The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Acoustic Amplification

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-27-2022, 12:00 PM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default Fishman Powertap Earth just blew (us) away at soundcheck

I've got a few gigs coming up that are being filmed for a collaborative promotion between the local arts trust and the Tourism board of the island I live on, in an attempt to attract holiday makers here. We had to basically audition for a place on it, and there's a suspiciously large budget being thrown at us.

Feels a bit weird but it does mean I get a handful of sets filmed, and the first is at the purpose-built arts centre auditorium with a serious sound system and acoustically-treated concert hall.

Well, I went today to soundcheck with the film and recording crew. The guy doing the desk was shocked by my dual channel Sunrise and K&K into Orange tube-driven acoustic pre set up. He hadn't heard anything as big-sounding from an acoustic guitar, and he's worked on the UK version of Idol and 'Got Talent' franchises before.

Then we set up my backup guitar... an Avalon A32 (the main was an L32) but with the Powertap Earth system fitted. To be honest, I'd put this pickup in this guitar and tried it into an amp just to test everything was working, then never plugged it in since until today.

Bit of a revelation. We didn't go through my preamp, just straight to snake via the Y-cable.

I've used all flavours of Rare Earth some years ago, and liked them but preferred Sunrise's sound. This Rare Earth humbucker has a different plastic/finish (slightly more rubberised, hard to explain) and ever-so slightly larger footprint than the older one I still had in a drawer.

It's clearly been re-voiced, too. It's right on the sweet spot between sparkly and round in the trebles, and the bottom end is very solid.

Running the Y cable out of the single endpin jack, I can send the TAP part (which appears to be more of a dynamic mic ala Dyn-G rather than an SBT/piezo as it's got a small magnetic pull) straight to the board and then (the bit I wasn't expecting) I can run the magnetic to another channel but the blend wheel still brings in the TAP sensor gradually on to that channel, too, which brings in a sound that was, in this venue, the most 'like my guitar' sound at volume I've ever had.

I played through two songs, and the sound guy went "use that one mate, sounds incredible".

The caveat is that the system and the venue are far more set up for live sound than my usual Bose L1 in a pub type gigs, and the venue was empty and thus pin-drop quiet. But in those conditions, it was somehow higher-fidelity than my much-loved Sunrise, K&K and tube pre set up. I'd go as far as to say the 'most acoustic at volume' sound I've ever had, to include my Cole Clarke Fat Lady 3.

When the stuff goes out, hopefully I can share a clip here and the sound comes through to some extent.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-27-2022, 08:22 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,108
Default

Thank you for the writeup! I was very interested in the Powertap Infinity for quite some time. However, what held me back was the fact that the SBT part needs to be superglued in. This is not unique to the Fishman system as many SBT's need glue, but it's somewhat of a new pickup so I didn't want to try an experiment.

I do like the though of a mag/SBT setup. One of my major complaints with most systems is that they just never sound full. I like how you described this system has sounding big.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-28-2022, 08:23 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Thank you for the writeup! I was very interested in the Powertap Infinity for quite some time. However, what held me back was the fact that the SBT part needs to be superglued in. This is not unique to the Fishman system as many SBT's need glue, but it's somewhat of a new pickup so I didn't want to try an experiment.

I do like the though of a mag/SBT setup. One of my major complaints with most systems is that they just never sound full. I like how you described this system has sounding big.
Thank you for the response

Yes, I was apprehensive about the glue, too, but it's suggested that you use three spots along with the adhesive tape provided, and I think the benefit of this is that you could get under a corner and carefully remove it should you wish. I've removed and carefully cleaned up after K&K installations before now, using very fine sandpaper, but there's always a chance of disturbing a brace, plus there's always some CA glue that gets 'into' the wood. The gel types are better for avoiding this.

I'd say though, that I don't think the Fishman tap is a typical SBT, and may not require the kind of contact bond that a typical SBT requires for sound.

The reason I say this is that whilst I was installing I put the TAP sensor on top of the soundhole pickup on my workbench, and it repelled slightly... turning it over it stuck (albeit weakly) to the pickup, showing, to my mind, that there's something magnetic and not just ferrous going on in there. I think it's likely sensing movement in 3 dimensions in a similar way to a dynamic microphone, rather than into the face via the soundboard like a K&K does.

Fishman don't offer any explanation as to how it works, but my hunch is it's not what you'd expect. If you isolate it via the Y cable, the TAP signal is very much airy and catches a reverb or resonance and the string signal isn't as direct as with a K&K.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-28-2022, 10:29 AM
RJVB RJVB is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: La Fertť Milon, France
Posts: 1,049
Default

I probably understood only half of your story but caught all of your enthusiasm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
... I put the TAP sensor on top of the soundhole pickup on my workbench, and it repelled slightly... turning it over it stuck (albeit weakly) to the pickup, showing, to my mind, that there's something magnetic and not just ferrous going on in there. I think it's likely sensing movement in 3 dimensions in a similar way to a dynamic microphone, rather than into the face via the soundboard like a K&K does.

