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  #1  
Old 01-12-2018, 11:19 AM
Vindellama Vindellama is offline
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Default Budget amplification advice for "open mics" - updated

As stated before the update...
Half of these "open mics"(saraus) don't have pro gear (PAs, acoustic amps, instrument mics, phantom power, etc), or audio engineers, just a simple amp and a simple mic, the rest is hauled by whoever goes.
The performances are varied, with poetry, short films, dance, music and so on.
Overall volume/noise is usually low, since most people go to these to see the performances and trade experiences.
I play mostly fingerpicking instrumentals in open tunings. I get by unamplified using figerpicks, but I want something to be heard playing without fingerpicks. I have 2 guitars (one being a weissenborn), both without the jack hole drilled. Installing 2 pickups right now would go above my budget even with cheap pickups (there aren't any reliable guitar techs in my city).
I'm trying to expend as little as possible, and will only considering expending a little more if whatever I buy could be used if I choose to upgrade.

I've come down to these choices and any help would be welcome

0US$ - Use whatever mic they have with whatever amp they have
Pros - Free, nothing to haul other than the guitar
Cons - Mic/amp not aimed toward instruments

99US$- Bring a sm57 and plug into whatever amp they have
Pros - Probably a huge upgrade from the usual low quality mics, upgradable into dual source/tonedexter(for training)
Cons - I have no clue what amp/PA will be available, need to bring a xlr to 1/4 cable just in case, not sure if there will be any impendance issues, or if some sort of preamp/di will be needed

189US$ - Install a SD Mag Mic when going to an open mic and removing after
Pros - Cheap for a dual source system, will still have a natural sound thanks to the mic, can plug even into an electric guitar amp and will sound like a jazz guitar without the mic, so I guess I will not need to buy a preamp/di for now
Cons - Kinda of a hassle installing and removing it everytime that I decide to go out, not upgradable into my favorite dual source (external mic + sbt), neither will work with a tonedexter

250US$ - Bring an used sm81 + an ART Tube MP (for phantom power) and plug in whatever amp/PA they have
Pros - Even a bigger upgrade from the usual cheap mics, upgradable, would also be used for recording
Cons - Same as with the sm57

Last edited by Vindellama; 01-14-2018 at 04:24 PM. Reason: new info
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2018, 01:36 PM
necrome necrome is offline
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Mic-ing is generally a bad solution because you are at the mercy of terrible venue acoustics and engineers being bad at their jobs. Most fingerstyle professionals just stick with a really good pickup + preamp + amplifier setup but that would easily go over $700. The one that you can buy last in that chain is the amplifier, so you're best going with a pickup + preamp and using the venues' PAs for convenience and reliability.

I've never had any experience with magnetic swappable pickups so I don't know how good/bad they are but I've seen a few full-timers perform well with them. Most pickups can sound convincing with some EQing and tweaking on your preamp anyways. Your most preferred, cheapest option now is probably an M80 (or similar) + Zoom AC2 or AC3 (their latest models). For the magnetic pickup though, definitely look into A Little Thunder & their acoustic mounting ring which adds an octaved bassline to your playing if you aren't prejudiced against gear designed primarily for electric guitars.

https://www.alittlethunder.com/product-page

https://www.zoom-na.com/products/gui...oustic-creator

Last edited by necrome; 01-12-2018 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:51 PM
dannyg1 dannyg1 is offline
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I use the M80 in two of my guitars and though it is possible to swap it out, the hassle of having to pull all of the strings and thread the wiring harness earns it closer to an an ‘easy to install’ vote, rather than an ‘easy thing swap’ vote.

It’s also a bit painful to tune, requiring that you pay attention to individual string balance on the output signal via adjusting the poles. I find that each guitar requires its own settings and even a battery change on the pickup ( which forces a pickup body dismount) upsets the works.

It’s for that reason I own two - one for each guitar. I love the pickup btw. I also love the full Anthem, but that’s off topic....

