the set. And technology is forever moving on. If a newer, zippier pre-amp comes along and catches your eye, well you just put it in the signal chain without worrying about modifying the hole in the side of your guitar that the new gizmo does not fit in.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:35 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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I think you could sell the guitar to someone that wants that kind of pickup system and get a similar Martin, new or used, ready for the pickup you want, without making work and holes everywhere and killing the value. I like the Aura systems.


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Old 03-09-2018, 06:58 AM
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Go for it. Just cut off the jack for the Martin system and tape up the wires inside. That way if you ever sell it you could easily change it back over to the Martin system by soldering the jack back on and cutting off the K&K wires at the transducers, assuming someone actually wanted the Martin pickup over the K&K! I had a Martin 000-28EC that had that - two different pickup systems in it with the wires of a K&K taped up inside after the person I bought if form decided he wanted a DTAR system instead. So when I had a neck reset done on it I had the guy change it back over to the K&K but I left the DTAR in place.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:58 AM
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If you have the Aura Plus system with the three holes, and you modify the pickup, you may be in for more trouble than it is worth. Itís possible. We all have different ears, but Iím surprised to hear you like the sound of a passive K&K better than the Aura Plus system which I consider one of the best. It would certainly have less impact on the acoustic tone of the guitar.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesKing777 View Post
I think you could sell the guitar to someone that wants that kind of pickup system and get a similar Martin, new or used, ready for the pickup you want, without making work and holes everywhere and killing the value. I like the Aura systems.


BluesKing777.
I agree 100%.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:47 AM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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sure you can do anything you want.
if you get an endpin jack that has TRS connection
you could wire one to the sleeve and one to the tip.
then make a dedicated sleeve to tip guitar cord to
use with whichever pup you have wired to
the sleeve. You could also then have a dual source
system that you could blend given the correct
outboard "blending" preamp.
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:03 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swarfrat View Post
I totally do not get the current trend to carve a giant hole in the guitar and install a 37 band eq plus tuner, flanger, harmonizer, etc.... Ok I'm exaggerating on the effects but still. Phantom powered end pin jack should be the ideal. One half inch hole and that's it. Knobs and switches can go on a belt pack.
Current trend? I would argue the current trend is to put less on the guitar. Those barn door style preamps are still popping up here and there but the major players (Martin & Taylor), are going to a more streamlined approach.
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:05 AM
6L6 6L6 is offline
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K&K is the best thing out there, IMO. I'd swap out for a K&K for sure.
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Current trend? I would argue the current trend is to put less on the guitar. Those barn door style preamps are still popping up here and there but the major players (Martin & Taylor), are going to a more streamlined approach.
I agree with this Scott. The trend seems to be moving away from Barn door preamps. (With some exceptions like Maton or Cole Clarks. Even Taylor moved away from Barn door preamps years ago.
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