The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 01-15-2022, 04:32 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default Ultra Tonic 3.2 Pickup in 2016 Martin D-18 Initial & Now More Demos

The following are song segments recorded using the just-installed Ultra Tonic 3.2 Pickup System in my 2016 Martin D-18. It and all the following Ultra Tonic 3.2/Martin D-18 combination demos were made by playing with a flatpick with NO EFFECTS. The Ultra Tonic 3.2 System is adjusted via its onboard circuit board at "6" on the "1" to "12" multi-switch EQ adjustment and was done by listening to an UltraSound AG-30 acoustic amp located about 4-feet from the guitar and pointed directly at it. This enabled a listening evaluation for best overall tone versus rejection of feedback and tonal muddiness. I will likely readjust the Ultra Tonic 3.2 circuit board for better tonal output. Here are my initial recordings of the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination. These were done with the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination plugged into a Grace Design FELiX 2 Preamp (input impedance set @ 10 MegaOhms) with all its EQ set FLAT and then into a PreSonus Studio 192 Audio Interface and then to the computer with Audacity as the digital recording medium.

The first two song segments are just the guitar backing to my vocal of my version of George Strait's "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)". The first of the two song segments is the backing guitar accompaniment recorded with the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination and is followed for comparison by the recently recorded Martin D-18/Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2 demo of the same song segment.



Background for the following song segment: Prior to removing the Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2 system from the Martin D-18, I thought I'd make one last EQ'ed recording of the combination when played fairly aggressively with a flatpick. The Schatten HFN pickup was installed with the Schatten-supplied 3M tape and is being 48-volt phantom powered by a FELiX 2 preamp. The FELiX 2 EQ channel settings for the Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2 are:

Low Control FLAT (125 Hz Shelving)

Mid Control +5 dB @ 90 Hz, Q 1 Octave

High Control -5 dB @ 1 kHz Shelving

All EQ is set FLAT and there are NO EFFECTS of any kind. From the FELiX 2 the signal goes into a PreSonus Studio 192 Audio Interface and then into Audacity.

The song segment is just the guitar backing to my vocal in my version of George Strait's "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)"



The following song segments are made with the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination only:





I like what I'm initially hearing from the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination and it sounds much better through the LR Baggs Synapse PA than it does through these initial recordings. Frankly, the Ultra Tonic 3.2 can be onboard, circuit board adjusted anywhere from K&K overwhelming bass and muddiness to lack of bottom-end, excessive trebelness. More to come ...

Your Comments Are Welcome And You Won't Hurt My Feelings By Stating Your Feelings!
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-22-2022 at 05:20 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-15-2022, 05:42 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,089
Default

The Ultra Tonic sounds pretty well-balanced to me. I might try experimenting with a mid cut and a little reverb for recording purposes, but since you essentially tuned it to the Synapse I don't doubt that it sounds great with the combined influences of the Synapse and the performing space.

I somehow got the idea that a tone generator was needed to set up the Ultra Tonic. Apparently I was either wrong about that or the protocol has been updated.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-16-2022, 10:44 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

Thanks, Gary, for your feedback! My demos are usually done with all EQ on a preamp set flat so as to hear what the raw pickups (whatever the brand) sound like when played with a flatpick. Your suggestions will be taken into account to get the best possible tone out of the Ultra Tonic 3.2 in subsequent demos as I've come to believe that very few players want to hear a raw pickup tone played with a flatpick even though my thinking has always been: If a pickup system sounds good when played aggressively with a flatpick it'll sound good when played fingerstyle which seems to be the most popular playing style nowadays.

I'll have to redo the Ultra Tonic 3.2 demos as I hear some digitally-based distortion in the recording process from likely overloading the PreSonus Studio 192 input and also the Audacity DAW input. Given that, frankly, to my ears, with the Ultra Tonic 3.2 endpin circuit board EQ switch set on "6," and the FELiX 2's EQ set flat, the EQ'ed Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2 version of "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)" sounds better than the Ultra Tonic 3.2 version. I need to adjust the onboard Ultra Tonic 3.2 circuit board to a different EQ setting on its "1" to "12" DIP switch range to achieve a better tone to present to the FELiX 2 for EQing it. The Ultra Tonic, as currently set, also seems to really emphasize the brashness midrange of the flat-picked strummed chords. Although I'm disappointed so far in what I'm hearing from the Ultra Tonic 3.2, I'm actually smiling a bit as the Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2--FINALLY--actually sounds better than another pickup system! The Ultra Tonic 3.2 will remain in the Martin D-18 as it's pretty much permanently mounted (and located perfectly per installation instructions), and I'm looking forward to playing around to getting what I want to hear out of the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combination.

