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  #1  
Old 04-19-2023, 09:18 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Default L.R. Baggs Anthem Vs Element Vs HiFi

I made some test recordings of these three pickups using the same guitar.

I hope that some players will find it useful. Please let me know which is your favorite and why etc.

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  #2  
Old 04-19-2023, 10:38 PM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Excellent video and comparison! Thanks for the effort to put those three pickups in one guitar and record them for the world!
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Old 04-19-2023, 10:51 PM
aschroeder aschroeder is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to do the comparison demo!

Out of the 3 pickups I prefer the sound of the Anthem. It comes the closest to the natural guitar sound. The problem with the Anthem is I hate the massive amount of crap you have in your guitar (wires, battery, and huge soundhole control unit).

I'm sort of "meh" on the sound of the HiFi. It's not terrible, but there are some weird sounds on the high end and the mids and low frequencies are very muddy/boxy sounding. I'm surprised because it has more of a piezo twang than I was expecting. I may like it more if I was doing my own demo through a PA, but not worth $200 for the experiment. I still favor my passive Shatten HFN pickups for it's minimal installation and articulate sound it gives me. I have to dial in some low end to warm it up, but with some EQ it sounds great without having a battery in my guitar.

The Baggs Element is a distant 3rd place. It's a traditional piezo pickup and that is exactly what it sounds like.
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Last edited by aschroeder; 04-19-2023 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 04-19-2023, 10:57 PM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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Well done. I like the Hi-Fi, though it could use some EQ to bring up the trebles. But I hear less brittle piezo sounds with it that the others.
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Old 04-19-2023, 11:18 PM
Peter Z Peter Z is offline
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Thatís a fantastic comparison!

1. KM184
2. Anthem
3. HIFI
4. Element
No big surprise.

Aaron, did you apply EQ or any other processing?

The HIFI lacks mids to my ears but maybe a little EQ can correct this. It could be a great pickup then.

The Element has the typical quack when strummed (expected) but does surprisingly well when picked.

óó-
And now I listened again via my Bose Lyfestyle surround TV speakers.
That brings the Anthem to the pole-position, because itís a little more direct sounding what can help in a life situation.
The quack is less with the Element but still there, just more covered with other frequencies.
The HIFI sounds a little buried, but Iím sure, some EQ can dig it out of itís grave.
In general thereís too much bass with those speakers. The real test would be with my Genelec 8340. Sadly, I donít have the time now to check this.

All good pickups.

The Anthem in and out bonus track is great as well. I donít hear a difference on the Bose speakers. Need to check that on the Genelecs as well. I expect no or not a big difference. Probably I will not care enough to rip out my Anthems.

Now you made me want to buy a HIFI when it gets available here, just to test it. The simplicity (tape, low weight) makes me curious.
This forum drives me crazy.

Turned the TV on again to press the like button, I almost forgot!!!
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Old 04-19-2023, 11:29 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Z View Post
Thatís a fantastic comparison!

1. KM184
2. Anthem
3. HIFI
4. Element
No big surprise.

Aaron, did you apply EQ or any other processing?

The HIFI lacks mids to my ears but maybe a little EQ can correct this. It could be a great pickup then.

The Element has the typical quack when strummed (expected) but does surprisingly well when picked.

óó-
And now I listened again via my Bose Lyfestyle surround TV speakers.
That brings the Anthem to the pole-position, because itís a little more direct sounding what can help in a life situation.
The quack is less with the Element but still there, just more covered with other frequencies.
The HIFI sounds a little buried, but Iím sure, some EQ can dig it out of itís grave.
In general thereís too much bass with those speakers. The real test would be with my Genelec 8340. Sadly, I donít have the time now to check this.

All good pickups.

The Anthem in and out bonus track is great as well. I donít hear a difference on the Bose speakers. Need to check that on the Genelecs as well. I expect no or not a big difference. Probably I will not care enough to rip out my Anthems.

Now you made me want to buy a HIFI when it gets available here, just to test it. The simplicity (tape, low weight) makes me curious.
This forum drives me crazy.

