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  #1  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:33 PM
edocaster edocaster is offline
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Default Finding the right pickup for my OM-35 MFG - LR Baggs iBeam content

My brain works in bullet points, so here we go

Brief history:
  • After struggling with EQ-ing a K&K pure mini + pre-phase control in a Recording King ROS-06, I eventually found a sound I was happy with
  • Bought a used OM-35 MFG online (NGD post) and sold the Recording King
  • On to a journey to finding the right pickup for the Martin
What I want:
  • Something non-invasive
  • Something that doesn't alter the integrity of the guitar, for example inserting a UST
  • Something that isn't too expensive
  • Minimal need of outboard gear
What I play:
  • Pretty much from fingerstyle to heavy strumming and everything in between, playing church music, pop and blues
  • Playing unplugged at home
  • Playing plugged in at church - always with in-ears monitoring system
  • Gear wise I have a Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum (the old grey one)
So with that in mind, I came down to these:
  • K&K Pure Mini passive installed with tape instead of power glue. The one in the Recording King was boomy with very hot mids, I like the neutral highs though.
  • LR Baggs iBeam active
  • DTar/Duncan Wavelength Duo - a bit on the expensive side
  • Baggs Anthem - a lot on the expensive side and has a UST. This is also used by the elites in my circle of musicians
  • K&K Trinity (the one with an SBT and a mic) - expensive and has a big PCB inside a guitar
So...despite and due to the inconsistent praises and curses of the iBeam active, I got curious and I bought one.

My findings so far:
  • Bloody hard to get the right position, lol
  • A little boomy but nothing overwhelming
  • But has a zingy, stringy, steely sound - I have to cut treble and brilliance a little to tame the zing
  • And hot mids, way too forward compared to the unplugged sound - I have to cut mids by around 10dB midway in the mids frequency band
  • And after all that still not 'my acoustic but louder' sound
I'm not happy with the iBeam but I'm glad I took the plunge and found out what all the fuss was about. I'm already considering getting a passive Pure Mini and be done with it. A part of me also wants to do the other extreme and shell out and get the Anthem and join the elites. I haven't decided yet.
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:39 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Let me save you a lot of hassle get a Schatten HFN passive pickup. Probably the easiest pickup out there to install/remove, it's a SBT, and it sounds amazing. Oh I forgot to mention it's way cheaper than all those other pickups that you mentioned. If you want more info there's a couple of recent threads going on the Schatten HFN with audio samples and vids you should check them out. I did a video upon request from another member comparing the Schatten to the Baggs Anthem SL. There were several people in those threads who hopped on board when they heard it. If you want anymore info let me know.
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:47 PM
edocaster edocaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLuva View Post
Let me save you a lot of hassle get a Schatten HFN passive pickup. Probably the easiest pickup out there to install/remove, it's a SBT, and it sounds amazing. Oh I forgot to mention it's way cheaper than all those other pickups that you mentioned. If you want more info there's a couple of recent threads going on the Schatten HFN with audio samples and vids you should check them out. I did a video upon request from another member comparing the Schatten to the Baggs Anthem SL. There were several people in those threads who hopped on board when they heard it. If you want anymore info let me know.
Thanks GuitarLuva, I hadn't heard about them until now. I shall have a look.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:04 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edocaster View Post
Thanks GuitarLuva, I hadn't heard about them until now. I shall have a look.
I haven't either up until a month ago. Than I bought one, than I was amazed how this one eluded me all these years after going through pickups like they're going out of style!
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:55 AM
edocaster edocaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLuva View Post
I haven't either up until a month ago. Than I bought one, than I was amazed how this one eluded me all these years after going through pickups like they're going out of style!
The price isnít bad. Still a bit more than K&K. Iíd probably go with the HFN VT if I do get one.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:10 PM
edocaster edocaster is offline
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Just to provide closure. I bought a used full Anthem system and installed it in. I was pleasantly surprised that sanding down a TUSQ saddle was easier than I thought.

Used it for live yesterday and I'm quite happy with it. It turns out that I still have a soft spot for that quacky UST sound, so having the option to go all piezo is good.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:16 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edocaster View Post
Just to provide closure. I bought a used full Anthem system and installed it in. I was pleasantly surprised that sanding down a TUSQ saddle was easier than I thought.

Used it for live yesterday and I'm quite happy with it. It turns out that I still have a soft spot for that quacky UST sound, so having the option to go all piezo is good.
Awesome, but doesn't that go against the goals you had going in (non-invasive, won't alter the tone of the guitar etc.)?
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:01 PM
edocaster edocaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Awesome, but doesn't that go against the goals you had going in (non-invasive, won't alter the tone of the guitar etc.)?
Yes it does. I practically took the plunge and compromised when the Anthem came up at a good price.

Upon installing the piezo I found a plugged up piezo hole where a piezo pickup must've been inserted through previously (unless Martin preps the bridges with these holes?). And the material that plugs the hole was spilling out and went between the saddle and bridge slot base. So relatively speaking, the guitar now sounds acoustically better

If I get bored with the Anthem, the Schatten will be the next one to try.
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:19 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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Yeah, I had a passive iBeam in my Guild and it sounded nice for recording but didnít have much power live. With a little EQ through a Para DI or Tonebone PZ, it sounded nice but just didnít really have any ďballs.Ē I replaced it with a M1A, which isnít as natural sounding but far more effective for a variety of settings. Iím sure power isnít as much of an issue with the active iBeam but, despite its sound quality, itís never succeeded to become a ďtried and trueĒ pickup amongst players.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2019, 06:07 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
Yeah, I had a passive iBeam in my Guild and it sounded nice for recording but didnít have much power live. With a little EQ through a Para DI or Tonebone PZ, it sounded nice but just didnít really have any ďballs.Ē I replaced it with a M1A, which isnít as natural sounding but far more effective for a variety of settings. Iím sure power isnít as much of an issue with the active iBeam but, despite its sound quality, itís never succeeded to become a ďtried and trueĒ pickup amongst players.
The iBeam is quite unpopular in this forum, but its working well for two folks in my area. I have to think the Baggs folks are still selling them for some reason.

The iBeam in my old D28 is too feedback prone for bare-fingered picking in a noisy setting, but its very nice for strumming. I expect to be blending it with a mag at some point. (UST systems haven't worked well in that guitar because there isn't enough saddle extending above the bridge to apply proper pressure on the transducer.)
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:31 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Trance Audio Amulet M. I've gotten consistently good results with every installation I've done with this system. It's an active system but the only alteration necessary is reaming the endpin hole for the jack, which you've already done.
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2019, 10:53 AM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaniac View Post
The iBeam is quite unpopular in this forum, but its working well for two folks in my area. I have to think the Baggs folks are still selling them for some reason.

The iBeam in my old D28 is too feedback prone for bare-fingered picking in a noisy setting, but its very nice for strumming. I expect to be blending it with a mag at some point. (UST systems haven't worked well in that guitar because there isn't enough saddle extending above the bridge to apply proper pressure on the transducer.)
Absolutely agreed. Every pickup has its place and it hasn't been discontinued for a reason.

When I had my M1A installed, the tech asked if I wanted to wire the iBeam to its ring connector. I said "sure" as I'd rather not throw it out and that would probably sound nice as they would augment each other nicely. That said, I received the guitar back without the iBeam wired to the ring nor the new strings I included on the guitar.
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Guild GAD-50 w/Baggs M1A
Alvarez MD65 w/Baggs LB6
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Yamaha LL16 w/Baggs Dual Source & Bob Colosi bone-saddle LB6
Radial Tonebone PZ Pre & PZ Deluxe
Baggs Para DI
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