Regarding the initial setup of the Ultra Tonic 3.2, the newest instructions are to actually play the guitar with the Ultra Tonic 3.2 endpin circuitboard hanging out of the soundhole. Now, with the aid of an acoustic guitar amp, go through the circuit board's DIP switches one by one until you hear a nice, non-muddy tone that's free from tendencies to feedback. I opted for the convenience of using my Ultrasound AG-30 for this purpose as it's lightweight and can be angled and aimed easily at the guitar.

Ultra Tonic™Pickup Version 3 Installation Instructions for Steel String Guitars
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-16-2022 at 11:07 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-16-2022, 11:13 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

Any other comments, Folks? Anyone? Tell me the new demos sound like crap like I think they do but please don't be silent and not comment!

My next project will be the installation of a Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom Pickup/Preamp System in my 2020 Martin HD-28 Reimagined. More to come ...
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-16-2022, 12:08 PM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: France
Posts: 2,550
Default

Hi Ken,
I know how frustating an be the AGF silent. I think we became addicted to "reward posts"

Your Amulet glue install sounds better. I am surprised you did not dial more muddiness out of the Ultratonic.

How did you tune the switches?
__________________
Martin 00-18V Goldplus + internal mic
Martin D-18 (2012)
Martin HD-28 (2014) Trance Audio Amulet M-V T+ DIY IR
Eastman E6OM (2019) DIY Pickup v8 + internal mic

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958 Reissue (2013)
Fender Stratocaster American Vintage 1954 (2014)
http://acousticir.free.fr/
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-16-2022, 12:22 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Hi Ken,
I know how frustating an be the AGF silent. I think we became addicted to "reward posts"

Your Amulet glue install sounds better. I am surprised you did not dial more muddiness out of the Ultratonic.

How did you tune the switches?
Cuki, The Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom or Battery versions have without a doubt to my ears the best tone of any pickup system I've used to date when mounted with the Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy. The Amulet's shape is also the easiest to hold during the mounting process compared to other SBT transducers and its construction yields the most natural tone with a minimum of piezo artifacts.

Yeah, the Ultra Tonic is going to take a bit of playing around with its adjustment to get what I want to hear. I thought it would be a quick and easy set and forget process and it probably is but I'm somehow missing something fundamental in what I've done so far. More to come ... Ultra Tonic™Pickup Version 3 Installation And Adjustment Instructions for Steel String Guitars
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-16-2022, 12:29 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,089
Default

I did think the HFN recording sounded a little bassier, but that’s not surprising considering that you boosted the HFN signal by 5db at 90 Hz and shelved everything over 1000 Hz down 5db. I presume your goal with that much EQ was to make the pickup’s recorded sound more pleasing.

The primary purpose of the Ultra Tonic pickup, on the other hand, is to achieve and maintain a balanced tone in live performance. You apparently CAN adjust the pickup for a bassier recorded tone without needing EQ (when recording), but that might not serve your purpose of getting a balanced live tone. I take your word for it when you say the pickup sounded better through your amps. You might find that an adjustment setting which sounds better balanced when recorded “raw” will sound too bassy when played live through your amps.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-16-2022, 12:32 PM
fwphoto fwphoto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 248
Default

Gotta give them a more serious listening, but I think the Schatten HFN sounds a bit thin. My favorite sound was on "Who Do You Love."

That said, I would really like to hear it again after you work the dip switches a little more.

One thing I've figured out on my Ultra Tonic'd OM-21 is to back off of my normal compression settings when strumming. Backing off the compression on my ToneDEQ smooths out the chords some, while cranking up the compression really allows the individual string tones to override the chorded sound. Does that make sense? :-) I think I'd bump up the compression again for a flat-picked or finger-style song, though.

Overall, I think the Ultra Tonic sounds good & will sound even better once you get it dialed in.

