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  #1  
Old 01-21-2022, 03:44 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default NOW WITH DEMOS!!!: Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom & Martin HD-28 Installation

I just completed an installation of my recently received Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom Pickup/Preamp System in my 2020 Martin HD-28 Reimagined. The entire installation took about 3 1/2 hours and included reaming the guitar's endpin hole to accommodate the Trance preamp's Switchcraft jack/endpin/strap button. I used Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy to mount the Amulets, and 30 seconds into my initial hearing test, I knew it was another successful Trance installation. Whether I've mounted the Amulets with the recommended "permanent tape" and clamp method or by using Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy, the results have always been consistent with each mounting medium sounding a bit different than the other but all sounding good! I prefer the simplicity of the Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy mounting as it yields more tonal depth and is transparent and upfront across the tonal spectrum.

Disclaimer: Trance Audio recommends its "permanent tape" and clamping method so my usage of Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy as an Amulet adhesive is of my own choosing. If anyone wants to try using this method of installation, I'm willing to supply guidance in using the Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy, but bear no responsibility for the job's outcome.

All demos are made with the Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom's Tone Control Wide Open (Treble End Of Control) for Full Spectrum Tone From The System and with all FELiX 2 EQ FLAT with NO EFFECTS anywhere in the signal chain. The signal goes from the FELiX 2 into a PreSonus Studio 192 interface and then into Audacity. All demos are what my guitar backing would be for my vocals to the following songs.

These first three songs are played aggressively with a Guitar Moose .8 mm flatpick:

George Strait's "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)"



John Hiatt's "Crossing Muddy Waters"



Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" via John Hammond



The following song-backing is Eric Von Schmidt's "Baby Let Me Follow Down" via Bob Dylan, and is aggressively fingerpicked with bare flesh and nails:

__________________
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; 01-23-2022 at 01:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:01 PM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Thanks Ken,

All your threads have trigger my Pickup Installation Syndrom. So I've been re-installing the bass sensor of the Amulet MVT of my HD-28 for few days... and it consistently yield the same result... which is disappointed with regards of my personal standard. It still needs heavy high end cut with the tone pot to render something usable...

I did some interesting observations.
1) I measured the frequency response of the preamp for both channels. It's flat with just a highpass filter
2) It has a voltage doubler inside so it works at least with 18V power.
3) The mix button is not a mix button. It's a tunable gain for input A ranging from 0 to 14dB. Input B would be fixet in the middle around 7dB. so you get +/-7dB adjustment from one channel with respect to the other. The only detail the manual does not say is that turning Counterclock wise also increases the volume.
4) I did a bunch of measurement without the preamp with my 2-channel audio interface to be able to discriminate the contribution of each sensor.

I have a little idea about how to improve but I need to try it tomorrow...

I don't dare going for the loctite.

Right now my treble sensor is stellar sounding... but of course the 2 highest strings sound louder. My bass sensor sounds bad. It is too sharp, edgy sounding.

to be continued...
__________________
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/
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:15 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Thanks Ken,

All your threads have trigger my Pickup Installation Syndrom. So I've been re-installing the bass sensor of the Amulet MVT of my HD-28 for few days... and it consistently yield the same result... which is disappointed with regards of my personal standard. It still needs heavy high end cut with the tone pot to render something usable...

I did some interesting observations.
1) I measured the frequency response of the preamp for both channels. It's flat with just a highpass filter
2) It has a voltage doubler inside so it works at least with 18V power.
3) The mix button is not a mix button. It's a tunable gain for input A ranging from 0 to 14dB. Input B would be fixet in the middle around 7dB. so you get +/-7dB adjustment from one channel with respect to the other. The only detail the manual does not say is that turning Counterclock wise also increases the volume.
4) I did a bunch of measurement without the preamp with my 2-channel audio interface to be able to discriminate the contribution of each sensor.

I have a little idea about how to improve but I need to try it tomorrow...

I don't dare going for the loctite.

