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Old 01-19-2018, 02:50 PM
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Default Something old is new again: Aura Ellipse

Hi folks,

I've continued down my path of pickup insanity. The good news is that I settled on a guitar for my singer/songwriter gigs. It's a custom shop HD-28V with Adirondack top, PA neck, and forward shifted golden era bracing. Its powerful, loud, but relatively balanced. I was a bit surprised and expected overwhelming bass. This guitar is punchy but not too boomy.

"What does that have to do with pickups" you ask?

Well, I have been waffling back and forth between my love of Adirondack tops and my desire for an onboard Fishman Aura system. I'm not a fan of playing with pedals and a lot of my performing opportunities are open mics, shared stage, and showcases. That means I am not doing my own sound, and often have little time for sound check. I loved the F1 system in the HD-28E Retro I had, but was always just a little frustrated with the acoustic tone.

A few months ago I decided to give up and install a K&K system. For whatever reason, K&K did not sound good in this guitar. I removed the system and the K&K transducers and decided to take a huge risk and order the now 9 year old Fishman Aura Ellipse system. There was literally nothing left on the market to do what I wanted to do.

Since my guitar has a long saddle it took some time to shape a new saddle from Bob Colosi to work with the Matrix pickup. But, with my new workshop setup, tools, and some time to concentrate, I got it right on the first try.

I had to modify the mounting bracket because the forward shifted bracing makes the install tight. That mod also worked well. The finished product sounds excellent. The acoustic volume is diminished slightly. I would say about 5%-10%, if I were to hazard a guess. But, the system is removable, so the guitar can be restored when new technology is available. It was a louder guitar than my previous Retro.
I suspect it is about the loudness now. I have a D-28 Marquis for bluegrass which is super loud, so I can sacrifice some volume with this one.

I uploaded 4 Martin images with DPA4011 mic recordings: CS Adirondack/Rosewood, HD-28V, D-35, and D-45. I expected the CS Adi to be the guitar. And, it was. But, the closest to what I wanted to hear was the D-45.
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Last edited by martingitdave; 01-22-2018 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:05 PM
Chriscom Chriscom is offline
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That's very interesting, I'm glad it worked out. I vaguely remember the Ellipse being dinged a bit here in AGF a little while ago. I've had my eye on it for one of my Zagers, though that might be overkill (but the project is, the Zagers are my decent but devil-may-care guitars that I can experiment with without too much heartburn. I want a separate guitar tuned down a step, I'm thinking with heavier-gauge strings, to sing some of my old songs that are just slightly out of my range now. But one of my Zagers has no built in pickup, and the other has a poor one by current standards).

However, if the Ellipse dampens the volume a bit, that's probably not the solution for me--the Zagers' main drawback, at least mine, is that they're not the loudest guitars in the world and the bass side is particularly modest. Love the guitars though.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:07 PM
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Most of the active pickup systems will dampen volume. So, choose wisely.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:03 PM
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Aura Ellipse is coming out. The preamp is too heavy for me. It didnít reduce volume as much as it reduced responsiveness and feel. I could live with the volume. But when playing finger style softly, the guitar felt dead. I have a Matrix Infinity in the guitar and bought a display model Aura Spectrum pedal. The guitar is more alive acoustically. And plugged in sound is excellent. I give up. :-( The Fishman Aura Plus F1 is the only good, completely onboard, pickup I have used. The rest are compromised. Everything else needs a pedal. Unless they release an F1 style pickup for aftermarket, I am done wasting money on experiments. If anyone wants my advice in the future it will be: Passive K&K and a Tondexter if you want the least acoustic impact and you play moderate volumes. Or, Fishman Matrix and Aura Spectrum pedal. The rest does not sound convincing enough to warrant the level of agony we put ourselves through.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:38 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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At least you removed the Ellipse before it started...eeek, oh oh....rattling and buzzing...kidding....kidding...

One advantage of the Spectrum is that you can buy any guitar you like the look and sound and feel of, fir example, possibly a vintage 50s number like a couple of Gibsons I bought - they already had been Ďmanhandledí and a undersaddle thinline type pickup put in them...minus for some buyers, but a secret plus for Spectrumites! Though it is best to keep to famous guitars that have an image on the gallery..J45, D28, OM18....