Fishman don't offer any explanation as to how it works, but my hunch is it's not what you'd expect. If you isolate it via the Y cable, the TAP signal is very much airy and catches a reverb or resonance and the string signal isn't as direct as with a K&K.
TAP sensor ... is that what the name suggests, a sensor designed to record the percussive things fingerstyle players do to their guitars? If so, could it be that there's the equivalent of a phono pickup inside (presumably a moving coil)?
__________________
Pickle: Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator wearing nylguts (China, 2018?)
Dumbo: Seagull Performer CW mini-jumbo (Canada, 20??)
Stanley: The Loar LH-650 (China, 2017)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-28-2022, 11:01 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
I probably understood only half of your story but caught all of your enthusiasm



TAP sensor ... is that what the name suggests, a sensor designed to record the percussive things fingerstyle players do to their guitars? If so, could it be that there's the equivalent of a phono pickup inside (presumably a moving coil)?
Thank you again!

According to Fishman, ĎTAPí stands for Ďtouch, ambience, percussioní. It was apparently developed to be a factory dual source aimed at percussive acoustic players. I do a fair amount of this style out live, so itís what piqued my interest. I think youíre right about what it is. Definitely gets a lot of the natural reverb of my Avalon to come through the PA. Iíve had that effect from internal mics, but in a noisy venue that chatter frequency too gets picked up by the mic if itís high enough in the mix. Iím hoping this doesnít do that, and I will report back, of course.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-29-2022, 08:34 AM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,142
Default

I installed the PowerTap Earth in my Guild OM-150 and found it worked pretty well when I mixed the two sources with an Elite Acoustic GigMix. Ultimately, I felt the piezo was a little buzzy sounding and I couldn't get the highs out of it that I wanted and switched to a Duncan MagMic.

However, I ultimately couldn't get the highs I wanted out of that guitar and sold it, so it may have been a bad test subject for the pickup lol
__________________
Alvarez MC90
Guild GAD-50 w/Seymour Duncan Mag Mic
Taylor 352ce
Taylor 514ce

Zoom AC3

https://linktr.ee/erikjmusic
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-29-2022, 11:11 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
I installed the PowerTap Earth in my Guild OM-150 and found it worked pretty well when I mixed the two sources with an Elite Acoustic GigMix. Ultimately, I felt the piezo was a little buzzy sounding and I couldn't get the highs out of it that I wanted and switched to a Duncan MagMic.

However, I ultimately couldn't get the highs I wanted out of that guitar and sold it, so it may have been a bad test subject for the pickup lol
Interesting, I actually read your threads on here when I was considering between this or the REB for my smaller Avalon. I didn't want to drill for a second output jack into the tail block, and I also found that a Sunrise mutes more of it's lovely unplugged tone than it does on my much larger L32 (which weirdly seems unaffected by the same), so I wanted the dual source and ability to split from the factory that Fishman offered with these two pickups, as well as the smaller weight and footprint of the magnetic portion.

So far I am happy with the high end I'm getting and actually extremely pleased with the sound in general. Let's see when I use it in more different types of venue. I'll try and get some recordings up too.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-29-2022, 12:50 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Interesting, I actually read your threads on here when I was considering between this or the REB for my smaller Avalon. I didn't want to drill for a second output jack into the tail block, and I also found that a Sunrise mutes more of it's lovely unplugged tone than it does on my much larger L32 (which weirdly seems unaffected by the same), so I wanted the dual source and ability to split from the factory that Fishman offered with these two pickups, as well as the smaller weight and footprint of the magnetic portion.

So far I am happy with the high end I'm getting and actually extremely pleased with the sound in general. Let's see when I use it in more different types of venue. I'll try and get some recordings up too.
I'm in agreement it's a really good system and I think my dissatisfaction with the guitar's tone was only amplified by the system. The guitar wasn't bright enough and when blending the two sources, I couldn't get the brightness I wanted out of the SBT. Shocking, I know!

I would really like to see the Jon Gomm version (Rare Earth Blend w/PowerTap) available for retro fit. If you couldn't get a good tone out of that, it's just impossible.
__________________
Alvarez MC90
Guild GAD-50 w/Seymour Duncan Mag Mic
Taylor 352ce
Taylor 514ce

Zoom AC3

https://linktr.ee/erikjmusic
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-29-2022, 02:03 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,108
Default

I am still considering the Powertap Infinity. I did contact Fishman a while ago and asked about the tap sensor. They told me that although the components are the same, it's not the same as the Matrix Enhance system. Apparently the preamps are different.

