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  #1  
Old 06-15-2019, 05:00 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Default A Tale of Two Passive HFNs (NOW THREE!!!)

BEFORE YOU INVEST IN READING THIS THREAD NOTE I DISCOVERED MY ORIGINAL HFN INSTALL WAS NOT WELL ATTACHED FOR ALL THREE FEET. FIXING THAT AT CUKI79's SUGGESTION HAS FIXED THIS PROBLEM

I finally put an HFN in my Rainsong CH-PA to match my CO-PA hoping to have one EQ and gain setting for both guitars. With regards to EQ it is a total failure. Otherwise both guitars sound fine after EQ.

Frequency: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 Hz
CH-PA: -1.5, -0.5, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, -1.5, -4 dB
CO-PA: +8.0, +4.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, -3.0, -7.0 dB

This is pretty far apart for two nearly identical guitars with the same body shape and strings. Acoustically both guitars sound the same to me and anyone for which I've done that demo. The cheaper guitar has fiberglass for the interior layers of the back and end pin areas. It might have some fiberglass in the bridge plate that the more expensive one does not (there appears to be a white layer you can see at the bridge pin holes for the CH). But for both guitars the top has identical looking CF inside and out.

The two guitars in question (CO-PA left, CH-PA right):



First two shots are of the CO-PA and the last shot is the CH-PA.



Other than cleaning the bridge plate area with a damp rag on the second install a few days prior, I can't think of anything I did different. I've inspected the pickup placement and it appears identical.

It is hard for me to recommend a pickup that has this much variation across installs. I've installed a couple of dozen K&Ks & JJBs and to first order they all sound fine and about the same (and I have installed K&K's in higher end all CF and lower end Rainsongs with the expected similar results). After EQ both these guitars sound excellent but I am shocked at how far apart the two EQ settings need to be.
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2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com

Last edited by jonfields45; 07-06-2019 at 05:23 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2019, 07:43 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Thanks for posting about this curious circumstance. I've had circumstances where a certain pickup sounded quite different when removed from one guitar and installed in a different guitar. This hasn't happened, however, with two guitars which were very similar.

On the other hand, the conventional wisdom on this forum has long been that soundboard pickups are the least predictable. There are so many variables which seem to affect the results.
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:07 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Jon, it may be the fiberglass layer that is making the difference but likely not. I've never seen two so different outcomes as you've gotten. I can put my Trance systems in different guitars and get the same full amplified tone whether I clamp the pickups or not. Maybe, it may be necessary to remove the HFN and lightly sand away any "nubs" that may be on the pickup area?

Regarding various RainSong construction variations, let me say that for the last couple of weeks I've been auditioning a new RainSong H-WS1000 with LR Baggs Element Active Onboard that came into my favorite shop. Today, for the first time, I played it through a Fishman Acoustic Mini and all strings were balanced and given the guitar's acoustic and amplified tone, I'm considering buying it. It will be my first non-all-carbon RainSong if I do but the dealer has a RainSong OM1000 Classic on order that I may consider too.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:11 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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That is rather odd EQ for similar sounding guitars. Looking at the numbers you posted IMO your first install seems to be the weirder one. I doubt very much the soundboard construction, even if different, would impact the HFN if the 2 guitars sound similar acoustically. Again that's my opinion and I could be wrong. Sounds like a scenario that you should mention to Les to see what he thinks.

Of my HFN installs I never put one in 2 similar sounding guitars. I also seem to be one of the only ones who report plenty of bass response. Curious to hear the real answer.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:40 AM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Default A Tale of Two Passive HFNs

This mirrors my experience with HFN. It’s possible to get an excellent sound, but there is a lot of variability in the pickup design and attachment. For this reason, I am now experimenting with epoxied Dazzos.

My conclusion is that the super glued 2D piezo Bender like K&K, JJB, UltraTonic are the most consistent and least likely to sound “weird” in any installation. These pickups sound a little dry and are subject to low/mid frequency humps.

However, the 2D shape doesn’t introduce the “wet” sounding higher frequencies and the reverb quality that you get with 3D pickups like Trance, Dazzo and HFN.

All of the the 3D pickups can sound amazing. But, so far l, Dazzo is the most consistent sounding for me due to preselecting the bass response by ordering the correct size for your guitar and getting consistent performance through the use of a semi-permanent adhesive like epoxy.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:05 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Jon, another thought is that the printed HFN base has air pockets in it, and this may account for the large variance in the EQ from your similar guitars. Perhaps the HFN in your CO-PA that you have to EQ more has larger air pockets or maybe none in the base's legs? After removing the HFN after my first installation try, I sanded it and found air pockets in all three legs and sanded the base down to where all three feet were solid. You may know this already but if you remove the HFN for any reason, be aware that you will likely leave pieces of the base on the bridge plate and that you'll have to sand the feet to get them level and solid-looking again.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:48 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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I tried the new install today just straight with no EQ and it is really quite good. The EQ is more fine tuning than an absolute requirement (and the treble roll off I use for all pickups because I need a not too penetrating a tone when covering electric guitar leads). For the older CO-PA install (the guitar with the abalone) it is unusable without EQ but with EQ it was so good I got rid of the Mi-Si and put a second HFN in my main gigging beater.