Right now my treble sensor is stellar sounding... but of course the 2 highest strings sound louder. My bass sensor sounds bad. It is too sharp, edgy sounding.

to be continued...
Cuki, Brilliant! Another thing Gary Hull of Trance Audio told me is that whether the Trance Amulet M Preamp is powered by a 9-volt Battery or 48-volt phantom power, its preamp is an 18-volt audio preamp which, I guess, supplies plenty of headroom to reduce or eliminate any "quack" or whatever an SBT is capable of feeding a preamp. I firmly believe that after having several Trance Amulet M products, the M preamp is "audiophile" grade as Trance claims it is and could compel some players to choose Trance M products and its onboard preamp as an alternative to "the non-invasive" feeling that is out there.
__________________
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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  #4  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:19 PM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
the M preamp is "audiophile" grade as Trance claims it
Honestly I don't care if it is audiophile if I can't get a balanced tone out of it without IR...

One major upgrade would be to add a tone (low pass filter) on one of the channel to solve the "trebly, edgy" problem some of us have encountered because of our inability to properly install it.
__________________
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/
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:22 PM
aaronmarkson aaronmarkson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Right now my treble sensor is stellar sounding... but of course the 2 highest strings sound louder. My bass sensor sounds bad. It is too sharp, edgy sounding.



to be continued...

In theory, both lenses should be exactly the same, but you could try swapping them to determine if there is something wrong or different about the lens you are having trouble with. Of course this means more work, but it would at least let you know if you have a defective lens.

As to the trim pot - while the manual is vague, the installation pdf on their website does specify exactly what you found to be true. It is a volume adjustment for whatever lens is plugged in to input A.

I do remember turning the gain up on this a little. Probably no more than 2 dB if that.

Iím a fan of this pickup and havenít had troubles with it, but it is a shame that it seems to be more troublesome and inconsistent when it comes to installation and outcomes.

I havenít tried epoxy. Never thought to try as my results have been great with the tape.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:29 PM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronmarkson View Post
In theory, both lenses should be exactly the same, but you could try swapping them to determine if there is something wrong or different about the lens you are having trouble with. Of course this means more work, but it would at least let you know if you have a defective lens.

As to the trim pot - while the manual is vague, the installation pdf on their website does specify exactly what you found to be true. It is a volume adjustment for whatever lens is plugged in to input A.

I do remember turning the gain up on this a little. Probably no more than 2 dB if that.

Iím a fan of this pickup and havenít had troubles with it, but it is a shame that it seems to be more troublesome and inconsistent when it comes to installation and outcomes.

I havenít tried epoxy. Never thought to try as my results have been great with the tape.
Thanks aaronmarkson, You are right it's written in the installation manual.

As far as my lens, I am pretty sure it is OK. If I hold it close to the bridge on the top of the guitar, I get great sound.

To come back to SpruceTop's comment on audiophile character, in one of my older thread, Sunny from Sunnaudio advised me to get rid of the TC1044S voltage doubler in my own DIY preamp. It is exactly the same chip you have found in the TA amulet preamp... So what works for Gary might not for Sunny...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnaudio View Post
Have you tried 2x 9V batteries to get 18V? It would remove the switching artifacts in the supply rails plus help the A/D process stay cleaner.

Sunny
__________________
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/
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2022, 04:40 PM
aaronmarkson aaronmarkson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
As far as my lens, I am pretty sure it is OK. If I hold it close to the bridge on the top of the guitar, I get great sound.

Interesting.

Do you have the volume and tone control version? If so, have you tried unplugging that? I donít know why this would make a difference, but I seem to recall a thread saying itís brighter overall with the VT controls plugged in.
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Old 01-21-2022, 04:48 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Something tells me that a perfectly done Trance-recommended "permanent tape" and clamping mounting procedure of the Amulets may yield what a Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy mounting of the Amulets achieves with a minimum of fuss. The advantage of "permanent tape" mounting is that the Amulets can be removed and relocated--again-and-again--to try for a better tone or to install them in another guitar. The Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy is likely pretty much permanent and isn't a problem if you're going to keep the guitar which I'm going to do with this Trance Amulet M Phantom/Martin HD-28 combination. Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy installation gives the Amuelts almost a K&K forgiveness of location although I've determined where the Amulets should be located for the best consistent results, and they're pretty much where Trance recommends the locations.
__________________
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; 01-21-2022 at 04:53 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2022, 05:08 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Honestly I don't care if it is audiophile if I can't get a balanced tone out of it without IR...

