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  #16  
Old 01-16-2022, 04:59 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
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!
For aftermarket SBT-based systems:

#1 Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom,

#2 Dazzo #70 Set,

#3 a tie between the Ultra Tonic 3.2 and B-Band A1.2N-1470 pickup/preamp system, and Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2

I need to play with the Ultra Tonic to adjust it to what I want to hear and that could move it up in my standings.
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-17-2022 at 06:24 AM.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2022, 01:30 AM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
For aftermarket SBT-based systems:

#1 Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom,

#2 Dazzo #70 Set,

#3 a tie between the Ultra Tonic 3.2 and B-Band A1.2N-1470 pickup/preamp system.

I need to play with the Ultra Tonic to adjust it to what I want to hear and that could move it up in my standings.
I would precise:
1) Amulet + Epoxy or installed by Maury's music.

With the red tape, it's another story.
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2022, 06:32 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
I would precise:
1) Amulet + Epoxy or installed by Maury's music.

With the red tape, it's another story.
The epoxy mounting of the Amulets in the Larrivee C-03 TE gave me a better tone than the Trance recommended red tape so much so that I'm going to install a Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom in my 2020 Martin Reimagined using the epoxy. I hope the first installation wasn't just luck that it turned out well.

I've added the Schatten HFN Artist Plus 2 to my third-place tie for my favorite pickup systems.
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Taylor 717e
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2022, 07:10 AM
Peter Z Peter Z is offline
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Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
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 ...
Sorry, I needed a day!

Honestly I prefer my Anthems to the UT. But that might be caused by my piezo-allergy. It surely sounds better via PA speakers.
The Schatten is at least the quality/price winner. If they just find a way to improve the bass response!

I'm looking forward to your Amulet sound clips!
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  #20  
Old 01-17-2022, 07:16 AM
jle jle is offline
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Thanks for posting your experience with the Ultratonic. I will put together my recent experience with it in a Guild F212-XL. For now, suffice it to say that I initially thought that I was recording the guitar incorrectly, and that the recording was being colored by one or more of the high-quality condenser microphones I had connected. Despite setting those on mute, the recorded sound from the Ultratonic seemed too good to be true. Finally, I disconnected all the microphone cables, only to find that the pickup alone was truly sounding that good.

James May did the installation of the pickup, using two additional small transducers (he found the string spacing of the 12-string too wide to use just a single long pickup). My first experience with a passive system (I hate having to replace batteries!), and I'll never go back.

I have a high-end pickup/microphone dual system (with battery) in a 50-year-old Martin D-28 that I plan to have replaced with an Ultratonic.

I'll put these through a Tonedexter, knowing that I have an outstanding signal to start off with.
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  #21  
Old 01-17-2022, 08:54 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
I would precise:
1) Amulet + Epoxy or installed by Maury's music.

With the red tape, it's another story.
Doesn't Maury use the red tape though? My findings were similar. There were aspects of the Amulet that I really liked, but I always felt as though the true potential was hindered a bit with the tape.
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  #22  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:36 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Doesn't Maury use the red tape though? My findings were similar. There were aspects of the Amulet that I really liked, but I always felt as though the true potential was hindered a bit with the tape.
Maury mentioned in one of his posts something about being taught well by Gary Hull of Trance Audio on the proper installation of the Amulets. Being that Gary is adamant about not using anything other than the red tape my assumption is that Maury uses it and goes through the turnbuckle-clamp/selective-area procedure to find the best-sounding location on the Amulet by listening through an amp while positioning and tightening the turnbuckle-clamp along the length of the Amulet. Once the best-sounding location is found, the turnbuckle is used to push against the Amulet for 12-hours. Gary Hull claims the red tape adhesive undergoes a chemical transformation at that pressure-area spot to maintain that spot as the best-sounding position even after the clamp's pressure is released. Gary has urged me to try his method but I find it too tedious to manipulate the clamp inside the guitar.
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Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
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  #23  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:45 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by jle View Post
Thanks for posting your experience with the Ultratonic. I will put together my recent experience with it in a Guild F212-XL. For now, suffice it to say that I initially thought that I was recording the guitar incorrectly, and that the recording was being colored by one or more of the high-quality condenser microphones I had connected. Despite setting those on mute, the recorded sound from the Ultratonic seemed too good to be true. Finally, I disconnected all the microphone cables, only to find that the pickup alone was truly sounding that good.

James May did the installation of the pickup, using two additional small transducers (he found the string spacing of the 12-string too wide to use just a single long pickup). My first experience with a passive system (I hate having to replace batteries!), and I'll never go back.

I have a high-end pickup/microphone dual system (with battery) in a 50-year-old Martin D-28 that I plan to have replaced with an Ultratonic.

I'll put these through a Tonedexter, knowing that I have an outstanding signal to start off with.
Thanks for your informative post! I also have a Guild F-212-XL so I'm anxious to hear any recordings you have or will make with the Guild/Ultra Tonic combination and with using the ToneDexter, too. I also have a ToneDexter and think it's a wonderful tool but I haven't used it in at least 3 years.
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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
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  #24  
Old 01-17-2022, 10:07 AM
joejessal joejessal is offline
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Default Trance.

I really like the Trance. The Ultra tonic sounds really good to me also on your clips. I didnít care for the Schatten. I really wanted to like it cause Django Books has the Artist 2 on sale for $179. I think Iíll order one just to try it out. Iíve got a Collings 01T I just got and Iíll try it out. Thanks for posting your sound clips. Theyíre always really informative and fairly accurate findings.
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  #25  
Old 01-17-2022, 10:53 AM
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Groberts Groberts is offline
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I just listened with headphones and will offer my honest thoughts as requested. The UltraTonic sounds too "middy" to my ears and the attack is kind of hard and plastic-ey. maybe some call that quacky, but It sounds like a Piezo to me. It may very well work great and cut through a band mix? (Reminds me of the K&K) After using K&K personally for a long time in my best acoustic, I gave up on the K&K and concluded I am not a fan of the K&K. I sold it including the Pure XLR preamp and I am done with K&K's and the Ultratonic demo simply doesn't entice me to try it.