Frank
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-16-2022, 01:00 PM
tadol tadol is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 4,770
Default

I think it would be nice to hear a purely flat, un-adjusted signal from the pickup - maybe its the speakers in my iPad, but I’m not hearing the kind of signal I’ve gotten used to from my UT equipped guitars -
__________________
More than a few Santa Cruz’s, a few Sexauers, a Patterson, a Larrivee, a Cumpiano, and a Klepper!!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-16-2022, 01:53 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,069
Default

I haven't had a chance to listen with headphones yet, but I did play this in the car yesterday while waiting for my wife to finish an appointment. I might be in the minority here, but I like this tone more than the Amulet. To me, there's a fullness to the K&K/Ultra tonic that the Amulet is missing. It's not bass that I am referring to, but fatter sounding single notes. My main complaint with the Amulet is that the high strings tend to sound thin.

The big benefit with this system is that it seems to be fairly consistent in terms of installation whereas the Dazzo/Amulet are a bit more of an experiment.. at least from my experience. The slight tonal improvement with the Dazzo/Amulet can be offset with a bit of IR blending in with the Ultra tronic. I am also not sure if there's even that much of a noticeable difference through a pa.

I am very much considering this pickup. I might have missed it but did you use epoxy or superglue for the installation?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-16-2022, 02:02 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
I haven't had a chance to listen with headphones yet, but I did play this in the car yesterday while waiting for my wife to finish an appointment. I might be in the minority here, but I like this tone more than the Amulet. To me, there's a fullness to the K&K/Ultra tonic that the Amulet is missing. It's not bass that I am referring to, but fatter sounding single notes. My main complaint with the Amulet is that the high strings tend to sound thin.

The big benefit with this system is that it seems to be fairly consistent in terms of installation whereas the Dazzo/Amulet are a bit more of an experiment.. at least from my experience. The slight tonal improvement with the Dazzo/Amulet can be offset with a bit of IR blending in with the Ultra tronic. I am also not sure if there's even that much of a noticeable difference through a pa.

I am very much considering this pickup. I might have missed it but did you use epoxy or superglue for the installation?
Thanks, Scott, the epoxy-mounting was my decision versus the superglue method. Although each method should yield the same results the epoxy gives a longer time window than superglue for removing any adhesive from a guitar's finish. I got some epoxy on the finish in a couple of spots and it just rubs/rolls right off with a paper towel or a cotton rag.
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-16-2022, 02:05 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

Thanks to everyone who has responded as now you're giving me some feedback on what you're hearing and some possible methods of improving the amplified tone of the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combo. Please keep those comments coming!
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-16-2022, 02:22 PM
jricc jricc is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Jersey Shore
Posts: 3,166
Default

Hi Sprucetop, I'm probably the only one who is going to like the Schatten the best. Sorry...
I think it sounded fuller in the low mids, although it had a bit of sheen on the top end.
For my ears, I think the Ultratonic could use a bit of boost in the bass. The clarity on this pickup is very nice.
I listened on a pair of inexpensive Behringer monitors with a 4" woofer and 1" tweeter, if this helps in any way.
Thanks for the samples.
__________________
-joe
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-16-2022, 04:27 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,168
Default

When hanging my head over the front of the Martin D-18, I'm hearing, acoustically, a lot of the same qualities that the Ultra Tonic 3.2 is picking up:

1) The Martin has a really strong bass resonance when doing a bass run from open E to F# to G. It's that typical Martin dreadnought bass tone that is so widely loved.

2) Also, my ears are hearing the typical steel-string brashiness when strumming.

3) The D string especially when played open, has an annoying tinny harmonic to it. These strings have been on this guitar for a good three years and have been loosened and removed from their bridge pins at least a dozen times to work on pickup installations and then restrung back up.

The Ultra Tonic is picking up all the above acoustic qualities of what the guitar is producing and that's a good thing! Now all I have to do is remove the endpin circuit board and make a DIP switch adjustment one or two switch numbers up from where I'm at now, #6, and it should clear up some of the mud I'm hearing in the amplified/recorded tone. Further EQing can then be done using the FELiX 2. New strings are in order too once I'm happy with how the Ultra Tonic's endpin circuit board is set.
__________________
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-16-2022, 04:46 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,069
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Thanks to everyone who has responded as now you're giving me some feedback on what you're hearing and some possible methods of improving the amplified tone of the Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic 3.2 combo. Please keep those comments coming!
So, I have to ask.. you have tried pretty much all of the popular pickups discussed here on AGF. I know the Ultra tonic is still new to you, but what would be your top three choices? I feel like I know two already, but just curious!
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 05:33 PM.


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=