I've sent off a question to the two experts: Les at Schatten and Cuki at the AGF and am awaiting their guidance. Is the difference due to my installation, the materials difference between the two guitars, or manufacturing variation at Schatten?

It seems logical (to me) that the stiffer all CF bridge plate of the more expensive guitar might favor higher frequencies as the Schatten (I am told all SBTs) detects sound via bending deformation. But wow 8 dB of bass boost to compensate (the -1.5 on the new install is a fine tune for taste)!?!
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2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com

Last edited by jonfields45; 06-16-2019 at 12:05 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2019, 02:01 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Default Mystery Resolved by Cuki79!!!!!

I PM'ed Kien and he suggested that the original install was just barely holding on and the latest install was properly taped down. So I loosened the strings on the CO-PA and reached in. The HFN felt like it was solidly in place but still went ahead and applied some significant pressure on the HFN at the three feet while pushing back on the bridge (which I did do during the second install).

And low and behold it is fixed!

Kien/Cuki79 is an invaluable asset to the AGF IMHO!!!
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Jon Fields

2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:15 PM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields45 View Post
I PM'ed Kien and he suggested that the original install was just barely holding on and the latest install was properly taped down. So I loosened the strings on the CO-PA and reached in. The HFN felt like it was solidly in place but still went ahead and applied some significant pressure on the HFN at the three feet while pushing back on the bridge (which I did do during the second install).



And low and behold it is fixed!



Kien/Cuki79 is an invaluable asset to the AGF IMHO!!!


Indeed. He’s a good friend. Unfortunately, it supports my conviction that taped piezos are just not consistent enough. Viva la glue.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:46 PM
DownUpDave DownUpDave is offline
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This is an excellent thread, very informative. Started out as a dire situation shrouded in mystery. Mid plot most readers are ready to condemn and abandon Schatten HFN pick ups for being so inconsistent. But the main character of the story states he loves the sound and pursues a solution to the inconsistency. A suprise hero supplies the solution, a very logical one. All are now back on board the HFN love boat.

All tongue and cheek aside I found it fascinating and I learned alot, thank you.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:04 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martingitdave View Post
Indeed. He’s a good friend. Unfortunately, it supports my conviction that taped piezos are just not consistent enough. Viva la glue.
At least now I know what it sounds like not attached correctly (though my picture of the original install looks pretty good). It was a dirt simple fix. I did the high pressure on each foot for the second install but just pulled out my jig for the first (as if the cyanoacrylate glue had hardened for a K&K). I'll report back if I have trouble with it coming loose but so far so good. Even before I put pressure on the HFN for the older install it felt very solidly in-place.
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Jon Fields

2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com

Last edited by jonfields45; 07-03-2019 at 05:36 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2019, 02:57 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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I played my first gig with an HFN (my CH-PA gigging beater). It was a 4 hour outdoors farmers market in perfect weather. I used a Boss GE-7 to tweak the EQ but discovered I had it turned off for the first set. I only knocked down the highest frequency band and it sounded fine either way. I used a CS-3 Boss Compressor for leads. My guitar went to the CS-3 first, then the GE-7, and then into the Ring channel of the CP8's 3.5mm input. I took a picture of my settings for future reference and it is pasted below. My first install in my CO-PA is holding up fine since creating this Thread and finding out what I had done wrong. So far the tape install is solid in both guitars. I plan to report back again after a month (for those who worry about 3M VHB tape installs).

Now for the real bottom line: while I can clearly tell the HFN is a big step up from the Mi-Si (Baggs Element) it replaced and a nice step up from a K&K Mini, I'm not sure with two guitars and two harmonized vocals it makes much of a difference. At least I did not have to remember to charge the Mi-Si (something I did obsessively too often...).

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Jon Fields

2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:08 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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I'll be ordering another HFN for my Godin Metropolis. It came with the full anthem system. I fought with myself to keep it as I've never heard this guitar without it but I just can't fall in love with the plugged in sound of the anthem either. I don't get how people report the anthem as sounding like the guitar only louder. This is my 4th guitar that I heard the anthem in and I'm still yet to have that experience. Now that guitar is louder and clearer with the Anthem gone.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:39 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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I had the unique opportunity to remove a Baggs Element from a guitar for which I had a nearly identical twin with the same strings and no Element. Before the removal I thought both guitars sounded the same out front and the full CF one was a bit brighter to the player.

I played my beater for a few days after removing the Element and before the HFN arrived (which drove me to revisit the two guitars at the same time). For that period I felt the guitar sounded better without the Element even though I felt logically (my logic) that is should be the same. I questioned my long held and stated opinion that USTs don't matter to acoustic tone.

But then I started playing both guitars and I was back to they sound about the same (excepting the all CF one is a bit brighter to the player).
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Jon Fields

2017 RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975, taped HFN
2018 RainSong H-DR1100N2, taped HFN, for sale
- all Elixir PB11
RainSong V-DR1100N2 on order LAGS
2019 Fender Player Strat

One QSC CP8 high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HxStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX

jonfields45@gmail.com
www.justsoduo.com
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:54 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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I think in my particular case that pie shaped preamp was inhibiting the soundboard of the cedar top. While it doesn't weigh very much it still covers a large area and I believe it had a bigger impact on the guitars voice than the element UST, though I have no way to prove it. All I can say is I'm glad I discovered the HFN.
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