This is my honest opinion for what "I like" and is not meant as condescending in any way. I respect and admire your talent, skill and devotion to optimizing your amplified sound and I am incredibly grateful for the post. It is very helpful.

The Ultratonic may very well check the boxes for what you want and prefer as well as many others.

I don't hear any 'air' or as much nuance in this Ultratonic demo. The frequency range is balanced. Maybe what I take issue with? I do tend to EQ a mid scoop on my acoustic amp at home to 'some degree'. But that lets me hear perhaps a little more treble detail and transition from low to high.

Your thoughts are welcome and your effort is always applauded, most welcome and helpful. Thank you for keeping an open mind. (I will do that as well)
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  #26  
Old 01-17-2022, 11:37 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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If the goal is to find the multi-switch position which yields the most accurate recording of your guitar, it might be helpful to make dual recordings of the pickup signal on one channel and a well-positioned micís signal on a separate channel. You could make such a pair of recordings for every multi-switch position that you think is a possible contender.

To my way of thinking, the main purpose of the Ultra-Tonic is to provide a pleasing AND STABLE amplified tone that will accommodate a variety of live performance situations. For that purpose it makes more sense to use a PA system or amp to determine the optimum multi-switch position. Beyond that point, Iíd certainly be open to any EQ adjustments that would make the tone more pleasing to my ears in any particular live setting.
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  #27  
Old 01-17-2022, 01:11 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by Groberts View Post
I just listened with headphones and will offer my honest thoughts as requested. The UltraTonic sounds too "middy" to my ears and the attack is kind of hard and plastic-ey. maybe some call that quacky, but It sounds like a Piezo to me. It may very well work great and cut through a band mix? (Reminds me of the K&K) After using K&K personally for a long time in my best acoustic, I gave up on the K&K and concluded I am not a fan of the K&K. I sold it including the Pure XLR preamp and I am done with K&K's and the Ultratonic demo simply doesn't entice me to try it.

This is my honest opinion for what "I like" and is not meant as condescending in any way. I respect and admire your talent, skill and devotion to optimizing your amplified sound and I am incredibly grateful for the post. It is very helpful.

The Ultratonic may very well check the boxes for what you want and prefer as well as many others.

I don't hear any 'air' or as much nuance in this Ultratonic demo. The frequency range is balanced. Maybe what I take issue with? I do tend to EQ a mid scoop on my acoustic amp at home to 'some degree'. But that lets me hear perhaps a little more treble detail and transition from low to high.

Your thoughts are welcome and your effort is always applauded, most welcome and helpful. Thank you for keeping an open mind. (I will do that as well)
Thanks, Gary! I totally agree that the overall Ultra Tonic tone as adjusted in the demo sounds very piezo-like to me too, and was a bit of a disappointment to hear it. The demos were made with the UT's multi-DIP switch array set at "6" on its 12 switch positions. Today, I made an adjustment to "7" on the UT switch array and I think I'm hearing a bit of improvement in the tone through my headphones. I'm still trying to dial in a nice-sounding mid-cut and Q on the FELiX that'll eliminate some of the brashness in the tone. I should probably just plug into my Synapse and use its midrange control to hear what I want as the Synapse's EQ controls usually give me what I want without the nit-picking that something like the FELiX is capable of inducing in a player!

I'm going to make more DIP-switch adjustments to hear what they can do for the Ultra Tonic's tone. I'd like to dial in a nice useable tone with the Ultra Tonic adjusted just right by using its onboard DIP-switch array and then just use any outboard EQ to spice the sound for any playing conditions. I really like the concept behind the Ultra Tonic's technology!
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-17-2022 at 01:23 PM.
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  #28  
Old 01-17-2022, 01:15 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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To be fair, I am not sure if I have ever heard a direct recording of a pickup where there wasn't a bit of piezo tone present. I have heard it with the Amulet, Dazzo, K&K and even the Anthem. I bet live you wouldn't even detect it.
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  #29  
Old 01-17-2022, 01:21 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by guitaniac View Post
If the goal is to find the multi-switch position which yields the most accurate recording of your guitar, it might be helpful to make dual recordings of the pickup signal on one channel and a well-positioned mic’s signal on a separate channel. You could make such a pair of recordings for every multi-switch position that you think is a possible contender.

To my way of thinking, the main purpose of the Ultra-Tonic is to provide a pleasing AND STABLE amplified tone that will accommodate a variety of live performance situations. For that purpose it makes more sense to use a PA system or amp to determine the optimum multi-switch position. Beyond that point, I’d certainly be open to any EQ adjustments that would make the tone more pleasing to my ears in any particular live setting.
Gary, Thanks! I've made a DIP switch adjustment of one switch up from where my demos were recorded. I'm hearing it as helping a bit but I'll explore the whole DIP-switch array again, which is kind of what I did after installing the Ultra Tonic but it makes sense to redo the process.

I like the mic idea and that'll likely also figure into the process.
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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
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  #30  
Old 01-17-2022, 01:27 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
To be fair, I am not sure if I have ever heard a direct recording of a pickup where there wasn't a bit of piezo tone present. I have heard it with the Amulet, Dazzo, K&K and even the Anthem. I bet live you wouldn't even detect it.
I agree! Usually putting anywhere from 10 to 50 feet of air between a loudspeaker and an audience member's ears can smooth out the piezo artifacts that are heard in any pickup's direct recording.
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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
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