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  #1  
Old 11-30-2014, 07:29 PM
twb1178 twb1178 is offline
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Default B-Band SYS650 ?

Hello everyone,
Long time lurker, first time poster here.
I recently joined a band playing acoustic/rhythm guitar. I've been using my friend's Alvarez Regent series with the SYS250 system for the last month or so. I decided that I needed an acoustic/electric of my own, so last week I bought an Alvarez AD60CE with the SYS650 from musicians friend. It plays great and sounds great unplugged. The problem is, plugged in at practice last night, it has maybe half the volume of the Regent on the same setting. I'm playing straight in to the band's PA. With the Regent, the PA level was set at about halfway, and volume on guitar about halfway as well. This was loud enough to be heard with the rest of the band. With my AD60CE, we had to crank the volume on the PA almost all the way up, guitar volume wide open. Its still not loud enough to be heard even a little. We tried several different cords(1/4" & XLR), new batteries, and different setting on the guitar's EQ. No change. With just me playing, I did dial in a sound that sounds amazing. It just doesn't have the volume I expected. Is this typical with the SYS650, or is there a problem with my new guitar? I have little experience with A/E guitars, so I really don't know much about this stuff.
Thanks,
Travis
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2014, 08:06 PM
Fire&Rain Fire&Rain is offline
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I have an Alvarez AD710ce with the B-Band SYS650 and it responds like your friend's guitar when plugged into the amp. I am not sure why the gain is not similar, but for one thing I believe the SYS250 has only a single pickup. The 650 is a dual source preamp with an under saddle transducer (UST) and a sound board transducer (AST). There is a blend slider to balance the output from the two pickups on the preamp control. I would return your guitar to the MF store or take it to a knowledgeable technician.
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Last edited by Fire&Rain; 12-05-2014 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:32 PM
twb1178 twb1178 is offline
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Thanks for the response Fire&Rain. I am going to call Musicians Friend this evening and see about getting the return process started. Its a shame because I really like how it plays and sounds unplugged. Now I need to figure out what else to buy. I like Alvarez, but I'm reluctant to try another one. Its hard to try before I buy, as the closest store is nearly 2 hours away.
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Old 12-01-2014, 10:33 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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https://reverb.com/item/175936-alvar...p-system-black
Here's a link with a photo and description of the SYS650. From what I can tell, this thing has a mono output and an onboard control to adjust the UST/AST blend. I presume the output may vary somewhat, depending on where you set the blend control. (The blend slider is directly below the low battery light.)

If you're getting less output (than the SYS250-equipped guitar) when the blend slider is fully on the UST side, it may be because of mechanical factors like the angle of the strings across the saddle and/or the pressure of the saddle on the UST. If the saddle is binding in the slot and not fully seated on the UST, that could cause a weak output. You want the saddle to be decently snug in the saddle slot, but not wedged in so tightly (and possibly binding) that you can't pull it out with your fingertips.

The B-Band UST/AST system has a pretty good rep, so you might want to borrow an outboard preamp (to boost the signal) and experiment a bit with it. Something as simple as an old Boss GE-7 EQ pedal could be used to boost the signal.

