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Old 02-17-2019, 10:08 AM
nightchef nightchef is offline
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Default Choosing pickup for new guitar

I just bought a new Eastman E10OM, which I am super excited about. I'll be installing some kind of pickup in it, so I've been doing some research (the last time I shopped for acoustic pickups was a long, long time ago--I'm way behind the curve).

I'll be using it for a mix of lower-volume, solo-to-trio gigs and louder, full band situations. Probably more of the former, but enough of the latter to need a solution that will work for that.

I have a Baggs Para Acoustic DI, but could replace it with something else if need be.

The guy at the shop who sold me the guitar is recommending a K&K Pure Mini. However, I'm seeing a lot of concerns about feedback with that one, and apparently it's finicky about preamps? The shop guy said he hasn't encountered feedback issues but admits his gigs are almost entirely solo/duo.

Seems like my other options would be:

1) Straight UST like Fishman Matrix Infinity or Baggs Element;
2) UST/mic blend system like Fishman Matrix Infinity Mic Blend or Baggs Anthem/Anthem SL;
3) Soundhole magnetic pickup like Fishman Rare Earth, DiMarzio Black Angel or Baggs M80.

Here's what I've gathered from research at AGF and elsewhere:
  • USTs can negatively affect acoustic tone, but this issue seems to vary depending on the pickup/guitar/user, and some people report that it resolves at least partly over time. USTs are also associated with the infamous "quack", but recent sound samples I'm hearing suggest that this problem has been greatly reduced--true?
  • UST/mic blend systems can sound really good, but some find them fussy to use and they can also negatively affect acoustic tone.
  • Of the three options above, feedback issues are greatest with mic/UST blend systems (especially with mic signal mixed high), and least with soundhole pickups.
  • Some users feel that soundhole pickups do the worst job of capturing the nuances of an acoustic guitar, but not everyone agrees.

Based on all the above, leaning toward one of four choices, roughly in this order:

1) Anthem SL (but I worry about feedback a bit with that option);
2) Fishman Matrix Infinity, and add Aura preamp if I'm dissatisfied with the all-UST sound;
3) DiMarzio Black Angel or Fishman Rare Earth soundhole;
4) Just get the K&K and carry a detachable soundhole pickup for louder gigs (or outfit a beater guitar with a soundhole pickup and bring that as a backup if the K&K misbehaves at soundcheck).

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2019, 10:21 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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For best all-around amplified tone and feedback resistance, install a Fishman Matrix UST and get a Tonedexter (it's like an Aura pedal) to generate your own guitar-specific IR Images (WaveMaps) and you'll likely be very satisfied and please don't fall down the amplified-acoustic-guitar rabbit hole.

Given my druthers, I'd install a Trance Amulet M-VT, which, if desired, can also be used with a ToneDexter. I've gotten good results on several installations using my installation method but likely even better results can be obtained using Trance Audio's more involved installation method.
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:30 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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A Matrix/ToneDexter combo would certainly work well, although you'd also need a good WaveMap "training" mic as well.

For a less expensive way to go at it, I'm going to suggest the passive UST from David Enke's "Open To Source Sensors" company.

https://opentosourcesensors.com/


Its far and away the best UST that I've used, and it would work pretty well with the Baggs PADI which you already have. You'd need a high quality and relatively short (10' or less) cable between the guitar and the PADI (to minimize signal degradation), and you'd probably need to learn how to use the PADI's depth-adjustable and frequency adjustable notch (to minimize boominess and feedback vulnerability in high volume settings). It might also be helpful to employ a soundhole cover in the high volume settings.

The passive OTSS UST is also very ToneDexter compatible, if you decide to get into the ToneDexter thing at some point.

I should mention that David Enke's UST is not very compatible with Aura sound imaging. The Matrix Infinity is the pickup to get if you want to get the Aura Spectrum DI and do Aura sound imaging. That's because the great majority of stock Aura sound images were created using Matrix-equipped guitars.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:04 PM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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You may want to consider a Seymour Duncan Woody XL. Installs in seconds and behaves well with a preamp.

I have a JJB 330 in one guitar, a DeArmond toneboss in another and a Woody XL. The JJB sounds the most natural but is prone to feedback in high volume situations. The woody and TB are both very good and nearly impervious to feedback. The woody is lower output than th TB but sounds more natural and is lighter.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:36 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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I gig today with an Baggs Element based pickup with no special signal processing. I've also got a Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker which I like better but have settled on using as a backup (prefer the sound hole unobstructed).

People hear with their eyes and repeat all sorts of "common knowledge" as if it was proven actual fact. As a result you will find detractors for every pickup on the market. I've never felt a UST install impacted my acoustic tone and I have had plenty of feedback problems with K&K's in particular with floor monitors (and it was not all that loud).

For loud I would favor a UST or sound hole magnetic.

For truly excellent low volume tone I think ToneDextor is the best on the market, but you can get similar results with Aura. Since you will need a compatible pickup for either to keep your options open, a Matrix would be a good choice.