One major upgrade would be to add a tone (low pass filter) on one of the channel to solve the "trebly, edgy" problem some of us have encountered because of our inability to properly install it.
Cuki, this shouldn't be rocket science and should and can be simplified. I was kinda, sorta in the same frame of mind as you: As good as I thought my Trance "permanent tape" installations sounded I always thought there was something more to be somehow tonally achievable, maybe with another thinner and harder mounting medium? For me, my search has paid off.
__________________
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; 01-21-2022 at 05:29 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2022, 04:47 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default NOW WITH DEMOS!!! Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom & Martin HD-28 Installation

Hi Folks, You can either go back to the beginning of this thread or start here as I've included the demos of the Martin HD-28/Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom in both locations. Thanks For Listening And Your Comments Are Welcome No Matter What Your Thoughts!

I just completed an installation of my recently received Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom Pickup/Preamp System in my 2020 Martin HD-28 Reimagined. The entire installation took about 3 1/2 hours and included reaming the guitar's endpin hole to accommodate the Trance preamp's Switchcraft jack/endpin/strap button. I used Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy to mount the Amulets, and 30 seconds into my initial hearing test, I knew it was another successful Trance installation. Whether I've mounted the Amulets with the recommended "permanent tape" and clamp method or by using Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy, the results have always been consistent with each mounting medium sounding a bit different than the other but all sounding good! I prefer the simplicity of the Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy mounting as it yields more tonal depth and is transparent and upfront across the tonal spectrum.

Disclaimer: Trance Audio recommends its "permanent tape" and clamping method so my usage of Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy as an Amulet adhesive is of my own choosing. If anyone wants to try using this method of installation, I'm willing to supply guidance in using the Henkel Loctite 6-Minute Epoxy, but bear no responsibility for the job's outcome.

All demos are made with the Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom's Tone Control Wide Open (Treble End Of Control) for Full Spectrum Tone From The System and with all FELiX 2 EQ FLAT with NO EFFECTS anywhere in the signal chain. The signal goes from the FELiX 2 into a PreSonus Studio 192 interface and then into Audacity. All demos are what my guitar backing would be for my vocals to the following songs.

These first three songs are played aggressively with a Guitar Moose .8 mm flatpick:

George Strait's "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)"



John Hiatt's "Crossing Muddy Waters"



Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" via John Hammond



The following song-backing is Eric Von Schmidt's "Baby Let Me Follow Down" via Bob Dylan, and is aggressively fingerpicked with bare flesh and nails:

__________________
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; 01-23-2022 at 01:51 PM.
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  #11  
Old 01-22-2022, 07:10 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Thank you for doing this! Honestly, I canít decide if I like this better or the Ultra tonic! To me, the Amulet has more clarity, but it translates to a more distinct piezo tone. The high strings also still sound a bit too thin. The Ultra tonic has more mid range but a woodier, more natural tone. It does lack a bit of clarity though.
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Old 01-23-2022, 12:41 AM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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I think one can reach the same results with red tape or almost.

I've been re-installing my TA amulet many times these days and I came close to that at least once.

People: Push the volume up on your headphones, the Amulet sounds nice at very low volume but with an amp, you will push the volume harder... Then you'd notice as your ear response changes (see Fletcher–Munson curves) that the highs are problematic.

Actually I am relieved, that epoxy can not do better than that.

It is better than red tape since the tone being wide open but it is still quite bright compare to the acoustic tone..
__________________
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/

Last edited by Cuki79; 01-23-2022 at 12:49 AM.
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2022, 08:31 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Yikes! I'm hearing the Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom/Martin HD-28 as the best installation I've ever done. Let me remind listeners that this is the RAW pickup tone with the Tone Control wide open in its Treble end rotation which means that the tone circuit is delivering the whole spectrum of tone from bass to treble. All EQ Is FLAT with NO EFFECTS, and the guitar is being played aggressively! If there is some excess treble tone in the demos all it takes is a slight nudging of the Tone Control away from its full-on position to take the edge off the treble. I would have thought the main complaint from listeners would have been the absolutely thunderous bass response that the pickup is capturing of the bass register of this Martin HD-28.