I am still a bit confused as to why glue is needed. The pickup already has adhesive on it. I guess it's just more insurance that the pickup won't fall off.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-29-2022, 05:31 PM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
I'm in agreement it's a really good system and I think my dissatisfaction with the guitar's tone was only amplified by the system. The guitar wasn't bright enough and when blending the two sources, I couldn't get the brightness I wanted out of the SBT. Shocking, I know!

I would really like to see the Jon Gomm version (Rare Earth Blend w/PowerTap) available for retro fit. If you couldn't get a good tone out of that, it's just impossible.
Hmmm, honestly, that JGM system (I've tried the lower end version of his sig guitar at an Ibanez dealers that I teach out of a few hours a week) isn't really much cop summed to mono, sent down one lead. You have to break it out into three sources so you can run it into something with a phase switch DI or pre-amp) for one of the sources... otherwise you're stuck moving the mic around so it's not out of phase with the transducer and you don't lose all the bottom end.

I love Jon to bits, so it's not a slight on him or his signature model (I'm super happy for him)... but he uses those pickups into a load of outboard gear so it's less of an issue for him than it might be for someone picking up his sig model and not realising what's happening when they plug in.

If you're struggling with that super-shimmer plugged in in future, I might suggest Headway's SAM-1 pickup... that's got another level of treble response than any other pickup I've tried, and actually too much for me in the same guitar I regularly run a Sunrise in.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-29-2022, 05:34 PM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
I am still considering the Powertap Infinity. I did contact Fishman a while ago and asked about the tap sensor. They told me that although the components are the same, it's not the same as the Matrix Enhance system. Apparently the preamps are different.

I am still a bit confused as to why glue is needed. The pickup already has adhesive on it. I guess it's just more insurance that the pickup won't fall off.
Yeah it does seem odd. I guess you could try without, although sods law it would choose mid-gig, mid-song to fall off and bounce around in your braces!

Fishman stuff has had an overhaul, by all accounts. Lots of re-voicing going on, as the rare earth series sounds a lot less spiky in the trebles than the early versions I had, through the same PA system.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-06-2022, 04:57 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Just as an update to this, after hitting a few open mics and two hotel bar/restaurant gigs with this rig, I really do think this is a brilliant system.

So much so in fact, that when my bigger Avalon goes back to Ireland for a refret soon, Iím going to have them remove the k&k from it, plug up the second jack hole in the tail block and Iíll stop running the Sunrise & K&K dual source Iíve used for years in favour of a second Powertap Earth setup.

The fact that after you split the outputs via the Y-cable you are still able to blend the TAP sensor into the mag signal (which can be eqíd totally differently in its own channel) actually makes it more versatile than my dual source system.

Additionally, I donít need to carry preamps for it (though I likely will still use my countryman and radial D.I. boxes at bigger gigs) as the system is active.

And lastly, there is far less effect on unplugged tone with the much smaller and lighter Rare Earth magnetic than the amazing, but huge and heavy Sunrise.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-06-2022, 06:12 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Very short video, not the best song to show it really (it does 'pretty' better), but someone took this of me playing last night.

__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3

Last edited by Snorse; 07-06-2022 at 06:29 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-06-2022, 05:38 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,108
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Very short video, not the best song to show it really (it does 'pretty' better), but someone took this of me playing last night.

Sounds nice! How much of the tap sensor is blended in? I might give the Infinity Tap a try. I have been wanting to try a UST/SBT blend for quite some time and this system just has it all together. I am hoping to use a stereo cable and blend some IR into the UST side.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-07-2022, 04:23 AM
Snorse Snorse is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Sounds nice! How much of the tap sensor is blended in? I might give the Infinity Tap a try. I have been wanting to try a UST/SBT blend for quite some time and this system just has it all together. I am hoping to use a stereo cable and blend some IR into the UST side.
Thank you. Like I said, it's not the best example but it was one someone sent me. That was the pickups split out to stereo (see the Y cable hanging... I have a strap coming with a 'cable tidy' on it to hold that better) and sent to a channel each, then a very small amount of TAP sensor in the mag channel too.

On less strummy, more picked songs, it really does capture some of the overtones of that guitar, which is great because it has them in spades unplugged.
__________________
Rick

Yamaha MIJ CJX32
Avalon L32
Avalon A32 Legacy
Lowden 022
Gibson J-185
Takamine TNV360sc
Cole Clark Fat Lady 3
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Acoustic Amplification

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=