Maybe a Duncan SA6 magmic is a better choice for quick swapping.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:43 PM
j.blay j.blay is offline
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Takamine Japan built, solid wood series acoustic electrics are wonderfull sounding acoustically and the pick up system is easy to get a good sound from. I've been tempted to buy this myself, but I just can't justify it with the Takamine I already own. Looks like it has a top crack running between the bridge and the bottom; easy and relatively inexpensive fix if it hasn't been repaired already. In my opinion, if it wasn't for the crack and cosmetic issues, it would sell used for around $1000. A steal at $400 shipped. 1 7/8' nut and cedar/Mahogany solid wood make this a bare finger pickers dream guitar. See link below.

https://reverb.com/item/7703210-taka...ustic-electric
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Old 01-13-2018, 05:24 AM
Vindellama Vindellama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
I use the M80 in two of my guitars and though it is possible to swap it out, the hassle of having to pull all of the strings and thread the wiring harness earns it closer to an an ‘easy to install’ vote, rather than an ‘easy thing swap’ vote.

It’s also a bit painful to tune, requiring that you pay attention to individual string balance on the output signal via adjusting the poles. I find that each guitar requires its own settings and even a battery change on the pickup ( which forces a pickup body dismount) upsets the works.

It’s for that reason I own two - one for each guitar. I love the pickup btw. I also love the full Anthem, but that’s off topic....

Maybe a Duncan SA6 magmic is a better choice for quick swapping.
Can you "swap" him under 10 minutes?
I thought about the full anthem... But I don't want to alter the acoustic sound of the guitar, and would still need another pickup. I prefer the amulet m... Great sound without any alterations.
Would use it with a cheaper guitar though... Is it plug'n'play as in plug into any amp and have a decent sound?

Also... Does the Seymour Duncan Woody sound any good? It's suposedly made to be "swapable", not sure if it would be good with the weissenborn (higher strings and all).

And... Is the preamp necessary even with an acoustic oriented combo amp like the loudbox series?
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:55 AM
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DenverSteve DenverSteve is offline
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Well, if they have microphones for singers, they certainly have the ability to amplify an acoustic-only guitar. However, there is no shortage of acoustic-electrics in your price range. Takakamines, Yamahas, Ibanez, Alvarez, used Seagulls, Epiphones, Larrivees..... the list is almost endless. I wouldn't spend much time over-thinking open-mic setups. Additionally, the cost to install a K&K (or similar) would be nothing. The pickup will run you around $100 and you can install it yourself. If you chose to pay someone, it's usually around $100. Therefore you could take your existing guitar and have a professionally installed K&K for $200 max.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:41 PM
dannyg1 dannyg1 is offline
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With practice, you could swap an M80 in 10 mins but you’d still have to adjust it for string balance. There are many mags that don’t have adjustable poles and might be an easier swap ( or not. I think I’d hate not being able to voice the pickup). The Schertler, Dimarzio Angel, Fishman Rare Earth all come to mind.

I have used a Duncan Woody and thought it was serviceable but brittle and not a very delicate sound. I’ve never used a Trance Amulet so cant say much about it.

I’m not a big fan of the K&K. I’ve found I like the JJB pickups better, which could just be because I played with a myriad of mounting locations on my JJB equipt guitars and have only tried the K&K pickups in other people’s guitars.

The M80s pre is not necessary with the Fishman Loudbox I use most often but I’ve found I like the extra bite it provides
On ‘active’ mode.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vindellama View Post
Can you "swap" him under 10 minutes?
I thought about the full anthem... But I don't want to alter the acoustic sound of the guitar, and would still need another pickup. I prefer the amulet m... Great sound without any alterations.
Would use it with a cheaper guitar though... Is it plug'n'play as in plug into any amp and have a decent sound?

Also... Does the Seymour Duncan Woody sound any good? It's suposedly made to be "swapable", not sure if it would be good with the weissenborn (higher strings and all).

And... Is the preamp necessary even with an acoustic oriented combo amp like the loudbox series?
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:19 PM
j.blay j.blay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.blay View Post
Takamine Japan built, solid wood series acoustic electrics are wonderfull sounding acoustically and the pick up system is easy to get a good sound from. I've been tempted to buy this myself, but I just can't justify it with the Takamine I already own. Looks like it has a top crack running between the bridge and the bottom; easy and relatively inexpensive fix if it hasn't been repaired already. In my opinion, if it wasn't for the crack and cosmetic issues, it would sell used for around $1000. A steal at $400 shipped. 1 7/8' nut and cedar/Mahogany solid wood make this a bare finger pickers dream guitar. See link below.