Last edited by guitaniac; 12-01-2014 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:18 PM
Fire&Rain Fire&Rain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twb1178 View Post
Thanks for the response Fire&Rain. I am going to call Musicians Friend this evening and see about getting the return process started. Its a shame because I really like how it plays and sounds unplugged. Now I need to figure out what else to buy. I like Alvarez, but I'm reluctant to try another one. Its hard to try before I buy, as the closest store is nearly 2 hours away.
As you can see from my signature, I am a fan of Alvarez. I wouldn't be too quick to give up on this one if you like its sound as it may just be a problem with the preamp/UST. If you want to troubleshoot, it is easy to check the UST and saddle for correct placement by loosening the strings and sliding the saddle out. As mentioned above, it should be snug in the slot but sitting flat on the UST. Examine the bottom of the saddle to make sure it is perfectly flat. If unsure, tape 150 grit sandpaper to a cutting board or marble countertop and sand lightly. The AST is taped to the bottom of the soundboard and is more difficult to troubleshoot, but I would at least take a look with a light source and mechanics mirror to make sure it appears to be in place. At the same time look at the wiring from the transducers to the preamp for any damage. You have already said you replaced the 9-volt battery. Without internal power you have a passive system. Finally, if you wish to return the guitar, I obviously advise against any amateur luthiering...
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Last edited by Fire&Rain; 12-01-2014 at 11:26 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2014, 09:15 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I've thought of another possible reason why the SYS650's UST may have a lower output than the SYS250's UST. It may be necessary to apply lower gain to the SYS650's UST (in the preamp stage) in order to keep it compatible for blending with the AST signal. When USTs and soundboard pickups are made of the same transducer material, the UST will typically have a much stronger output. For instance, a piezo film UST will typically have a stronger output than an SBT made of the same piezo film. The B-Band transducer material isn't piezo film, but its likely that the same principle applies.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:16 PM
twb1178 twb1178 is offline
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Thank you to all who replied. The guitar is currently in route back to MF. Luckily, the rep that I got when I called has had some personal experience with Alvarez guitars. He said that when comparing two different systems, there would likely be some differences in volume, but it shouldn't be as drastic as it is. He seems to think its a mechanical issue of some sort. They are replacing the guitar free of charge. He even sent a label, so that I wouldn't have to pay return shipping. The new one should be here on Monday. They had to send out a sunburst, as they are out of stock on black ones. I'm good with that. I had the hardest time deciding between the black and sunburst anyway. I'll find out on Saturday how it does plugged in.
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:09 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twb1178 View Post
Thank you to all who replied. The guitar is currently in route back to MF. Luckily, the rep that I got when I called has had some personal experience with Alvarez guitars. He said that when comparing two different systems, there would likely be some differences in volume, but it shouldn't be as drastic as it is. He seems to think its a mechanical issue of some sort. They are replacing the guitar free of charge. He even sent a label, so that I wouldn't have to pay return shipping. The new one should be here on Monday. They had to send out a sunburst, as they are out of stock on black ones. I'm good with that. I had the hardest time deciding between the black and sunburst anyway. I'll find out on Saturday how it does plugged in.
Thanks for the update, Travis. Please let us know how the new one works out.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:56 PM
jlklein jlklein is offline
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Hey Travis,
I'm resurrecting your old thread here, wondering how your guitar swap turned out? Did it fix the low output issue you were having? I just bought a used 2015 Alvarez AD60CE with the SYS550 and it also has way low output compared to all 3 of my 3 Ibanez guitars. The 2015 model's SYS550 is just the single UST, lacking the SYS650's AST, but I imagine they are otherwise the same.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:01 PM
hotroad hotroad is offline
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I have an Alvarez with the 650 and love it. I really think its one of the best on board systems available. I hope your new swap guitar functions as it should and you enjoy it like you can. Its a great system and makes that guitar sound awesome.
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  #11  
Old 09-18-2018, 03:10 AM
FThomas FThomas is offline
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I have a MDA70CE and it came with the SYS650. I should have sent it back to zZounds as it was supposed to come with a LR Baggs pickup per their website. BBand is out of business and I can see why. I had the same problem as you and I replaced the UST with a more updated version and it made all the difference in the world! I did a lot of research and read that the SY650 was known for this problem. Good luck finding a replacement!
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:51 AM
jlklein jlklein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FThomas View Post
I have a MDA70CE and it came with the SYS650...I had the same problem as you and I replaced the UST with a more updated version and it made all the difference in the world! I did a lot of research and read that the SY650 was known for this problem. Good luck finding a replacement!
So you're saying just swapping out the UST fixed the low volume issue? If so, what did you end up getting, another B-band or another type entirely?

Thanks,
Jeff
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