Turned the TV on again to press the like button, I almost forgot!!!
No EQ and the tone wheel on the HiFi was at 50%. When I played gigs with it in the OM-28 I actually ran the tone wheel on 100%. I wanted to keep everything neutral for the comparison.
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Old 04-19-2023, 11:34 PM
Peter Z Peter Z is offline
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Perfect! That gives some room for improvement.
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  #8  
Old 04-20-2023, 02:48 AM
DownUpDave DownUpDave is offline
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Thanks again for all the effort you put into doing these reviews. I understand the concept of no EQ but in the real world all of those would get some EQ to bring out the best. Why not EQ each one to what you think sounds the best then but that up. The main reason I say this is because none sounded great. I love the Anthem, I own the SL but 100% mic only does not show it's full potential.

This is not meant as a a criticism, I love your channel, subscribe and get a lot from it. It's just and observation on my part. Thanks again Aaron.
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  #9  
Old 04-20-2023, 03:57 AM
mondoslug mondoslug is offline
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Wow guy...that's a commitment, bravo!

You're pulling three preamps and the accompanying USTs and or sensors & restringing to do this each time?

Question...so when you're recording the HiFi, is the under saddle Element gone, saddle's going to be sitting lower correct? not that there's anything wrong with that or do you use a replacement? Just curious and I guess also on the bonus portion where you recorded with & without the Element under the saddle, same question.

All your stuff always sounds great.
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2023, 06:29 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Nice comparison! Unfortunately, the HiFi was a bit of a letdown in this test. My big worry with it, is that it will be too bright and thin and so far, I have heard that in most demos. If you had the tonewheel at 50% then I am extra worried.

The one thing I have alwasy disliked about Baggs pickups is that they tend to be on the brighter side. I will probably still give this pickup a try, but you are using a fairly warm Martin, well at least warm compared to a Taylor. If they HiFi is that bright in the Martin, it might be too much in a Taylor for example. I think that's what we are hearing the Baggs introduction demo. The Alvarez guitar being used is bright and people were commenting on the HiFi being bright as well.
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  #11  
Old 04-20-2023, 06:51 AM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Nice comparison! Unfortunately, the HiFi was a bit of a letdown in this test. My big worry with it, is that it will be too bright and thin and so far, I have heard that in most demos. If you had the tonewheel at 50% then I am extra worried.

The one thing I have alwasy disliked about Baggs pickups is that they tend to be on the brighter side. I will probably still give this pickup a try, but you are using a fairly warm Martin, well at least warm compared to a Taylor. If they HiFi is that bright in the Martin, it might be too much in a Taylor for example. I think that's what we are hearing the Baggs introduction demo. The Alvarez guitar being used is bright and people were commenting on the HiFi being bright as well.
Actually this Martin with the new strings is quite bright. When I used the OM-28 with the HiFi at a gig I used the tone on 100% and it didnít sound too bright. The tone control works really well.

I will give all of my thoughts in my final review.
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Old 04-20-2023, 07:40 AM
gbesson gbesson is offline
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I like the Anthem. Appreciate all the work that went into this. Also the Anthem has an option to adjust the Mic vs UST contribution. Have you compared the sound at the extremes on that adjustment?
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  #13  
Old 04-20-2023, 08:29 AM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeroUSA View Post
No EQ and the tone wheel on the HiFi was at 50%. When I played gigs with it in the OM-28 I actually ran the tone wheel on 100%. I wanted to keep everything neutral for the comparison.
Good to know. I thought the Hi-Fi sounded a little weak on the trebles. But I also have fear that bumping the trebles will add brittleness (like so many pickups have). It'd be nice to hear a 100% sample. (Not that you should feel obligated to cater to my whims )
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Old 04-20-2023, 08:47 AM
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Chriscom Chriscom is offline
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Great work Aaron. I liked the Anthem best, the Element more than I thought I would, and the Hi-Fi least of all. Sounded muddy or clouded to me.

Agreed on the observation that EQ plays a huge role (obviously) and in practice will be set differently on different guitars and with different pickups, but comparing like to like is at least a baseline and anything else is the endless rabbit hole we all chase around here!
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  #15  
Old 04-20-2023, 09:06 AM
jricc jricc is offline
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Great demo Aaron, thanks.

Of the 3 pickups, I liked the HiFi best. On my Behringer monitors, I heard it to be a little heavy in the lower mids. Still it sounded nice.
The Anthem still sounds real good.
The Element sounded pretty good fingerpicked.

Thanks again for the demo.
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