https://reverb.com/item/7703210-taka...ustic-electric
Wow. One day later and someone bought this. Hope it was the originator of this thread.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:54 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Cort Gold A6. Don't run from the name. I had a chance to play the D6 and it was the best sounding guitar I've ever played. This A6 has a 45mm nut width and blendable onboard mic and under saddle pickups from Fishman.
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:26 PM
Vindellama Vindellama is offline
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Updated my options/needs after the previous advice and thinking further
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:17 PM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vindellama View Post
Can you "swap" him under 10 minutes?
I thought about the full anthem... But I don't want to alter the acoustic sound of the guitar, and would still need another pickup. I prefer the amulet m... Great sound without any alterations.
Would use it with a cheaper guitar though... Is it plug'n'play as in plug into any amp and have a decent sound?

Also... Does the Seymour Duncan Woody sound any good? It's suposedly made to be "swapable", not sure if it would be good with the weissenborn (higher strings and all).

And... Is the preamp necessary even with an acoustic oriented combo amp like the loudbox series?
The Seymour Duncan Woody is a good sounding pickup - far better (IMO) than a typical UST. I got an XL version for Christmas. They are fairly low output though, so you may need a preamp depending on the amp/pa being used. They go in and out in well under 5 minutes and are very underrated IMO.

You can also get a pretty good, but inexpensive preamp to tailor your sound and/or boost the volume. We use the Behringer ADI21 and they sound good and are very reliable.

For about 100 bucks you get a decent sounding little system that requires no alteration to your instruments and can be used in any acoustic with the right size sound hole.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:58 PM
heavy_picker heavy_picker is offline
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Default Budget amplification for open stages

I use an irig acoustic stage clip on microphone that comes with it’s own preamp/Eq unit. They normally sell for $100.00, but they go on sale for less.
They clip over the edge of the sound hole. It fit well on my Martin d28, but the Top on my Gibson SJ is to thick. When you calibrate the mic on the guitar it sounds great coming through a PA system. I have not tried it with a guitar amp yet.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:08 AM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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the kk pure xlr is a great little pre that will
give excellent results . it has an eq that you
can tweak on the fly to help if the system
isn't up to snuff. it's a about the size of two
packs of 100s cigarettes. I find the kk pickups
alone did not work well at open mics, i use
a sunrise mag pup. i find it sounds pretty
good in whatever i plug it into. This versatility
works good for me.
why do you want to remove the mag pup?
just wondering why you don't want to leave it
in. ?Also you have a tonedexter. why not just
bring that to the open mic with whatever pup
you made the wavemaps with.?
obviously the mic will give you the best natural
sound. if the open mic is quiet like you say.
And it's the only one you plan on attending.
then the sm81 is a great choice. if you go to
a loud room noise open mic then the pup preamp tonedexter
would be a better choice.

Last edited by varmonter; 01-15-2018 at 06:22 AM.
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2018, 07:05 AM
Vindellama Vindellama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varmonter View Post
the kk pure xlr is a great little pre that will
give excellent results . it has an eq that you
can tweak on the fly to help if the system
isn't up to snuff. it's a about the size of two
packs of 100s cigarettes. I find the kk pickups
alone did not work well at open mics, i use
a sunrise mag pup. i find it sounds pretty
good in whatever i plug it into. This versatility
works good for me.
why do you want to remove the mag pup?
just wondering why you don't want to leave it
in. ?Also you have a tonedexter. why not just
bring that to the open mic with whatever pup
you made the wavemaps with.?
obviously the mic will give you the best natural
sound. if the open mic is quiet like you say.
And it's the only one you plan on attending.
then the sm81 is a great choice. if you go to
a loud room noise open mic then the pup preamp tonedexter
would be a better choice.
I'll look into the kk xlr.

I don't want to leave it in since it would require a permanent intall, which would require drilling the end block, which would require sending it to a luthier 300 miles away (due to incompetence from other ones).

I don't have the tonedexter... It could be an upgrade down the road. Would not work with the magmic. But the mic would be useful for the training process or for blending if I choose to go the sbt+mic path instead of the tonedexter path.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:52 PM
BT55 BT55 is offline
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Drilling an end plate is not tough. If you have any friends that have carpentry skills they should be able to watch a YouTube video or two and successfully drill the end plate.
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