You have to do your own training with ToneDextor which requires a decent mic. Downloading and choosing Aura images is similarly time consuming and I think ToneDextor is actually less total effort.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:51 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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On the subject of the Baggs Element UST, I've actually made direct-from-pickup recording tests between the Element UST and David Enke's "Open To Source Sensors" UST. The same guitar was used for both sets of recordings as the OTSS UST installs the same way as the Element (threaded up through a slanted hole in the bridgeplate). It was an easy swap as David connected a mini-plug to the UST lead so that I could plug it into the guitar's "barn door" style Baggs preamp.

The Element UST is the first sample in each playing style pairing. Both samples in each pair were normalized for the same peak level.

https://soundcloud.com/guitaniac/pic...-baggs-element


On the subject of the Baggs Element and UST/mic pairings, I do think that Aaron Short's review of the MiSi Trio Air is worth consideration. The Trio AIr has worked for Aaron in a noisy solo act setting, and of course the mic level can be reduced or removed for higher feedback-free gain.

https://youtu.be/MSQujy1u-3M
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:49 AM
uriah1 uriah1 is online now
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I think a K&K and redeye and you are good to go, simple.
If you worry about feedback, get a soundhole cover for diff gigs.

I think the big box electronics mentioned above, do not sound
all that natural to me. Maybe if you tweak,etc. But, that is me.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:29 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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I have a Seymour Duncan mag mic I'll be putting in my Eastman E1OM very soon. Watch for a post with sound clips in the days to come.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:37 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is online now
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Everyone will go intergalactic and tell you their favorite pickup but I'll stick to what you listed.

Without a doubt, the Anthem SL will be the best sounding and simplest pickup solution you could choose. It sounds great and will work fine with the Para or any preamp/DI.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:29 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
Everyone will go intergalactic and tell you their favorite pickup but I'll stick to what you listed.
Its lucky for us intergalactic types that the OP wrote "Any advice greatly appreciated".

As for the Anthem SL, it took me a lot of experimentation and a very versatile EQ device (more versatile than the Baggs PADI) to get the sound I wanted from my own Anthem SL rig. I avoided recommending the Anthem SL because of the possibility that the OP might end up needing to deal with the same issues that I finally managed to deal with.

I'm not a fan of the Matrix Infinity, but its true that a PADI can help shape its tone (much better than the Infinity's onboard tone control can) and its true that the Matrix Infinity is compatible with both Aura technology and ToneDexter.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:43 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaniac View Post
Its lucky for us intergalactic types that the OP wrote "Any advice greatly appreciated".
Yes, but our OP did say this as well:

"Based on all the above, leaning toward one of four choices, roughly in this order:

1) Anthem SL (but I worry about feedback a bit with that option);
2) Fishman Matrix Infinity, and add Aura preamp if I'm dissatisfied with the all-UST sound;
3) DiMarzio Black Angel or Fishman Rare Earth soundhole;
4) Just get the K&K and carry a detachable soundhole pickup for louder gigs (or outfit a beater guitar with a soundhole pickup and bring that as a backup if the K&K misbehaves at soundcheck).

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!"


There are tons and tons of pickups out there and since he narrowed himself down to a handful, I stayed within those parameters. Of those 4, I think the Anthem SL has proven itself a high-quality choice that is toneful and dependable. Certainly, it won't be for everyone, but I think of the items listed it's the best for most applications. As AeroUSA said in his pickup reviews, it's really hard to beat it as a plug & play solution.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:22 PM
nightchef nightchef is offline
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You're both right.

I'm especially grateful for advice that can help me to make a choice among the options I listed, since I spent some time narrowing down to them and there's a good chance I'll end up choosing one of them. And, I will also greatly appreciate being informed about options I hadn't heard of or had dismissed based on inadequate information.

All the feedback is good! Keep it comin'.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:48 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Eric,

I'll agree that the Anthem SL has the potential to be the best sounding pickup system of the pickups which the OP has listed. In addition to that, its easy to install and it has a decent resale value thanks to LR Baggs's well-deserved good reputation.

The potential problems are:

1) Some Anthem SL rigs take a lot of EQ "care and feeding" to get an evenly balanced tone.

2) Unlike a typical UST/mic blender system, you can't simply turn off the mic and only use the UST for high volume applications. Its designed so that the UST only provides a frequency range from 250Hz on down. If you were to get out a tiny screw driver and lower the mic level as far as it will go, or simply rip the mic out of the system, you'd be left with a muddy UST sound which would neither sound good or cut through a loud band mix.


Potential problem #2 is why I suggested that the OP check out Aero's review of the MiSi Trio Air system. That's a typical UST/mic blending system in the sense that you can turn off the mic and get a full spectrum UST signal if needed.

One of the interesting things about Aero's review is that he sort of implied that the MiSi Trio Air's UST/Mic blend is less feedback prone than the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend. It also happens to be much less expensive than the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend.

https://youtu.be/MSQujy1u-3M
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:33 PM
Zandit75 Zandit75 is offline
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I have Fishman's new Matrix Infinity Mic Blend installed in my self built OM sized guitar.
I can't praise it highly enough, and the comments I've received from audience members has been very encouraging.
As you mentioned, the mic can feedback if turned up too high, and I find that about 30% mic is more than enough to colour the sound and remove that quack you mentioned.
There is plenty of experimentation available to get the sound you want, without having to worry about additional paraphernalia like a ToneDexter or external mixer, or aura machine.
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