My best sound currently a touch above the Spectrum and inbuilt Aura is my Maton SRS808 with their AP5-Pro pickup system. (Piezo under each string and a condenser mic internally). Same system Tommy Emmanuel plugs direct to his PA......with a soundhole plug.


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Old 01-24-2018, 08:09 PM
loco gringo loco gringo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martingitdave View Post
If anyone wants my advice in the future it will be: Passive K&K and a Tondexter if you want the least acoustic impact and you play moderate volumes. Or, Fishman Matrix and Aura Spectrum pedal
Why not Fishman Matrix plus ToneDexter?
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by loco gringo View Post
Why not Fishman Matrix plus ToneDexter?

That works too, and might sound even better with the right wavemap. But I figure if you have the Matrix in there already, why not go for Aura? More features in the pedal. Less expensive. But only works with Matrix.
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:01 PM
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Those glued in saddles dont allow for a UST typically do they? Or does that just mean you have to cut a new bone saddle?

Dave, have you tried the Tonedexter personally? I am intrigued, but getting an arguably decently amplified acoustic sound with Baggs Anthem ..and I use a Fishman Platinum Pro EQ preamp on my pedal board for any minor tonal shaping I might need. Its working out great so far.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:10 PM
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Default Something old is new again: Aura Ellipse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Groberts View Post
Those glued in saddles dont allow for a UST typically do they? Or does that just mean you have to cut a new bone saddle?



Dave, have you tried the Tonedexter personally? I am intrigued, but getting an arguably decently amplified acoustic sound with Baggs Anthem ..and I use a Fishman Platinum Pro EQ preamp on my pedal board for any minor tonal shaping I might need. Its working out great so far.


Gary,

The HD-28V (which mine is based on) uses a drop in long saddle. There is some amount of slot , maybe .075Ē for the UST to sit in. Then I removed material from the bottom of a long saddle blank and rounded the edges to match. Itís a time consuming process, but the results are very good. Iím fairly picky about these things, and I did not hear much, if any, change in acoustic tone from the installation of the Matrix Infinity alone.

I donít have hands on experience with the Tondexter, but Iím using the Aura Spectrum. By all accounts Tondexter is the real deal and should be considered. But, some folks like a more direct sounding guitar for performing in bars, or so Iím told. My Aura ainít broke, so I ainít fixing it. [emoji4]
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Last edited by martingitdave; 01-25-2018 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:44 AM
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I did some recent test video's of my Baggs Anthem direct into a Bose L1 Compact versus Turbosound IP1000. I may create a separate post of these to share with others.

What do you think of the Baggs Anthem?



And here is a self indulgent super long jam I did using a looper, Boss RV-6 Reverb, running my D-18/Anthem through Fishman Platinum Pro EQ into a Turbosound IP1000 at gig that got really dead at the end of the night.

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Old 01-25-2018, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groberts View Post
I did some recent test video's of my Baggs Anthem direct into a Bose L1 Compact versus Turbosound IP1000. I may create a separate post of these to share with others.



What do you think of the Baggs Anthem?







And here is a self indulgent super long jam I did using a looper, Boss RV-6 Reverb, running my D-18/Anthem through Fishman Platinum Pro EQ into a Turbosound IP1000 at gig that got really dead at the end of the night.




Gary,

I really like the sound of the Anthem. My only criticism of the Anthem is not based on amplified tone. My limited experience with the element pickup is that it seems to reduce the acoustic volume (and bass) of the guitar. I donít think itís in my head because others have mentioned the same thing.

Iíve also been told that leaving the element under pressure for a long time will negate this effect, but I did not leave it in long enough to test for myself. On the other hand, I have been using the Fishman Matrix under saddle in several guitars. I suspect because their transducer is a hard material, I donít notice the difference. However, the Matrix alone does not sound as pleasing to my ear as the Element alone. The Matrix needs processing.

For someone who plays primarily for audiences, and likes the tone, I think itís a great option. For those of us who play out less frequently, I question if the trade off is palatable.

Regardless, I watch all your videos because Iím subscribed to your channel. I like your hybrid cross picking style and choice of music. Youíve got chops and can make anything sound good. Keep rocking and donít let any of my comments about pickups dissuade you. I tend to be a little OCD about these things.
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