As for the Ultra Tonic 3.2/Martin D-18 combination, I'm not satisfied with what I've been hearing and I've done the DIP-switch adjustment at 6, 7, 8, and 10. Being that I don't hear a lot of bass content in the tone, my next adjustment will be either 4 or 5 as this is the range where the body resonance comes on stronger but it can muddy up the overall tone. I haven't given up on the Ultra Tonic 3.2 but given my druthers, and with hindsight, I'd have opted for installing a Trance Amulet M-VT Battery or Phantom powered system in the D-18.
__________________
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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  #14  
Old 01-23-2022, 08:57 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Thank you for doing this! Honestly, I canít decide if I like this better or the Ultra tonic! To me, the Amulet has more clarity, but it translates to a more distinct piezo tone. The high strings also still sound a bit too thin. The Ultra tonic has more mid-range but a woodier, more natural tone. It does lack a bit of clarity though.
Scott, thanks for listening! My problem with the Ultra Tonic 3.2 is that I don't hear the clear and full bass that I hear with the Trance system. I hear a lot of mid-range in the Ultra Tonic. To be sure, the Martin D-18, although it has the deep bass fundamentals, is a brighter-sounding guitar than the HD-28, and at least this brightness is being captured by the Ultra Tonic. I'm willing to come to the realization that although I've managed to locate the two pickup sensors of the Ultra Tonic perfectly on the bridge plate per installation instructions, perhaps I botched the application of the epoxy to the sensors? I found the long thin main sensor is difficult to hold on to when reaching in the guitar as it wants to flip off the fingertips, which it did twice. I reapplied a bit of epoxy, spread it around, and finally got the sensor properly located well within the time window for the setup of the epoxy. I can't imagine using superglue with its much shorter time window of opportunity for application to the bridge plate for installation of the main sensor and bass sensor.

If the Ultra Tonic 3.2 doesn't work out for me after more adjustments of the DIP switches, I'm hoping I can extract the system from the Martin D-18 without harming the Martin's bridgeplate. Frankly, I wouldn't care if I destroy the Ultra Tonic 3.2 in the process as long as the Martin makes it through okay.
__________________
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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  #15  
Old 01-23-2022, 09:33 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
I think one can reach the same results with red tape or almost.

I've been re-installing my TA amulet many times these days and I came close to that at least once.

People: Push the volume up on your headphones, the Amulet sounds nice at very low volume but with an amp, you will push the volume harder... Then you'd notice as your ear response changes (see Fletcher–Munson curves) that the highs are problematic.

Actually I am relieved, that epoxy can not do better than that.

It is better than red tape since the tone being wide open but it is still quite bright compare to the acoustic tone..
Cuki, are you using the clamp to find the best pressure point on each Amulet that will yield the best tone? I don't understand why you're having to reinstall the Amulets several times when all you have to do is locate them where Trance recommends to put them per their drawing. Then, supposedly using the clamp, you can find the best pressure point on the Amulet that will generate the best tone. If anything, you can optionally locate each Amulet about 1mm to 2mm outward from being exactly centered over each group of three strings. One of the Trance drawings shows a slightly outward location of the bass Amulet.

I'm hearing the Martin HD-28/Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom combination as capturing the overall slight darkness of the HD-28's tone. If you're hearing some kind of weird treble artifacts in the pickup tone, these would likely go away with a less aggressive playing style and/or a slight nudge of the Tone Control away from it being wide open as it currently is in the demos. Also, likely these artifacts wouldn't be noticeable with 10 to 50 feet of air between a loudspeaker and a listener's ears.

My goal has always been to post demos that highlight the raw tone from a pickup with the thought that a potential user of the system will EQ and likely add effects to their taste. I think from now on, any demos I post will be EQ'ed, and as the phrasing usually goes, with a little added reverb to give it some air so as to start on a similar footing to most other demos out there. Maybe I'll even mic a loudspeaker instead of demoing the raw pickup tone into Audacity?
__________________
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; 01-23-2022 at 10:28 AM.
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